The Good Ceps Fairy makes a fleeting appearance…

Yesterday morning found me driving through the grey drizzle towards our local Lidl store. Not an auspicious start to a day, but not bad in comparison with recent mornings, but as my mobile rang I felt it might get worse. In normal circumstances I wouldn’t take any notice as I would assume the ringing was coming from anyone’s phone but mine but, being alone in the car, I took the call. A good fairy was on the other end offering me some Ceps. The man who up to that moment had been Cepless in La Moussiere was suddenly the recepient (sic) of fungal bounty beyond his wildest dreams. Not quite true, as my dreams have been pretty wild of late, often involving very aggressive hacking of hackers and their ilk. By the way, if anyone knows the journalist Rowena Davis who suffered the same Gmail hacking and loss of contacts as me, I would be forever grateful if they could put me in contact with her or get her to contact me on roger.stowell@hotmail.fr. The BBC, whom I have already contacted, have been as helpful as Google or Gmail which is to say unhelpful, but I digress. My shopping at Lidl’s excellent but cheap wine emporium completed I was free to tramp the countryside with a good friend who knows about things like mushrooms, trees and nature. In my past life when I was falling off bar stools in the Zanzibar in Covent Garden, he was dry stone walling and breeding cattle – I think he got the bull to do that, but you can’t be sure with Northerners. Walking through the woods with a couple of dogs and chatting with Frank provided me with those calming and restorative moments that have been missing from my life for a few days. Searching for mushrooms does entail looking at the ground rather a lot which is nice for a while but leaves can get tedious. Ceps manage to hide extremely well, their colour matching the Autumn leaves perfectly. Sadly, slugs seem to have no problem in finding them. Picking mushrooms for eating is a pastime filled with danger and uncertainty and a trustworthy guide is of paramount importance. My first glimpse of the “parasol” mushroom, or Coulemelle, had my synapses screaming “Danger, don’t touch with a barge pole” and only by watching Frank, our leader, take the first bite of one at lunch time without frothing at the mouth or vomiting was I convinced of its goodness. I have to say that I rather prefer them to Ceps, which may be some sort of mycological anathema, but there it is. The huge dish like tops are just dropped into frothing butter with a minimum of chopped garlic and cooked for a short time. Mushrooms like this served on buttered toast with a glass of Cotes de Rhone are a suitable lunch for mushroom hunters, and are also very good for those people who haven’t stuck their nose out of doors all day as well. Frank and Jenny, they of the fabled walnut oil of a previous post, produce all sorts of good tasting things, so I left with a basket of freshly cut salad, some hot chillies and some milder chillies plus a couple of superb Ceps that made a delicious dinner last night. My mushroom craving is satisfied for the moment, although I do quite fancy a risotto with Ceps or maybe some butter cooked Ceps laid on top of a well dressed salad as recommended by Frank or…

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About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in Ceps, Cooking, Cotes de Rhone, Digital photography, Food and Photography, France, French countryside, friendship, mushrooms, Photography, photography course, Photography holiday, Recipes, Vendee, Writing. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to The Good Ceps Fairy makes a fleeting appearance…

  1. Now you having ME craving Ceps! Thanks Roger, market not open until Friday.

  2. SOunds like a good day – wine AND ceps!! Your comment about the cattle breeding made me chuckle – reminded me of a trip to Scotland arriving at a friend´s farm only to be told he was in the top field inseminating the cows…the mind of a (then) townie boggled 🙂

  3. ChgoJohn says:

    I love a walk in the woods on a Fall day. Finding ceps would be icing on the cake. Once again, your photos are incredible but that basket is so beautiful!

  4. I want some ceps now too – brilliant photography.

  5. Lovely photos, but I’m glad your gmail is back up.

  6. Karen says:

    Not only a lovely walk in the woods but a bounty from nature. What could be better than that. My husband and I were so lucky to be in Europe at just the right time for porcini and truffles on our recent trip. Looking at the comparison of the boots compared to the basket…that is some impressively beautifully basket.

  7. Tandy says:

    what a lovely experience, you the mountain and some lovely ceps! I have done mushroom hunt once and loved it 🙂

  8. Lovely looking mushrooms…and they’re in my picnic basket! I like the old tiles in the top photo too. Glad to hear you prised your email address back out of the hands of the hackers.

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