A few weeks ago I was so lucky to have been invited to a workshop on mushroom! When I told my friends about it, they didn’t seem much impressed at all (particularly because I was postponing an extincting trip to the Hunter Valley..). I soon realised that not many people understand how interesting and peculiar these little white things are.
First, mushrooms are not plants. There are a kingdom per se called Fungi, means there are not like any other living things on this planet. Pretty cool eh! Secondly there are thousands of different species of mushroom and most of them are not edible -actually some very poisonous! While most of the mushrooms that we consume here in Australian are those commercially cultivated (the white mushrooms) some species are too difficult to cultivate, like the famous Fungo Porcini. Hence, the only way to get them it’s to go and harvest them into the wild. If you were born in some areas of Italy for instance, you will have spent more than one Sunday in the forest looking behind each leaves to see if a mushroom was hiding there!!
Fungo porcino. photo by Luciano Bigazzi- Volterra
Going back to the seminar, it has been a great pleasure to spend two hours discovering the power of mushroom! Mushrooms are a very nutrition dense food, low in calories, good amount of protein, minerals and vitamins including vitamin B12 (watch out vegans!) , in other words a great everyday SUPERFOOD.
Most importantly, they are a valuable source of Vitamin D, as they are able to generate Vitamin D in response to UV light!.In Coles or Woolworth you can already find Vitamin D mushroom, which are mushroom exposed to the sun by farmers. But of course they are a bit more expensive. For me, the best solution is to make vit D mushroom yourself.
Did you know that placing 3 regular mushrooms ( 1 serve = 100g) in direct sunlight for an hour in the winter will generate your daily needs of vitamin D?1
What it really stood out for me was the latest researches showing very very promising results! Now, I don’t want to annoying you, but just to say that some components in mushrooms have shown to have anti cancer properties! There is a link between women eating mushrooms (an average of one a day) and a decrease in the risk of breast cancer by half!! Researches are still in the early stage and these are just observational studies (means that they are less able to show a real scientific evidence), however in my opinion this is really exciting news and looking forward to some more to come!
For more info and for all the reference please check the website powerofmushroom.com.au, it’s full of great stuff, presented in a visual and catching way too.
Anyhow, because man does not live by mushroom alone, during the seminar I also discovered plenty interesting fun facts relating to cooking, shooting, preparing etc. etc.
- Always add onion and oil to a cold pan. Cover it with oven paper so all the flavour stays there!
- You can add up to 600g of mushroom to 400g of meat, let’s say in a bolognese, and no one will notice the difference
- You can use lean mean for bolognese ragu, however for rissoles or burger you will need some fats or they won’t stick together
- Keep cheese in paper foil and not in plastic
- Meat balls are the new things
- Make your own Vietnamese sauce and keep it in the fridge in a glass jar cover up with peanut oil
- Perfect Asian Sauce: chilli, fish sauce, lime and sugar (chilly, salty, sweet and sour)
- Never wash mushroom (they retain water) but brush them
- To shoot the perfect picture: natural light that comes from behind; add spray oil so foods look fresh; great cheese/sprinkle herbs from high so they will
I have to admit that my pics still need much improvement and I am definitely not quite there yet…
But the food basic are there, and although this mushroom and mince turkey ‘Mussaka’ doesn’t look very nice, I can assure you that it was delicious and an interesting way to reduce calorie intake whilst boosting nutrient content . We have always added mushrooms here and there (like in our bolognese sauce) with always great result.
You can spend hundreds of dollar on superfood extracts or green smoothie powders. Or you can enjoy tasty meals rich in natural and real food.. which one you prefer it’s really up to you!