THE riddle of the giant mushroom has been solved and you can cook them!

Robert Williams found a monster mushroom in topsoil while working on his allotment off Cemetery Road, Edgerton, and wondered what it was.

The 71-year-old asked friends and even a greengrocer, but no-one was sure.

But once it appeared in the Examiner we soon found out after several readers contacted us.

It’s a giant puffball, something of a fungal delicacy.

One who raves about it is Orlando Gubbini who owns Orlando’s restaurant at Grange Moor.

He said: “Puffballs are delicious, absolutely beautiful, especially fried. I’ve had three this year and I’m always on the lookout for them.”

According to online encyclopedia Wikipedia a puffball is a member of any of a number of groups of fungi.

They are called puffballs because brown, dust-like spores are emitted when the mature body bursts.

Puffballs were used in Tibet for making ink by burning them vigorously, grinding them, then putting them in water and adding glue liquid which, when pressed for a long time, made a very black substance.

While most puffballs are not poisonous some often look similar to the death cap mushroom. All puffballs gathered in mushroom hunting should be cut in half lengthwise; young puffballs in the edible stage have white flesh.

Orlando's easy puffball recipe

Slice the puffball like a loaf of bread and put a bit of flour on both sides.

Heat some olive oil in a frying pan, along with bacon and a garlic clove.

Put the puffball slice in and lightly fry on both sides.

And the result?

“Absolutely gorgeous,’’ says Orlando.

Another recipe comes from the website and is puffball and steak.

This is a slice of giant puffball, griddled on both sides after being coated in a mixture of chopped parsley, lemon juice, thyme, garlic and olive oil.

Serve with sirloin steak, tomatoes, fried onion and rocket salad.

And here’s one for the connoisseurs from Golcar reader Steve Halstead; giant puffball kebabs


1kg giant puffball, cut into cubes

12 Shallots peeled and blanched (peel, plunge into boiling water for 2 mins, drain)

2 green peppers, seeded and cut into squares

12 cherry tomatoes

100ml extra virgin olive oil

1 garlic clove minced

Juice of 2 lemons

15g tablespoons dried oregano

1/2 teaspoon sugar

Sea salt

Freshly ground black pepper


Make the marinade, combine the minced garlic, lemon juice, oregano and sugar in a bowl. Whisk the ingredients together while slowly pouring the olive oil in a thin stream into the bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

In a separate bowl combine the puffball cubes and enough of the marinade to completely coat the cubes. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour. Reserve the remaining marinade to baste the vegetables and mushroom on the grill.

Prepare the barbecue grill.

Soak long wooden skewers in water for about 20 minutes. Alternately thread the mushroom cubes, peppers, onions and tomatoes on the skewers. Brush the grill rack with olive oil before placing the kebabs on the grill. Cook the kebabs basting and turning frequently until done. Serve immediately.

Word of warning – never cook any mushrooms or fungi unless you know exactly what they are.