So our mushroom experiments began with the funky looking helvella crispa as described immediately below. Some time later, a trusted neighbour introduced us to the Coulemelle (Parasol Mushroom in English, macrolepiota procera in Biology) seen in a post well below that. Then we tried the also-impossible-to-mistake coprinus comatus (Shaggy Ink Cap, Lawyer’s Wig or Shaggy Mane) and thought we were doing pretty well, adding one mushroom a year to our diet.

Then 2011 happened. Our first new mushroom of the year was this beauty:

In English it’s called the Beefsteak Fungus (in French, the Beef Tongue, which looks more accurate and, in Latin, fistulina helpatica). Again we checked with our books and pharmacist and we were blessed with finding a textbook example to make it easier to swallow. I now check the base of every tree I pass on the off-chance I’ll spot another, which slows down my walks through the woods – another bonus.

And a few weeks ago, a former neighbour told me about the rosé des prés (Field Mushroom in English, Meadow Mushroom in American, agaricus campestris in Latin) which immediately became Our Favourite Mushroom. A small one, freshly picked, entirely dominates whatever you put it in – and this morning I came back from feeding the animals with two, plus a half dozen Elfin Saddles.

Got to love the rain.