I love carbs. It never ceases to amaze me how people can “cut carbs” to lose weight. I would prefer to cut everything else BUT carbs! Actually, I would prefer not to cut anything at all, but to exercise more and eat lots of delicious, homemade, veggie filled meals. But don’t let me get started on THAT topic!
Today, we are celebrating carbs. Grains, to be exact. I think I have tried almost every grain in the last 1-2 years. Brown rice, wild rice, white rice (in all its guises), millet, quinoa (all three shades), spelt berries, buckwheat, bulghur wheat, and BARLEY!
Inspired by my love of grains, my LOVE of Ottolenghi, and my love of feta… this recipe was made for me!
Let us begin with a classic flavour base of garlic, shallots and celery, sautéed nicely in butter and olive oil.
The next layer of flavour shouts of fresh thyme, bay leaf, lemon peel, chilli, paprika (hero) and tomato.
Next comes our hallowed grain- pearl barley, with stock and passata for liquid.
Simmered away until just tender and the consistency of a risotto!
What I TRULY loved about this dish was the topping. As we all know I am a feta fiend, but have I ever introduced you to my favourite spice? Caraway seeds! The feta was marinated with toasted caraway seeds and BOOM! Flavour bomb!
(Actually, caraway seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg, sumac and paprika are my favourite spices. Oh and cracked pepper. And cumin. Maybe if I was on a deserted island it would have to be Zanzibar?)
The risotto was served with the feta mix sprinkled over, topped with fresh oregano (thanks Mum!).
I decided at the last minute it needed a little something something to complete the dish.
Hello spiced flat breads!
Pita breads, sprinkled with olive oil, sea salt flakes, sumac and sesame seeds. Crisped for 8 minutes in a moderate oven.
Now its perfect!
Bon appétit! xx