Immediately following The Ditch Fiasco, Hugo was very solicitous and insisted on staying by my side at all times. This was very sweet, but a bit of a logistical nightmare when it came to showers etc. After a little while though, the novelty of me not moving anywhere very fast wore off and he began to search for new horizons. Deciding that Luc’s porcini hunts were a poor substitute for long hikes, Hugo took matters into his own paws by organising vigorous ‘sorties’ every morning to our neighbours’ house a kilometre away. This was a sly plan for two reasons: Their cats hadn’t yet eaten their food (which he gallantly saw to) and his coming home either entailed a horse being saddled up to accompany him, or his absolute favourite – a car trip. I’ve managed to curtail the visits for the moment with the promise of short walks and Java’s electric collar. Why is it I seem to specialise in errant, insubordinate animals?
We have had more porcini than ever this year. I think that the combination of a hot Indian Summer and just the right amount of rain have made for ideal growing conditions. Porcini soup sounds very decadent, but less so when you’re finding several kilos a day.
Ingredients (serves 4)
300g fresh porcini mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
2 shallots, peeled and sliced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 medium size potato, peeled and cubed
2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
10ml white wine
Sea salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon paprika
750ml chicken or vegetable stock
50ml single cream
Place the mushrooms, butter, shallots and garlic in a large saucepan, heat gently and leave to ‘sweat’ for about five minutes. Add the potato and parsley and cook for another couple of minutes. Add the white wine and seasoning and then the stock. Bring to a gentle simmer and leave to cook for a further 20 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the cream and blend.