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Roasted lemon & thyme vegetables with Barley – serves 4

Like so often this dish is the result of an effort to cook something using leftover bits and pieces that had been in the fridge for a while and were about to go off. I love roasted vegetables, the way they almost caramelise is just divine and when I first discovered the sweetness of roasted lemons I was blown away (I didn’t think roasting citrus fruit would work particularly well). Add cooked barley for substance and texture (barley is a wonderful grain loaded with endless slow burning carbs), scatter over a handful of black olives (for those who like it), season with salt, pepper and fresh thyme and enjoy as a main or a side. Tastes great both hot or cold, I have taken it to picnics on warm days calling it a ‘barley and veg salad’ and it has gone down just as well.

What you need:

180g pearl barley - rinsed

1 large sweet potato – peeled and cut into cubes

3-4 medium carrots – peeled and cut into sticks

2 courgettes – washed and cut into cubes

2 peppers – washed, deseeded and sliced

1 red onion – peeled and sliced

3 garlic cloves – halved

1 organic lemon – quartered

Handful of pine kernels

Black stoneless olives (optional) - cut in half

A few sprigs of fresh thyme

Salt and pepper to taste

How you do it:

Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil.

Cook the barley according to the instructions, this takes approx. 1h – 1h15mins.

Once cooked, drain and rinse it with cold water and put aside for later.

Preheat the oven at fan 180C.

Prepare all your vegetables and evenly scatter them onto a lined baking tray or a roasting tin.

Roast all veg (apart from onion, garlic and lemon) for approx. 30mins, giving it a gentle mix once or twice.

Add onion, garlic, lemon quarters, pine kernels and olives and roast for a further 10mins.

For the last 5mins add the barley and scatter over the thyme sprigs and olives.

Take out of the oven, season to taste with salt and pepper and gently squeeze a bit of the lemon juice over everything before serving up (make sure everyone gets a lemon quarter and some thyme).



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