Monthly Archives: October 2015

An Autumn Lunch

White Heart Deer

anauntumnlunch

At this time of year the trees that blanket the hills around The Ville are a patchwork of auburn, russets and golden greens. Gradually as the afternoons shorten and the air chills, the leaves float down and rest upon the surface of the river before merrily floating away towards the larger towns south west.

Amelie Beauchene runs the Bistro Beauchene well known for its fabulous seasonal menus. Nobody is ever sure from one day to the next what the ‘Plat du Jour’ will be.

One morning as usual, Amelie pulled on her sensible brown foraging boots, strapped her satchel to her strong mousey back and set off up the forested hill to source the ingredients for that days feast. It wasn’t long before she had gathered enough mushrooms, nuts and apples to satisfy her menu idea and so she made her way back down to the bistro kitchen.

outdoors

She spent the rest of the morning chopping, mixing, stuffing and fussing over several bubbling pots on her stove, and soon enough the clock struck twelve and the first of her customers sat down at the tables outside by the river.

By 12.30 the place was packed with mice from all over The Ville enjoying their feast and drinking a little too much wine.

“These stuffed mushrooms are the best this side of Bordeaux!” trilled Monsieur Delacroix in an uncharacteristically loud fashion as he climbed up on the table.

“A toast” he squeaked, “A toast to Amelie and all you lobsters, too.”

Amelie looked around at the crowded little restaurant and one by one all the mice began clawing their mousey paws together in a lobster fashion. Some of the mice began trying to catch invisible prey with their ‘claws’ and some were lying flat on their tummies and wriggling along an invisible sea floor. Amelie realized very quickly that she had picked the wrong sort of mushrooms for her ‘Plat du Jour’ but not being a mouse that wanted to miss out on any fun, she rammed as much stuffed mushroom as she could fit into her little mouth.

Nobody quite remembers what happened after that, but Amelie’s famous stuffed mushroom recipe was never served again.

Lunch

Apple, Walnut and Quinoa stuffed Mushrooms

(I suggest you buy your mushrooms from the market and avoid the ones in the forest!)

Serves one mouse/person

1 eating apple chopped into 1cm chunks

1 big handful walnuts chopped

1 cup white quinoa, rinsed

1 clove garlic minced

A little goat’s cheese to top

Flat leaf parsley

Fresh thyme

1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar

Salt & Pepper

Bring a small pot of salted water to the boil and pop in your quinoa and cook on a medium bubble for 10-12 minutes or until the quinoa’s little tails have come out and it is soft but not soggy.

Put the apple and garlic in a little olive oil in a pan a cook until softened, add the herbs and walnuts and remove from heat.

When the quinoa is ready, drain and add to the apple, walnut mix. Season with salt and pepper, add the cider vinegar and mix together well.

Remove the stalks from your mushrooms and stuff with the mixture and top with the goat’s cheese.

Drizzle with extra virgin olive oil and cook in the oven for about 10 minutes or until golden on top.

Serve with rocket and an apple cider dressing.

 

Agnés the Forager

White Heart Deer

The Foragers

Today started very early with me being in my studio before six am! I had an idea for a new collection of little foraging mice and just had to get up and get going with them.

Early Morning Studio

After a few hours the hazy autumn sun drew me out and we ended up in some woods that I’d never visited before for a well needed forage. I came home with bag fulls of bits and bobs for my foraging mice and finished my first mouse of the collection – Agnès.

agnes

Agnès is a foraging mouse and loves nothing better than to spend her days in the forest. One fine autumn afternoon whilst gathering nuts in the hazy sunshine she heard a rustle in the tree tops above her. No sooner had she turned her little mousy head upwards, a feisty red squirrel pounced upon her trying to relieve her of her nuts! Now Agnès wasn’t going to give up her bounty so easily and being a black belt in mouse karate the squirrel didn’t stand a chance. In a flurry of squeaks and ginger fluff the ambusher was gone and brave Agnès lived to forage another day. She is available now in the shop (www.folksy.com/shops/allthingsottoline) at £29.99 plus P&P. Please allow two weeks for delivery.

autumnforagefungisiennarunning