Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Spring barley salad

I’m pleased to say that my first day of working at my old-new desk has been very successful. I haven’t yet had the chance to cover it in paper so it feels nice and serene, and my only problem has involved having to improvise a prodding device so that I can reach the radio buttons while not disturbing Mausel (the radio is now so much further away because the desk’s so big!).

One of the many benefits of working from home is the easy access to the kitchen and garden. It opens up a whole vista of lunch opportunities (and procrastinatory ones, though I do try to avoid those). It was such a lovely day today that I really wanted a nice salady spring lunch, so I had a look at what was in the cupboards and plumped on a barley and mushroom variant of a recipe from The wholegrain diet miracle. Since The Scientist doesn’t like barley it seemed like a good way to get my tasty selenium fix. It was very easy and colourful – I just let the barley cook during the morning, apologetically scraped it off the bottom of the pan in my tea break, and put the other ingredients together at lunchtime. I was going to substitute grilled mushrooms for the corn, but the picture in the book looked so tasty that I quickly got some sweetcorn out of the freezer mid-morning and let it defrost. The quantities I used were all very rough, but I suspect it’s a very forgiving recipe! I simplified the dressing and just mixed a little flax oil with some cider vinegar and a little English mustard. For the first time, I ate my lunch in the sun on our deck – we moved here in September so this is a new treat we’re keen to indulge in. It was lovely. The salad was nice and filling – I’m sure it would be lovely with goat’s cheese too (in fact the original recipe had goat’s cheese and not mushrooms) but I knew I was planning a mushroom and goat’s cheese supper and didn’t want to duplicate entirely (more on that tomorrow, I hope)!

And this is what I was looking at as I ate my lunch: do you remember those poor little naked stick trees The Scientist gave me for Christmas? Look how they've grown! The apple tree even has a flower - oy, I'm so proud.

Sweetcorn, barley, mushroom and rocket salad (adapted from The wholegrain diet miracle)
Serves about one and a half Lysys, which is a bit of an inconvenient amount (though probably one normal person!)

About 35-40g barley
Handful of rocket, coarsely chopped
A handful of sweetcorn
A big flat mushroom

Splash of flax oil
Bigger splash of apple cider vinegar
Small dollop of English mustard

Place barley in a saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for 45 minutes, or until chewy but tender (for the sake of proportions, the original recipe had 100g barley to 500 ml water). Remove from the heat and leave to stand for 10 minutes covered. Transfer to a bowl and chill.

Grill the sliced mushrooms

In a large bowl mix the chilled barley with the rocket, corn and mushroom.

Whisk the oil, vinegar and mustard in a small bowl. Pour the dressing over the barley mixture to coat.

Add salt and pepper to taste.


Johanna said...

Lovely salad - have never used barley in a salad but this is very tempting - love the simplicity of it. I wish I could work at home more because I love being able to prepare lunch rather than having to take in or take out (so to speak) - actually am working at home today and thinking about soup!

And am glad you have found ways to avoid disturbing Mausel - I find myself doing that most mornings when I get up so I don't disturb Zinc sleeping on the bed.

Lysy said...

Zinc is luckier than our cats - they purr too loudly in the night to be allowed to stay in with us!

I hope you enjoyed your at-home lunch

LisaRene said...

How wonderful to see your trees growing! I hope you have a nice warm summer so you can spend lots of time enjoying your deck.

Since the Scientist does not care for barley all the more for you :)

Johanna said...

We often quote E's dad who used to say purring like a locomotive - feels like that some nights and doesn't do great things for our sleep but the logistics of leaving her out is too much for us and when she is good she is very snuggly! Had a lovely soup that i might post soonish

Ilana said...

the trees! they grew so much! plants are amazing... we might get raspberries from the canes i planted a few months ago but i'm not so sure about the peppers and tomatoes, they are still looking so puny...

have barbecues on the deck and invite us! but not til after we're back from holiday at beginning of july. hopefully there will still be nice weather then :)

Susan from Food Blogga said...

Adding the flax oil is a such a great idea and healthy addition. I usually put it in salad dressings, but I've got to start using it more. Thanks for the idea!

Lysy said...

Great idea, Eco Sis! We just need to buy a BBQ first... Consider yourself invited as soon as that little problem has been overcome!

Susan: I bought the flax oil to use on salad as well, but I always forgot. For some reason it just leapt into my head when I was mixing up this dressing so I grabbed the opportunity!

Johanna: it's amazing how the smallest 'person' in the house can have the biggest influence, isn't it? Unfortunately the last time we let Mausel sleep with us I ended up laughing uncontrollably at the surrealness of being kept awake by a cat that was too happy to sleep quietly, and woke The Scientist up too.