Tag Archives: Mushrooms



Serves two hungry people

I’m on a mission at the moment. A mission to be as productive, efficient, healthy and as successful as I was in my 20s. I want to do it all: Find a career doing something I actually want to do (read – designing self-sustaining tiny eco houses), get my fitness back to the ‘crazy’ level, pay off my debt, buy some land of my own, learn another language, travel to all the places I haven’t been yet, and eventually own my own restaurant.  Plus, I’d like to live in a clean, organised house, minimalist house, wake up with enough time to do my hair and makeup, and eat well.  I’m working full time, have started a business on the side, am back at the gym, have written a chore schedule that I intend to stick to, will be enrolling in German classes within the month, and have banned takeout more than once a month, amongst other things.

All of this means that I can’t spend as much time cooking during the week as I would like, and need to limit preparing meals to 30 minutes from start to finish. But I don’t want to eat toast, or processed foods, I’d like to maintain this blog and I still want it to taste damned good. And so, I have added a new category to this blog, to keep me true to my mission: Quick Weeknight Meals.

I’m kicking this off with the good old family favourite, stroganoff. Ridiculously easy, with minimal washing up, creamy and satisfying. Mushrooms are actually the best thing ever.


1 bag Swiss Brown or other full flavoured mushrooms, sliced (around 4 -5 cups if I had to guess)

2tbsp olive oil

5 cloves garlic, minced

1 large onion, chopped

3/4 cup cashews, soaked

3/4 cup vegetable stock (or vegan chicken or beef style)

1/4 cup porcini stock (available at Italian supermarkets)

1/4 – 1/3 cup lemon juice (to taste)

2tbsp tamari

1/2tsp sweet smoked paprika

Heaps freshly ground black pepper

salt to taste if needed


Heat the oil in a pan over low heat and add the onion. Cook until browned, then add the garlic. Stir another minute, then add the mushrooms. Crank up the heat to med-high and brown the mushrooms. Cook until soft, then add the tamari and paprika. Continue to cook another few minutes, season with plenty of black pepper and reduce heat to low.

Meanwhile, place the stock, cashews and lemon juice into a high powered blender and blend until smooth. Pour into the mushrooms and stir well for a couple of minutes. It will thicken and reduce quickly. Season to taste and serve over pasta. I like to stir baby spinach into the pasta because greens. Garnish with parsley or chives.

Holy Grail Mushroom Burgers

Holy Grail Charred Mushroom Burgers


Holy Grail Mushroom Burgers-2

Makes around 10 burgers, depending on size

Special equipment: food processor and cast iron pan/grill plate

I know this is my second mushroom and walnut recipe in a row, but I couldn’t hold off posting these. These are the tits.

I originally made these for our New Years Day BBQ lunch. Unfortunately the BBQ itself was a spectacular failure, much to my disappointment. I got myself a shiny new coal Weber for Christmas, and I was so excited to use it having not had a BBQ for five years. But then the coal wouldn’t light, and when we finally did get it going the heat was gone in five minutes. So much for that. Luckily these burgers, which I cooked on the stove instead, more than made up for all of it. My house mate said these are better than any mock-beef patty he has ever tried, and that these while not trying to be a meat replica fill that role perfectly. Maybe even better than my beetroot burgers.

And so, I made them again today, some kind of record for me as I usually don’t like to eat the same thing more than once in a month. I just couldn’t stop thinking about them, and how good they would be with tomato relish and my Swiss melt. Sorry, that recipe isn’t ready to share yet, but the combination was perfect. Seriously, these are freakin’ delicious.

Oh, and did I mention they’re gluten free? You heard me.


Approx 500g Swiss Brown mushrooms, thickly sliced

1 heaped cup walnuts

1 1/2 cups packed cooked short grain brown rice

1 large brown onion, diced

5 cloves garlic, chopped

1 tsp porcini powder (or you can use dried porcini mushrooms soaked, drained, squeezed, chopped, a small handful)

2-3tbsp tamari,  or to taste

1 really heaped tbsp shiro miso

A couple pinches dried rosemary

1/2 tsp sweet smoked paprika

Generous amount of freshly ground black pepper

3/4 cup chickpea flour

Salt and olive oil as needed


1. Place the walnuts on a tray and roast at 200C for 5 minutes or until just golden and toasted. Set aside.

2. Heat a tablespoon or so of oil in a pan over low heat (cast iron is best, as always). Add the onion and stir well. Cook slowly until sticky, soft and mostly brown. Add the garlic and a splash more oil and cook another minute or so. Crank the heat up high and add the mushrooms, a pinch of salt and the porcini. Cook, stirring constantly, until golden brown and delicious smelling but still fairly firm, around 5 minutes. You don’t want them to release their liquid.

3. Place half the walnuts into the bowl of your food processor. Process until you have a rough nut butter. This takes just over a minute in mine. Add the rest of the nuts and pulse until fine. Add the mushrooms and rice and pulse until chopped small. Do not puree.

4. Place the mix into a large bowl. Add the paprika, miso, tamari, rosemary and pepper and adjust to taste. Make it stronger than you think is perfect, because the flavour will be ‘watered down’ when you add the chickpea flour. Add salt if necessary and mix in the chickpea flour. Leave to stand 10 minutes (or longer). You are going to have a sticky mess, but don’t worry, they firm up A LOT as they cook.

5. Heat a little oil in a cast iron pan over med-low heat. It really needs to be cast iron because the char on these is half the flavour. Seriously do not skip  this. Scoop 1/3 cups mixture into your hands and form into patties. It’s worth doing them all at once and putting them on a baking paper lined tray, because your hands are going to be messy. Fry a few at a time on a fairly low flame, not turning until the underside is a nice dark, golden brown with a bit of char in it, as shown in the photos. You’ll need at least 5 minutes on each side. Don’t be tempted to turn the flame up, you need to cook them slowly or they’ll taste like raw chickpea flour (yuk!) and be all sloppy. Nobody wants that.

6. Stick them in a toasted bun with your favourite condiments. I used tomato relish, vegan Swiss melt made from cashews and secrets, lettuce and tomato. They’re bangin’ with mayo and mustard too. Or ketchup. Whatever floats your boat.

mushroom walnut pate-3

Truffled Mushroom & Walnut Pate

Time: Approx 25 minutes plus soaking            

Makes: Around 3 cups (or 3 times what is shown in the photos)

mushroom walnut pate-2 mushroom walnut pate

Wow, I think I must be the world’s worst blogger. I just realised it’s been over two months since my last post. Terrible. My excuse it that since going back to full time work, I have been incredibly lazy busy (well both are true), and am lucky if I cook dinner twice a week. I haven’t adapted to being able to make post – worthy food in 20 minutes from start to finish, which is all the time I’m willing to spend after being on my feet all day, because it’s just not how I cook. I’m working on it though.

So, in the spirit of getting back into my blogging responsibilities, today I’m posting a recipe that I’ve been meaning  to publish since last Christmas. Perhaps even longer, since the first day I made it. Or maybe I was never going to publish it because I was going to sell it at my market stall, if I ever had the time to do that. But because it’s the season of giving, I give it to you now.

This pate is just so good that I’ve never gotten around to photographing it. It always disappears so quickly when I make it that the task is just about impossible. However, determined to at least post something from this year’s spectacular Christmas feast, this this time I was prepared. I took a third away and hid it so I could finally get a photo today, when nobody knew it existed. I then became very popular for the second day in a row when I revealed it for lunch, also part of my devious plan.

This pate is really easy to make, but is incredibly special. You could put this in a jar and give it to someone as a gift. I’ve fed this to mushroom haters who have devoured it within minutes, pate haters (yes they exist apparently, so weird) who were quickly converted, and to myself, the harshest critic of all, who will sit there with a whole baguette and eat it all if nobody stops me. It’s so, so yummy. So go ahead and make this and become a hero at your next potluck, dinner party, wine and cheese night, Christmas lunch, picnic, you name it. We all like to be worshipped once in a while.


375g Swiss brown mushrooms, cleaned

20g dried porcini mushrooms

1 1/4 cup walnuts

3/4 cup cashews, soaked a few hours, rinsed, drained

1/2 cup porcini soaking liquid

3 tbsp olive oil

2 French shallots, chopped

4 cloves garlic, smashed and roughly chopped

Pinch dried thyme

3 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

Grated fresh black truffle* or black truffle oil, to taste

Sea salt and black pepper to taste

* A note about truffles: While they are technically a vegan ingredient, in most parts of the world, truffles are harvested using dogs or pigs. These animals are trained to seek out truffles, and work for their livelihoods.  Some may be treated very well, as members of the family, but others won’t be. They are usually specially bred, which creates all kinds of issues, including puppy farms, adding to the number of unwanted dogs who are killed each year, and the question of what happens to those who don’t pass their training or are too old to continue. For this reason, while the flavour is far inferior, artificial truffle oil is the far more ethical way to go. That being said, I often receive free truffles through my work or friends in Italy, and I use them. You may be able to find foraged truffles which are not ethically problematic, or truffles from farms which don’t use animals. This is one of those ethical issues the individual needs to decide for themselves, but be aware if you are making this for a vegan, they may not eat real truffle.


1. Place the dried porcini mushrooms in a bowl with 1 1/2 cups of cold and let soak for an hour (or more, more won’t hurt it). Drain them in a mesh sieve lined with a piece of paper over another bowl to reserve the liquid. Remove the paper towel and rinse the mushrooms well.

2. Heat the oven to 200C. Place the walnuts on a tray and roast in the oven for around 5 minutes, or until golden and roasty smelling. When roasting nuts I check them every other minute because they go from toasted to burnt in a flash. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool for ten minutes or so.

3. Heat the olive oil in a pan over low heat and add the shallots. Cook until translucent then add the garlic and dried thyme. Cook another couple of minutes until soft. Add the porcini mushrooms and cook another minute. Meanwhile, place the Swiss mushrooms into the bowl of your food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add the mushrooms to the pan with a pinch of salt and saute until cooked. Add 1/2 cup of the reserved porcini soaking liquid and cook, stirring often, until all the liquid has been absorbed. Season with salt and pepper, remove from the heat and set aside.

4. Place the walnuts and cashews into the bowl of the food processor and blitz until they form a fairly fine, crumbly paste (not a nut butter, not a crumb, somewhere in between). Add the mushroom mixture and parsley, a splash of olive oil and blend until smooth but not a liquid. It will be a medium-stiff paste. Remove the blade and give it a good mix with a spatula. Season with salt and pepper to taste, then add the truffle to your desired truffliness. Place into a covered dish/jar in the fridge to chill for at least a couple of hours before serving. If you want to serve it fancy style rather than in a dish, line a bowl with glad wrap before pressing the pate in, then turn out onto a plate. Serve with thin slices of toasted baguette.