Soak mushrooms in cold water - takes about 4-5 hours. once it's softened up enough to cut off the stalks, rinse and cut stalks, put into a saucepan with about one star anise broken up with about 1-2 cups of water. bring to boil and simmer for about 30-45minutes - check to make sure the water doesn't all evaporate off. Rinse mushrooms until water is clear. mince up finely a few slices of fresh root ginger and 2 garlic cloves. heat up a saucepan, add oil (about 3 tablespoons - i'm guessing cos i don't measure it, enough to easily cover the bottom of a small saucepan. add ginger and garlic, stir around a bit, then add mushrooms (if big, cut them in half). Add the water from the other saucepan which had the star anise and stalks in it - discard the star anise and stalks. break up another star anise and throw that in. bring to boil then turn down and simmer for about 45mins -1 hour. add a little of the mushroom vegetarian (mock oyster sauce if you have it) and a splash of dark soya sauce. There shouldn't be too much water left a this point, enough to thicken and make a gravy. (remember to remove the star anise before you thicken it). in a separate little dish mix up about a teaspoon of cornstarch, with 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, a bit of sesame oil and a shake of white ground pepper and enough water so it is pourable. Add a little of this mixture to the mushrooms while it's simmering and stir, add enough of the cornstarch mixture until the gravy is the consistency you want. you can serve this up as it is or on a bed of lettuce which has been quickly stir fried.