Here is my chat session with the inspiring Livesey Bros who have an exotic mushroom farm. Ever since reading Alice in Wonderland as a child I’ve always thought of mushrooms as being magical (need to find the ones that will make me taller) and I still believe they are. Mushrooms contain some of the most potent natural medicines on the planet. Of the 140,000 species of mushroom-forming fungi, science is familiar with only 10%, according to world-renown mycologist Paul Stamets, who is the author of 6 books on the topic. I love using enoki mushrooms as a replacement for noodles – see my enoki mushroom noodles recipe.
Why are including mushrooms in your diet important (especially the different varieties)?
Mushrooms play a key role in our diet. They are packed with micro nutrients (vitamins and minerals) more specifically B group vitamins and vitamin D. As many people know these are key components which are essential for our body’s to function in the correct healthy way. Mushrooms also bring a huge support to our immune systems and can help fight cold and flu bugs using the powerful antioxidants which naturally occur within them. Mushrooms are also very low in fat and high in protein which benefits us in other areas such a weight control as well as containing essential macro nutrients we need.
How do you get inspiration for your mushroom meal creations?
I enjoy reading about food. For instance, I read recipe books and food magazines as if they were novels! I am so intrigued by other cuisines and cultures and I pull all of these smaller thought together to create an idea and my inspiration comes from this idea.
Is growing mushrooms without the use of chemicals, fertilities, pesticides and peat important to your business?
Consumers have been looking for the ‘healthy’ option when making food choices for a number of years. Now consumers still want food that is ‘healthy’ but also produced in a ‘healthier’ more sustainable way. As a company we have achieved this and can successfully say we produce our products in harmony with the environment. We are very proud to promote this element of our business as sustainability is at the forefront of many consumers’ minds.
Do Tim and Simon have a favourite mushroom variety and why?
Maitake, because of it’s full flavour and great texture. It is the only mushroom that intensifies with flavour during the cooking process. It has a strong earthy flavour which lends itself to so many dishes.
Any tips for a first time exotic mushrooms eater?
It is very difficult to cook a mushroom badly for instance, you cannot burn a mushroom! Do not be put off by the way they look or the lack of knowledge in the preparation stage because they could not be easier. They have very little wastage and their versatility is endless!
I love cooking with mushrooms, especially Livesey Bros mushrooms as the spent compost is spread back onto the organic soils to maintain a nutrient balance by revitalising subterranean wildlife such as earthworms, bacteria and humus. But that’s not all as the grass grown on this land is grazed by their herd of Pedigree Hereford Cattle and flock of North Country Mule Sheep (a Paleo wonderland!), so an eco-friendly circle is formed. It makes me so happy to be connected with a sustainable company that has been around for so long. Livesey Bros supply both the major and the small independent retailers and culinary markets throughout the UK, so look out for their brand, knowing you’re putting goodness in! If you’re stuck on how to cook, mushrooms they also have a recipe website to inspire you, or you can check out my blog tomorrow for a special mushroom surprise using this lovely variety they sent me.