200g baby plum tomatoes
100g trimmed fine green beans
3 pointed peppers (about 230g)
2 small carrots (grated)
100g pearl barley
1 handful fresh basil
4 tbsp olive oil
2tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp chipotle chilli flakes
1 tsp runny honey
1 clove of garlic (crushed)
1 tsp lemon juice
1 large pinch of sea salt
1 pinch of cracked black pepper
I’m a great believer in moderate eating and think this is the key to living well and having a healthy relationship with food. There is tons of contradictory information out there; ‘diet gurus’ and celebrities touting the latest fad diet sure to help you ‘lose weight and feel great in just 2 weeks!’ Often once you strip away the celebrity endorsement and shiny marketing gimmicks what are you left with? probably just another restrictive unsustainable diet that will leave you feeling deprived and frustrated with the results. Heavily restricting your food intake or limiting your choices to just a few key groups may leave you lacking in vital nutrients and can cause psychological harm too. In the short term these diets may work but it might be better to focus on setting up better life long habits which can be sustained and fit into your lifestyle.
Practicing the ‘art of moderation’ will mean enjoying a wide range of foods; if you find yourself stuck in a bit of a food rut shake things up with some new flavours, textures or even foods you have never tried before.
Need inspiration? check out this recipe for ‘Chipotle Pearl Barley Salad’, its packed with flavour and a whole lot of veggies too. It can be eaten warm or cold and makes a great lunchbox filler so there really is no excuse not to give it a try!
+ preheat the oven to 150*C
1: Place 500ml water and 100g pearl barley into a large saucepan and bring to the boil, once boiling reduce the heat and simmer covered for around 1 hour (or until tender). Alternatively you can buy pre-cooked pearl barley if you are in a hurry.
2: While the barley is cooking prepare the peppers by chopping them into small strips around an inch long and place in a tray ready for roasting. Next chop the tomatoes in half and add them to the roasting tray and set aside whilst you prepare the marinade.
3: Measure out sweet paprika, salt and chipotle chilli flakes, if the flakes look too big simply crush using a pestle and mortar. Tip the dry ingredients into a bowl or jug and add the crushed garlic clove, olive oil and honey. Stir well until you have a delicious and fragrant red oil.
4: Drizzle 3/4 of the oil over the vegetables in the roasting tray and stir to coat them all evenly. Pop it into the preheated oven for about 35 minutes. Once cooked remove from the oven and set aside to cool.
5: Dice the green beans into small pieces and roughly chop the basil then place in a large mixing bowl, add the grated carrots and stir. Next carefully spoon the roasted vegetables into the bowl leaving behind any excess liquid in the roasting tray, if it appears too liquid once mixed with the other vegetables give it a quick strain before moving on to the next step
6: Add the pearl barley to the vegetable mix and stir well to combine. Serve up the chipotle pearl barley and add crumbled feta to your taste. Add 1 teaspoon lemon juice and some cracked black pepper to the remaining chipotle oil and drizzle over the salad.
This recipe will serve 4 people but it can be kept for a couple of days refrigerated in an airtight container.