Green Pearl Barley Risotto

The world is currently in turmoil, and there is a seismic shift occurring right now. I don’t know why the murder of George Floyd is the straw that broke the camel’s back, because I know the Black people have been protesting against discrimination by the police for decades. But, for some reason, something has clicked.

People are demanding what they deserve. Equality. Justice. Peace. Respect. And the tides are starting to shift, the progress made in the past few weeks with regards to police officers being arrested and charged, money donated to organisations such as Black Lives Matter and the ACLU, police murder/brutality cases being reopened, changes in the legality of police work. Things are happening. But it’s not enough to sit and watch it happen.

I was brought up to value and respect everyone equally, but I know I never did enough to be anti-racist. I didn’t educate myself on black history, I didn’t speak up when I heard things that were racist, I didn’t understand how I could start acting as an ally. So, I vow to change that.

I’ve spent the past two weeks trying to educate myself, buying books by Black authors and food bloggers, especially as the food industry is so, so white-washed. I’ve also been reading the recipes by these food bloggers, making them and sharing them on my Instagram account

My platform may be small, I don’t have a large following. But I can lead by example and do what I can to help BIPOC food bloggers, communities, and friends.

I also wanted to share with you this Green Pearl Barley Risotto. It’s not very pretty to look at, in fact it might make you uncomfortable. But the dish is pure comfort food. Incredible flavours, and making sure you get in a good portion of your daily veg. This dish is a vague analogy to how to understand what’s going on. It’s uncomfortable, it’s ugly, but if you put in the time and effort, the reward will be incredible.


1 tbsp olive oil
200 grams pearl barley, rinsed and drained
1/2 red onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
750 ml vegetable stock
2 medium courgettes, roughly chopped
100 grams cherry tomatoes
100 grams spinach, rinsed and drained
50 grams kale pesto (I use this one)
100 grams feta cheese

  1. Heat the oil in a large wok or frying pan over medium heat. Add the pearl barley and toast for two minutes. Then add the onion and garlic and cook until onion starts to soften (about five minutes).
  2. Add the vegetable stock a little bit at a time, about 200ml, and stir through the pearl barley. Do not add any more liquid until the first batch has been absorbed.
  3. Add the courgettes to the pan, along with another 200ml of the vegetable stock. Allow to cook on medium heat until all liquid has been absorbed.
  4. Add another 200ml of vegetable stock. Add the cherry tomatoes, stir through and cook further.
  5. Add the remaining 150ml of stock with the spinach, and stir through. Cook until all liquid has been absorbed.
  6. Stir through the kale pesto.
  7. When ready to serve, crumble feta cheese over the risotto. Divide onto four plates and serve warm.

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