Dried beans generally make people nervous. They look like hard work and in our want-it-now lifestyle they seem like too much forward planning work. Plus you have to boil them for hours don’t you? Erm, well no! And they are a quick and easy way […]
Month: July 2017
Couscous is no longer the hard to fine, expensive ingredient it used to be and is easily found on most supermarket shelves. It comes in many varieties, I love the wholemeal and giant couscous, both of which you can use to make this Sweet Potato […]
Pearl barley is so often associated with winter as it’s popular in soups, but don’t just save it for the colder months because this gorgeous grain is also brilliant in salads. It pares beautifully with the earthy flavour of beetroot in this filling Pearl Barley and Beetroot Salad.
I like to roast the beetroot when I have something else in the oven cooking, just because rather than pay to put the oven on twice it’s great to forward plan and pack as much in possible when it’s already likely to be on. Don’t let cooking the barley from it’s dried state worry you – think of it as nothing more than making rice! It’s such a bargain grain and is packed with B vitamins and minerals hard to find in a lot of grains and is lower in calories and higher in fiber and nutrients than many other grains.
This salad is best served on a platter because it’s not one to be tossed. As you will see, I have suggested it’s layered in two parts. This is because the juice from the beetroot will migrate a little to the rest of the salad once it has dressing on it. If you don’t mind your salad purple then toss away! I would also suggest you don’t use pre-cooked beetroot as the texture of roasted is so much nicer and the ‘crust’ formed by roasting also reduces the migration of the juices.
Pearl Barley and Beetroot Salad
- 350g raw, fresh beetroot, peeled
- 130g pearl barley
- 50g walnuts, finely chopped
- 30g rocket
- 50ml white wine vinegar
- 2 fat cloves of garlic, finely chopped or minced
- 2 tablespoons sunflower oil
- 1 tablespoon maple syrup
- ½ teaspoon salt
- white pepper
- Step 1 Rinse the pearl barley in some cold water. Place in a pan and cover with double the amount of cold water, crumble in a stock cube and bring to the boil. Vigorously simmer without the lid for around 30mins, add a little more water if it gets dry, it should be cooked but not mushy. If there is any excess fluid after cooling then drain.
- Step 2 Peel the beetroot and cut into evenly sized wedges or generous chunks. Spread on a baking tray and spray with a little oil. Roast for 200°C/400°F/gas 6 for 25-30mins. They need to be soft throughout.
- Step 3 While the barley and beetroot are cooking make the dressing as it needs at least 20mins for the flavours to mix. Combine the ingredients and shake well. Leave to mingle and re-shake well before mixing the salad.
- Step 4 When the barley is cool mix in the walnuts and rocket, cover in half the dressing and mix well. In a separate bowl pour half the remaining dressing over the beetroot. Now lay half the barley salad on a plate, place over half the beetroot wedges and sprinkle the rest of the barley salad over before placing the remaining beetroot over, discard any of the now purple dressing left in the bowl.
- Step 5 Drizzle over the remaining dressing and serve immediately.
Some times you just can’t better what nature has given you. But you can present this gorgeous natural goodness in a kick-ass way! I recently had a lot of fruit in the house but no cake. So I decided to make the most of what I had an make a cake from the fruit, introducing the Real Fruit Cake to our household.
My youngest is a complete fruit fiend and it’s his go to snack so he’s bowled over by it as I hope you will be. It’s super easy to make and makes a great centerpiece for a summer lunch.
Simply cut the ends of the top and bottom of a watermelon. Now you can easily place it on a board and begin to slice the rind off. Remove all the green bits so you are left with the red flesh only. Now slice in the layers horizontally.
For the filling I have used sliced strawberries, nectarine and an apple which I also dipped in lemon juice first so it won’t go brown. Just place the fruits on the layer, I have done one nectarine and strawberry, one apple and strawberry and the final in all three. After you have placed your fruit on just stack another watermelon cake on top. I’ve finished it off with some mixed berries for colour and variety.
I hope you like it as much as we all do!
When you don’t eat meat the quest begins to find the ultimate filling for a ‘burger’. Because it’s something I don’t eat out really, I really want to make the perfect burger at home. Texture is as important as taste in this situation because it’s all very well when it tastes brilliant but no good if it slops out the side of the bun and drips all over your hands. So while you want it dry enough to stay together and in shape, you also need a burger which is moist and lovely.
As you might be able to tell I am a fan of Indian flavours and wanted a burger to compliment my rich Indian Style Tomato Chutney. This is what I came up with and to be honest I love it so much I made it two days in a row! It’s classic curry flavour is complimented by the kick of chilli but you can adjust that to taste by adding more or less than stated here.
It is important to allow the burgers some fridge time. This helps them hold together when you initially start frying them. The beauty about these is they are brilliant made in advance so get them done the day or morning before you need them. Then you can simply fry and build your bun while they are cooking.
I have used two types of tinned bean here for their different textures and that also boosts the nutritional value of the dish too. The kidney beans are a must but instead of the black-eye beans you could add another of your faves. Let me know how they work in this recipe.
Tinned beans are a dream if you are looking for a high nutrient but low cost ingredient. There is no need to buy a premium range for this recipe, the economy bean lines are just as good. These burgers come in at around £1-£1.20 so as little as 25p a portion.
Curried Bean Burgers
- 1 tablespoon oil
- 1 red onion, finely chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tin kidney beans, drained
- 1 tin black-eyed beans, drained
- 2 teaspoons mild curry powder
- ¼ teaspoon chilli flakes
- 15g fresh coriander, chopped, leaves only (about half a supermarket size pack)
- 30g fresh or frozen breadcrumbs
- oil for cooking the burgers
- Step 1 Soften the onion in the oil, do so on a low heat so that it doesn’t brown.
- Step 2 While the onion is cooking mash the beans together well. Add the chopped coriander and breadcrumbs and combine well.
- Step 3 When the onion is cooked add the garlic and fry for a minute or so. Then add the curry powder and chilli flakes and fry together for about a minute.
- Step 4 Add the onion and spice mix to the beans and mix well.
- Step 5 Divide the mixture into four and form a ball, then flatten a little to make a patty shape.
- Step 6 Place on a plate and refrigerate for at least 30mins.
- Step 7 To cook, heat some oil in a frying pan and make sure it’s coated the base of the pan completely.
- Step 8 Fry the burgers on a medium heat for 7-10mins then flip onto the other side.
- Step 9 Serve with all the trimmings!