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Monday, 26 November 2012

Unimagintive Chefs!

 You can probably guess that I'm partial to a cookery programme or two and whilst lazing on the sofa Saturday morning watching Saturday Kitchen I was rather astounded by butter loving Mr James Martin, seafood don 2 Michelin starred Nathan Outlaw and Padstows own Mr Michelin Paul Ainsworth's lack of suggestions when a caller rang in to ask them what she could do with pearl barley. Only Paul came up with a suggestion of artichoke risotto, the other two openly admitted to being completely bemused and said the risotto was a new one on them!!

 Their stumped reaction was typical of chefs only wanting to use fancy schmanzy ingredients and forgetting that a meal needn't consist entirely of perfectly aged fillet steak or the finest hand dived scallops, not that I am opposed to these luxury ingredients now and again but I think leave that for when you go and eat out and let the chefs do it properly.

 Pearl barley is super tasty, completely natural, full of good carbs and has a healthy dose of protein, and if you add in a load of fresh veggies, some beans, lentils or some chicken and you have a deliciously healthy dinner in about 1/2 an hour! Like all grains pearl barley is a great foundation for flavours, you can add it to stews, soups, salads, stuffing's, dress it up with fresh herbs and lemon for a flavoursome accompaniment to fish and meat in place of potatoes, pasta or rice and even make a risotto with it. And at less than 60p for a 500g bag its cheaper than chips and much better for our waistlines!!!

Heres my favourite thing to do with it at this time of year, warm, comforting and filling!!

To James, Nathan and Paul,

Pop the barley in a pan and cover with veg stock, I then like to add carrots, leeks, red onion, kidney beans, peas and plenty of feshly ground black pepper! For a meaty version you could add some diced chicken or some lean pork or turkey mince.

One pot cooking, gotta love the lack of washing up!!!

Go on, give pearl barley a go.