Sunday, 27 November 2011

Update on The Little Bread Pedlar - Food Find

Having already alerted you to the new chocolate brownies at Monmouth Coffee, look out for what I believe to be the best croissants you will find in London.   Starting this week, The Little Bread Pedlar will also be supplying Monmouth in Monmouth Street, Covent Garden and their shop on the corner of Park Street and Stoney Street in Borough SE1.  You can also find them, currently Friday-Sunday, at Leila's on Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch.

Thursday, 24 November 2011

Arbutus - exceptional value in Soho

Cornish Silver Mullet
at Arbutus

At £16.95 for three-courses, is this the best value lunch in Soho?  There's certainly plenty of competition in the area, so keen-pricing goes with the territory, but Arbutus has to be right up there.  The daily-changing menu makes good use of seasonal foods and cheaper cuts enabling them to keep prices down without compromising quality.  After a recent faultless three-course set lunch, it was clear why Arbutus had been awarded a Michelin star in 2007, but lunch for two at less than £60 including wine and service?  Despite the accolades, Arbutus continues to offer exceptional value for money.

The two rooms are stripped back but stylish and comfortable.  The cooking displays classical techniques without being fussy and flavour combinations are spot-on.  I'm normally very reluctant to photograph my food but in this case the presentation was, as you can see, too beautiful to pass-up.  The whole winelist is available by the 250ml carafe, making it easy to pair wines with dishes.  Service is friendly and highly focussed and, especially appealing to me, you can opt to eat at the marble bar.

Arbutus opened in May 2006, the first of the three restaurants opened by Anthony Demetre and Will Smith, followed by Wild Honey and Les Deux Salons.  I've eaten well in all three but Arbutus is my favourite these days.  Looking to cheaper cuts of meat, the menu can include dishes like Slow-cooked Scottish Beef, Crispy Pig's head or Pieds et Paquets (lamb's tripe parcels and trotters ) but you can also expect to be offered something like a fresh Ricotta Gnocchi, Bouillabaisse, Grilled Cornish Gurnard or Steak Tartare.  Comforting puddings such as Clafoutis and Bread and Butter are particularly well done.
Bread and Butter Pudding
at Arbutus
Our recent lunch started with a plate of delicate Warm Pork Porchetta and a homely seasonal Soup of Autumn Greens, lifted to a higher plain by the addition of lemon and nutmeg.  Next came perfectly cooked Cornish Silver Mullet served on a lovely salt-cod brandade and sweet mussels, and a dish of Slow Cooked Scottish Beef with carrots, served with a dish of perfect Gratin Dauphinoise potatoes.  Dessert was Bread and Butter Pudding with the addition of a salted caramel sauce.  With 2 carafes of Barbera D'Asti red from Piedmont £9.00 for a 250ml carafe (£26.50 a bottle) the bill for 2 people came to less than £60 including excellent service.

Arbutus also offer 3-course pre-theatre menus at £16.95 and £18.95.  You can expect to pay around £35 per head for a la carte.  Open every day for lunch and dinner.

63-64 Frith Street
Soho, London  W1D 3JW
Tel: 020 7734 4545

Monday, 21 November 2011

The Panettone is here - Food Find

The Ulcigrai family began making Panettone five generations ago in Trieste. Having discovered this fantastic version of a "large bread" last November, I was so happy to see it again at arch 104 Druid Street, Bermondsey on Saturday.  It's a Leila McAlister discovery and you can buy it from the arch on Saturdays or from Leila's on Calvert Avenue, Shoreditch Tuesday-Sunday.  Made with top quality dried and candied fruits and a natural sourdough starter, this, for my money, is the best you can get in London and far from the most expensive.  Leila also supplies the Panettone to Monmouth Coffee, so look out for it between now and Christmas.  If you want to keep it until Christmas, I recommend you put it out of sight as the one I bought on Saturday is fast disappearing.

Pasticceria Triestina Ulcigrai

Saturday, 19 November 2011

Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli

Butternut Squash
& Sage Ravioli

There is an abundance of winter squash and pumpkins around at the moment, some so beautiful to look at that you hardly want to cut them open.  Their names are equally lovely - Baby Bear, Butterball, Jack Be Little, Sweet Dumpling and Turk's Turban to mention just a few.  They are easy to grow and if you're short of space you can grow them up a wigwam of hazel sticks instead of horizontally.  The seeds can be planted straight in the ground once frosts have passed.  They need less water than summer squashes as they develop a good root system, and as they have hard skins they can be harvested in autumn and kept well into winter.  If you are planning to keep them a while, make sure you leave a good length of stalk when you severe the fruit from the plant to prevent rotting.  Squash generally have a better flavour and texture than pumpkins.

Uchiki Kuri Squash

Butternut squash has a rather boring flesh-coloured appearance by comparison, but it has a delicious nutty flavour and it's easy to find in the shops.  It also, mercifully, has quite a thin skin so it is possible to peel one without slicing a finger, unlike some, if you don't want to roast it skin-on.  Its firm flesh works really well as a filling for ravioli.  Toss chunks of the squash in olive oil and bake in the oven with a few sage leaves to allow the natural sugars to caramelise and the sage to crisp. Mash the ingredients together to a firm puree.  If the mixture is very stiff, you can let it down with just a little double cream.  A few gratings of parmesan add a salty piquancy to the sweetness of the squash.  This mixture can be made in advance and left in the fridge along with your home-made pasta - don't panic, pasta is easy.  You can buy some decent fresh pastas but for ravioli you really need to make your own.  You do need a hand-cranked pasta roller, or an attachment if you have a good electric mixer, but it's a purchase you will never regret.  The only expensive ingredient in this recipe is the pinenuts but you could toast hazelnuts or cobnuts instead.

Filling the ravioli

Dressed with a smattering of toasted nuts, fried sage leaves, grated parmesan, and a slick of best olive oil, there's nothing like serving up a ravioli to make you look like a serious cook.  The FILLING THE RAVIOLI section below is long as I've tried to be clear for the sake of those of you who have never made ravioli before.  Once done, you won't need to refer to it again.  You can carry out all of the following steps in advance right up to the COOK AND FINISH section.  So, let's start with that scary pasta.

Squash & sage ravioli

Butternut Squash & Sage Ravioli
(serves 4 as a starter or 2 as a main)

100g 'OO' flour
1 large egg
pinch of salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
A little polenta to help prevent sticking

Put all ingredients in a mixer, or use your fingers, to mix just until everything holds together.  Either change to a doughhook and knead for 2 minutes or knead the dough on a work surface by hand for 10 minutes if you want an excellent work-out for your arm muscles (saves on gym fees).  If you use a machine, knead the dough by hand for a final half minute (the warmth of your hands finishes it off perfectly).  You will now have a smooth firm dough. Wrap it in cling film and allow to rest in the fridge for at least half an hour.

1 small-medium butternut squash
1 tablespoon good olive oil
2-3 sage leaves
1 tablespoon Parmesan
salt and pepper
(1 tablespoon of cream if mixture is very stiff)

Heat oven to 180C.  Peel the squash (or leave peel on and remove it after roasting), cut it into quarters then each quarter into 2 or 3 pieces.  Toss them in the tablespoon of olive oil with the sage leaves and roast in the oven on a baking tray for 20-25 minutes until soft and lightly browned.  After about 10 minutes check the sage leaves and when crisp remove them to a bowl while the squash continues cooking - you don't want the sage to burn.  Add the cooked squash to the bowl and mash or use a stick-blender to mix to a smooth paste flecked with sage leaves.  Add  cream if the mixture is very stiff, then parmesan and salt and pepper.  Once cool, cover and refrigerate.

Feed the pasta dough through the pasta machine on its lowest setting.  Fold the dough and repeat 3 more times.  Increasing the setting by one mark each time, feed the dough through the machine once until you reach its highest setting (if you are as short of kitchen space as I am you'll want to cut your rolled pasta in half part way through the rolling to make it more manageable, so you end up with 2 sheets of pasta).  Sprinkle your work surface with a little polenta.  Place your sheet(s) of pasta on a work surface and put heaped teaspoons of squash mixture just over half way across and 3cm apart.  Use a pastry brush to paint the pasta lightly with water between the dollops of mixture all the way to the nearest edge and down that long edge.  Bring the untouched half of the pasta sheet over to gently meet the water-brushed edge (don't press it down yet).  Press down between the filling with the side of your hand to create separate pockets, easing the air out of the pockets as you go.  You can now press down all along the edge.  Neaten the edge with a knife, or pasta wheel if you have one, then cut to separate your filled pockets into individual raviolis.  Sprinkle a tray or plate with the polenta and lay the ravioli on this in a single layer to stop them sticking together until you're ready to cook them.

A tablespoon or two of good olive oil
A handful of sage leaves
2-3 tablespoons of pinenuts (or hazelnuts or cobnuts)
Grated Parmesan and a little extra virgin olive oil to serve

While you bring a large pan of water to the boil, lightly brown the nuts in a dry frying pan.  Fry the sage leaves until just crisp in hot olive oil (takes just a few seconds) and drain them on kitchen paper.  Once it comes to the boil, salt the water and add the ravioli.  Bring back to the boil and cook for 3 minutes.  Remove the ravioli parcels gently to warmed plates (a little of the pasta water on the plate is a good thing), scatter the pinenuts, and crisp sage leaves over.  Finish with a few gratings of parmesan and a drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil.

Monday, 14 November 2011

The Butchery - Food find

'The Butchery' has arrived in my favourite shopping area of London.  Having bought meat from Nathan Mills at Ginger Pig and Barbecoa in the past, it was great to see him on Saturday behind the counter of his own business.   Nathan and his partner Ruth are buying in whole carcasses direct from small farmers, or in conjunction with The Traditional Breeds Meat Market, and butchering to the customers' needs.  Choosing rare breed animals, pasture-fed, organically reared and as chemical-free as possible - this is as good as it gets.  For now you will find them in the railway arch at 1 Ropewalk, Bermondsey SE1 along with The Ham & Cheese Company and The Kernel Brewery on Saturdays only.  Sign up to naththebutcher to keep up with The Butchery Ltd and check out these websites.  The Butchery is a great addition to the area which already has the excellent Jacob's Ladder butchers round the corner, in the arch at 104 Druid Street SE1.

Saturday, 12 November 2011

Genoa - Acciughe to Stoccafisso

Adding sugar syrup to
pistachio dragees
at Romanengo fu Stefano

Just back from a short trip to Genoa, which unfortunately coincided with a massive two day storm, but that's another story.  I thought you might be interested in my food experiences in this capital of the region known as Liguria.  Located in the coastal centre of the narrow strip of land bordering the French Riviera, Piedmont, Emilia Romagna and Tuscany, the Italian city of Genoa is about a 90 minute drive south of Milan.  It bridges what locals refer to as the Riviera di Levante and Riviera de Ponente. Tumbling down to the Mediterannean Sea, it was home to Christopher Colombus and the banking houses which bankrolled the Spanish conquest of the Americas.  The people are proud without being boastful and, you won't find any grand statements of their past glories.  They wear their heritage lightly.  That's not to say Genoa isn't an attractive city.  The architecture is imposing rather than flashy.  The people are friendly and helpful but interact with a formal politeness which is charming.

With the Mediterannean to the south and the Maritime  Alps to the north, Liguria has an enviable micro-climate. Olives, citrus, hard and soft fruits, chestnuts, pine nuts, mushrooms, chickpeas, vegetables such as artichokes and chard, and herbs grow particularly well.  The three foods you will see again and again are pesto (mostly using basil but sometimes other herbs), focaccia (or fugassa) and chickpea farinata (a thin, crustless savoury tart/pancake, known as Soca over the border in France).  A dish of Trofie pasta with basil pesto, a Levante speciality, is on most menus, and take-away farinata shops abound.  Genoese locals like their focaccia or fugassa quite thin but crisp outside and fluffy within and take it with a morning cappuccino.   If you'd prefer something sweeter for breakfast, and I'm afraid I do, then breakfast at Fratelli Klainguti Bar Pasticceria on Piazza Di Soziglia.  Its history goes back to 1826 when two Swiss brothers, who were trying to get to America, missed the boat and stayed on to open a Pasticceria instead - the caffe was good and the Kranz delicious.  Another speicality of Genoa is the pandolce cake studded with pine nuts and candied fruit.

Despite its proximity to the sea, apart from anchovies (Acciughe) and air-dried cod (stoccafisso - more pungent than salt cod), of which they are very fond, the Genoese have a great love of vegetables.  In particular chard and bitter field greens (preboggion) which they use in tarts (torta salata).  Their similarity to ancient pastry dishes of Greece, Turkey and Persia speak of the influences of past trading links.  Tripe and rabbit are popular too.  A big feature of Genovese cooking is the wood-burning oven and you will see them in many of the trattorias, making for cosy meals.

Sugared Marzpan
Genoa is full of small food businesses that have been around for generations, and they are still there for good reason.  One of the oldest and best is the confetteria Romanengo fu Stefano, who I managed to catch on their short visit to London last month.  Producing seasonal candied fruits, including the rare chinotti, a locally grown rather bitter citrus fruit which is transformed by sugaring (and can also be found locally as a soft drink) and chestnuts, syrup-filled dragees, chocolates, marzipan sweets, delicious sugar coated pinenuts and aniseed.  They also make a sensational rose petal jam, delicate syrups of orange blossom and an intense wild cherry.

I was lucky enough to be shown around their factory on Viale Mojon where the fruits and nuts used arrive mostly from Ligurian growers, suppliers for generations  No artificial preservatives are used and everything is hand made in small batches using decades old equipment and molds.  The skills of the craftsmen and women is essential to the processes involved and it was a joy to see.  Needless to say, the aromas were heavenly and the tastings - no doubt helped by the fact the products were just made - amazing. The purety of the fruits and fruit syrups shine through, rather than just tasting sweet as many such products do. 

Sugar coated cinnamon bark
at Romanengo fu Stefano
The first batch of sublime soft almond torrone, which is only made in November and December, was cooling as we passed by.  Invited to sample it, I can honestly say it was without doubt the finest I have ever tasted. 

The original Romanengo shop is in the Caruggi area of Genoa nand has been since 1814.  Dive into these medieval alleways off the beautiful Palazzo-lined Via Garibaldi.  The Caruggi and adjoining Molo areas, descending to the port, are the best places to go to get a handle on Genoese food.  The numerous narrow streets are home to hundreds of Pasticceria, Tripperia, Drogheria, Salumeria, Alimentari, Gelateria and Enoteca along with Restaurante, Trattoria, Taverna, Osteria and Caffe.  You will never go hungry in this area.  Ristorante La Berlocca on Via Soziglia, for one, proved a good lunch stop for a dish of Minestrone and a plate of Stoccafisso with onions, potatoes and olives in front of the wood-fired oven.

Another must-see is the Mercato Orientale (meaning in the east of the city rather than any reference to the orient).  There are several food markets but if you can visit only one, I recommend this one on Via XX Septembre which operates every day except Sunday.  Check out the lovely fish and vegetable stalls and the trader who specialises in tomatoes and chillies/peppers.  The streets around the market are good for food shops too - the Vias Vincenzo, Galata, Colombo and also Piazzaa Colombo.  There is a lovely fresh pasta shop (its name escapes me for reasons which wiil become clear later); Cremeria Colombo for artisan ice creams made only with ripe fruit, high quality milk and cream and natural flavourings; Eto Oleo Granoteca for olive oils and dry goods and Gerolame Pernigetti-Gamalero for dry goods (both on Via Galata); and the grocery store, Chicco Caffe.

Fritture at Sa Pesta

Trattoria Sa Pesta on Via Giustiniani is listed in the Slow Food Guide to Genoa and proved to be a good recommendation for dinner.  The atmosphere is laid back, the room simply furnished, and the food straightforward.  We ate Farinata layered with Strachini cheese, Verdure Ripieni (stuffed vegetables), and shared an excellent dish of Fritture of fresh anchovies, baby squid and other small fish.  With half a litre of local red wine and coffees the bill came to 35 Euros.

The following evening Trattoria Rosmarino  just off Piazza de Ferrari (you can't miss the the huge fountain) proved friendly and welcoming and served local food with a bit more refinement.  The highlights were an antipasti, Sformato - a fantastically light artichoke (carciofo) souffle with a goat cheese sauce - and  pasta dish of Trofie, made with chestnut flour and served with basil pesto genovese.  Although not listed in my guides we had a good time here and the service was excellent.  My view could be coloured somewhat by the fact we were struggling to find any restaurants open after a day of constant heavy rain which caused the centre of the City to be virtually closed down.  So bad was the freak weather that the next morning the area around the Mercato Orientale was a mud bath and many of the shops remained shuttered all day.  Disappointing but it only meant we would be returning to see what we missed.

The Riviera's steep, terraced terrain does not allow for much grape growing but the wine produced is generally light and fruity.  Varieties have small yields and require hand-harvesting so local wines are relatively expensive.  The main grape varieties for Ligurian white wines are Vermentino and Pigato, and the main red is the Rossese.  They are, however, very acceptable to my, admittedly untutored, palate.

Look out for words such as Tipico, meaning local or regional; Genuino, meaning genuine, authentic; Naturale meaning wholesome, without artifical flavourings etc used particularly in ice cream making; Cucina casalinga meaning home cooking.  If you plan a trip to Genoa I highly recommend David Downies book "The Italian Riviera & Genoa".  It's a weighty tome but it proved invaluable on our trip and it's stuffed with useful information.  The only regret was we didn't have time, or the weather, on our side to do it justice.

Pietro Romanengo fu Stefano
Via Soziglia 74R
16123 Genova
and also at Via Roma 51R, 16121 Genova (they have a small number of select stockists around the world.  In London you can buy some of their products at La Fromagerie on Moxon Street, Marylebone).

Monday, 7 November 2011

Cod, Kippers and Yorkshire Brack

Herring in Fortune's
Smokehouse, Whitby

Not having been to Whitby for years, I was expecting a nippy autumn day, quiet streets and no queue at The Magpie Cafe.  How wrong can you be?  The weather was warm and sunny, the streets as busy as on a summer day and the queue at the Magpie was enormous.  The streets were full of goths, corseted maidens, black-cloaked counts, bustle-bearing ladies and top-hatted gents, and a chap in a truly gorgeous red dress.  I'd been away for so long that for a moment I thought this might be normal for Whitby as the locals were taking it all in their stride, but trust me to pay a visit during the annual Bram Stoker film festival. 

So, I can't introduce you to the food of Whitby, in the farthest reaches of North Yorkshire, without getting the Dracula thing out of the way.  Whitby is the small north-east England fishing town where the Irish novelist, Bram Stoker, began to write the story of 'Dracula'.  Largely thanks to its picturesque ruined clifftop Abbey and atmospheric churchyard sloping towards the sea, it is a huge draw to devotees of the book.  Go in winter or early spring to see Whitby at its quietest and, if you're lucky storm-lashed, best.

By 1890, when Bram Stoker lived in Whitby, Mr William Fortune had been firing up his tiny smokehouse on Henrietta Street for 18 years.  Now, 139 years later, the fifth generation of the Fortune family continue to cure herring to turn them into the delicacy known as kippers.  Gutted and briefly soaked in brine, they are then hung from rods and cured in the original smokehouse over oak, beech and softwood chippings before being moved to the shop next door.  It can take up to three firings and 18 hours to produce the perfect Fortune's kipper.  

Herring shoals move around our coast and until 1979 locally caught 'silver darlings' were landed at Whitby during their short season.  Today, sadly, due to EU quotas the Whitby herring fleet is no more but north-east Atlantic caught herring are used instead.  Frozen immediately after being caught, they are defrosted, gutted and cured by the current family members, Barry and Derek, using the same methods employed by William Fortune.  Kippers are one of our best British products and those from Fortune's Smokehouse are, I think, exceptional.  If you get to Whitby, a visit to Fortune's is a must and don't miss any chance to poke your head round the door of the wonderfully tarry smokehouse (ask permission, of course).  They used, occasionally, to smoke the odd salmon which came their way.  These days haddock, salmon and sides of bacon find their way to the smokehouse.

The aroma of grilling or frying kippers is appealing to me, but if you are concerned about lingering smells you could cook them using the "jugging method".  Place the kippers head down in a tall warmed jug, pour on boiling water to cover all but the tails and leave for 5-6 minutes.  Serve them up dressed with a knob of butter, a slice of buttered brown bread and a mug of tea. 

With my own newspaper-wrapped pair of kippers secured (sadly in The Sun rather than the Whitby Gazette) I headed for the Magpie Cafe for a take-away of cod and chips.  The Magpie is a relative newcomer, having been a cafe since only 1939.  Their fish and chips are far from a secret and they have won several awards in recent years so I was keen to try them, especially as they cook locally caught and sustainable fish as much as possible.  I hardly ever get to eat cod these days - the guilt trip is just too much - so, accepting that it was sustainably fished cod, I had to have it.  It was super-fresh and the crispy batter was excellent.  The chips were fat and fluffy but a little bit longer in the fryer to give them more colour and they would have been perfect.  Well worth queuing for but, for me, they didn't quite match up to my memories of Rick Stein's take-away in Padstow, Cornwall.

I had to finish my visit with tea and Yorkshire Brack at Botham's.  I thought Fortune's Smokehouse had been around a while but here we go again - the bakers Elizabeth Botham and Sons started out in 1865.  If you're familiar with Betty's tearooms in York, you will be disappointed by the look of this shop and tearooms.  What was once no doubt quite a grand space is somewhat faded, but you will get a very good cup of tea and a delicious slice or two of Yorkshire Brack.  This version of a tea loaf (somewhere between a cake and a bread in texture) is moist, treacly and packed with good quality dried fruits.  I think it needs no additions.  I can recommend the Stem Ginger Brack and the Plum Tea Loaf as well. 

If you can't get to Whitby, you can buy from Fortune's and Botham's on-line (Botham's also has a limited number of stockists).  The Magpie Cafe now has a wet fish shop (The Whitby Catch) a few doors down and they sell locally caught fish on-line too.

I didn't see any Bram Stocker devotees on my food trail.  Don't these people eat!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Celeriac Soup with cripy pancetta or toasted hazelnuts

Celeriac Soup
with crisp pancetta

Bonfire Night approaches so what to serve up before the fireworks get going?  Last November I suggested a sticky Gingerbread recipe.  A quick look at the weather forecast for the UK this 5th November suggests we might need something warming, so here's my plan.   Celeriac is perfect for now.  This knobbly, beige, unpreposessing root veg is far from beautiful to look at but its creamy texture and mild celery taste make a luscious soup.  A few additions can turn it into something special. 

Celeriac is a close relative of celery, though hardier and less trouble to grow.  The leaves can be used in cookery but personally I find them too strong and prefer to use celery leaves instead.  The swollen stem is the prize here.  Seeds planted in late spring take 22-26 weeks to grow into a usuable size.  They can stay in the ground right through winter if protected from frosts with straw or a cloche.  Slugs do like it, but they like most things.

Celeriac Soup
with toasted hazelnuts

Topping a bowl of celeriac soup with a few pieces of crisply fried pancetta or bacon and a good grinding of pepper, adds a porky kick and gives it carnivore appeal.  Don't waste the fat which is rendered by the bacon, it has lots of flavour so pour it on as well. 

Alternatively, for vegetarians, use vegetable stock instead of chicken stock and garnish the soup with a few roughly chopped hazelnuts.  Toss the whole nuts in a hot pan to toast lightly and loosen the skins.  They will mostly come off under thumb pressure.

So, if the weather where you are is set to be unkind, try this warming soup.  Whatever you eat, enjoy your Bonfire Night party.

Celeriac Soup with pancetta or hazelnuts
(Serves 6-8)

30g (1oz) unsalted butter
1 onion, diced
1-2 cloves of garlic, sliced
2 medium-sized or 1 large celeriac, peeled and chopped (if you do this in advance you'll need to place the pieces in acidulated water)
2 medium sized potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 small deseeded red chilli (optional), sliced
1.5 litres of chicken or vegetable stock
Salt & pepper
2-3 tablespoons of double cream

1. A thin slice or two of pancetta or bacon, fried until crisp and crumbled.
2. A good handful of hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped

Heat the butter in a large pan and fry the chopped onion gently to soften.  Add the sliced garlic and continue cooking for a further couple of minutes.   Add the chopped celeriac and the potatoes (and the red chilli if using) and cook for a further 3 minutes.  Add the chicken or vegetable stock, bring to the boil, season and simmer for 30 minutes.  Puree the soup until smooth (if you want a very silky result, pass the soup through a sieve but I find this unneccesary).  Add the double cream and adjust the seasoning.  Serve garnished with one of the above.

To turn it into a really special dish, you could top the soup off with a slice or two of ceps instead, fried in a little butter until they caramelise then cut into manageable pieces (in this case you may want to pass your soup through a sieve in honour of the king of mushrooms).