Scour your local woodland for the culinary gem that is the mushroom. Combine this with Marco Pierre White's recipe and you have a perfect Autumnal meal.

From time to time you read something about all the things children should experience before reaching adulthood. Sleeping under the stars is normally one of them; making a bonfire is another. I’d like to add a suggestion of my own: picking wild mushrooms, preferably when there’s a dew and morning mist, and the sun is struggling to wake up. 

Yes, I know you have to be careful about which mushrooms you pick, but it seems to me we’re now so careful about everything that we deny ourselves too many of life’s natural pleasures. Not only does mushroom picking create a beautiful and lasting memory, but it also helps teach children how things grow and what’s good for them.

This simple, smart and wholesome recipe recommends girolles, but any mushrooms will do. It’s a perfect Autumnal dish—not too heavy, and you can season it up or down according to your preference. I’d recommend serving it with a rocket salad, preferably from leaves you have grown yourself. Sprinkle over some olive oil and a dash of lemon, open a bottle of crisp white wine and make a toast to Autumn—that quirky transitional season where we don’t quite know if we’re meant to look back or forward. So just enjoy the present.

Prawn Recipe

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Prawns with Whisky & Girolles

(serves 4)

  • 2 handfuls of girolle mushrooms
  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • 15–20 large prawns
  • A splash of whisky
  • A splash of Knorr concentrated chicken stock
  • A knob of unsalted butter
  • Fresh herbs of your choice, to garnish Maldon sea salt and black pepper

1. Finely slice the girolles, keeping the shape of the mushrooms.

2. In a large frying pan, heat a generous amount of olive oil and fry the prawns for a minute or so until they’re golden and caramelised on one side.

3. Turn the prawns over to fry the other side, and add the mushrooms to the pan. Continue to fry for another minute.

4. Throw in the whisky, toss the prawns and mushrooms and stand back while the alcohol ignites and burns away. Add the stock and the butter. Now stir until the prawns are golden brown and glazed in butteriness.

5. Scatter over the fresh herbs, add salt and pepper, and serve from the pan at the table.

MArco’s magic

The whisky needs to be peaty for this dish to be perfect. Try Laphroaig or something similar.

Marco Pierre White, the “godfather” of modern British cooking, is a restaurateur and TV personality.

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