( CNN) What do you think of when you hear the word fungu? Mushrooms? Athlete’s foot? General mold?
( CNN) What do you think of when you hear the word fungu? Mushrooms? Athlete’s foot? General mold?
I have a confession to induce: Meat attains me feel various kinds of queasy. As a longtime vegetarian, it’s been years since a single bit of rare steak passed my lips.
But, while trading in chicken for tofu never caused me any distress, the issue I continue to struggle with is where to draw the line. Do I stop buying eggs? Do I quit my soft leather purse, cold turkey?
A brand called MycoWorks believes it’s solved that last question, at least. The brand blends the knowledge of researchers with the know-how of decorators, creating a biodegradable, carbon-negative leather replace that will make even the most granola-happy vegan pleased: A faux leather made from mushrooms.
Well, various kinds of. The leather-like material is actually grown from mycelium, the structure that stimulates up the exterior of fungi like mushrooms. Shittake leather, I’d call it( that’s definitely not the exact word, it’s merely catchy ). Have you ever accidentally bitten into the stem of a shittake mushroom? You might as well be gnawing on the arm of your parents’ leather couch.
By growing mycelia in a lab, the team hopes to create a far more sustainable version of leather for furniture, pursesand coats one that won’t slowly destroy our environment.
According to Popular Science, one unbelievably sci-fi aspect of the process is that scientists can actually grow mycelia around other things. They’ll add zippers, for example, while the filaments are still growing. Unlike the labor intensive process of raising a cow, butchering it, tanning the hide and painstakingly crafting a Coach bag, MycoWorks’ solution is relatively simple( not to mention painless, for everybody involved ).
Once the mycelium is ready, the team can stamp it with patterns to devote it unique texture that mimics the scalp of animals like crocodiles and snakes. Nobody wants to feel like they’re only carrying an oversize mushroom around town.
Ready to buy? While’ shroom leather isn’t on the market yet, Popular Science reports the brand was attempting investors as recently as July. MycoWorks considers mycelium as the future, from the bricks we use to build homes, to the coats we wear.
Oyster mushrooms, the consumer favourite that loves the light
Despite their success with some customers, Kirstie Jamieson from Beetaloo Gourmet Mushrooms said she often had to describe them to buyers unfamiliar with them but keen to try an exotic new product nonetheless. "A lot of people are unfamiliar with …
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Theres a very good reason our ancestors cooked meat and grain in the same pot: the combining is comforting, filling and mouth-watering
The combination of meat and grain is an ancient tradition. Such one-pot wonders have been simmering away for centuries , not least for reasons of necessity and efficiency: necessity in that the addition of a starch is a way to attain meat stretch further; efficiency in that, by cooking everything in a single pot, very little goes to waste.
These days, we no longer consider a whole joint of meat as an extravagance, and we cook for reasons other than necessity but theres still a place for this old-fashioned route of cooking. I take a pleasure in the prudence of the one-pot dish( no waste, very little rinsing up) and the simplicity of feeding many mouths with relatively little meat. But, more than anything, Im drawn to the tradition for reasons of flavor, robustness and convenience, particularly at this time of year. The long, slow cook of a one-pot dish allows for an exchange of flavours between the stock, meat and grains that is second to none. The tender, giving meat offer all the convenience you could ask for, while the grain provides the robustness this is necessary when the weather turns cold. Which is as good a reason as any to keep cooking this route for many more years to come.
The rice brings more comfort than bite to this dish, but then consolation is what you want from a hearty stew that can go straight from the cooker to the table. Serves four.
90 ml olive oil
200 g shallots, peeled and halved
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
4 lamb shanks
1 big carrot, peeled and cut into 2cm pieces
2 large celery sticks, trimmed and cut into 2cm pieces
5 bay leaves
3 small cinnamon sticks
The peel of 1 lemon, plus 60 ml juice
1 litre chicken stock
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried mint
300 g basmati rice
10 g mint leaves, approximately chopped
10 g tarragon leaves, approximately chopped
200 g Greek yoghurt( optional )
Heat three tablespoons of petroleum in a large casserole on a medium-high flame. Fry the shallots for three to four minutes, stirring regularly, until well browned, then remove from the pan and set aside( theyll be cooked more later on, with the rice ). Keep the pan on the heat.
Season the shanks with a teaspoon and a half of salt and a teaspoon of pepper in total, then brown in the hot fat for six to eight minutes, turning regularly, until coloured all over. Add the carrot, celery, bay leaves, cinnamon, lemon peel and stock the shanks should be almost submerged in the liquid. Cover and leave to simmer on a low hot for an hour and 45 minutes, turning the shanks once or twice, until the meat is tender and starting to fall off the bone. Lift out the shanks and set aside with the shallots. Strain the stock and put aside. Discard all the aromatics except the cinnamon.
Heat the oven to 170 C/ 335 F/ gas mark 3. Wipe clean the casserole and return it to a medium heat with the remaining two tablespoons of petroleum. Fry the ground cumin for a couple of seconds, then add the dried mint, rice and three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt. Stir to coat the rice in petroleum, then pour on 670 ml of the strained cook liquor. Return the shanks to the pot( stand them up in the rice, if you can ), add the reserved cinnamon and fried shallots, cover and cook for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the egg and lemon juice in a small bowl. Pour 60 ml of the remaining stock into a small saucepan( refrigerate or freeze the remainder; you should have about 300 ml left over ). Bring to a boil, then slowly whisk the hot stock into the egg and lemon mix.
Remove the lamb pot from the oven, pour the egg mixture evenly over the meat and rice, sprinkle over half the herbs and take to the table. Serve from the pot, adding the remaining herbs as each portion is plated. I like to eat this with a big dollop of Greek yoghurt.
Despite featuring Asian ingredients, this savor like a familiar north European beef stew with a very subtle twist. Inspired by Koreatown: A Cookbook, by Deuki Hong and Matt Rodbard( 25; Random House ), its best served with sauerkraut or kimchi. Ideally, employ pot barley with its hull intact( unlike pearled barley, which is hulled and therefore more tender ): it has an inherent nuttiness and bite that entails it holds its own in rich dishes. Serves four, generously.
100 ml soy sauce
60 ml mirin
60 ml sake
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
200 g daikon radish, peeled and approximately chopped( or normal radishes, trimmed but unpeeled )
2 nashi pears( or any other ripe pear ), peeled, cored and roughly chopped( 280 g net weight )
4 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
500 ml beef stock
1.3 kg beef short ribs, cut between the bones into separate ribs
1 tbsp groundnut oil
2 big carrots, peeled and cut into 2cm dice
2 big waxy potatoes( desiree or charlotte, say ), peeled and chopped into 3cm dice
2 onions, peeled and quartered
8 dried shiitake mushrooms, quartered
100 g pot barley( or pearled barley )
Heat the oven to 150 C/ 300 F/ gas mark 2. Set the soy, mirin and sake in a blender, add a teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper, the daikon, pears, garlic and as much stock as the machine will take, then blitz smooth. Tip into a bowl, stir in the remaining stock and set aside.
Mix the rib in a large bowl with the oil, three-quarters of a teaspoon of salt and plenty of pepper. Put a 28 cm oven-safe cast-iron pot for which you have a lid on a high heat, then fry the rib, in batches if need be, for two to three minutes on both sides, until browned. Remove the pan from the heat and discard any oil. Scatter the carrots, potatoes, onions and dried shiitake around the ribs, pour in the stock mixture and bring to a simmer. Cover, carefully transfer to the oven and cook for 90 minutes.
Skim any fat off the surface, then gently stir in the barley, cover again and cook for another 90 minutes, until the barley is cooked, the sauce is thick and the meat literally falls off the bone. Serve piping hot.
How research into bioluminescent fungi could lead to trees replacing street lighting
On a moonless night deep in a Brazilian rainforest the only thing you are likely to see are the tiny smears of illumination from flitting fireflies or the ghostly light of mushrooms scattered around the forest floor. Both effects are the result of bioluminescence, the peculiar ability of some organisms to behave like living night-lights.
Bioluminescence has been invented dozens of hours in evolutionary history and serves a variety of purposes, from attracting mates and enticing prey to warding off predators. Its existence in fungi a rare if not unique case of bioluminescence outside the animal and microbial worlds has posed more of a mystery. But scientists may now be able to explain not only why certain mushrooms glow in the dark, but how and in doing so they could be nearer to making glowing trees as a novel sort of street lighting.
Aristotle in 382 BC and the Roman scholar Pliny the Elder writing three centuries subsequently both observed the effect of fungal bioluminescence when they described the glowing illumination of the cold fire of damp wood. The ghostly glow afterward became known as foxfire, probably from the Old French word fois meaning false, and the phenomenon appeared in many works of literature, including The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn when Tom Sawyer used it to light up a tunnel.
Naturalists in the early 19 th century identified fungal growth as the source of the light from wooden support rays used to shore up ours. Many fungis and mushrooms are now known to glow in the dark, and explanations for why they do it scope from it being a useless by-product of metabolism to a sophisticated anti-predator adaptation.
But the best rationale seems to be that the night-light attracts insects and other animals to the fruiting bodies of fungi, who then spread the spores far and wide. Cassius Stevani at the So Paulo University in Brazil and colleagues showed this by scattering plastic mushrooms on the forest floor fitted with green LED lights that matched the eerie bioluminescence of Neonothopanus gardneri , a splendid mushroom that grows at the base of palm trees. He discovered the sun attracted the kind of insects and other beings that would be good at spreading spores. They also depicted the bioluminescence only occurred at night ruling out the useless by-product theory. Results indicate that the bioluminescence can attract animals to scatter spores. This additional dispersal mechanism might confer to this fungus some advantage, especially in dense forest, Stevani says.
The exact technique of how mushrooms can generate a spooky glow remained a mystery, in contrast to the elucidation of the light-emitting pigments used by the many other forms of life that can make bioluminescence.
But now a squad led by Ilia Yampolsky of the Institute of Bio-organic Chemistry in Moscow has finally teased apart the chemical structure of the fungal protein used to generate the ghostly glow of foxfire. They did it by the counterintuitive approach of looking for it in mushrooms that did not glow in the dark because it was here they believed the precursors of the bioluminescence substance, known as luciferin, might be more easily received and they were right.
The mechanism of fungal bioluminescence suggests the formation of luciferin from a certain precursor, Yampolsky tells. It is determined that the luciferin precursor is also present in non-luminous forest fungu, and more importantly it is about 100 times more abundant than in the biomass of luminous species. Therefore, it made sense to extract the precursor from non-luminous fungi.
The term luciferin was first identified in the late 19 th century by French chemist Raphal Dubois, working on click beetles and bivalve molluscs. He gave the name luciferin to the substance that is likely to be oxidised in air, with the help of the enzyme luciferase, to emit a greenish-bluish light.
But Yampolsky and his colleagues found that the bioluminescent fungi use a type of luciferin quite different from the eight other classes of molecule already chemically described in the animal and microbial worlds. He and his team effectively detected the ninth luciferin, and the first to be found in the fungal-plant realm of life.
Fungal luciferin is chemically unrelated to other known luciferins, therefore it represents a totally different mechanism of light emission. “Its important” from the points of view of photochemistry, biochemistry and evolution. Moreover, it gives it is possible to search for an unknown fungal luciferase, Yampolsky says. Unlike the other luciferins, fungal luciferin comply fully with plant biochemistry, and I hope that this will eventually allow the process of developing an autonomously luminescent plant, one that would not require the external addition of luciferin, but would be able to biosynthesise it by itself, he says.
This would be a key breakthrough in, for example, designing a genetically modified tree that could glow in the dark and act as a sustainable source of street lighting. The idea is not as crazy as it may seem. The Glowing Plant Project, the first crowdfunding campaign for a synthetic biology application, is supported by the Harvard geneticist George Church, who once said that even a weakly glowing flower would be a great icon.
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Its always nice when a celebrity shows that theyre capable of doing something for others, and Jon Hamm did just that and then some this past weekend. When a whale washed up on a Malibu beach Sunday afternoon, the Mad Men star presented up and made crepes for the struggling being.
According to eyewitness reports , no one knew what to do after the once-majestic ocean dweller emerged on the beach, but before those present could come to a consensus, Hamm appeared and began heating up a crepe pan on the spot. Sure, the crashing waves made it difficult for the pan to retain hot, but the Golden Globe winner selflessly utilized his body to deflect as much of the cold water as he could. And even as his eyes grew red and irritated from the saltwater, he kept a clear focus on the task at hand!
Hamms compassion and determination were matched merely by his preparedness, as he laid out a selection of crepe ingredients both sweet and savory, from freshly grown peppers and mushrooms to the juiciest strawberries you could imagine. Sources say that despite a lack of formal culinary train, Hamm made a nearly perfect strawberry and Nutella crepe. But knowing that a whales stomach is significantly larger than that of a human, Hamm realized that one wasnt enough, and he spent the next five hours churning out delicious crepes for this animal in need.
When the sunshine finally began to set, Hamm meticulously and safely packed up his cooking station and disposed of his garbage in the proper receptacles. And as a squad of scientists who had gathered to help push the whale back into the ocean began their task, they thanked Hamm for what he had done.
But Hamm, eternally humble, refused to take any credit. Though that doesnt change the fact that he is, without a doubt, the kindest human alive!
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Lightened Up Chickpea and Mushroom Meatball Platter
For the Chickpea and Mushroom Meatball: Preheat oven to 375ÂºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. To a large saute pan over medium-high heat, warm 1 tablespoon of olive oil. Once hot, add sliced mushrooms and allow to cook …
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The whole hipster concept has become so popular these days, even eateries are trying to do it. Regrettably, being hipster isn’t that easy and merely one thing gone wrong can make you easily go from hipster to complete disaster.
Below, Bored Panda has put together a list of hipster restaurants that ran way too far with food serving. From serving food in a shoe to serving coffee in a carrot – some of these “hipster” notions are so ridiculous, it’s hilarious! Keep on scrolling to take a appear and don’t forget to vote for your favorites.
We asked for your worst holiday stories and you really went through, with a truly horrifying collect of vacation misery
Following Guardian writers recalling the transgress that almost broke them, we asked you to tell us about your own holiday nightmares and you responded with hundreds of tales of disappointing destinations, missed flights, thefts, breakdowns, bad company and lots and lots of vomiting.
Creatures great and small bears, mosquitoes, rats and roaches also made an appearance in stories of holiday hell, including this episode of cockroaches on a plane via 19lux 😛 TAGEND
On a flight to Indonesia, the second the plane became airborne, hundreds of thousands of cockroaches swarmed out and over us. I was one of the fortunate ones, having decided at the last minute to wear socks and long trousers, so I could maintain my hem tucked. There were so many people in shorts or skirts and sandals. I will never ever fly in anything but trousers and socks again. I guess the most unbelievable part of that journey was when the stewardesses came along to offer us dinner.
And a tide of rats as told by PoppyMandragora 😛 TAGEND
The lifeguards on the beach in Majorca this October blew their whistlings ferociously and gesticulated in order to be allowed to get out of the beautiful, pacify, azure-blue ocean that I had had to myself. After the previous day and night of torrential downpours, the weather had finally transgressed and the sunshine was fantastic. Irritated, I get out and stomped back up the beach.
A little further down the bay other holiday manufacturers ignored them. Right up until the moment about 40 minutes later when large-ish, grey-ish blobs began floating gently towards the beach.
At first I assumed it was sewage. It wasnt. It was rats. Hundreds of them bobbing towards us, first drowned and then flushed out by the previous days downpours. The sight of the lifeguards cheerfully flinging the rats into bin purses as they laughed at the holiday makers who had previously chosen to ignore them was surely memorable.
Vomiting bugs, louse, broken legs, fevers( and other outbreaks of disease) featured prominently 😛 TAGEND
Norovirus in a Welsh cottage at Christmas with the mother-in-law. Five people, one lavatory. Boxing Day shopping trip-up for bleach( too late to stop infection but needed for morale ). Wife and mother-in-law fell out not spoken since. Many of food left untouched and forgotten. Fairly much a Christmas clusterf* ck.
It was to be our first real household holiday. Auto packed to explode, 3 children strapped in, off we went on our 6 hr drive( which funnily enough takes 7 1/4 hrs with 3 children in tow) to the south coast. My daughter vomited, which set off the other two in unison. I had one bucket, running across the mouths of 3 children. We had run out of water, so was utilizing coke to wipe off vomiting. Could not pullover, were in a mountainous area.
30mins from home, we went across some drovers moving hundreds of head of cattle. What a wonderful sight, if a little intimidate. Then some moron started blowing his horn, which in turn scared the cattle.
My daughter once again vomited, this time a projectile vomit right into the back of her fathers head, who was attempting to drive us out of peril, with the help of one of the drovers. The reek of vomit was breathtaking to say the least, couldnt breeze windows down because of the cattle.
In 2004, I agreed to help my brother-in-law out by babysitting my nephew before a trip-up to Hawaii. My nephew is dropped off with a slight cold, which I quickly diagnose as a high grade fever. As I board the plane to Hawaii, I have a slight sore throat. By the end of the flight I have a fever and for the next 9 days have the worse ear and throat infection.
I spent the entire journey in the most expensive hotel room I have ever booked overlooking Waikiki Beach pretty much delirious and constantly running a fever.
I can say this was the most miserable trip ever, despite me having being caught up in a war, get bitten by bed bugs and going to Hull.
Esther Doyle recollected her Shite Fest au Jardin in County Wicklow:
Took two teenage grandsons with me to stay with elderly aunt in Ireland. Aunts cottage has somewhat primitive sanitation involving a septic tank, which seemed to work well enough on previous visits. This particular year though, just before we arrived, “and theres” 2 week of apocalyptic rain.
We arrived to find the back garden six inches deep in stinking water. The septic tank had backed up due to the excessive rain and decanted its contents.
No matter, the aunt called in the local farmer with his slurry tank and he drained the septic tank. The sewage came back the next day.
Farmer did the business again and explained that the over-saturated ground was leaching water into the tank. He assured me that as soon as we got a bit of good weather it would be grand. We didnt get good climate and the next day we had the usual Shite Fest au Jardin.
And by now the farmer had gone on hols.( This was Ireland in August …)
Aunt instantly banned all bathing/ showering or flushing the toilet unless marriage done something completely unspeakable, on the grounds that we would only inundated the garden more.
There are no words to describe being in that small bungalow with two teenage unwashed chaps, plus aunt and her three dogs.
The weather became humid, and exacerbated by the gallons of water now evaporting into the already water-sodden air, herds of midges came from all over County Wicklow to devour the pallid and enticingly stinky flesh of the Londoners.
Aunt still refused to allow us to shower despite the huge rub buboes all over any exposed parts.
Then the announcement came over the local radio station that due to the previous deluge, the local water supply had been tainted so we couldnt beverage that either. We lived on Club Orange and Cidona for days.
Then aunt went to bingo one night. That was the only happy day we had.
We leapt into the shower and stood for the purposes of the cold water scratching for hours. Such bliss.
Raw sewerage( again) and more vomiting:
Corfu 1979. First romantic break with the boyfriend. Arrived at our luxury villa to find raw sewage regurgitating from the shower drainage. The fragrance was dire. Complained to the tour operator who promised to do something and then vanished. Headed to the beach on day 2. Beautiful azure water as warm as a bath. Boyfriend runs in escstatic and emerges in 2 minutes contained within jelly fish and calling hysterically. Day three was when the puke started. By day 6 it was green water coming up every ten minutes. 4 hour lag at the airport with horrific toilets and profusive diarrhoea. Arrived home at 10 pm weak as a kitten and stayed in bed for a week after.
Hannah MacLeod warned of the perils of trying something new 😛 TAGEND
Long weekend in Amsterdam. I witnessed great civilisations rise and fall whilst I huddled in a youth hostel bog for ten thousand fucking years. Note to self: avoid magic mushrooms.
Plus, there was a side-serving of racism in Spain from hairymo 😛 TAGEND
Worst holiday Barcelona 2005. Shop owner refused to sell me a bottle of water, my blackness seemed to truly upset him and he advised we needed to leave his shop.
Waitress refused to seat us in a eatery and simply left us standing there whilst she and her backward colleagues stood and laughed.
A man on the street, tried to pull me away from my boyfriend and called me a black whore. I still cannot believe I paid for this experience.
Nice architecture, nasty people.
Luckily, all those terrible vacations werent in vain, at least some find the lighter side 😛 TAGEND
Thanks people! I enjoyed that. Reading it all took most of the afternoon though, with popping about here and there to do bits. But very funny. Phew! Require a holiday after all that reading….
As a child we didnt really have household vacations( my mothers lived in the same house but that was about it) and I used to think I was missing out. As Ive got older Ive realised that I may have had a luck escape.
Read more: www.theguardian.com