Barley risotto with pistachios and raisins

Why do we call barley, cooked with vegetables, meat etc, ‘risotto’, when clearly ‘risotto’ refers to rice in Italian? Maybe it’s because ‘barley’ translates as ‘orzo’ in Italian, which the English speaking foodie world expects to be a very small version of pasta (made from durum wheat), which I have always seen described as ‘rice-like’. I think that probably answers the question!

This recipe is an adaptation of one appearing in the Guardian Cook Supplement on 31 January 2015. Enough for 3 people:

  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 onion (chopped)Barley_pistachio&raisin_risotto
  • 1/2 tbsp fennel seeds (toasted)
  • 1/2 tbsp sesame seeds (toasted)
  • 1/2 tbsp cumin seeds (toasted)
  • 200g pot barley
  • 1000ml vegi stock
  • Juice and zest of 1 small unwaxed lemon
  • Small bunch mint and parsley (chopped)
  • 3 tbsp pistachios (toasted and roughly chopped)
  • 3 tbsp raisins
  • Black pepper to taste

For the dressing:

  • 1 tbsp tahini (mixed with 1 tbsp water until smooth)
  • 60g yogurt
  • A pinch of sumac
  • ½ tsp harissa

Heat the oil in a heavy-based pan. Add the seeds and cook for 1 minute. Turn down the heat and add the onion. Cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the barley. Cook for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the stock. Bring to the boil and simmer for about 50 minutes until the barley is ‘al dente’ (add more water during the cooking, if necessary). Add the rest of the ingredients and season to taste.

Meanwhile, mix together the dressing ingredients.

Serve with roasted vegetables (I used some previously roasted butternut squash (reheated in the microwave)).

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Asian salmon with brown rice and greens

I had some leftover cavolo nero and some salmon fillets in the freezer so I decided to make this – enough for 2:

For the salmon:Asian_salmon

  • 2 tsp soy sauce
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tsp honey
  • 2 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 2 salmon fillets

For the rice:

  • 100g brown long grain rice
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 tsp finely grated ginger
  • 1 clove of garlic (chopped/crushed)
  • 5 leaves of cavolo nero (roughly chopped, with any tough stalks removed)
  • 2 tbsp soy sauce
  • 2 tsp shaoxing rice wine
  • 1 tsp sesame seeds
  • A dash of sesame oil

Cook the rice as indicated on the packet.

Meanwhile, mix the soy sauce, lemon juice, honey and ginger, and the coat the salmon fillets, placing them in a dish that can be used under a grill.

Heat the grill and cook the salmon fillets for four minutes on each side, until the salmon is opaque and firm.

To finish the rice, heat the 1 tbsp of oil in a wok, and stir-fry the onion, ginger and garlic. After 1 minute, add the cavolo nero and stir fry for a further 2 minutes. Stir in the rice, together with the soy sauce and rice wine. When thoroughly hot, mix in the sesame seeds and the sesame oil.

Serve immediately, pouring any remaining liquid from grilling, over the salmon.

Lunch box left-overs again – Japanese rice salad

japanese_rice_bento

Following on from the Chilli con Carne I had some left-over brown rice.

I rinsed it with cold water, drained it and put it in the fridge. It’s important to cool cooked rice immediately as it can be fertile ground for bacteria.

I mixed the rice with sliced spring onions, cooked (frozen) soya beans and petit pois, diced cucumber, and sesame seeds. To this mixture I added a dressing made from grated fresh ginger, chilli flakes, oil, soy sauce, vinegar and a drop of toasted sesame oil.

So this 750ml square ‘Lock & Lock‘  box contains Japanese Rice Salad, together with small tomatoes, beetroot, spring onions, carrot sticks and oil & vinegar dressing,