Lamb and Pearl Barley soup

Hi guys, how is your foodie-life going on out there? It’s such a good weather now here – in Dubai, I’ve heard that this year March is one of the coldest months of the past 10 years! Believe me or not, but I’ve been living here approximately the same time and it really seems colder than usual, especially in the evening or those very windy days, that even with the jacket on I want to go in and hide somewhere with a cup of hot tea. 😄 

And this warm and nourishing soup exactly what I need these days. I’ve been enjoying it for the last couple of weeks, as I cooked it twice and both time in a large pot so it will be enough for at least two days. This soup combines Russian and Middle Eastern flavors and textures: pearl barley is a well-known grain in my home country, and lamb is a popular meat in the UAE and other Middle Eastern countries.

The soup is good in its simplicity, even though it takes more time to prepare it comparing to other soups, but you will like the result – flavorful and delicious thick soup. Using all spices is a another little secret to get wonderful aroma!

“Lamb

  • Servings: “4-5”
  • Difficulty: “very
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Dear readers, sorry but the ingredients’ weight is approximately. Next time I will cook it – I will measure fore sure. 😉

What You’ll Need 

  • 800g lamb, with bone preferably 
  • 100g pearl barley (you need about 2-3 Tbsp uncooked barley per person)
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 small zucchini
  • 1 medium capsicum
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp EV olive oil
  • 2 tsp whole coriander, crushed a bit
  • 1 tsp cumin seeds
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • S&P to taste
  • some fresh chopped coriander, optional
  • Arabic or any other bread to serve


How To Make It 

  • Night before or at least 3 hours before cooking, cover washed pearl barley with cold water.
  • In a large pot, add lamb and cover with cold water. Bring to boil, remove all foam, reduce heat to medium-low, cover with a lid and boil for 1hour. Take the meat from the broth, and cut into medium pieces.
  • Drain pearl barley and then add to the pot, cook for 40 minutes.
  • Cut vegetables into small cubes, and add to soup along with bay leaf. Season the soup with salt and freshly ground pepper. Cook the soup for 20 minutes more. 
  • Tip: Add some hot-boiling water if the soup is too thick for your taste.
  • Meanwhile, in a small frying pan, heat the oil and fry onion on a medium heat until it’s just transparent. Add coriander and cumin seeds, and garlic if using, and fry for 1 minutes more. Transfer to the soup.
  • Turn the heat off.
  • Serve hot with some bread. Garnish with fresh chopped coriander, if desired.

Enjoy!

Monastery beetroot salad with coriander seeds

 Hello guys! How is your foodie-blogo-life going on?
I’ve wanted to post this recipe for so long that almost forgot about it. When I was a student I didn’t want to spend much time cooking, so the food was usually prepared well ahead of time, and then reheat, or simple dishes were all the time favorite, like boiled potatoes served with homemade pickles or macaroni a la flot, or famous salad vinegret was cooked pretty often. So, the recipe of this salad I read in one tiny little book with few recipes suitable for the Lent diet, when you’re not allowed to eat meat and dairy products; and I liked it from the first spoon (even though first time I didn’t use neither honey or coriander seeds) and since then I prepare it. I highly suggest not to omit coriander seeds, as they give so much flavor, and the simple beetroot salad turns into something special. And I love the idea that this bright salad can be made all year round and served whether as a starter or a healthy main dish (add some roast fish steaks on a side for the more nourishing meal).

MonasteryBeetroot Salad

Monastery beetroot salad with coriander seeds

  • Servings: 2-4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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You’ll need 
450-500g beetroot
2 medium brown onions
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1.5 tbsp whole coriander seeds, crushed
150g prunes, without stones
100g walnuts, raw or dry-roasted
2 tsp runny honey
some chopped parsley or dill, for garnish, optional
How to make it
  1. Boil or roast beetroots until ready to eat. Peel, cut into cubes or wedges.
  2. Saute onions in oil until translucent, add coriander seeds and fry for 1 minute more.
  3. Chop prunes and walnuts, combine with honey. Mix into beetroot.
  4. Drizzle with extra oil and honey, if desired. Sprinkle with some more coriander seeds and (optionally) with fresh chopped parsley or coriander.
Enjoy!
MonasteryBeetroot Salad with coriander seeds

 

Leftovers wholemeal galette

 If you could have a look at my freezer you would found there a disc of shortcrust pastry. It’s very handy to have one there, so once you don’t know what to cook or unexpectedly a friend decided to come over, you can prepare a nice tasty galette (or mini quiches, click here for the ideas) in almost no time. Tip: make a couple of crusts ahead, shape into discs (it takes less space in the freezer and then easier to roll out) and freeze. For the filling you can use almost whatever you can find in your fridge or even freezer, wether it is savory or sweet stuff. And another tip: freeze roasted or boiled chicken, deli ham leftovers; or if you bought too many fruits and berries, clean and cut them and freeze as well.
 This time I had a roasted chicken and gammon leftovers, I combined both. Gammon was a bit dry, so probably I won’t use it next time. But the chicken tasted quiet nice, especially mixed with lots of leeks sautéed in a butter and few cherry tomatoes. Some cream cheese (on any other cheese) on top makes this delicious wholemeal galette only better.
Leftovers Wholemeal Galette
If you fancy to try sweet galette click here. Cherry one!  😉

Leftovers wholemeal galette

  • Servings: 4-6
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients 
Wholemeal shortcrust pastry
100g wholemeal flour
100g plain flour
120g butter
1-2 tbsp iced cold water
Filling
roasted chicken leftovers
leek, sautéed in butter&oil
few cherry tomatoes, cut into halves
2 quill eggs (1 egg yolk separated), optional
some cream cheese
S&P to taste
Method
  • For the pastry combine ingredients, shape into a disc and keep in the fridge for 30 minutes, or freeze until needed.
  • Roll out the pastry into 2-3mm thick disk, arrange filling. Pour over slightly bitten eggs, if using. Dot with creame cheese. Fold in the pastry edges. Brush with remaining egg yolk.
  • Bake in preheated 180C oven for 30 minutes.
Enjoy!

Kulesh

Kulesh – simple thick soup/pottage, that was popular in old times among peasants and Cossacks. It was also called “field pottage or kasha”, as it was often cooked by farmers for their lunch during field works. This pottage consisted mainly of millet and any root vegetables that were available at the moment. Garnished with some onions and salo (salted or cured fat, usually pork one), kulesh was prepared on a fire, that added a nice smoked flavor to the whole dish.
It should be thick enough but if you prefer thinner consistency add more water. Mine was thick and nourishing because of smoked meat (cooked pork belly). Using smoked meat replaces the cooking on an open fire. But feel free to make completely vegetarian version and omit the meat.Kulesh - simple thick soup/pottage
Once I wrote that millet is a healthy grain or seed. And if you still think it’s just for the feeding birds, you’re completely wrong and miss lots of benefits of this lovely grain. It’s a good source of vitamins B, calcium and iron. Here another recipes that I do love and cook at home: sweet breakfast millet porridge and autumn recipe – millet cooked in a pumpkin pot.
So, have you ever cooked millet? What are your favorite recipes?Kulesh

Kulesh

  • Servings: 4
  • Difficulty: very easy
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You can add some cubes of celery root along with other vegetables.
Ingredients
4 medium potatoes, cubed
1 large carrot, cubed
200g millet
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large onion
150g smoked pork belly
1 bay leaf
fresh chopped parsley and spring onion, optional
S&P to taste
Method
  1. Boil 2l water in a large pan. Add cubed vegetables and some salt. Bring to boil, reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer about 15 minutes.
  2. Wash millet throughly under running water. You may also cover millet with some warm water, it helps to cook it faster.
  3. Add millet to the pot along with bay leaf and simmer for 10-15 minutes more or until it’s cooked.
  4. Meanwhile, slice or chop onion, and cut pork belly into thin slices or chop it as you like. Heat the oil in a frying pan and saute onion until it’s soft. Add pork belly and fry for few minutes.
  5. Stir the onion-pork mixture into the soup. Adjust the seasoning.
  6. Pour the soup into serving bowl. Sprinkle with fresh herbs, if desired. Serve with bread.

Enjoy!

Barley and Vegetables salad

  Hello, lovely readers. I miss blogging, baking cakes whenever I want.. Honestly, I have no idea how some new-mums  manage to post often. May be their husbands or sisters cook, take photos and then write posts. 😀 Even if you don’t know what mom has been up to all day, just believe me she is often so busy! There are endless tasks – feeding, playing, caring, plus laundry, cooking.. Motherhood turned out wonderful, emotional, sometimes crazy and difficult; so I still need to organize this new life somehow..
 I have always wanted to prepare those colorful and beautifully arranged on a plate salads, that I’ve seen million times on the Internet, but never get a chance to do. Finally, few months back I made it (haha, exactly months, not even weeks). This delicious salad is super healthy and extremely easy to prepare plus it can be made ahead and then reheated, if you wish. I prefer it’s served warm over chilled.
barley-vegetables-salad

Barley and Vegetables salad

  • Difficulty: super easy
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Ingredients
pearl barley, cooked
roasted red and yellow pepper
roasted eggplant
cherry tomatoes, sliced
feta
olives, optional
sliced red onion, fresh or pickled
fresh chopped parsley
pine and pistachio nuts, chopped, optional
Dressing
lime or lemon juice
EV olive oil (or your fav veg oil)
salt, pepper to taste
Method
  1. Arrange barley and all other ingredients on a large serving plate.
  2. In a small jar combine dressing ingredients, shake well and pour over salad.
Enjoy!