Portobellos, my fungi choice for Big Baked Mushrooms

Portobellos, my fungi choice for Big Baked Mushrooms

A talented, rather shy, German food blogger named Andrea Mohr, aka The Kitchen Lioness, is inspiring an international array of cooks (including this Iowa-born-and-bred woman) to veg-ify their palates. Every month she tosses ten recipes from Hugh Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg on the table and says, make your picks. At the end of that month, we post about our choices on a link, The Cottage Cooking Club. Oh, forgot to mention, she cooks all ten.

Dot these big guys with butter,  garlic and  S&P before cooking them in a 375 degrees oven for 15 minutes,

Dot these big guys with butter, garlic and S&P before cooking them in a 375 degrees oven for 15 minutes,

Of the many food bloggers I admire and aspire to becoming, Andrea rises to the top. Although I’ve never possessed an Envy chromosome, there is much to learn from The Lioness. She not only serves delicious and beautifully plated food to her family of six, but her food staging and photographs are exquisite. After reading her posted results (all ten) and then glancing back at mine (my two, maybe three choices), I’m already thinking, “How did she pull that off?” “Why didn’t I think of that?” and “Back to the cutting board, Mary.”

Then, again, what does Envy feel like?

If you wish to add cheese to the baked mushrooms, just sprinkle on  grated cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

If you wish to add cheese to the baked mushrooms, just sprinkle on grated cheese and return to the oven for another 5 minutes.

Today’s Post is more photo album than commentary. You can make Whittingstall’s recipes primarily from these pictures and my short explanations. While I do love cooking from Yotam Ottolenghi’s and Deborah Madison’s vegetarian cookbooks, their recipes are often involved, complicated and require prep, prep, prep. With Whittingstall, you receive get-those-veggies-on-the-table fare.

Obviously, I liked.

Obviously, I liked.

You’ll like my choices this month: Big Baked Mushrooms, Artichoke & White Bean Dip and Curried Bubble & Squeak (Heck, I first thought Bubble & Squeak was a dance.). Bonus Time: Hugh showed me the path to poached eggs perfection. I share.

I added the leftover Portobello to last week-end's pizza.

I added the leftover Portobello to last week-end’s pizza.

I used Portobello mushrooms for my BIG BAKED MUSHROOMS entrée although any sized fungi will work. As the saying goes, choose your poison. Oops, perhaps not a good word choice when speaking about mushrooms. This is delicious without the added cheese but scrumptious with it. Your calorie preference. Since I wasn’t serving to guests, I left some stem intact.

I prefer a coarse purée but it's the cook's choice.

I prefer a coarse purée but it’s the cook’s choice.

ARTICHOKE & WHITE BEAN DIP, Hugh explains is ‘a rich, creamy savory dip, wonderful with crudities, dolloped onto warm flat bread and works well served on crisp lettuce as a salad.’ To me this is what you hurriedly make when hummus or store-bought dips aren’t nearby. Serve warm or cold with roasted walnuts scattered on top.


Grab a jar of marinated artichoke hearts and a can of cannellini beans. Drain and coarsely chop the hearts. Drain and rinse the beans. Sauté an onion and garlic in olive oil before adding them and oregano to the pan. Pour these heated ingredients into a processor with lemon juice, chili flakes and enough yogurt for a chunky puree. Do your salt/pepper jig before adding that leftover artichoke marinated oil for any needed texture.

Curried Bubble and Squeak, adding spice to this English classic

Curried Bubble and Squeak, adding spice to this English classic

BUBBLE & SQUEAK is a classic English dish first created in 1806 by thrift conscious Maria Rundell. It’s perfect for leftover cooked veggies and potatoes and was extremely popular in World War II during rationing and food scarcity. To me, it’s a frittata cloaked in a quirky name. During the cooking process this recipe is supposed to make bubbling and squeaking sounds. Thus the name. Not a peep out of mine.

Whittingstall holds the eggs but later adds a poached topping. He throws a healthy dollop of curry powder into the sautéed onion and garlic before adding the cooked potatoes and leftover vegetables which have now been shredded. After seasoning to taste and, if desired, add a poached egg.

Take a few minutes to admire my poached egg.

Take a few minutes to admire my poached egg.

Now, Readers, in your Life have you ever seen such a perfectly poached egg? Modestly speaking, that’s an Alice-Waters-eat-your-heart-out poached egg. Here’s the tip. Carefully break an egg into a small bowl. Bring 2” of water to a rolling boil. At that point ‘stir it fast in one direction with a wooden spoon to create a vortex or whirlpool on the center.’ I admit hearing bubbling and squeaking during this process. But, I digress. When you see a distinct vortex, pull the spoon out and slide the egg into the center. Turn off the heat, lid the pan, and leave for exactly 2 1/2 minutes. Then, using a slotted spoon, carefully scoop up the egg, drain any excess drips and serve.


Hugh’s a genius. Buy his books.

The Cottage Cooking Club is an international group of food bloggers cooking its way through Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Veg, 200 inspired vegetable recipes. To see what Andrea and my colleagues made this week, go to this Link and this Link.


  1. says

    Fascinating. I am planning on making the bubble and squeak tonight. I was just going to fry eggs, but after reading this I will try Hugh’s poached egg method too. I do love a good poached egg. I agree, it’s hard not to be envious of Andrea. I am very impressed by your photography this month–I love the first shot.

    • Mary says

      Laughing about your trying the poached egg vortex tonight. A compliment to Hugh and me. I am looking forward to knowing what you chose to make this month.

  2. says

    Love your story Mary, and the photo spectacular. The dish selections this month were fantastic and I also enjoyed going back on last months dishes as well. As for the envy, I was born envy-less, and to think I’ve secretly spent my life thinking there must be something seriously wrong with me! Ha! So happy to learn there are others out there. Andrea is certainly the best pick considering she is really, really, amazing. I still think she lives in a castle with all those props though.

  3. Mary says

    Let’s go with that, Peggy. The castle, thing, I mean. Everyone is making me laugh with their comments and personal e-mails regarding my Post this week. And, I always thought I was the funny one. Looking forward to reading about your choices this afternoon. It’s wonderful being a part of this group.

  4. says

    I have never in my Life ever seen such a perfectly poached egg, especially not out of my kitchen! That dish is worth making just for learning the technique behind that egg. Beautiful food and great post as always.

  5. TheKitchenLioness says

    So, dear Mary, you think I am shy…whatever makes you think so – maybe the fact that there is (almost) no personal picture of me on my blog or on my fb page. Well, I managed to hide them well – no “hint” that the person “in the background is me” (but I am there) …poor Thomas always “scolds me” for not letting anyone take pictures of me and post them…And this month I managed only seven out of ten because (believe it or not) I was so under the weather, I did not feel like cooking. I could not believe it myself – now I am all better and I even managed to visit the amazing Living Kitchen in Cologne on Sunday – I so wish you could have come with me!!! You would have loved the live cooking shows and the “German engineered kitchens”, talk about a serious case of envy on my part there – I was asked by so many pros about my kitchen…goodness, I am just glad they did not follow me home (or to my castle).
    I am seriously digressing as well…your food looks amazing – the bubble & squeak did not squeak either in my pot and I am admiring your undeniable poaching skills, dear friend! We loved the mushrooms (although mine were much smaller and I had no energy to get really big ones).
    Thank you so much for participating again this month!
    Sending you the biggest hug from the little imp smiling at me!
    Liebe Grüsse,
    Andrea & Co.

  6. says

    Oh Mary, you’ve done a wonderful job of this month’s dishes yourself – no need for envy! I think we all admire Andrea and aspire to present our dishes as beautifully as she does someday. I really appreciate the ease of these recipes, too, especially since so many of them turn out as elegantly as ones that require a lot of preparation.

  7. says

    I think Andrea is fabulous! I’m not sure I ever thought of her as shy though. Brilliant is more like it. I like your choices. Now what about that salt and pepper jig? Is that the dance you thought was called bubble and squeak? Yours in the most colorful bubbles and squeak I’ve seen. Makes me want to make it now. I love this book!

  8. says

    Your choices look fabulous, Mary, as does that mushroom! And what an egg! I had no clue either as to what bubble and squeak was – I was thinking it was a drink made with tapioca beads – not sure why I thought this. Mine did not make a sound either. Maybe it does when made the traditional way, in a large pancake shape.

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