After a very long and tiring journey I'm finally back home from Sri Lanka.
I really enjoyed my time out there- meeting some lovely people, working in a really challenging environment and travelling round some of the beautiful Sri Lankan landscape - photos from my adventures will follow soon including a recipe inspired by a tour round a Sri Lankan tea plantation!
I returned home to a vegetable patch that with a bit of British sun and a lot of rain had gone wild and rather overgrown! - so today's lunch was a combination of all the freshly grown veg that's sprung up over the last few weeks.
It's a really good feeling eating lunch that's been grown in your very own garden- the veg tastes so much fresher and earthier and I'm also a fan of veg that's bobbly and out of shape and obviously home grown!
This recipe is a simple and delicious salad made with our fresh spinach, beetroot and red spring onion along with some toasted pine nuts, crumbly feta cheese, grilled tangy nectarines and a fresh and summery mint dressing.
It's the perfect light summer's lunch- I added a bit of cooked pearl barley as well to keep away hunger pangs till supper time.
For the dressing:
2tbsp red wine vinegar
1tbsp lemon juice
2tbsp olive oil
Salt and pepper
Small handful of chopped mint
50g pine nuts
75g pearl barley
3 red spring onions
To make the dressing, whisk together all the ingredients with a fork in a small bowl. Season to taste.
To construct your salad:
Put the pearl barley in a saucepan and cover with fresh cold water, bring to the boil and then simmer for another 45 minutes until tender. Drain and rinse under the cold tap.
Toast the pine nuts in a dry frying pan on hight heat for 3-4 minutes until golden brown. (Watch them carefully!)
Slice the nectarines, drizzle with a little olive oil, season with pepper and grill under a hot grill for about 5 minutes.
Finely slice the raw beetroot and the spring onions.
Toss the spinach leaves with the beetroot tops, roughly chopped. Top the salad leaves with the sliced beetroot, spring onions, cooked pearl barley, grilled nectarines and crumble over the feta cheese.
Top with the pine nuts and drizzle with the mint dressing.