Radish, Feta and Grain Salad

You might think that all we have eaten lately is treats. Sure we have had our fair share of slices, sweet treats and cocktails, but I can assure you that we have been balancing out the indulgence with lots of tasty summer salads too. Or attempting to, at least.

This pretty little salad was inspired by one I came across in a recent Taste magazine edition – you can find the recipe online here.  Immediately I was drawn to its vibrant colours, and the fact it included a current love of mine (radishes) was also a big draw card.

I slow cooked the lentils and pearl barley as directed, with the bonus of lots of leftovers to use in lunches and dinners the following days. I swapped rocket for baby spinach, for that was what I had on hand, and used feta in place of goats cheese. The result being a tasty salad, that was packed with flavour and crunch.

On this particular occasion we served the salad as a side dish. Although I think it would have made a tasty meat-free meal on its own too – with the grains offering lots of substance.

And did I mention how pretty it was??

Pork, tomato and barley stew

IMG_3988 Friends, the barley obsession continues, as does my love for slow cooked one-pot meals. And this tasty little stew did not fail to please. Pork shoulder, cooked slowly in a gorgeous tomato sauce, with the addition of  barley to really make it something special. IMG_3981 Finished with  rocket and olives, and some crusty bread on the side for dipping. IMG_3984 Yes our bellies were singing the praises of this tasty little mid-week meal, and it has certainly been added to the repertoire. Pork, tomato and barley stew (adapted from Supergrains) – serves 4-6

  • 1kg diced pork shoulder
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 celery stalks, diced
  • 2 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 100g speck, diced
  • 1.5 tbs paprika
  • 1/2 cup sherry
  • 2 tbs tomato paste
  • 400g chopped tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 500ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbs honey

Rocket, green olives, parsley and crusty bread to serve

  1. Preheat oven to 160C.
  2. Heat a little olive oil in a large oven-proof pan over a medium heat. Add the pork, in batches, cooking until brown. Remove and set aside.
  3. Add the onion, celery, carrots, garlic and speck to the pan, and cook, stirring, for 5 minutes or until starting to soften. Add the paprika, and cook for 1 minute.
  4. Add the sherry and allow to evaporate. Add the tomato, tomato paste, barley and stock, and stir to combine.
  5. Return the pork to the pan, cover, and cook in the oven for 2-2.5 hours (add more stock if the stew is starting to dry out) Stir through honey.
  6. Serve with bread, rocket, sliced green olives and chopped parsley.

Pearl barley, turkey and asparagus salad with lime tahini dressing

IMG_3973 I cant help but feel a little sorry for the ol’ traditional grains. For with the emergence of the new ‘cool’ grains (freekeh, millet, teff… I’m looking at you!) well some of the ones I grew up with seem to have been forgotten.  Perhaps even labelled a little dorky. I’m sure they will be rediscovered again by the populous at some point, but for now they appear to have been cast to one side. Or to the back of the pantry, at least. Well not in this household. For I am loving pearl barley at the moment. Cheap, quick and easy to prepare, and so much more versatile than simply being a a staple in my Mum’s vegetable soup! IMG_3955IMG_3956 Recently, I cooked up a batch of pearl barley and used it as the ‘filler’ in our dinner salad. Combined with zucchini, grilled asparagus, mint, chives and craisins – and dressed in a lime/tahini dressing, well it was a rather tasty addition to our weekly menu plan. IMG_3963 On this occasion, I opted to add some grilled turkey breasts for a little extra protein kick. But I have no doubt the salad would have worked fine by itself as a vegetarian main or side dish. IMG_3969 Yes, pearl barley, I have not forgotten you or your wonderful nutty chewiness! You are a keeper, for sure. Pearl barley, turkey and asparagus salad – serves 2

  • 1/2 cup pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 bunch asparagus
  • 1 zucchini, cut into ribbons
  • mint leaves and chopped chives
  • 1 tbs craisins
  • 2 turkey breast steaks, pan-fried and sliced.
  • 1 tbs tahini
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  1. Place pearl barley in 1.5 cups water in a small saucepan. Cover and simmer for 35 minutes or until tender.
  2. Meanwhile, spray asparagus with a little olive oil and season. Grill until tender then slice. Blanch zucchini in boiling water, then drain.
  3. Combine the tahini, olive oil and lime juice in a small bowl, and set aside.
  4. Place prepared pearl barley, asparagus, zucchini, herbs and craisins in a bowl and toss to combine. Divide among serving plates, top with sliced turkey and drizzle with the lime tahini dressing.

What about you? Are you a fan of pearl barley?

Pumpkin and silverbeet pearl barley risotto

IMG_1091 Since falling in love with silverbeet a few months ago now, it is not unusual for a bunch to find its way into my trolley during a supermarket wander. Generally inexpensive, brimming with nutrients, its no surprise that it is one of my favourite vegetables at the moment. IMG_1063 While I tend to stir it through a warm salad or stir-fry, I decided to get a little creative with my latest bunch. I also had a small pumpkin from leftover from our vegetable box, and was quite intrigued  ‘silverbeet + pumpkin’, typed into a search engine, returned the most delightful sounding silverbeet and pumpkin risotto. But not just any risotto, a pearl barley risotto. IMG_1060 You can find the recipe I followed here. IMG_1062 Like all good risottos, this one took time. I started by steaming the pumpkin, then processing it into a puree. Meanwhile, I sautéed sliced leek and garlic until soft, then added the white wine – letting it cook until it was evaporated. Then in went the pearl barley, and unlike regular risotto, I added all the stock at once. Lid on, and let the mixture slowly bubble away for a good 40 minutes or so. IMG_1069 To finish, I added the pumpkin puree, frozen peas and, of course, the shredded silverbeet leaves. IMG_1071IMG_1086 Finished with a good amount of grated parmesan, and we had ourselves quite the winter warmer meal. IMG_1088 I really enjoyed this dinner. Hearty, flavoursome, and pretty damn healthy. IMG_1090 A nice ‘take’ on a classic, that even the little Miss gobbled up with gusto. IMG_1093 A winner all round! What about you? Do you have a favourite vegetable at the moment?