The idea for these terra firma inspired treats came about through musing on the idea of mudlarking and truffle hunting, seeking out treasures from the ground. Each ingredient in this subtle combination has a deep relationship with the earth itself. The black chanterelle mushroom only exists by its symbiotic relationship with trees nourished by chalky or sandy earth. Cereals and herbs may be more prosaic fruits of the earth but their very abundance makes them staple ingredients in many recipes.
For the sourdough starter
Day 1: add 1 tablespoon of water and 1 of rye flour, stir well and keep in a covered, sterile container.
Day 2: add 2 tablespoons of each ingredient again, stir well, keep covered. Double up portions over the next 3 days. The sourdough starter should start to smell acidic.
For the bread
Mix half the sourdough starter with 4 cups of water and allow to rest for half a day. Next, mix in the spelt flour until the dough has a yoghurty consistency. Add 3 tablespoons of salt. Divide the dough to make individual flavours and add the spices separately, along with a small handful of oats. Keep adding flour until the dough comes cleanly from the sides of the bowl. Allow to rest overnight in the fridge. Make into individual panini, shaped like stones. Place on a non stick baking tray and leave to rise for 20 minutes. Preheat the oven to 190°C. Cooking time may vary, up to 20 minutes, depending on the size of the panini.
For the filling Clean the fresh mushrooms, or re-hydrate then drain the dried mushrooms. Peel and chop the garlic clove, heat a glug of olive oil in a frying pan and add the garlic and the thyme sprig. Add the mushrooms then quickly fry everything for a couple of minutes. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
To assemble the sandwiches Slice the buns horizontally, butter both sides with a herb butter made from blending together softened butter, crushed garlic, sea salt, black pepper and a few sprigs each of finely chopped fresh tarragon, flat leaf parsley, rosemary and thyme and the zest of an unwaxed lemon. Place some pickled walnuts or pickled onions onto one buttered half, add some warm black chanterelles then top with the other half of the panini and serve.