If I had a backyard this would be number one on my Christmas wish list. Actually, I rephrase; if we were doing Christmas presents, this would sit as tip top of my desires.

Except we’re not. We’ve recently entered into careful negotiations with the clan. For this year, we’re marked as in absentia (we’ll be spending Christmas Day winging our way from New York City down to South Beach, Miami). Being in absentia means no queuing up at the post office for them and none for us. No more shipping more ‘stuff’ across oceans, that at some stage, we might have to figure out how to  get back into Australia.  And as for gifts between me and The Hungry One? There’s a meal or two on the cards  which more than makes up for any lack of things under a tree.

But if I was buying presents for folks like me in London, I’d be going straight to ‘The Cultured Garden’; a pop up stall in Borough Markets, just behind the Brindisa store, where Shellseekers used to be. What they sell are mushroom logs. They’re inspired and absolutely perfect for the gardener/cook who has everything.  Foraging has never been easier. And all the better to go mushrooming without the risk of a Nicholas Sparks style episode.

The mushroom growing logs come from Oak Farm in the Heart of the Waveney Valley on the Norfolk / Suffolk Border. They’re  sustainable oak thinnings  that have been are inoculated with carefully selected Shiitake mushroom strains; before being matured for up to 24 months so they are primed to produce multiple crops of mushrooms.

The idea of plucking a steady stream of safe shiitakes (they provide up to four crops a year, for five years) from my own back yard is just too tempting. Mushrooms on toast for Boxing Day breakfast? Shiitake and long bean stir fry with black beans for dinner?

Can someone go and buy some, please?

Or perhaps it’ll have to just be a gift for ourselves. To which The Hungry One merely raises an eyebrow and says, ‘good luck getting that through Australian customs’.

The man has a point.

www.mushroomlogs.org

Borough Market Christmas Trading days:

Every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from Thurday 29th – Saturday 15th of December;

Open everyday during our extended Christmas opening period from Sunday 16th to Sunday 23rd December.

Best tube stop for Borough Markets: London Bridge and take the Borough High Street exit.