|Tomatoes, garlic, thyme, olive oil and bay leaves ready for roasting|
The last two weeks have been the healthiest we've ever had. After about 10 months of
vegetarianism on my part we've switched to an almost completely plant-based diet. This is quite a big deal for my meat-loving husband, but he has been reading about the benefits of a meat-free lifestyle and has embraced our veggie menu wholeheartedly. In fact it was he who suggested a lifestyle overhaul to me! This was just great news, I have struggled to healthily cater for myself as the only veggie in the house but it's been so much easier now we're both singing from the same hymn sheet. We have eaten the most delicious things so far and I finally have my enthusiasm for cooking back after a good 18 months of feeling utterly uninspired. Even AJ has tried everything I've stuck under his nose!
This barley, tomato and onion recipe by Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall is one of the new things we have tried and whilst I'm still not sure if I like pearl barley there's definitely something to be said for it's inbetweeny pasta/rice texture and I think it'll come in handy. With minimal ingredients this recipe is quite easy to put together, although it's a bit time consuming if you opt to make your own tomato puree - but you can use passata instead.
I did find it a bit thin after the recommended cooking time so I stirred a couple of tablespoons of tomato puree in (the kind you get in a toothpaste tube!). I also slung a glug of hot sauce into the pot before serving (perhaps a bit too much, really - oops!) and garnished with some fresh basil leaves. It was delicious!