In November I shared with you my experience of Eat Drink Blog, the National Australian Bloggers Conference. Day One was amazing; Day two was great fun too. All the bloggers were split into 3 groups for an activity day. I was in the “Mushroom group”. It worked out well for me, day one went for a whopping 14hrs, so an early start was a struggle (which was probably because of the fab coconut cocktails by Cocktail Gastronomy too).Anyhoo, I digress, so I just had to roll out of bed and go to Crown Mushrooms in Wanneroo – 10 mins from home. Sweet.
Crown Mushrooms, WAs largest mushroom farm, is a family run business that’s been around for over 40 years. We were greeted by Noelene Swain from the Australian Mushroom Growers Association. Then we were treated to a tour of the mushroom farm, from planting to the packing room. We were shown huge piles of compost, which on a 35 degree day smelled pretty ripe to say the least! We then went into the sheds to see the seedling process, and then onto another shed to see mushrooms ready for picking. Each room is sealed and oxygen and temperature controlled. It’s a very scientific process.
A massive one and a half tonnes of Crown mushrooms are packages for Coles each day. I’m all for shopping at local farmers markets; (I love Subi and Kalamunda).Considering there isn’t really any farmers markets in the Perth northern suburbs (please correct me if I’m wrong), it’s a long drive for me to visit one. Therefore I also shop at my local Coles, for convenience. But knowing that the mushrooms from there actually travel a mere 2.7kms, makes me pleased to see Coles are supporting local growers.
After the tour we all headed on over to West Coast Institute – Joondalup Campus and the Chef Challenge began! We were put into teams of 4 and given one hour to present two dishes (one hot, one cold) with certain key ingredients. We were stood at our kitchen benches, eying off the pile of ingredients, ready to start.
Now the tables were turned on ME for a change! Since I met my husband, when he was a 2nd year apprentice, I’ve been watching him compete in many culinary comps. One of the Lecturers, Chef Nathan, kindly gave up his Sunday to guide us through the Masterchef style cooking comp (and to make some delicious mushroom pies and other mushroom treats for us!). Another Chef (MY CHEF!) was also on hand to help and judge too. He thought it was pretty hilarious that lil ol’ me was in a cooking comp. I’m not the best cook in the world – so I offered that I’d be “the apprentice” to my teammates.
I teamed up with the lovely Di (from Travelletto) and we made a stunning mushroom dish, one of Di’s Italian mother’s recipes of Marinated Mushrooms. It was so easy and super tasty and fresh. It’s simply very thinly sliced mushrooms marinated in lemon, garlic, parsley and good EVOO. I’m going to try it at our next BBQ.
You could tell it was a bloggers day, as a scrum of them were crowded around the food taking pictures!! After that, we all tucked into the delicious food we’d all cooked – what a mushroom feast! We didn’t win the comp (even though I was sleeping with one of the judges!! Haha). We had such a fun time though – and I learned lots too.
An interesting fact I learned from the day was that mushrooms are not a vegetable. They are a species of food all on their own. They are also incredibly nutritious, and have cancer preventing properties for men and women.
For more information about delicious mushrooms and recipes visit www.powerofmushrooms.com.au