I blinked and suddenly I am living in Sydney, it’s 2017 and I haven’t posted in longer than I care to admit. I owe you all an apology, I have been completely neglectful of my little hobby blog, distracted by the excitement of this beautiful big city, but I have plans to rectify my lack of action in the year ahead. Plans that start immediately with getting back into the kitchen and cooking more consistently.
Moving to Sydney really threw my world around (and for anyone else that has moved states or countries, I am sure you will understand the journey), I have spent a lot of time exploring, eating out and working hard – but now it’s time to restore some balance.
For me, 2017 will focus on cooking food suited to a small kitchen since I now live in a modest one-bedroom apartment with a teeny tiny kitchen – it’s not impossible to cook in but it sometimes requires a little compromise here and there. Also, I am focusing on cooking more healthy and vegetarian food driven by a goal to shake up my regular eating habits. I don’t know if the same applies for you, but sometimes I get stuck in the habit of cooking the same types of food or the exact same recipes over and over, but the time has come to revitalise my mid-week meals.
In other news, I am now available (in the Sydney metro area) to make custom cheese and grazing boards for as intimate as two people and for groups of 10+. You might have noticed I post lots of cheese and grazing boards on my Instagram account. If you’re interested in finding out more please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
But for now, here’s a fabulous recipe I borrowed* and made in my own kitchen for lunch during the holidays. Quick, simple and tasty, it paired wonderfully alongside a simple roast chicken.
Pearl barley and chickpeas
1 cup dried pearl barley, rinsed
1 Tbs olive oil
1 Tbs lemon juice
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
½ teaspoon salt
1 can (400 grams) chickpeas, rinsed and drained
500 grams heirloom carrots, washed and patted dry (no need to peel them)
1 Tbs olive oil
¼ tsp ground cumin
Salt and pepper
3 Tbs pepitas
½ tsp olive oil
Pinch of cumin
Pinch of dried chili flakes
Pinch of salt
Herbed crème fraîche
⅓ cup crème fraîche
1 Tbs chopped fresh parsley (plus 1 Tbs for garnish)
2 tsp water
Salt and pepper, to taste
Zest of ½ lemon
- To cook the pearl barley: In a medium saucepan, combine the rinsed barley with at least three cups water. Bring the water to a boil, then reduce heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the barley is tender to the bite but still slightly chewy – around 20 minutes. Drain off any excess water and return the barley to the pot. Adding olive oil, lemon juice, garlic and salt. Mix well, then add the chickpeas and stir to combine. Set aside, covered, until you’re ready to assemble.
- To roast the carrots: Preheat the oven to 200ºC. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and add the carrots. Drizzle them with 1 tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with cumin, salt and pepper. Use your fingers to make sure the carrots are lightly and evenly coated in oil and spices. Roast for 20 to 25 minutes, until the carrots are easily pierced by a fork near the top of their stems. Roasting time will depend on the size of your carrots – remove the more slender carrots at 15 – 20 minutes and check the rest at 5 minute intervals thereafter, removing the carrots as they are done.
- To toast the pepitas: In a small skillet over medium heat, warm ½ teaspoon olive oil until shimmering. Add the pepitas and generous pinches of cumin, chili flakes and salt. Cook, stirring frequently, until the pepitas are turning golden on the edges and starting to make little popping noises. Remove from heat to cool.
- To make the herbed crème fraîche, combine the crème fraîche, chopped parsley, lemon zest, water, and a few dashes of salt and pepper in a small bowl. Stir to combine and set aside.
- To assemble the dish, pour the barley and chickpea mixture onto a large serving platter. Arrange the carrots in a single layer over the mixture. Drizzle herbed crème fraîche generously over the carrots, then sprinkle them with pepitas and chopped fresh parsley. Serve immediately or let the dish cool to room temperature.
*Recipe originally sourced from the gorgeous blog Cookie + Kate