Food, food culture, food as culture and the cultures that grow our food

Not cooking with flowers and leaves, a raw food recipe for marinated shitake mushrooms

March 21, 2006

If I want to eat with my friends, I can’t just serve up vegetables with the dirt still clinging to the rootball, the way I like it. I have to engage in some refining.

Hibiscus flower and green tea leaf marinated shitake mushrooms
(work: 7 minutes, wait: 1-4 hours)

- dried hibiscus flowers
- whole green tea leaves
- water
- fleur de sel
- lemon zest
- crayfish oil (vegetarians, relax)
- two shitake mushrooms

In the bottom of a cup, pour enough hot water to cover a layer of hibiscus flower and green tea leaves. You’re going to make a highly aromatic and concentrated tea, something too strong to sip. Aim at producing four tablespoons.

(This year, hibisicus flowers seem to be my souring agent of choice. I find it hypnotising to watch the magenta colour leach out of the petals, and I just live for the ‘powdery’ aftertaste.)

Add to the ‘tea’ a big fluffy pinch of finely zested lemon peel, a goodly amount of fleur de sel, and a teaspoon or two of *crayfish oil.

Adjust the marinade and toss around with two large shitake mushrooms. Marinate for one to four hours before serving. Everytime you walk by, just toss the mushrooms lightly for fun.

You can keep the mushrooms for about a day without ruining the texture in or outside of the fridge. The marinade and juices leached out of the mushroom can be ‘recycled’, it’s like bouillion for raw foodies. You know how I love the food recycling!

*A note on crayfish oil: you can’t buy it. Mine was a cadeau made by my friend Marlein, to whom this recipe is dedicated. Possible (vegetarian) substitute: grape seed oil, barely warmed and barely covering half a fennel, star anise and a dried hibiscus petal. Leave to cool and sit for two days. Remove the ’stuff’ and decant to a very clean jar. Store in a cool, dark and dry place.

*A note about using non-vegetarian, non-raw ingredients in this recipe: relax and enjoy delicious foods that have been made for you with love. Aromatic oils are like parfum, you need only a few drops. In this recipe you will need enough drops to fill a teaspoon or two.

Both the green tea leaves and the crayfish oil have a powdery ‘note’ that compliments the woodiness of the shitake. This marinade smells like peonies. Shitake pivoine! My hands are parfumed from the shitake tossing.

The recipe is dedicated to my dear friend Marlein Overakker, a chef who has turned me on to my favourite parfums and who is always a huge source of inspiration.

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Ever since the hype started, I have to wrestle with myself for calling raw food ‘raw’. ‘Marinating tougher veg (like cruciferous vegetables, root vegetables and mushrooms) in something sour, oily and salty, is a good way to release the complex flavours that are reminiscent of cooked food without destroying the nutritional value.’ Note to self: big fuqn whoop. If eating cooked vegetables is the worst thing you’re doing to your body, you proabably don’t have a lot of bad going on in your life.

debra at 14:14 | | post to


  1. Thank you, Di. Nice wandering woman blog you have.

    Comment by debra — March 21, 2006 @ 16:50

  2. very beautiful images

    Comment by jg — March 21, 2006 @ 23:34

  3. mer├ži, hibiscus and the other ingredients are very photogenic. but it really does taste good - indeed, parfumy, aromatic, powdery, nasal. nice.

    Comment by debra — March 22, 2006 @ 0:10

  4. That looks surprisingly tasty!

    Comment by The Recipe Wizard — March 22, 2006 @ 3:23

  5. It looks great! I remember eating my first flowers - in occitan French they are called ‘bourrasche’, a bright blue + red veins small flower. I was a little shocked. Its taste, texture and aroma’s are very special and seductive.

    By the way, did you know hibiscus contains four times as many antioxidants as red wine?

    Comment by dick — March 22, 2006 @ 9:28

  6. I love the beautiful combination of flavors. I could even hang with the crayfish oil too.

    Comment by Christiane — March 23, 2006 @ 3:23

  7. Wow! Need I say more!

    Comment by Aldo — March 29, 2006 @ 2:53

  8. You can always say more, A. And then… you can always say it again. ; P lol, Thanks A!

    Comment by Debra — March 29, 2006 @ 2:57

  9. Thank you, for showing love and beauty.

    Comment by marlein — April 15, 2006 @ 14:57

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