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I find it hard to imagine that I use to hate mushrooms as a kid. If my parents put them on my plate we use to play a game of stand off. I was always made to sit at the table until I had eaten them. I can’t remember how long I would sit there, because memory changes as you get older, but I like to think I always won, but I know in my heart that wasn’t true as my mum could be as stubborn as a mule when she wanted to be!
I find it weird how I can remember things from years ago so clearly when other times I can’t remember things I did yesterday and I can clearly remember what started to change my mind about mushrooms. I’d just moved to London in 1987 and my partner at the time loved deep fried mushrooms from the freezer section. He made me fry some up and I decided to try them, and thought where pretty tasteless and I didn’t mind eating them, so I tried a few more times and then took the next step of trying fresh mushrooms, which I also didn’t mind, so gods knows why I was so stubborn when I was younger. When I became a veggie, I heard that mushrooms were good for you and a good substitute for meat due to some mushrooms having a fleshy texture, like portabello mushrooms, so very slowly I introduced them into my diet and as they say “I was hooked”.
It’s been a while since I’d had a veggie meal and I was drooling over some of the recipes in the Great British Bake Off “How to Bake”, when I came across this recipe. It tweaked my fancy as I loved the idea of the meaty texture of the portabello mushroom combined with the strong flavour of the Gorgonzola. Blue Cheese is another of those foods that I never liked but am slowing changing my stance, one excuse for not enjoying blue cheese is I’m allergic to penicillin and it’s always worked in the pass, but not one I can really use any more.
Ingredients (serves 4)
300g/10oz or 12 sheets of filo pastry, thawed if frozen
4 very large open cap portabello mushrooms
2-3tbsp olive oil
small bunch of parsley
2 sprigs of rosemary
1 garlic clove, peeled
100g/4oz Gorgonzola piccante
50g/2oz unsalted butter, melted
Pre-heat the oven to 190c/275g/gas5. Keep the filo pastry wrapped until needed other wise it will dry out.
Clean the mushrooms, remove the stalks and place to one side. Put 2 tbsp of oil into a frying pan, once heated place the mushroom, rounded side down and gently cook for 5 minutes, turn them over and cook for another 5 minutes. Remove the mushrooms and place to one side.
Take the rosemary leaves off the sprigs add the parsley, garlic, mushroom stalks and finely chop them altogether.
Once chopped add the black pepper. Divide the mixture into four portions, then divide the Gorgonzola into four and add them to the chopped mixture
Unwrap the filo and each twist contains 3 layers of pasty squares. Using scissors cut the 12 squares to 30cm/12”, you might have to compromise on the size depending on the filo you purchased. As long as you can create a twist once the mushroom has been place in the centre.
Layer 3 sheets with the centre one at right angles to the other 2. Place the mushroom in the centre, brush the pasty sides with the melted butter. Gather up the edges of the pastry and twist together at the top.
Do this with the other 9 sheets, as quickly as you can, to ensure the filo doesn’t dry. Do not panic if the edges start to dry, just brush with the melted butter.
Once all four mushrooms have been made into the twist, brush with any melted better left oven. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until golden brown.
If you are having this for lunch, just add some mixed salad leaves. I had them for dinner so I made them with some rosemary roasted new potatoes, pepper salad and a green salad.
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About the Author: Having worked in IT for over 20 years, Keifer Derrin quit his job to do something new. Not claiming to be a Gordon, Heston or even a Delia, Keifer’s passion for all kinds of food includes trying out new recipes whether they take 10 minutes or 8 hours to prepare. He also enjoys eating out - anything from The Ledbury to Pizza Express and even a local greasy spoon! Keifer also does voluntary work for the Food Chain, a charity that supplies food, meals & nutritional education to people who are HIV+. Check out his food blog at www.donkeyfodder.com