Barley Risotto with Marinated Feta

Although risotto is traditionally made with rice, I have started to swop the grain to barley as barley is high in beta-glucans so is excellent at balancing blood sugar levels as it improves insulin sensitivity. It is higher in fibre than risotto rice so will fill you up for longer. In addition it contains a fair amount of protein and Vit-B and magnesium. Magnesium is a good muscle relaxant and in studies barley has been shown to reduce blood pressure as well as LDL cholesterol.

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Olive & Herb Foccacia Bread

I absolutely love making bread – it is incredibly therapeutic and the kneaded dough is very satisfying! This loaf seems to feed loads of people and is ideal for a party. Also, if you grow your own herbs, take a trot round the garden and try out various – marjoram, oregano, basil, sage, rosemary, thyme are all my favourites. I also tend to rummage through my cupboards to see what else I can add, like sundried tomatoes, capers, anchovies, olives…anything goes in my book!

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Quinoa salad

Crunchy Quinoa Salad

Quinoa is almost a complete food on its own….it has a significant amount of amino acids which makes it high in protein. It has a wealth of important minerals – iron, calcium, zinc, potassium, as well as some B-vitamins from its carbohydrate content and small but useful amounts of essential fatty acids. However, on its own, as with most grains, it is rather bland. That said it is incredibly versatile, and I like to cook it up and use it hot instead of rice or wheat-based grains, in its flake form for porridge, or just cold as a basis for some interesting and tasty salads. On top of all this, it is gluten-free! As it can be bland, it is a good idea to toast the grains in the oven for about 10 mins. before you cook it as it gives it a nuttier flavour and makes it a more robust grain altogether.

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