Today, I'm going to show you my extensive pumpkin-themed collection, starting with this pumpkin and squash salt and pepper shaker set.....

KIDDING!!!! I get it - enough already with the pumpkin and the kitchen paraphernalia !! We're doing mushrooms today. My apologies for the pumpkin scare up there, but it feels good to have your blood actually reach your extemities, doesn't it? ;)

When it comes to things I really love eating,  like mushrooms, my patience goes out the window, along with my recipes. All I'm thinking is "I want to get my hands on those babies!! " The shorter the recipe, the more I want to stick my fork in it! I've given fast and loose measurements here, but it's a very simple and forgiving dish. Adjust the seasonings, vinegar, oil, or anything else, to your heart's content. What we're after is an earthy mushroom topping with a mellowed acidity, hence the balsamic vinegar, and a rough hewn bed of potato cubes with crusty peaks and tender, almost creamy valleys in between. Now,  did that sound like a very badly written porno plot.......or business report? 

It's not the moon, it's not whatever time of month anyone would like to imagine it is, I'm just more hungry than I should be, right now. Use whatever mushrooms you like or can find, but try to include some assertively flavoured ones like cremini, girolles, even shiitake; I like my mushrooms, the way I like my man.....tall and earthy. Oh, my, maybe it IS a bit more than just hunger! Seriously, the only advice I'd give is avoid the lily white button mushrooms Campbell's and Pizza Hut seem to love so much. We want flava here, and those pristine pretties just don't deliver.

Fresh chopped parsley, I consider a must, for a clean, green freshness to cut through the richness of the potatoes and the slightly unctuous (but deliciously so) topping. Cut the potatoes small, so they cook faster and there's more surface area to crisp up. Imagine all those sharp, salt crusted nooks and crannies, melting under the thick and tangy mushroomy topping. Oh sweet Lord, stop my knees from buckling. Serve to intended victim...oops! Sorry, vegan...with a very large side of pinot noir and Marvin Gaye. Enough yapping, let's get it on.......

Roasted Potatoes with Mushroom Vinaigrette

Prep 20 mins     Cook 45 mins     Serves  3 - 4


8 small to medium white (floury) potatoes, peel and cut into large dice
4 Tbsp olive or light vegetable oil
2 pinches sea salt
As much freshly ground black pepper as you like
A really fat pinch dried rosemary (it's all I got right now, though I wanted fresh thyme), crumbled between your fingers
2 fat cloves garlic, peel and mince


4 Tbsp light vegetable oil
1 large onion, peel and chop
A sprig or two of fresh thyme (if you have it) run the leaves off the stems and discard stems
500 g (1 lb) mixed mushrooms of your choice, rinse lightly, drain thoroughly and slice
3 or 4 good slugs of balsamic vinegar (or to taste)
Salt to taste
A pinch sugar
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Chopped fresh parsley to garnish

Preheat oven at 230 C (450 F). Combine the potatoes, oil, salt, pepper, rosemary  and garlic and toss well. Transfer mixture to an ovenproof baking dish and roast for 20 minutes. Turn heat down to 180 C (350 F) and continue to roast another 20 minutes or until potatoes are golden and easily pierced with the tip of a sharp knife. Don't overbake or potatoes will be chewy. 

While potatoes roast, heat the oil in a pan and when moderately hot, add the onion and thyme leaves and cook until onions are limp and beginning to brown.  Add in mushrooms and cook, stirring often, until they darken and most of their juices have reduced.

Add the balsamic vinegar, salt, sugar and pepper to taste. Stir a few times then turn off heat.

Plate the potatoes and top with the mushrooms. Garnish with parsley and serve immediately.