Mushroom and green peppercorn sauce


I like old things! I mean, I married my husband who is 17 years my senior. At 17 at the time of our meeting, he was 34, double my age. We are 36 years in since that first encounter, going steady and strong. So, yes I like old things or maybe it’s the nature of the old thing that I like.

I was lounging on a daybed, with my legs casually draped over Brian. We were chatting. The backdrop of the evening was a special friend’s birthday. She had recently completed this most spectacular garden project I could not envisage in my wildest dreams. Imagine, if you will, an enormous garden with luxuriously green rolling lawns, garden beds filled with ancient, graceful, evergreen trees surrounded by flowers and shrubs looking up at them admiringly. We followed a path of flickering lights down to the old tennis court. It was 5pm and the light was just fading. There, before my eyes was the most extraordinary sight.

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A long narrow pond ran the length of the now gone tennis court, the reflection of the high passing clouds mirrored on the water. I was transported back to a visit in Paris. Lilies on the pond reminded me of Claude Monet’s famous painting, hanging in the Musée de l’Orangerie. Then the strangest thing happened! I started to hear the orchestra of frogs from the Frog Chorus by Paul McCartney. “Bum, Bum, Bum, – We all stand together”.

“I have to give you something”

Return now to the daybed at the end of a wonderful evening, relaxed and replete. My dear friend, enjoying herself immensely, even though this was far out of her comfort corner, sat down next to us. “I have to give you something” she exclaimed! This was her birthday and she has to give me something? “No!” I responded “don’t be daft, it’s YOUR birthday”. She explained she was gifted this by one of her very dear friends who would completely understand that I should have it instead of her. I was intrigued and I’ll admit my curiosity was piqued, but I felt utterly uncomfortable with this offering. She dashed off . A moment later she was back with the biggest smile on her face as she thrust her gift into my unwilling-to-accept hands.

It felt heavy. It felt precious. I looked down in wonder and awe. “Is it an heirloom?” I asked, knowing I could not accept it. “It comes from Jan Hendrik’s shop” she offered. I swallowed hard. Staring back up at me was the most beautiful brass mortar and pestle I have ever had the privilege of holding. “I can’t take it” I said. “You have to! You are the best person I know to have it and you’ll know what to do with it” and that settled it. I am now the very proud custodian of this magnificent piece of history.

Isn’t she lovely!

Mushrooms or green Peppercorns

Today I was pottering about in my kitchen getting ready for the long weekend. I had 4 big black mushrooms and a bunch of spring onion that marries well with mushrooms waiting in my fridge. My majestic mortar and pestle was at the ready. In my family I’m famous for my mushroom sauce. Today in honour of my gift I decided to add Madagascar green peppercorns to my sauce. Whenever we enjoy fillet I usually can’t decide between mushroom sauce or green peppercorn sauce. Today I don’t have to choose. Today I can have both!

Mushroom and green peppercorn sauce


  • 4 big black mushrooms roughly chopped or 250g mushrooms of your choice like button or portobello
  • 10 stems spring onion finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves finely chopped
  • 2 Tbls green peppercorns
  • 1 tsp hot English Mustard
  • 1 Tbls brandy
  • 250 ml cream
  • 1 handfull thyme parsley also works well
  • salt and pepper to season
Course: sauce
Keyword: green peppercorns, mushrooms

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