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Lancashire food - Life in the fast lane ... and mushrooms

PUBLISHED: 19:37 14 January 2010 | UPDATED: 15:27 20 February 2013

Philippa's fabulous fungi

Philippa's fabulous fungi

Our high speed cookery visits Smithy Mushrooms in Scarisbrick<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY JOHN COCKS

I'VE been attracting a lot of attention from the boys in blue recently! The owners of Towngate Works, where my business is based, John and Andrew Mawdsley, have started to call me Schumacher, and my car seems to need new tyres more often.

This time last year chef Simon Rimmer and a couple of media guys came up to film me for the UKTV Local Food Heroes (I was in the final six, proudly representing the North West).

It was a fabulous day and we headed off to do some outdoor footage. I led the way, hurtling along country lanes... a tractor flew past, at break-neck speed, at one t-junction, with bits of mud and debris flying off the tyres, eagerly making the most of the Indian summer and the opportunity to gather in late crops or bale the last of the winter feed.

We arrived at the farm, and I went to seek permission to film. On my return the three lads were doubled up, over the bonnet of the car, laughing hysterically! I pressed them, and eventually they confessed. The cameraman, who was driving, had been described as a complete 'wuzz', as he'd not been able to keep up with this crazy, lady driver, along the country lanes! 'That tractor!' said one of the lads. 'Flaming mad!

Do you all drive like that, up here?!' So, as I returned from Smithy Mushrooms, at Scarisbrick, where my senior years were spent at Scarisbrick Hall School (now Kingswood College) it was with a wry smile that I noticed the speed bumps and 10mph signs on the school drive.

My predisposition for 'nippy driving', as the last police officer described it in Chorley recently is, I've realised, firmly rooted in my genetic make-up! My Father had me driving, off-road from the age of 14 in a metallic, purple (very 70s) estate car, but it was my mother who really took the biscuit.

The road past the school is a notoriously 'fast' one and as we would approach, from the road opposite the school drive, at the Halsall end, eager eyes from my brothers, and I, would check left, and right, and shout: 'All clear!' Mum would then 'footto- floor' the accelerator, the aim being to 'hit the ton' at the top of the school drive! I look back, and shudder. Mr. Oxley, the headmaster, would turn in his grave, and my mother would have been instantly expelled if only he'd known!

Philippa meets a fungi

I met the delightful John Dorrian last year and promised to look out some recipes to use his delicious mushrooms.With the damp autumn, fungi are now available in the wild but are much safer to purchase, online, from Smithy Mushrooms in Scarisbrick.

John now has an assortment which beautifully matches my character - his 'Wild and Exotic' mix, which I have used in both recipes. These are available in Booths and other
supermarkets as well as at some farmers' markets.

One of my 'signature' dishes is my Lancashire Tortilla, simple, quick, tasty and which, being delicate in flavour, lends itself to the use of wild mushrooms, which bring anearthiness to the recipe. The biggest mistake people make with mushrooms is not cooking them in a really hot pan! Unless you do this they don't leach out their juices and they become tough and leathery to eat. To me, the texture is an important part of eating a mushroom dish.

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