April 27, 2014

Saffron milkcap mushrooms with thyme polenta – a gift from the forager

It’s always lovely to receive a gift; especially one of fresh produce. It was a welcome surprise on Easter Sunday when Kate, who is one of the first to invite us into her home in Orange (over a delicious meal) delivered us some saffron milkcap mushrooms. It was perfect timing as they would make a good accompaniment to our barbequed venison steaks that night.

It appears Kate had a fortuitous day foraging for these mushrooms judging by the volume in her bag! There are so few in this photo because we cooked and ate the majority of them immediately!

Saffron Milkcap mushrooms

The season for pine mushrooms is late February to early May in Australia. In many areas of New South Wales state forests you can forage for mushrooms.

In Oberon the visitor’s information centre will equip you with information as well as help identify what you have picked. Kate could vouch for her mushrooms being the real deal from her ‘secret’ location in Lidster (twenty minutes out of Orange) as she was educated by an experienced forager twenty years ago.

As I have read ‘If in doubt, throw them out’. Some varieties have toxic spores which can have fumes that can make you sick! It is best not to pick what you are unsure of.  I am far from the voice of an expert though after one such adventure. My husband and I stopped some years back on a road trip to Orange, thought we were successful with our pickings only to discover that it was a challenge trying to decipher whether they were edible or poisonous and our friends not dared be the taste testers!

Saffron Milkcaps should be consumed soon after picking. Clean with a damp cloth and remove the woody stems completely.

I loved preparing them in this simple way…

Ingredients – Serves four:

16-20 Saffron milk cap mushrooms  sliced finely (ensure you clean well and remove stems completely)

1-2 garlic cloves, crushed (I love garlic so I put two in!)

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

2 cups vegetable stock (prefer gluten-free)

3 cups water

1/2 cup soy milk

1 cup polenta

1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme

salt and pepper


1. Bring stock and water to boil in a saucepan.

2. Pour in polenta slowly stirring with a balloon whisk for a few minutes until combined. Add thyme and season with salt and pepper. Reduce heat to a simmer and keep stirring with a wooden spoon for approximately 10 minutes.

3. In a frying pan, heat olive oil on low-medium heat and add garlic and mushrooms stirring to coat mushrooms with oil and add parsley. Mushrooms should be ready after 2-3 minutes.

4. Slowly pour in milk of choice (I used soy) and keep stirring for a further 5 minutes until soft and creamy. If polenta tastes grainy keep stirring until it is very soft. Remove from heat.

5. Spoon polenta into a bowl and top with mushrooms.

Saffron milkcaps and thyme polenta








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