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Further fungi foraging at SLBI

Monday nights will never be the same again! Since the introduction of the SLBI talks, lead by the local experts. This week was the final session in the season and we held a quiz ‘Guess the fungi’ which was more of an invitation to discover more about the world of fungi through researching in the manly books and asking pertinent questions. Much like a game of ‘Guess Who’ from the 1980’s, except instead of asking questions surrounding features “does your person have a moustache/wear glasses” it’s a question of defining fungus features! Identification through key features: the spire colour (from spore prints/gills), Gill formation, The Cap colour and texture or design, the feel to touch, size: height, cap width and diameter, Stipe (stem) length, base size and The area /favoured location; where it grows.
hence 3.5 hrs later I’d identified approx 10 mushrooms and as a group, we’d identified approx 25 species. A foraging walk is planned in mid December.

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Mushroom heaven; group fungi identification at the South London botanical institute

the SLBI is a lovely old converted house in Tulse Hill, with an astonishing botanical back garden. Over the past month, a seasonal Mushroom identification activity has takes place, whereby you take a mushroom collection to be identified by an expert in the field. Fabrice and Mario presented the night. On the promise of observing other’s fungi, I attended with photos to identify from another’s recent discovery in Downham. Hence I arrived with images and my favourite books on the subject including my inherited Geoff Kibby’s original which is over 30 years old.

As I entered the room An amazing variety of very brightly coloured fungi covered the table on display in groups: A whole forest of wax caps! All have these distinguishing features: waxy caps (!) plus are slimy/clammy or cool to the touch. A Snowy wax cap is edible but looks similar to the common poisonous death angel. A Parrot wax cap displays a flash of blue upon stem. A Meadow wax cap is edible and is found by streatham common near the house at top. A Crimson wax cap has yellow gills and is edible.

A Clitocybe (sloping head) has purple gills and white spores. it’s found around trees and is related to Lepista the Field blewit.

My images depicted Infundibulicybe geotropa the Monks head mushroom.

Back last summer we found a Ganoderma bracket fungi at buddhafield camp in Dorset which has a cocoa like dusting of spores.

A Russular has deep pink tops with delicate white gills. 

Web caps with open gills are with little web bits instead of a ring.

We were an interesting group; a mix of enthusiastic gardeners and an environmental journalist. We discussed food security issues and new insights into land use and ownership. Beyond id Fabrice discussed how Peat bogs which are naturally wet had been affected by drainage for grouse hunting and is bad for carbon emissions. Sheep rearing on Yorkshire land which holds water like sponges. Now this land is being drained and over grazed by sheep which has meant flooding in other areas; As a direct result from sheep over grazing. Plus Peat land burning.evolution now!

Revolution now!

The Best Method to Use-for collecting fungi? a good French mushroom knife to cut mushrooms or even a pound shop version on a string!

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One World Choir London Christmas Concert

What will you be doing on the evening of Thursday 12th December?! If the answer is trying to avoid the election results for 5 minutes, then you’ll love to attend One World Choir’s Christmas Concert at the Baptist Church, in Kings Cross. A compilation of traditional Christmas songs plus a beautiful blend of chants from around the globe eg. African traditional songs celebrating mother Earth, sacred landscapes with a feminine touch.

With over 50 singers of all ages, performing acapella with Choir leader Helen Yeoman whose mixed choirs recently performed at locations across London during the Extinction Rebellion events in October. I learnt about the performance at an X R event in Trafalgar Square one night and went along to the next rehearsal.

An evening packed full of joyful and uplifting songs; what could the world need other than unity?! Tickets from £5.00-£8.00 and

The One World Choir is accepting new members from the New Year 2020.

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Winter warmers: seasonal recipes. Take 1 …

…Butternut squash… and produce 3 main meals

Before the leaves truly began to fall I was treating a patient for fibromyalgia. In response, she kindly invited me to visit her allotment and I found myself the proud recipient of a range of fresh organic produce: home grown watercress to garnish, apples – pickled, pulped and whole for breakfast plus a huge butternut squash, which I had a job to carry back home. I collected Amaranth seeds and picked a few apples from the tree. She had also saved me A year old bottle of fresh, sparkling apple juice.

Thus begins the task of creating as many new and interesting meals as possible with these ingredients. Utilising left over vegetables, fruit and foraged herbs and seeds, I have begun to weave magic at my mealtimes.

Here are 3 ways with these ingredients. All washed down with a natural, appletize!

  1. Spinach, Mushroom and squash Tarte. My first gluten free (pre made) puff pastry tarte! Made with a wild pesto dressing. Good served with fresh bean tips and slices of avocado.

2. Squash and watercress risotto

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3. Squash & Winter veg soup
To pre cooked potatoes and parsnips, I added chunks of squash, nigella seeds, broccoli and coconut oil into a blender with enough hot water and a lemon and ginger tea to form a creamy smooth consistency when blended. Then warmed gently for 10 mins whilst I made an avocado on rye toast. Finally, adding seasoning and pumpkin seeds for garnish. Minimal cooking of squash retains its juicy form.

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Vegan Organic Network at the largest meat-free show in Europe: VegFestUK

A couple of years ago, I received a very positive response to my first Kitchen Buddy at VegFest UK Raw Nutrition for Health talk, which I delivered to an audience of over 100 at Olympia Grand Hall, London. One of the highlights of last weekend (infact 26th October) was visiting the show again as a volunteer on behalf of the Vegan Organic Network.

On our Veganic Gardening stall we discuss ‘stock-free’ (non animal fertiliser eg. horse manure) and Permaculture gardening techniques, provide visitors with educational materials for seasonal recipes to read and purchase, welcome new subscribers to the Growing Green membership and an opportunity to attend an enjoyable seminar series with experienced VON presenters including Jon Dale and Tony Martin.

VON supports new first time gardeners and growers and on the day ran a competition for an eco pod – a new design portable raised vegetable bed, which resembles a small moveable polytunnel, on legs (with wheels).

Situated up on the third floor, our space was a calm oasis amongst the hubbub of the other fast food areas. For more details on Veganic Growing and gardening in a sustainable fashion contact VON