Shiitake and Oyster mushrooms on toast
As winter approaches, and the days are shorter, there is little that thrives in the garden. The large beech tree out the front has long shed all its leaves, and the Japanese maples, normally bursting with life with their delicate red orange leaves, are now twiggy and bare.
With the low temperatures, the loose compost in the vegetable patch is looking compacted and frosty, but a hint of green peeking out from the dark soil catches my eye. It's the parsley we put in months ago which has now grown long spindly stems and leaves. It could almost be described as lush, almost. Hardy herbs like thyme and rosemary soldier on braving the cold winds, although now they appear sparser and a few forlorn leaves have begun to yellow.
I’m always grateful to have any garden produce during the winter months. But never more than now, for picking herbs from the garden is peaceful and the tranquillity seems at odds with the chaos of Christmas shopping that is inevitable. I snip a few sprigs of thyme and stems of parsley and hurry back into the warmth of the kitchen, where fresh shiitake and oyster mushrooms are waiting.
Use any mix of between 300g to 400g mushrooms, as you like, and add them to the pan in order of cooking time. Shiitake mushrooms take longer to soften than oyster mushrooms.
You can buy fresh Shiitake mushrooms and Oyster mushrooms from Sainsbury's.