I have a casual, send-a-Christmas-card-but-not-much-more sort of relationship with mushrooms: Mr Flicking the Vs doesn't like them, so I don't cook them for both of us, and I can't usually be bothered to get some in just for myself. Aside from being a huge fan of the shiitake, the rest of the mushroom world I can take or leave.
I thought it was time to remedy that, and picked up a couple of handfuls of girolles at Turnips in Borough Market. Boy, were they not cheap. These little blighters are the the caviar of the vegan world - you better hope a little goes a long way, because if you're on a normal budget, you're not going to be going back for seconds if they don't.
But what to do with these fungi I've never cooked with before? A quick browse through Google's best suggestions and I went for this girolle pilau recipe, with the usual vegan tweaks.
There were also tweaks necessitated by not having a fair whack of the ingredients the recipe called for in my possession: fine black cumin became the common or garden sort, red onion became white, basmati rice soaked for as long as possible became basmati rice not soaked for very long at all, and parsley, dill and majoram magically transmografied into a bit of ratty coriander from the back of my fridge.
This is what the end result came out like:
The girolles were a subtle flavour, a little bit mulchy, lightly meaty and bouncy beneath the tooth.
The recipe was a little bit light on spice and heavy on fat for my palate - yeah, I know, picky, picky - but I happily troughed down a bowlful and wouldn't have minded a second helping either.
Much as I liked the girolle, given the price of a 100g or so, it's not going to be making a regular appearance in my kitchen. Still, there's something pleasantly spendthrift about knowing you're eating £4 of mushrooms in a single plate.