I have two current food loves which are turning into slight obsessions: canned black doris plums, and pearl barley.
I first encountered the black doris plums while we were staying with our new friends, Gill and Wayne, in New Plymouth. Gill put out the most fabulous spread for breakfast everyday, one might even say it was my ideal breakfast: plain yoghurt, homemade museli, rhubarb compote, and a dish of canned plums. Now these are no ordinary plums; they possess the deep, rich flavour of summertime cherries, and the perfect mix of tang and sweetness of stonefruit. In my opinion, they are a whole other canned good unto their own, and do not compare at all to any other canned fruit experiences I have had in my lifetime. Surely, these canned delicacies will make it onto the list of items that I will miss when we finally leave NZ.
My love of barley was cultivated when Brendon purchased a bag of it on a whim. Not entirely sure how he was going to use it, other than in a soup, Brendon did some perusing online, and came upon a recipe for a barley risotto. I found the idea intriguing, and the end product even more pleasing. Barley is less finicky than arborio rice when it comes to making risotto, so the constant stirring is not as crucial. Being a whole grain, barley is also more wholesome than white or brown rice, and contains a decent amount of protein, fibre, potassium, and folate. A versatile dish, risotto is so easy to customize depending on what ingredients you have on hand. One evening this past week, we enjoyed a tomato cream risotto, loaded with roasted crimini mushrooms and courgettes, along with some feta. Hearty and incredibly flavoursome, this dish is one of my new faves. (I had hoped to include a photo, but it seems we tend to make this dish in the evenings, and unfortunately the sun goes down a good hour before we usually have dinner ready. Oh winter lighting woes.)
Creamy Tomato Barley Risotto (adapted from Oh She Glows)
2 cups pearl barley
1 clove garlic
1 can (400ml) chopped/diced tomatoes in juice
5 cups + 100 ml chicken or vegetable stock
2 tsp Italian seasoning
1 cup milk
1 cup zucchini, sliced
4 portobello mushrooms, sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 cup feta, crumbled
1 cup grated old white cheddar/tasty cheese
2 cups baby spinach leaves
Salt and Pepper, to taste
1. In a saucepan, combine chopped tomatoes and stock. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, then stir in milk.
2. Saute onion and garlic together in frying pan for a few minutes, until onions are clear.
3. Add barley to pan with onions. Add a small portion of the liquid (ie. two ladle scoops at a time) to the barley, stirring often.
4. While barley is cooking, chop zucchinis and mushrooms, and toss onto a pan with a little olive oil to roast in the oven. Season with salt and pepper.
5. Continue ladelling the liquid mixture into the pan with the barley, adding more liquid as the barley soaks it up. When barley has NEARLY absorbed the last portion of the liquid, stir in roast vegetables, cheeses, and spinach. Serve immediately. Yields 4-6 servings, depending on portion size.
Within the past two days, I have made two batches of these heavenly morsels. (Don’t worry, I didn’t eat them ALL myself, there were friends to help.) So I suppose you could say that Frisky Lemon’s Raw Cookie Dough Balls are my newest fetish. Gluten free and naturally sweetened, they are a health-conscious cookie dough lover’s dream. Thanks, Frisky Lemon, for this new-found fave!
Raw Cookie Dough Balls
3/4 cup almond flour
3 Tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
2 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp coconut flour
1 Tbsp vanilla
1 Tbsp raw honey
1 Tbsp coconut milk
pinch of salt
chocolate chips to your heart’s content (I used 1/2 cup chopped 70% dark chocolate)
Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, and then roll the dough balls together. It’s that simple. Refrigerate if you wish, or consume without guilt immediately. For the extra “wow” factor, drizzle with some melted dark chocolate.