Friday, November 9, 2012

Stuffed mushrooms (pity they shrink so much!), Taste magazine, and a story about quail eggs and great service

When I started these mushrooms were three times this size (I used the 'breakfast' Portobello type) but never mind, the flavour was all there and this is a great way to cook them!

Clean the mushrooms and remove the stalks (set them aside) and top skin if you can (discard). Place the mushrooms on a baking tray lined with baking paper, cap side down, sprinkle with salt and a drop of olive oil and bake on medium for 15 minutes. Turn and bake for other 10 minutes. In the meantime clean the stalk, chop the very end bits off and discard, and them chop the rest with a couple of garlic cloves and plenty of Italian Parsley leaves. Add one egg to the mixture (vegans can omit egg and add a little more oil instead), a pinch of salt, a tbsp of olive oil and enough breadcrumbs to get a malleable consistency, like for croquettes. Remove the mushrooms form the oven and stuff with this mixture pressing down well at the top. Place back into the oven and bake until the tops look golden and crunchy. Serve hot, as a main with salad on the side, or warm as appetizers/finger food at a party.

On the magazine front, this month you can find my work in Taste, one of the longest spreads I have done recently in fact (11 pages, usually I do 5 or 6), and this time there were 6 models, all children. Here are a couple of photos on set, in the studio of photographer Toaki Okano.

Yes it all looks glorious, but the reality behind a photo shoot is that it requires a huge amount of work and planning, even for the simplest recipes. When I go on set I load my car with what seems to be half of my kitchen, and as we start early I need to do all my shopping and propping the day(s) before. And here I need to tell you a story. I needed some quail eggs, not something that you find often in my area, I have a friend with quails but she lives far away, and farmers market are on the weekend (the photo shoot was on a Friday) but I know that I can always find them in this supermarket, so I drove there, even if it is half an hour from my house. I got the quail eggs and a few more things that I needed for the photo shoot and I went home to do some cooking, starting with boiling of the eggs that I had to dye overnight in beetroot juice. But NOOOO! I could not believe it, the eggs were not in the bags. I called the supermarket (I was a bit stressed by then) and said that my quail eggs were missing, and guess what? The manager said "Don't worry Madam, someone will bring them to you immediately". I told him that I lived 30 minutes away and he told me that in that case someone would bring them to me in 30 minutes. If it hadn't been for the fact that I needed them for work I would have just said that I was going to get them next time I was in town, but in that moment I felt really grateful for a supermarket with such a great costumer service. And here is the feature.

Photos and Recipes by Alessandra Zecchini ©


  1. Delle piccole delizie e sono rimasta affascinata di tutto il processo e i passaggi che stanno dietro ad un servizio fotografico!! Grazie! Un bacione e dolce notte!!

  2. I made a mixture of cream cheese, herbs and the mushroom stalks for the toppings in a simiar recipe. Try it!

  3. I was delighted to you see your feature in my edition of Taste Mag :)

    Very cute topic and subject. Reminds me of the easy recipes I make with the hubby!

  4. mi piace scoprire queste cose, il racconto sul servizio fotografico è molto interessante se avrai voglia di raccontarne uno per intero un giorno...

    I funghi: mia nonna mi insegnò a cuocerli nel forno direttamente con l'impasto del ripieno, altrimenti si asciugano troppo e si restringono, invece lasciando il ripieno ew cuocendo tutto insieme mantengono un giusto grado di umidità e restano belli cicciotti ;)

  5. Mi sa che tua nonna ha ragione, ma questi strani funghi coltivati sanno di poco e non cuociono mai, in più buttano fuori litri di brutta acqua nera amara, ecco perchè li devo girare a metà cottura, e se ci metto il ripieno subiti diventa nero e amaro. Mi mancano i funghi veri e di bosco!!

    Per il servizio, sarebbe bello fare più foto, ma di solito sono talmente stressata e continuo a correre da un posto all'altro, cucina, metti a posto, controlla le foto, rimetti a posto, controlla le foto, ritocca, controlla... quando poi ci sono dei modelli diventa tre volte più impegnativo. Ma mi piace :-).

  6. Well done with the shoot-I can only imagine how much work went into that! :o

  7. Ma fai un lavoro meraviglioso !! D'altronde tu devi essere proprio meravigliosa.
    Intanto sogno e mi faccio ispirare da questa foto ..
    Grazie Alessandra.

  8. love these mushrooms Alessandra look reaally delicious!
    Nice pictures , congrats and yes I think is a lot of work!!

  9. Stuffed mushrooms are a regular in our house whatever their size. Looks like a great spread in Taste. Hope now you've seen the result it was worth all the effort you clearly put in.



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