Pearl barley

Not for the squeamish !

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on February 19, 2012

I love my Japanese mandolin. It slices things in a way that a knife just can’t do, creating shreds, ribbons or slices so regular, that it magically transforms even the simplest of vegetables into something quite superb.

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However just as Rick Stein is famously caught on film one minute warning us of the dangers of this tool and then the next clip shows a very angry disposal of said item while brandishing the tell tale blue plaster. I was also caught by the devilish sharpness while my attention and lack of respect wandered for just a moment!

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Still love it but just had to be reminded how scary it is.


Old favourite

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on February 14, 2012

An old favourite revisited and adjusted and clearly it earnt the title of “favourite” deservedly. Published in 1985/ 87, (worth looking out for in car boots, charity shops, whatever, but keep looking)
Clearly in those days we didn’t nerd to be seduced by a title or a picture ( visually this one would be a challenge) but shut your eyes and let your nose and mouth do their job. It is delicious and as I found out open to so much interpretation of what is haunting you in the vegetable rack/ drawer!

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Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on February 14, 2012

Oh dear not doing terribly well, two new cookery books, it’s February and my resolution was no more this year! Ok one was a gift and one was a charity shop find, but even so must try harder!

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New book

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on February 8, 2012

Great joy, although as anyone who knows me will vouch, I am not short of a cookery book, but a new one always brings new experience & introductions to combinations and possibilities.

Dan Lepard’s “Short & Sweet” is no exception.

With luck no shopping was needed for this one.

Orange macaroon cake

The dark chocolate curls were just my addition, tiny bit of 70% left over from a job.

second chance!

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on January 3, 2011

a holiday is often hard to commit to due to work however the appetite and enthusiasm with which I return always make me think holidays should be compulsory not optional!
this weather all white and wintery has me craving for stews and spices, soups and root vegetables, all good I think after the rich indulgence of Christmas, New Year and a birthday!

I made, this week, delicious little fritters, crisp and hot with flecks of red chilli to off set the green of the main ingredient. The sauce that was drizzled over was perfect but certainly not something i would normally have put with this seasonal vegetable, soy, rice vinegar, sugar and lime. The smell and then the taste seemed to have the family forming an orderly queue without being called!

Oh yeah I forgot to mention the main ingredient, might be due to the fact I don’t like them, never have, but may be now I love them! Brussel sprouts, give them a second chance. check out Jamie Oliver’s brussel sprout fritters.  They are good.


Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on May 16, 2010

New cookery books always get me excited but also  a little anxious! Odd I know but my dilema comes when I find a recipe I want to cook but then when I turn the page I find another! And so it goes on. I often feel torn as to whether I stay on that page & cook said dish before turning to the next.

So tonight with two books “on the go” we are having a combination of things that may or may not go together, but I have a good feeling about this even though both cuisines are quite different.

a couple of hours later……………………….

Now I will start with an apology.

Sorry no pictures.

This speaks for its self.

Too delicious, eaten before you could say “iphone, where……….. is…….oh forget it”!

And what was it that was so delicious? Rick Stein’s “Far Eastern Odyssey” – Deep fried chicken wings with a chilli & tamarind sambal and a mango, mint, coriander & lime salad. I amended a couple of things here

a) used skinless thigh fillets

b) made up only half the sambal, which was more than enough (and used tamarind concentrate for ease)

c) shallowed fried the chicken

d) and served it with lots of rocket

Plus from the new Yotam Ottolenghi “Plenty”- Sweet potato cakes, but without the sauce and just a big squeeze of lime juice.

Please take my word for it, but so delicious may have to sit quietly for rest of evening.

a “don’t” not a “do”!

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on May 16, 2010

Word on the street is they are the cake “de jour”! No longer the cupcake (hurrah) I grant you lovely to look at, some fabulous flavours, but just a bit too much icing to cake ratio for me. No, the new temptation goes by the name of “whoopie pie”.

Don’t be fooled by looks.

I baked this delicious looking, I stress “looking”, cake yesterday when I was finding any diversion possible to avoid my tax return. So with that in mind you would imagine that the simplest of things would have made me happy, but no this cake didn’t do it. In my book this is more “whoopie don’t” than “whoopie do”.

However that diversion proving inadequate it was back to my on going quest to bake perfect macaroons. These are still not quite right but on the way……………

spring doing it’s thing!

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on May 1, 2010

I just don’t know how or even why, but it happens. A  bit of tidying, which could happen at any time of year I grant you, but somehow at this time of year it get’s special!

Found this tin……………

and then ribbons to be sorted……………………….

how could I have left these all at the back of a cupboard!

Love spring, love clearing out cupboards, love my hidden treasures unearthed.

PS this clearing, cleaning thing will wear off, but for now I love it!


Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on April 25, 2010

Ok maybe this post is a little late, but I have been enjoying the joys of spring (and working but enough of that!)  Grass so green you want to eat it, tiny lambs and those warm tempting rays of sun that fool you in to shedding some layers. Yes, spring has sprung.

And blossom so beautiful everywhere.And of course rhubarb. Bursting forth and growing with such vigour it will encourage even the most novice gardener to venture forth with spade in hand and try other things.

Not many things things are still seasonal and maybe rhubarb is just hanging on in there but thankfully it still is. Hurray, so enjoy it while it is here.  It’s so versatile. As a tart relish with crisp pork belly, in a pie or piping hot crumble where the juices have bubbled up and turned the edges to a gooey fruit caramel. Pooled in a deep vanilla custard, simple, comforting and guranteed delicious. Or simply stewed and served with whatever you like.And on this occasion it was a richly spiced, warm & sticky ginger bread.

A taste of what’s to come.

Posted in Uncategorized by pearlbarley on March 8, 2010

Sticky lime and coconut fairy cake

The sticky lime and coconut fairy cakes needed to be eaten and not by me! It’s Sunday morning and the sun is shining even if it is bitterly cold.

And what better thing to do but go down to Columbia Row & donate the surplus cakes to fernandezandleluu while trying to reassure myself that winter is coming to an end with the arrival of all these gorgeous Spring flowers.

Sadly no picture of the very yummy Pork Banh Mi baguette that I feasted on from Fernandez & Leluu , too good to save.

You will just have to have the whole experience yourself one Sunday.