What is Slow Food?

Simply put Slow Food is about making a conscious decision about the food we buy and how we consume it.  On a bigger scale it’s a movement involving millions of committed followers that are striving to reverse the damaging the effects the Fast Food industry has had on us as individuals, on our societies and our planet – one meal at a time.

Founded in 1989 the Slow Food movement had 3 main objectives – 1 to prevent the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions.  2 to reverse the effects Fast Food culture has had on our own individual lives and the environment as a whole and 3 to rekindle our interest in the food we eat.

So how can we benefit from the Slow Food movement? 

Shopping and sourcing our food from local suppliers allows us to connect to the food we eat in a more personal way.  It helps us support small businesses that, more often than not are the bearers and upholders of the long-standing traditions that often come with small batch food production but are being lost as part of the mass production and commercialisation fast food has brought to the food industry. 

Sadly, Fast Food culture is so much more than cheap food fast.  It’s had a detrimental effect on our environment and our culture. It has changed our expectations and our behaviour; our ways of working and the way we interact – or don’t these days! It’s been linked to so many problems we now face as individuals and as a society from obesity and addiction to depression and diabetes – pesticides, GMO’s, water use, deforestation, illegal trade, slave labour… we could go on.

Slow Food is the undoing and reverse of everything we’ve listed above – it’s about buying and preparing good food with good ingredients sourced from reputable suppliers that have a respect and commitment to their land, their produce and their staff – which includes paying a fair wage to all.  To be part of the Slow Food movement is to take that produce and to savour it.  Taking time to prepare a good honest meal, to buy and consume what we need when we need it and to be open to interpretation –  seasonal growing and what’s in stock rather than expecting the same items to be abundantly stocked regardless of demand or the time of year. 

With time, consideration and preparation comes happiness – and what comes with happiness? A natural kick of serotonin – that well-known mood boosting, depression kicking, feel good chemical our body releases when we’re happy – when we’re fulfilled and have a moment connected to nature.  As opposed to when we gorge ourselves on Fast Food – filling up on empty calories, more often than not over indulging, and getting that pleasure seeking dopamine hit that usually leaves us feeling empty and wanting more.   Fast Food defies seasons; it’s expecting the same thing no matter where in the world you are; it’s not about the here and now it’s about the convenience of the 24/7.  It’s cheap and it drives prices, wages and working conditions down and all too often its produce has been subsidised in order to make it look financially more attractive.

“We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly. We need millions of people doing it imperfectly” quotes Anne-Marie Bonneau @ZeroWasteChef and that’s the simplicity of it – Slow Food is the way in which we think about the food on our plates and in turn it becomes a way of living through the simplicity of what we eat and how we eat it.  It’s about appreciating the food on our plate, how it got there and all those who made it possible, and in turn paying a fair price for what we have – small changes can make big differences. 

By joining the movement we as a collective can keep its objectives alive – ensuring everyone has access to fair food worldwide.  To read or listen to more, we recommend the links below, including the BBC radio 4 ‘New Year Solutions’ series, in particular the episodes on Water and Food.  And an article about Dr Robert Lustig analysis of Happiness vs Pleasure – all fascinating.

BBC Radio 4 series  – “As global warming threatens the future of our society, Jo Fidgen tackles the ways in which ordinary people can make a difference” www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/play/m0001v7f

“Pleasure is short lived, happiness is long lived; pleasure is visceral, happiness is ethereal; pleasure is taking, happiness is giving; pleasure can be achieved with substances, happiness cannot be achieved with substances; and, finally, pleasure is experienced alone, happiness is usually experienced in social groups.” www.wellandgood.com/difference-between-pleasure-happiness/

“Slow Food believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. Through our food choices we can collectively influence how food is cultivated, produced and distributed, and change the world as a result.“ www.slowfood.org.uk

“Slow Food is an idea, a way of living and a way of eating. It is a global, grassroots movement with hundreds of thousands of members across the world who all have pledged to link the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment.”  @slowfoodlondon


Introducing you to a few of our favourite, readily available, edible mushrooms

Starting at the top we have our very own Pleurotus Ostreatus; the Grey Oyster Mushroom – a deliciously delicate mushroom with a meaty texture when cooked.  All parts of the Oyster mushroom are edible from the caps, the gills and the stems.  Their subtle earthy undertones bring depth of flavour to any meal.  Simply sautéed till browning, with a bit of garlic these mushrooms are irresistible, if any make it beyond a pre-diner, fresh from the pan snack they’re great when added to noodle, rice or risotto dishes, used to top burgers, steaks or sandwiches.  An Oyster Mushroom can also be battered or bread crumbed before being deep-fried for a finger-licking alternative – these are sooooo good.

Next up are our own Dried Oyster Mushrooms – the flavour of these beauties is intense, the smell is stunning and once rehydrated they will enhance any broth, stock or soup.  Simply soak in a little boiling water to soften and add to your usual cooking.  We whiz our dried Oyster Mushrooms up into a powder and incorporate them into our baking – adding that umami depth to our brownies and chocolate fudge bars that resonates long after the last crumb has gone.  The same can be said when we add Oyster mushroom powder to our home made bread and pasta too with its subtle, earthy undertones – such a versatile ingredient with endless opportunities.

Here we have the white Mushroom or as we like to call them Agaricus Bisporus – the most recognised and readily available mushroom, but never to be underestimated.  The White mushroom has a mild earthy flavour which deepens when cooked and they make a great accompaniment to any hearty stew or pie filling, either sliced or left whole if you’ve purchased the smaller button variety. The White mushroom is a close relative to the Cremini mushroom (a slightly more flavoursome version); it’s also the baby brother to the closed cap and famous Portobello mushroom – these mushroom are much larger and have a more meaty texture but still just as tasty.  Their larger open caps lend themselves to fillings; they can be grilled or fried and added as a burger topper or used as burger substitute; complete with all the trimmings.  We’ve great memories of our mum stuffing white mushrooms with stilton, dipping them in an egg wash and then bread crumbs before deep frying them till they’re golden brown and the cheesy filling is mouton hot – not many made it beyond the cooling plate.

These white gems lend themselves to so many great cooking flavours – garlic, sage, cheese, soy sauce even balsamic vinegar – yes! 

Now the understated Chestnut Mushrooms – good for your cells and healthy blood, they support your immune system and more recently been discovered to contain anti-aging antioxidants plus, they also pack a great vitamin D punch – in fairness most mushrooms tick all these boxes too – but did you know if you place your mushrooms in the sun they’ll increase their vitamin D levels considerably?

We love to use chestnut mushrooms as a meat free mince alternative – by chopping them finely by hand or with a food processor and then frying till the liquid evaporates this is a wonderful low calorie, plant based substitute. 

With a very ‘typical’ mushroomy flavour the Chestnut mushroom is great for making your classic mushroom soup, sautéed to accompany an English breakfast, or our favourite; simply fried with a little butter or olive oil, sage, seasoned and layered onto freshly toasted sliced bread.

Next we have the unmistakable King Oyster Mushrooms with its notoriously chunky stalk and small delicate cap they’re known for their mild taste that can take on strong flavours.  Unlike any other, the King Oyster mushrooms meaty and dominant stem can be prepared and a multitude of ways.  Quite amazingly their stems can be shredded by hand and flavoured and cooked to imitate chicken, or pulled pork, they can be sliced into chunky discs and seared as a scallop substitute, or sliced lengthways and seasoned as a delicious bacon alternative or marinade and skewered in the same way you would make chicken satay.  Maybe the hardest mushroom in this medley to get hold of as most are imported from the Far East but worth a punt if you can get hold of them.

Lastly Dried Porcini Mushrooms – unmistakable by their smell alone – a delicious, rich and deep aroma that transfers into flavour as soon as you add it to any meal. The drying process intensifies the flavours and by soaking them in boiled water you release a flavoursome dark brown stock that’ll add depth to any meal; from a soup or broth, bolognaise or ragu, burger or risotto.  They’ve also a great shelf life and a store cupboard stable.

So there you have it, our Caley Brothers mushroom medley.  We’ve been cooking and experimenting with mushrooms for years and you can find other blog posts on many of these mushrooms.  We will be adding to our recipe page to help you incorporate more into your everyday cooking and hopefully we can inspire you to try something new.  Mush love x

You can grow mushrooms into packaging!

Mushrooms are a natural alternative to Styrofoam, and other awful products that are difficult to recycle, or need to be processed before their next reincarnation, or worse directly headed for landfill.

With lockdowns due to Covid-19, we have seen a huge increase in online ordering of gifts and homewares. Many companies are conscientious about their packaging, and there has been an accelerated growth in those seeking sustainable packaging which is great!

Mushroom or Mycelium packaging as it is really, is 100% biodegradable, sustainable and compostable at home.

Want to know how it works? Spawn is fungal culture that has grown onto substrate, from this mycelium developes.  Mycelium is the network of Hyphae, and from these our mushrooms are formed.  In our kits we use a combination of hardwood sawdust, straw and used coffee grounds. For developing packaging from mycelium, producers are using several different agricultural biproducts too.

It is an entirely natural product, using mycelium, the network of mushroom roots that bind together the agricultural biproducts used in this method of production, such as woodchips of sawdust. Resulting in a durable, hydrophobic (shrugs off water) packaging that is compostable at home, in only a few weeks. The mycelium grows to form the shape of any container substate is packed into, so product specific sizes can be readily custom made. You want to send your bestie a bottle of wine to enjoy over your zoom chat? If you’ve the time and incliation-Grow your mycelium around an old empty bottle, and you’ve got your home grown packaging! Dried out mycelium is super light weight too, so won’t add lots to shipping costs either.

There are a few big-name companies shouting about this, Seedlip https://www.seedlipdrinks.com/uk/journal/mycelium-technology launched a gift product last autumn with great success and Ikea have been in the press a few times for their work towards transforming the way their products are packaged. It’s really cool!


We are working on a plastic free alternative to our current line of grow at home kits, this involves glass whether small jars for kid grow projects or big round glass jars, and we are excited to be playing around with the idea of growing our own packaging too. We’re now wondering if this is how our used substrate might be repurposed? Can we aim for 0 waste?

Time to get experimenting!

King Oyster mushroom

The King of the Oyster Mushrooms.  Also known as the trumpet mushroom or ‘Eryngii’.  These are the largest of the Oyster Mushroom family and hailed for their meaty texture and umami flavour – there’s that word again.  Umami, making you want more.  And you get a whole lot more with these glorious mushrooms.

As part of the big mushroom for meat swaps these bad boys have all bases covered, but where do you start? 

If you’ve never cooked with a King Oyster Mushroom before you’ll be amazed at how well they replicate most meaty forms.  A good start is to use them in a simple stir-fry or coconut curry. They’re firm and fibrous, and you can tear them in strips to imitate chicken.  Simply fried as you would your chicken they look like chicken, cook like chicken and have the same texture as chicken – only better. 

King Oyster Scallops are a favourite of ours.  Sliced lengthways and fried with some Facon seasoning (totally vegan-we use Deliciou Bacon seasoning) and they’re a great butty filling. 

Wicked Healthy champion these mushrooms brilliantly in their online video –

High in protein, vitamins, minerals, fibre and other antioxidants. Low in calories, no fat, no cholesterol, gluten free and very low in sodium like most other mushrooms the King Oyster Mushroom is a great ingredient to get to know and to use in all your cooking favourites.

We’ll keep posting our great bakes and ideas showcasing this amazing King of the Oyster Mushrooms on our insta and facebook page @caleybrothers  if you have any cooking gems do let us see – 

Since first posting about King Oyster Mushrooms we’ve been inundated with questions about where to buy King Oyster Mushrooms.  We get ours from a long established mushroom stall in Notting Hill, London.  But you can also buy them from food markets, in Whole Food shops and from larger supermarkets.  Don’t be afraid to ask at your local grocers or message us, we’ll source them and post them out.

So all hail the King Oyster Mushroom, a name well earned and one to be celebrated in all your culinary adventures.  Mush Love x

just add mushrooms!?

We’re exploring the idea of adding maximum value in adding mushrooms in your everyday cooking, for flavour, texture and nutrition. Here we have the Chestnut mushroom.

Inexpensive, I can now buy these little gems loose, in paper bags in my local large supermarket. I see people grabbing for the plumpest juiciest ones, but smugly hold back. I love the wrinkled, slightly dried forgotten ones, tossed aside. You see, we know that they’ll soak up all our cooking liquid, intensify their flavour and that of whatever dish is on the menu. These forgotton ones, are lighter, so cheaper by weight, I walk away bag full to the brim and light as a feather!

We’ve some favourite recipes where by we swap out the meat for our blitzed up chesnut mushrooms. Spicey fajita style mince dish, deep with chilli herbs and spices, or Bolognese with plenty of roasted vegeatbles, plum tomatoes, great stock and a good slosh of red wine. Using the mushrooms to replace all or part of the meat in your dish, a quick blitz, browned and sauteed in a hot pan, before following your usual recipe to the end.

The health benefits are not lost on us, Chestnut mushrooms are good for your cells and blood health and support your immune system. The mushroom has recently been discovered to contain glutathione and ergotheonine, two potential anti-aging antioxidants – with plenty of B vitamins too, sit them in the sun for a couple of hours and they’ll absorb Vit D for your easy consumption. Tastier than their button mushroom cousins, why not try these next time you want to ramp up the flavour.  We’re not totally vegetarian but we try to include plenty of meat/dairy free days in our cookery schedual. We love big bold family dinners, crowd pleasers and tummy fillers!

Lou created this incredible Wellington dish at the weekend. A definite contender for Christmas day menu at Caley HQ!

Mushroom seasoning

We know that our fresh mushrooms have a great flavour, a gentle nuttiness thats super versatile for so many types of cuisines. We’ve a great collection of recipes we have been adding to since we created our Facebook recipe page, a space where our customers share their dishes and ideas too. https://www.facebook.com/groups/2600463216681400

We wanted to further explore how we can use our Grey Oyster mushrooms in cooking. Trying to get the best from our mushrooms, dehydrating to preserve them, preserve their goodness and intensify their flavour. So we started to explore the idea of stock, salt and seasoning. We searched to create a recipe that intensifies flavour. Packs an umami punch! The addictive saltiness found in strong cheese, or cured meats. It creates the depth of flavour of a dish cooked low and slow. There’s a great article in Guardian that discusses Umani and our desire for the Fifth basic flavour marker. You can read it here-https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/wordofmouth/2013/apr/09/umami-fifth-taste

We made a coarse mushroom powder, added a good array of fresh herbs that we also dehydtrated, and quality rock salt. Now we’re addicted and add it to everything! A perfect addition to savoury dishes. A magic sprinkling of flavour and goodness.

Here’s how we make our Mushroom Salt!

We pick herbs grown in the garden at Caley HQ, add them to the dehydrator too. This process takes around 24 hours, the bigger mushrooms need a lot more time. You can shred them to speed up the drying process, but personally we like to leave them big and beautiful until ready to grind. Once fully preseved, we grind them down. We’ve tried using both a spice grinder and pestle and mortar. Found that the texture when doing it by hand, makes a much coarser texture, which mixes well with the salt and herbs, and makes for a great seasoning to all kinds of dishes. From a sprinkling on eggs at breakfast, to a soup, broth or bolognese. We’ve created a proud pot of that ummani flavour that all savoury dishes need for richness.

Coming soon to our online shop!

Yellow oyster success

Last summer we made several attempts to grow Yellow Oyster (Pleurotus citrinopileatus) mushrooms. Unfortunately we’d not been successful before the temperatures dropped again and our climate became too cold for them to grow. We knew we’d have to spend the colder months working our a new formula for these golden nuggest of joy. With a bit of tweaking – The addition of hardwood sawdust to our wheat straw and coffee mix – they have grown. They have such a wonderful texture and creamy nutty flavour, they hold their texture well when cooked and make a great addition to most meals. 


We love the simplicity of mushrooms on toast, with the addition of Brie, fresh herbs this recipe from Food52 is an absolute dream.