British Isles Food and Drink

The Wilderness Cookbook: rosemary & garlic mushrooms

Forage your fungi and whip up this extra-special woodland camping dinner.

For many, the foreboding nature of clusters of trees is scary. Enter a woodland and the temperature drops – causing you to shiver (although, in summer, this may count as welcome shade). Sit still for just a minute and you will, undoubtedly, hear the movement of some invisible creature in the undergrowth (for wildlife lovers this is part of the thrill). Lose your way, and the lack of distinguishable landmarks can cause you to become disorientated very, very quickly (though, for adventurers, this is how you learn to navigate).

Woodland The Wilderness Cookbook Phoebe Smith
Woodlands offer a huge array of foraging opportunities, especially when autumn comes and fungi fruit © Phoebe Smith

As for wild cooking, I find woodland to be one of the most inspiring landscapes in which to prepare a meal. Not only do forests offer handy ‘shelves’ on tree stumps and natural hooks (branches) from which to dangle bags, they also offer a huge array of foraging opportunities, especially when autumn comes and fungi fruit. Woodlands are always giving, never asking.

What to eat: rosemary & garlic mushrooms

Rosemary and garlic mushrooms camping recipe The Wilderness Cookbook by Liz Seabrook
Whether foraging for your own fungi or picking some up in the shops en route, this quick dish will leave you without much-room for seconds! © Liz Seabrook

Splash of olive oil
1 small shallot, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
Sprig of fresh rosemary
5 Portobello mushrooms or a selection of foraged mushrooms 
Splash of red wine

Here’s the plan …
1. If possible, cook over a wood-fuelled Kelly Kettle to enhance the smoky flavour.
2. Turn on the camping stove and heat the olive oil in a frying pan until it bubbles then add the shallot, garlic and rosemary and stir continuously until softened.
3. Add the mushrooms and stir to coat with the oil.
4. Sizzle for a couple of minutes, then add the wine, reduce the heat and cook for a further 3 minutes. Serve.

Where to eat it: Ennerdale Forest

Ennerdale Forest Lake District UK Wilderness Cookbook by Neil Turner Flickr
Exploration is actively encouraged in Ennerdale, making it the perfect spot for some wild cooking © Neil Turner, Flickr

If ever there was a poster child for ‘rewilding’ then the Lake District’s Ennerdale is undoubtedly it. Once uniformly controlled by man, since a joint initiative was started by the landowners ten years ago, the whole woodland has been allowed to break free of its linear shackles, growing higgledy-piggledy, while the River Liza that cuts through Ennerdale has been permitted to change its course.

Rangers here encourage exploration, making it the ideal place to pack your hammock, stove and food – and then get creative in both culinary hiking and aspirations.

More information

Discover more of Phoebe’s favourite camping recipes in The Wilderness Cookbook

The Wilderness Cookbook: berry blast pancakes

The Wilderness Cookbook: sausage and egg boats

The Wilderness Cookbook: tomato and halloumi kebabs

The Wilderness Cookbook: Quorn cowboy chilli