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Thursday, 18 September 2014

Pearl Barley Salad with Almonds, Raisons ,Feta and Sweet Potato

Spring is finally in the air ! The month of rain has gone, everything is green and clean. Our thoughts start turning to lighter meals with fresh ingredients like salads.
I have been having a few dining experiences with The Versatile Gent. Amazing meals and wines, fabulous inspirational food to try to replicate at home.
We had an wonderful meal at The Far North in Turramurra, recently, accompanied by Astrolabe wines, from New Zealand.
The charming young owner Brett together with his Japanese chef will make your dining experience one to remember. This is so exciting for anyone who lives in the leafy suburbs of " the far north " because you don't have a huge choice for restaurants particularly of this calibre. Give it a try you won't be disappointed. Oh and try the Astrolabe wines, all beautiful. I am really looking forward to my order .
Well this salad is nothing like the delicious Japanese inspired canapés or salads I had at The Far North, but it would go beautifully with the lamb we had.
I served it with Lamb for a meal with some young guests, we entertained recently. They are always very complimentary and empty plates are an indication that the food was good.
You could put whatever you like into this salad. Ottolenghi inspired, maybe a touch middle eastern but the pearl barley always reminds me of old fashioned stews and soups my grandmother used to make.
I don't think you need much else to go with a meat meal, maybe some steamed greens like broccolini
kale or asparagus. I added some corn on this occasion, as I didn't have any sweet potato !!!

Pearl barley 2 cups
Chicken stock 6 cups
Toasted almonds 100grams roughly chopped
Raisons 1/2 cup
Feta 150 grams
Sweet potato small
Red onion 1 small
Mint 1/2 bunch
Parsley 1/2 bunch
Rylstone olive oil 50 ml
pomegranate molasses 2 tablespoons
salt and pepper

Bring the chicken stock to boil and turn down to a simmer once you have the pearl barley in. Cook until just soft, approx 35 minutes. Drain very well and  toss a fork through to separate and leave to cool a little.
Toast the almonds.
Peel sweet potato and cut into smallish similar size pieces and roast in the oven until just cooked. Set aside to cool.
Slice the red onion finely and slice again.
Chop the mint and parsley.
Cut the feta size bite sized cubes.

As the barley is cooling toss through a couple of tablespoons of the olive oil with the pomegranate molasses, mint, parsley, red onion and raisins. Taste the pearl barley because it has been cooked in stock it will not require as much salt. Add pepper to taste.
Lastly very gently add the feta and sweet potato and sprinkle with the almonds
Perhaps a final garnish with some more chopped parsley.

Sunday, 7 September 2014

Want Food Tour to Vietnam

 For those who have expressed an interest in Want Food Ideas to Vietnam.

The tour is for 13 people including myself and departs 5th March 2015.
We will start our culinary journey in the northern city of Hanoi and travel to Hue, Hoian  and
Ho Chi Minh.
It will be approx 11-12 days.
Internal travel is by air.
We are staying in 5 star hotels and doing cooking classes and market tours in each city.
We will also be dining in some fabulous restaurants.
As well as the culinary side there is plenty of time for sightseeing and shopping.
As with past tours it will also be a lot of fun.
I am travelling to Vietnam on 7th October to finalise all classes and hotels and will have final costings after that.
Please let me know if you are interested and would like to receive any further information.
I have already had an enormous amount of interest in Vietnam.
The tour is  filling quickly, but if I have enough numbers I will do another tour in February just prior to this one.
Get in early so you don't miss out.