Photography by Steve Painter

Meet Ollie Hunter: mushroom fanatic, Masterchef semi-finalist and author of two cookbooks. Ollie and his partner, Laura are on a mission to serve up plant-based dishes that pack an umami punch (something that they both had missed since becoming vegan). You can try Lion’s Den menus from pop-ups in various pubs and restaurants in the area. Their shiitake and lion’s mane mushrooms are grown from within the Brewing Brothers brewery and tap room on Ivy House Lane and their range of mushrooms and sauces can be found in Trinity Wholefoods, St Leonards Grocery and Judges Bakery.

Mushrooms are obviously their main ingredient, but they also put organic local vegetables at the heart of their food. They then cook “root to fruit” to ensure no waste, and take advantage of the amazing flavours and textures. Ollie and Laura believe that moving towards more plant-based foods is the simplest and fastest way to help combat the ongoing and urgent climate crisis. Lion’s Den has very kindly offered up a recipe for you to try at home…

Ollie and Laura from Lion's Den Mushrooms
Lions Den Mushrooms

Lion’s Den Mushrooms


Serves 4

1 Garlic Clove, grated
1 Small Lemon
1 Tin Chickpeas
1 large tbsp Tahini
Glugs of Olive Oil
1 tbsp Cumin Seeds
12 Shiitake
Whole Nutmeg
Fresh Thyme

Remove the stems from six Shiitake – you’ll use the raw heads later. Slice the stems and the other six shiitake and fry in oil. Once brown add the cumin seeds for a few minutes then remove from the hob. Place in a blender along with the garlic, lemon zest and juice, tahini, salt and chickpeas (reserve the aquafaba for a vegan dessert). Blitz adding olive oil. Add water as well if you need to loosen it slightly.

Toast the bruschetta and dollop the hummus onto each one. Thinly slice the six raw shiitake heads and place on top of the hummus. Grate nutmeg all over, scatter with fresh thyme, and drizzle with olive oil.


Book: 30 Easy Ways to Join the Food Revolution
Join the Greener Revolution ⚫


  • Mel Elliott

    Originally from Barnsley in South Yorkshire, Mel Elliott graduated with an MA from The Royal College of Art in 2007, after which she started her publishing label, I Love Mel. Mel's pop-culture colouring books have sold worldwide and her children's books have been published in many languages. Mel has worked on projects with major publishers in the UK, USA, Italy, Taiwan and South Korea. She is currently working on her first YA novel... as well as Get Hastings.

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