Day 267: Mushroom & Leek Pearl Barley Risotto 

We’ve had a super busy day today: football with the eldest boy, a museum visit to see the dinosaurs with the youngest two, followed by a bear hunt. 

Tonight we’re ready to collapse with some comfort food and a lazy night. I’m making an easy mushroom risotto, but for a change I’m substituting the rice with pearl barley. The more substantial texture to it offers more of a wintery feel. It’s also vegan, as it doesn’t require any cheese – the pearl barley is flavoursome enough, and gives off a rich creaminess that belies its basic and healthy roots, making it feel far more indulgent than it really is.


  • 500g chestnut mushrooms, sliced
  • 250g pearl barley, rinsed
  • 1 x litre veg stock
  • 2 leeks, sliced
  • 1 small onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • Few sprigs of fresh thyme
  • Splash of white wine

Fry the onion in olive oil. Add the leeks, garlic and mushrooms and cook for a few minutes until they begin to soften.

Stir in the pearl barley, until coated in the oil. Pour in the stock and a splash of white wine, throw in the thyme and bring to the boil.

Simmer for 30 minutes, until the pearl barley is cooked through and most of the liquid has been absorbed. 

The Man had some pork with his risotto; mine was perfect without.

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