Chef Mat Follas, of the Bramble Cafe and Deli in Poundbury, provides us with a winter recipe to raise a glass to... 

I don't know if it's that I'm getting older or busier but the Christmas season seems to come around faster every year.

I have a long list of requests from my young daughter but a shrug is about all I can expect from the teen when it comes to what they want for presents. The one thing they both want for the season however is some snow to toboggan on.

We bought toboggans about six years ago and haven't seen snow since, as a business owner of a cafe/restaurant that's a good thing because nothing guarantees an evening of empty table faster than a decent snowfall!

Personally I'd love a day or two when the schools close and we can all head off to a decent hill in the 4WD for some fun and memories. I'll try not to break a finger like the last time I tobogganed ! We shall see but that is what I want for Christmas this year too.

In the meantime we shall keep cooking some lovely food and think about our seasonal menus. My recipe suggestion for this month is a little different than the usual game/bird recipe - it's a lovely Champagne Mushroom recipe.

Let's ignore that it is also vegetarian - the best recipes don't need to shout that they're gluten-dairy-nut free, they should be good recipes in their own right.

I was inspired to write this after a fabulous champagne lobster mushroom dish I had when on holiday in Greece and I wanted to create something as good for my cookbook Vegetable Perfection.

This recipe works as a light supper dish and is quick to prepare if you have family and friends over during the holiday season.

Champagne Mushrooms



4 large Portobello mushrooms

200g Jerusalem Artichokes (use parsnips if Jerusalem artichokes are out of season)

1 small shallot

1 garlic clove

Unsalted butter

50g flaked almonds

50g Parmesan cheese

200ml Prosecco or Champagne


  • Peel and finely slice the Jerusalem artichokes. Peel and finely dice the shallot and garlic clove.
  • Heat a large frying pan on a low setting, add enough butter to melt and just cover the base. When the butter begins to sizzle, add the artichoke slices, shallot and garlic and cook for five minutes on low until they start to brown.
  • Add the champagne and continue to heat for a couple of minutes until the volume of liquid has reduce by half … the filling is made.
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C.
  • Clean the mushrooms and remove the stems. Brush the outside of the mushroom with a little of the sauce to coat it, then place the mushrooms on an oven tray. Use some scrunched up foil to hold the mushrooms in place, upside down on the tray. Fill the mushrooms with the filling and grate the parmesan over the top. Finish with a sprinkle of flaked almonds.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until the almonds are browned and the parmesan has melted.
  • Remove from the oven and serve immediately with a glass of champagne.