Day 53 – Wet Wet Wet, with Wild Mushroom soup and Steamed Clams with sausage

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We got very very very wet yesterday.  Twice.  The first time was due to my determination to go cockling.  I had researched the recipes, the night before, and had even found a version that included sausages to try and convince the kids to eat them.  So in the morning I whipped up a Wild Mushroom Soup from the mushrooms bought at the market on Sunday, and convinced everyone it would be a great idea to hit the beach.  First we had to go to the supermarket, as yet again our son had outgrown his wellie boots.  We now are the proud owners of every size up to a 39!!  Unfortunately by the time we came out, the heavens had opened. But there was no way I was going back on my mission, low tide is low tide!.  So two kids and the Hubbie were dragged across a very wet beach to the low tide point and forced to dig, with me constantly telling them, this is fun!!

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Half a bucket later, soaked through to the bone, and freezing cold, we stumbled back to the car.  We were so wet that the seats were soaked for the rest of the afternoon!  A quick return home for a clothes change, meant that we could have the soup and a sandwich (and a hot chocolate) before our next ‘wet’ session, a trip to the local swimming pool.  Today is going to be based on dry land and dry clothes, and luckily the sun is trying to break out……. so fingers crossed!

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Wild Mushroom Soup

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Ingredients

1 kg mixed wild mushrooms (the markets are a great source for fresh and unusual mushrooms)

splash of olive oil

2 cloves of garlic chopped

salt and pepper, and some fresh or dried thyme

squeeze of lemon juice and a pinch of cayenne pepper

finely chopped parsley

600ml hot stock

knob of butter

1 tbsp cooked long grain rice

spoonful of cream

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Directions

Clean the mushrooms, wiping off grit and dirt where necessary, and then chop into chunks.  Heat the splash of olive oil and gently fry the garlic without browning.  Add the mushrooms and fry gently, as the juices flow, then add a little salt and pepper, and the thyme.  Cook until most of the juices have evaporated, and then add a squeeze of lemon, and a modest pinch of cayenne pepper.  Add some chopped parsley. (At this point  you can serve as garlic mushrooms on toast but I prefer to go ahead and make soup)

Put the mushrooms in a liquidiser with 600ml of hot stock (I used chicken).  Add the knob of butter and 1 heaped tbsp of cooked long grain rice.  Blend until smooth, but with some speckled mushroom pieces still in it.  Pour into a saucepan and add a dash of cream .  Taste and adjust with seasoning if necessary.

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adapted from a recipe by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, in

The River Cottage Year: Amazon.co.uk: Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall: Books.

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Steamed Clams with sausage

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Ingredients

25g butter

1 medium onion chopped

1 leek, trimmed and finely chopped

1 tbsp of thyme (luckily this is one of the few herbs that thrives in my garden)

1 tsp fennel seeds, roughly crushed

200g herby sausages, chopped into 2cm pieces

1 tbsp oregano

400g tin of chopped tomatoes

120ml white wine

1kg clams, well scrubbed

2 tbsp parsley

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Directions

Soak the clams in a flat container of water with salt ( where possible no more than two clams deep), preferably for a minimum of 10 hours, agitating the water frequently to add air.

Melt the butter in a heavy based saucepan, add the onion, leek, thyme and fennel seeds, and saute gently until the vegetables begin to soften (approx 10 mins).  Add the sausage pieces and cook, stirring frequently, until browned.  Stir in the oregano, chopped tomatoes and wine.  Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer.  Add the clams, cover the pan tightly and cook until they just open (approx 4 mins).  Discard any that remain closed.  Sprinkle the parsley over the pan, and serve immediately.  Delicious with warm crusty bread.

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adapted from a recipe by John Wright in

Edible Seashore: River Cottage Handbook No.5: Amazon.co.uk: John Wright: Books.

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By the way, both recipes were loved by the Hubbie and kids alike, so more clams tomorrow!! Still about 3kgs to go……

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