Meredith has been out with with our neighbour Alice, in search of a beehive that Alice had promised to lend her.
As they come into the kitchen, Meredith says “Look , Robin, Alice has brought you something really special”.
Alice then comes into the kitchen clutching a paper bag. She handles it with such care that I’m convinced there’s a puppy dog inside it.
Thoughts tumble round my head:
We have seven cats inside and out;
Where will we keep it? Do I want a dog after all these years of doglessness!
Alice carefully puts the paperbag in my arms and I quickly realise it’s not a dog.
It is some wonderfully strange shaped mushrooms.
They look like dirty sponges on small white feet.
Alice says reverentially–“Ils sont des morilles”
“Ah oui?–Merci beaucoup Alice, c’est trés gentille.”
“Where did you find them” I ask her (in French).
“C’est un secret,” she replies, with a broad grin on her face.
She then tells me how she cooks them:
Sauté very gently in butter with chopped onions perhaps, then fold in some creme fraiche.
I ask about garlic.
“No garlic”–then, after a moment’s thought, she says you could add a little with some parsley in a persillade.
Morels along with cepes are the most sought after mushrooms she tells us, and are usually the first of the season.
Then she says, rather surprisingly, that they don’t have a lot of taste–which accounts for the butter, cream and onions I suppose.
Anyway, it is a great honour to be given something so prized and we will have them tonight, on a piece of rye toast.