Tales of food, sex and friendship

Posts Tagged ‘Mushrooms’

Homemade pasta with wild mushrooms and goat’s cheese

January 20, 2011

A favorite of Ana’s, this is her go-to dish when she wants to impress but doesn’t have much time to cook. She likes to use Maggie Beer’s recipe for fresh pasta and sometimes adds cracked pepper to the dough for an extra kick. Dried mushrooms also work well for the sauce if fresh ones aren’t available – save a little of the liquid after they’ve been rehydrated in water and add to the sauce for a deeper, earthier flavour.

Serve with a crisp green salad and organic sourdough. Serves four.

Butter (organic), 250 grams

Cream, 300 ml

Chevre (goat’s cheese), 250 grams

Eschallots, 4

2 cloves of garlic

800 grams of a mix of King Brown, chantarelle and field mushrooms (fresh or dried)

Thyme, 1 bunch

Radicchio, 1 head

Splash of white wine

If using dried mushrooms, place them in a bowl and add boiling water to let them steep for about 10 minutes or until softened. Squeeze liquid from mushrooms and put them aside, reserving some of the mushroom liquid for use later.

Melt about 100 grams of butter in a saucepan with a little olive oil, to prevent butter from burning. Finely chop the eschallots and add to pan, sweating them over medium-low heat until translucent. Add crushed garlic and slices of mushrooms to pan, making sure the mushrooms are well-coated in butter. Cook for about five minutes or until mushrooms darken and start to release some liquid. Add a splash of good quality white wine and cook off the alcohol.

Cook pasta in salted water until al dente. Drain and reserve some of the cooking water.

Pour in cream to pan of mushrooms and reduce heat to a very low simmer. Pull off leaves from two sprigs of thyme and add to sauce; allow flavours to stew for 10 minutes. If sauce looks too thick, add some mushroom liquid or water from the pasta to thin it out. Roughly chop two to three leaves of radicchio and add to sauce until just softened (about one minute). Transfer sauce to pasta and crumble goat’s cheese over the top.


Season 1: Episode 8

January 18, 2011

Tom looked at the shopping list in his hand and shook his head. He had no idea what half of this stuff was, let alone what it looked like. But, Ana needed it for dinner tonight and he wanted to make sure everything was perfect.

She had mentioned a stall that her friend Willow said he should go to…Lorenzo’s? Tom dived into the market, hurrying past deafening salesmen all trying to entice him with cut-price fruit and vegetables. He looked around him for a stall with wicker baskets hanging above it and spotted something up ahead. There, he thought, that looks like it.

Tom walked over to an old man wearing a leather apron. “Lorenzo?” he asked. “Willow sent me.”

The man’s eyes lit up and he ushered Tom to his stall. Even Tom could see this guy’s stuff was exceptional, way above the standard of the others at the market. As Lorenzo busied himself getting everything on the list, Tom couldn’t help but think of Ana. Tonight was a big night for him and he wanted it to go well. Ana was introducing him to her best friends for the first time and Tom was feeling like the new kid at school all over again. It had been a long time since he’d fallen hard for someone but he knew it was happening with her. He had never met anyone like her in his life. He couldn’t believe it had only been four months since they met. And now that he was going to be in Melbourne for a while – no more work trips or holidays (unless they were with Ana!) – he was excited about spending more time with her. Just thinking of her brought a smile to his face. Determined, passionate, beautiful… and the sex! The thought of her naked body writhing in those crisp, white Egyptian cotton bed sheets made him hard with desire. Maybe if they had time before dinner he could take her upstairs and…

“Mister? Here you go.” Lorenzo’s voice cut through his thoughts as he handed Tom two bulging plastic bags. Tom awkwardly held them over his rapidly bulging groin. Lorenzo then passed over a box of fruit: nectarines, plums, peaches and apricots. “For Willow,” Lorenzo explained with a smile, “you tell her we say hello. And tell her not to forget she has to come and meet Carlo.”


By the time Tom got to Ana’s house, he knew she’d be stressed. It had taken him way too long to find Lorenzo and then traffic had been a nightmare going through the city. But he didn’t know just how angry she could get.

“Where have you been?” Ana demanded as she snatched the shopping bags out of his hands. “They’re going to be here in an hour!”

Tom stammered through an apology, inwardly kicking himself for running so behind schedule. The box of fruit wobbled in his arms. “I’m sorry. I’ll chop, I’ll stir, whatever. Just let me help,” he pleaded.

Ana turned her back on him and walked into her large, immaculate kitchen. A red pasta machine was midway through a chunk of dough. “Don’t worry about it, it’s faster if I just do it myself,” she snapped. She set to work slicing the mushrooms; the razor sharp stainless steel of her chef’s knife glinting in the late afternoon sun that streamed through the window.

Even when she’s angry, she’s gorgeous, Tom thought.

But even after Tom had poured her a glass of wine, put on some music and laid the dining table, Ana still wasn’t talking to him. He didn’t get it. He knew he’d stuffed up but surely this was going overboard? Then he noticed a large bunch of roses sitting in a vase in the corner of the living room. A postcard showing tropical blue waters lay crumpled next to it. He turned it over:

You should try to get here sometime. You deserve a holiday!

Thanks for all your hard work,


“Your boss sent you these flowers?” Tom called through to the kitchen.

Ana quickly looked up from the bench. “Oh, yeah,” she said, hurrying over to Tom. She picked up the postcard and crushed it in her hand. “We break our backs for weeks getting the campaign done and he gets to just jet off with his wife to the Maldives! Like it doesn’t matter!” Ana’s voice had become a little shrill. Tom looked at her quizzically.

“Does it matter?” he said. “I mean, wouldn’t we all like to go to the Maldives if we could?”

Ana glared at him and walked back to the pasta machine. “The flowers were late, anyway. He got back two weeks ago.”

Tom was worried. “Ana, what the hell is wrong? Why are you so mad at me? Is it because I was late?” He tried to take her hand but she pulled it away.

“No,” she said, “I’m just feeling a little…a little…suffocated at the moment. You’re just always in my space.”

Tom was shocked. He’d never even spent the night at her house! Not to mention the fact that he’d been away in South East Asia for the last few weeks, and had only seen her twice since he’d got back a fortnight ago.

Just then, Willow came bursting through the door.

“Where is he?” she demanded, a tight smile on her normally relaxed face. “Where is this man who’s stolen our Ana’s heart?”