This country gets quite a bit of stick - especially from those that actually live here. We constantly moan about the weather, the cost of living etc etc but actually we do live in a dam nice part of the world. You don't have to go very far to find a nice bit of countryside or some coastline to stare at. And here's my part of the world - the very lovely South Downs. Ahhh...
Culinary speaking we Brits have always played second fiddle to the French. Well that is changing and the British black truffle is going to make our French cousins sit up and take notice. Why? Because there are quite a few of them lurking in the uk just waiting to be discovered. That is, according to the truffle hunter I went out with yesterday. And he says that the South Downs (where I happen to live) is a dam fine place to find them. Apparently they love the chalk soil and the roots of some of our native trees.
One major factor is that you've got to find them. And that isn't easy. While dogs are the best way to find them, they have to be trained and being a nation of cat lovers obviously doesn't help! Well, apparently you can dig for them without a dog but you need to spot the tell-tale truffle fly.
So I look forward to the day we sell the French some of our truffles if anyone can be bothered to look for them. Although selling at £2,000 per kg is quite a good incentive to get off your arse.
It's that time of year for a bit of mushroom foraging and experts don't come better qualified than Nik Westacott. I did a video (HERE) of Nik mushroom hunting last year but this year I wanted to get some photographs of him whilst foraging in woods around Chichester in West Sussex. It was a perfect day. Not too cold, bit misty and a lot of moisture in the air to get the 'wet' look on the shrooms. There were quite a few of the highly prized chanterelles around as well. Nik offers foraging courses and had a few clients along and I bet they had a great feast which Nik was cooking up later at his b&b in Fishbourne.
This is Nik Westcott a chef, B&B owner and all round nice chap that also happens to have one of the greatest taches I know. I was out taking some photographs of him mushroom foraging yesterday so decided to take the opportunity to take a nice close up of his moustache. And as Movember (Prostate cancer charity) is coming up what an ideal time to inspire others to grow a tache and raise some money for this great cause - Movember.com