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October is all woody, smokey and let’s face it, a little bit scary

Slideshow Image
Slideshow Image

For me October sits in the Autumn season where the leaves change their coats from green to gorgeous shimmering reds, browns and oranges. Our food markets and allotments are abundant with giant fleshy orange pumpkins and other wonderfully shaped squashes and crowns. It is also the height of the wild mushroom season with ceps, the charcoal burner and the common yellow russula all making an appearance. You may want to leave your mushroom identification kit at home and swing for the small but mighty girolles, or the handsome trompettes de la mort. These mushrooms command a high price tag, but if you can stretch to it, their flavour is totally worthwhile. It’s probably not a good idea to forage for mushrooms without an experienced guide, but if you’re really interested in mushrooms The Mushroom Diary can help.

When I was around eight years old my father was completely obsessed with mushrooms, and so our outhouse was filled with rows of unsophisticated mushroom growbags and the occasional brace of pheasants hanging from the ceiling; needless to say, my appetite was for the mushrooms and not the gruesome fowl. Each morning, as soon as the sun came through the curtains of my bedroom window, I would sneak out wearing just my pyjamas and slippers and go on a mini foraging adventure for the outhouse mushrooms. As soon as I spied the freshly popped fungi I would eat them all up, soil and all.

My tastes have moved on a little bit since then and for me October is the perfect month to eat locally shot sautéed pheasant with wild mushroom, white wine and cream sauce, its super simple to do too. Start by sautéing your onions and garlic and then adding the cut pheasant pieces and cook for a couple of minutes on each side until they are brown. This is the time to add your sliced and cleaned mushrooms along with the white wine and stock; cook to reduce the sauce by half, then stir in the cream and season to taste.

If you and the family fancy eating something gorgeous and delicious you can join us in cooking up a more sustainable plate of food: SlowFood wants you to join us in our Eat Local campaign. This campaign runs 16 Oct – 5 Nov 2017.

All you have to do is pledge to:

  • Eat two meals a week sourced with local, traditional ingredients
  • Eat only free-range meat raised in your region
  • Shop at a farmers’ market at least once a week
  • Buy no imported food or products made over 200 miles away

We believe that if we all eat locally/seasonally it is good not only for us but we can also help save our planet. Food Production is responsible for a fifth of total greenhouse gas emissions and is one of the major causes of global warming.

If you fancy raising your fork against climate change you can join us in our global campaign #menuforchange challenge yourself. If you like, you can even share your wonderful photos from your culinary adventures.



#SlowFood #MenuForChange #EatLocal

Here’s the fun bit. Fancy a bit of seasonal fun, you will need a pumpkin, a sharp serrated knife, a print out of our template, a marker pen, some sticky tape and a tea light candle (you can use one of those battery ones if you wish).

  1. Pop along to your local pumpkin farmer, purchase the plumpest pumpkin with the softest skin you can find, use a sharp, serrated knife to cut off the crown. (Please ensure you have an adult to help with this). Tip: Try turning your pumpkin upside down and cutting your access hole along the base of the pumpkin, then you can cut and create and you candle area making it flat without a line around the top.
  2. Using a large serving spoon, scoop out the seeds and fibres (remembering that you can clean and toast your pumpkin seeds for your breakfast the next day). Remove as much of the flesh as you can, reserving for later to roast into a fabulous pumpkin and ginger soup.
  3. Pop the template on your pumpkin, securing with a piece of sticky tape. Then with a marker pen, mark out the outline of our snail and flying bat on your pumpkin. Use a small serrated knife to cut out the snail and the bat. Always cut away from you in case the knife slips.
  4. Pop in your candle and stick in the window to share SlowFood with all your lovely friends.

Vegetables: artichoke, beetroot, broccoli, butternut squash, carrots, celeriac, celery, chillies, courgettes, cucumber, fennel, garlic, horseradish, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce & salad leaves, marrow, onions, parsnips, peppers, potatoes (maincrop), pumpkin, radishes, rocket, runner beans, shallots, swede, sweetcorn, tomatoes, turnips, watercress, wild mushrooms

Fruit: apples, bilberries, blackberries, damsons, elderberries, medlar, pears, plums, quince, raspberries, redcurrants chestnuts, chives, cob nuts, coriander, oregano, parsley (curly), parsley (flat-leafed), rosemary, sage, sorrel, thyme,

Meat: beef, duck, goose, grouse, guinea fowl, hare, lamb, mallard, partridge, pheasant, rabbit, turkey, venison, wood pigeon

Fish and Seafood: clams, cod, coley, crab, dab, dover sole, grey mullet, gurnard, haddock, halibut, hake, herring, lemon sole, mackerel, monkfish, mussels, oysters, pilchard, plaice, pollack, prawns, red mullet, sea bass (wild), sea bream, shrimp, skate, squid, turbot, whelks, winkles

Words and Images ©Finola Gaynor 2017


Biography: Finola Gaynor

Born in Ireland and following on from a successful career as a graphic designer and leading university design academic, Finola Gaynor’s lifelong passion for all things culinary came to the fore upon relocating to Norfolk some 6 years ago.

Beneath the big skies of East Anglia, she was able to fulfil her enduring ambition to become a chef at The Barn, Holt, North Norfolk, food writer and recipe developer, whilst all the time bringing a unique knowledge of design to bear on her home-cooked cuisine.

Finola’s supper club dining experience brand Life is Less Ordinary, has grown steadily, with demand consistently outstripping supply. Finola specializes in providing world food ideas made from ingredients sourced locally from small, specialist growers and suppliers.

Her award-winning recipes and boundless enthusiasm have in the kitchen have led her to work with notables such as Studio Ramsey, ITV, BBC Food, Sainsbury’s and the Huffington Post. In 2016 she won the Muddy Stilettoes Award for Best Casual Dining in Norfolk.





The Slow Food blog is welcoming contributions on the topics of Food, Farming and Agriculture. The contents may not entirely match the views of Slow Food, but reflect the journeys of the authors. To write for us please click here



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