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Chicken of The Woods recipe

As might be clear to some, I’m quite into Mushroom foraging! At the weekend I was out working in central York and happened across a clump of Laetiporus sulphureus (Commonly known as Chicken of The Woods or simply COTW) on an ornamental Plum tree. It took me a few days to gain access as it was behind a tall metal railed fence in the grounds of The Merchant Adventures Hall. But I bagged a decent portion the other day, so we went sort of ‘Buffet style’ last night.

We used the same batter for the Tokneneng (Battered Eggs) and the Chicken of The Woods.

Batter ingredients:-

2 Eggs, whisked
Plain Flour (Gluten free for us)
Hot Chilli Powder
Garlic Salt
Onion Salt
Baking powder
Soda Water


(1) Cut the COTW into rough nuggets, scraping off an debris on the upper surface.
(2) Mix Butter Milk, Garlic Salt and the juice of a Lemon and soak the nuggets overnight.
(3) Mix the batter and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
(4) Dredge the nuggets in Cornflour and then dunk in the batter mix.
(5) Fry and drain in small batches.

We served them with a dressed salad, Bacon and Tomato Pin Wheels, micro Pizzas and some DIY dips. Effectively clearing a few stray bit & bots out of the fridge!


Sparassis Crispa stir-fry

In a combination of Greek and Latin the name realistically means “ Tear Crispy ” - Not very helpful, even if quite descriptive of the texture? So some common names are - Cauliflower Fungus, Wood Cauliflower, Brain Fungus - Any one of those will do!

I’ve foraged this in Yorkshire and eaten it. But it seems to be a bit of a bug magnet and is a bit of a pain to clean. These were from a local Chinese supermarket and were bug free and dried. Which made them much more appealing!

We soaked them in cold water for a couple of hours before quartering and cutting the dense central core out.

This was a stir-fry with home made Gluten Free battered Chicken ( The Batter recipe is here ) and Sue’s home made Black Bean Sauce. ( Recipe here )

The Brain Fungus work just like a flavour sponge, absorbing and intensifying the sauce. 

Clams & Prawns in (DIY) Black Bean Sauce recipe

The recipe for the DIY Black Bean Sauce is here. You can buy jars from the supermarket, but you’ll find it much more rewarding (and cheaper) to make your own!

Ingredients for the Sauce:-

2 Tbsp of DIY Black Bean Sauce (Paste really!)
500ml of Chicken Stock
A splodge of Soy Sauce
The zest and juice of a Lemon
A slug of Rice Wine
A slug of Rice Vinegar


(1) In a large frying pan add all the ingredients.
(2) Heat to the boil and then reduce to simmer and thicken.
(3) Set aside.

Ingredients for the Stir Fry:-

Clams & Cooked Prawns (If the Prawns came with shells on , take them off)
Bok Choi, chopped
Spring Onions, chopped
Red Pepper, sliced
3 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp of Fresh Ginger, minced
A Handful of fermented Black Beans, soaked
Oil to fry


(1) In a pan of Salted water boil the Clams for 7 minutes.
(2) Drain the Clams and set aside. Reserve the Clam stock.
(3) In a Wok or large frying pan fry ½ of the Spring Onions, Red Pepper, Garlic and Ginger.
(4) Add the Clam Stock.
(5) Reduce to a simmer until everything has softened.
(6) add the drained Clams and cooked Prawns.
(7) Stir in the Black Bean Sauce.
(8) Stir in the Fermented Black Beans.

We served ours over plain boiled Rice with reserved Spring Onions as a garnish. It really didn’t need anything more.


Black Bean Sauce

Our latest challenge is to create 100 authentic Asian style dishes. Obviously we could have bought a jar of Black Bean Sauce, but where is the fun in that?!


100g of Fermented Black Beans (These are available in Chinese Supermarkets and are really inexpensive)
80ml of Oil
5 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1 Tbsp of fresh Ginger, minced
3 Shallots, finely diced
2 Tbsp of Sugar
2 Tpsp of Shaoxing Rice Wine
2 Tsp of Soy Sauce
¼ Tsp of Five Spice
1 Tsp of Chilli Flakes


(1) Rinse and drain the Beans.
(2) Finely chop 2/3 of the Beans, reserving 1/3 whole.
(3) On a low heat, heat the Oil and add the Shallots, Ginger and Garlic.
(4) Sauté into tender and fragrant.
(5) Add the Fermented Black Beans and fry for 2 to 3 minutes.
(6) Pour over the Soy Sauce,  Shaoxing Wine, Five Spice, Chilli Flakes and Sugar.
(7) Cook to reduce until the Sauce has thickened.
(8) Cool and transfer to an air tight jar.

This is a very concentrated foundation sauce.

There is a reason behind this rather silly name. A while ago I found three tubs of Buffalo Mozzarella in the yellow sticker fridge for around 20p. Although they were just in date when I bought them the lonely remaining tub was somewhat suspect , date wise. But it was fine when we opened it.

There little point in a recipe here. But basically Sue hand pressed the burgers around a lump of Mozzarella, fried them gently and then finished them under a low heat in the grill. To add to the Pizza theme we had some discounted Chorizo slices. So layered up with Mexican Mayo & Garlic Mayo, mixed Salad leaves, Red Onion, sliced Tomato, sliced Gherkins, Burger dressed with Chorizo & melted Cheese - The Pizza Burger became a reality! The mixed Salad leaves were free (Thanks John) and effectively all we paid full price for was the minced Beef and Gluten free Bread Buns.

We served these beasties with hand cut chips and DIY Gluten free Onion Rings.

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