Cooking the Saffies with warming herbs

The smell of cardamom and star anise is in the air at Ligaya Garden!

This year has been a big one for mushroom foraging. I took the last year off to have a break, to do my bit in allowing the forest to rest a little and also to use up old stock in the cupboard.

A wild, uncooked Saffy.
A wild, uncooked Saffy!

Today though, I’m cooking up the Saffron Milk Caps (and one or two Laccaria that got left in the basket). Apparently you’ve got to cook the Saffies otherwise they have some degree of toxicity. I’ll admit to having eaten them raw in the past with no noticeable effects but that may have just been the luck of the draw on the day. Be cautious with anything to do with wild fungi in general.

Bubbling and boiling away.
Bubbling away.

There’s a little experimentation going on in the kitchen today, I’m cooking them in the vinegar that they’ll be preserved in. Trying to save a little time and handling, I suppose, but no reason beyond that.

I’m a really basic cook and generally just like to add in a handful of whatever takes my fancy on the day. But my herbal thinking took over this year and I’m thinking that because I gather the mushrooms in the cold weather, I should balance that with warming herbs.

So, here’s a list of what’s in the pot with the Saffies –

– cardamom

– star anise

– black pepper

– cayenne pepper

– turmeric

That’s all, very simple. Just a note on herbal medicine though – black pepper is what herbalists call a ‘synergist’, it enhances the effect of other herbs to make them have a stronger effect on our bodies. Wonderful stuff.

Mmmmmmm the cardamom is calling. I’ll pop a couple of pods into the teapot as well.

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