Yotam Ottolenghi’s Mussels with Barley Stew

The beginning of September is pretty much the beginning of Autumn and a slow transition away from all the bursting flavours of summer. This is a lovely stew which very much defines this period of transition for me. We have fresh tomatoes and mussels for that flavour of summer, with a hearty barley stew to give us that autumnal feeling. I’ve never considered barley and mussels as a one-pot stew before, but it works rather well! I omitted the watercress from this (because I forgot), but can see some fresh chopped parsley working very well here too! The recipe is a little faffy but I found that you can just go about doing other bits and pieces as this is cooking, and the flavours are definitely worth it. This is fantastic with some fresh crusty bread to mop up the sauces!

More Ottolenghi recipes: Yotam Ottolenghi’s Hawaij root vegetable stew with whipped fenugreek | Yotam Ottolenghi’s Caramelised Onion Crostini

This is a Yotam Ottolenghi recipe featured in The Guardian’s Feast magazine.

Mussels with Barley Stew

photo of mussels and barley stew

Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 1hr 10 mins

You’ll need:

  • 1 large head of garlic, top fifth cut off to expose the bulbs;
  • 80ml olive oil;
  • Salt and black pepper;
  • 300g pearl barley;
  • 3 banana shallots, peeled and finely sliced;
  • 2 tsp caraway seeds;
  • 1 lemon – finely shave off 5 strips of peel, then cut into wedges, to serve;
  • ½ scotch bonnet chilli;
  • 400g cherry tomatoes;
  • 1½ tbsp tomato paste;
  • 250ml dry white wine;
  • 800g mussels;
  • 60ml double cream;
  • 50g watercress.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Take two cloves from the garlic head and peel and thinly slice them. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil over the rest of the head, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the head tightly in foil and roast for 40 minutes, until the cloves have softened and turned golden brown. Remove the foil and, when the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the cloves and discard the skin.

Meanwhile, put the barley in a medium saucepan with plenty of cold water and put on a medium-high heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is semi-cooked but still has a good bite to it, then drain.

Put a large saucepan on a medium heat with the remaining 75ml oil, the raw and cooked garlic, shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel, scotch bonnet and two and a half teaspoons of salt. Fry gently for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots are soft and golden brown (turn down the heat if they start colouring too quickly). Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for eight minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the wine, 750ml cold water and plenty of pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for seven minutes. Add the barley and cook for eight minutes more, until it has swollen a little in the sauce.

Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the mussels, cover the pan and cook until they open – anywhere between three and six minutes.

Pour over the cream, add the watercress and plenty of pepper, and gently stir everything together. Serve hot with the lemon wedges and crusty bread to mop up the sauces.

Original recipe by Yotam Ottolenghi in The Guardian’s Feast, available online here.

Leftovers “Shepherd’s” Pie

If you often find yourself with leftover roast meat this recipe is a great way to use it up. Felicity Cloake’s original Shepherd’s Pie recipe on which this is very much based on/inspired by, calls for roast lamb meat or lamb mince (as per tradition), however, I wanted to use up some of the rabbit we had leftover from a roast and it will work with any meat. I hope the fact I’m re-purposing a British classic, such as the mighty Shepherd’s pie, will not cause too much upset with my British friends…

I used a combination of roast meat and cooked lentils to make the filling and it really worked out quite well, so I hope you will forgive me…

This recipe is based on Felictiy Cloake’s Shepherd’s Pie recipe from The Guardian’s Feast magazine. I’ve made several changes to the quantities, order of cooking and cooking times which worked quite well. Link to the original recipe is below.

More with leftovers: Leftovers Pie“Use up your Christmas leftovers” Pizza

Leftovers “Shepherd’s” Pie


Serves 4 | Prep 20 mins | Cook 1hr 15 mins

You’ll need:

  • 2 tbsp vegetable oil;
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped;
  • 1 large carrot, finely chopped;
  • 1 celery stick, finely chopped;
  • 1 sprig thyme;
  • 350g leftover roast meat or game, chopped (if you have a smaller quantity of leftover meat, add a pack or can of cooked lentils to make up to 350g);
  • 0.5 tbsp flour;
  • 200ml lamb or beef stock;
  • 1 tbsp tomato puree;
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce;
  • 750g floury potatoes, peeled and halved;
  • 50g butter;
  • 50g cheddar, grated (optional)
  • 1 tbsp whole milk.

First, start with the filling. Heat the vegetable oil in a medium sized sauce pan or a deep frying pan. When hot, add the onion, carrot, celery stick and thyme sprig. Cook on a low-medium heat for about 10 minutes, until the vegetables have softened but not browned.

Add the chopped leftover roast meat and fry for a couple of minutes. Sprinkle over the flour and stir well. Pour a little of the stock and scrape the bottom of the pan to get any stuck on bits. Stir in the tomato puree, followed by the remaining stock and Worcestershire sauce. If using, add the lentils at this point. Turn up the heat and bring to a simmer.

Once simmering, lower the heat, cover and leave to simmer gently for 30 minutes. Remove the lid, simmer for another 5-10 minutes – watch that the filling doesn’t dry up too much here. Set aside.

While the filling is cooking, prepare the mash for the topping. Put the potatoes in a pan of well-salted water, bring to a boil and cook until tender (roughly around 20 minutes, depending on the size of the potatoes). Drain and put back into the hot pan to steam dry.

Roughly chop the butter. Mash the potatoes, then add the butter and milk and work through until you have a smooth mash. Season to taste with salt and black pepper.

Heat the oven to 200C/180C fan/gas 6. Spoon the filling into an ovenproof dish and top with the mash. You can do this by scattering large dollops of the mash around the dish and the flattening it so it’s fairly evenly distributed. Drag a fork down the length of the dish to create ridges in the potato. If using cheese, scatter over the top. Bake for 30 minutes until lightly golden on the top.

This is based on Felicity Cloake’s recipe from The Guardian’s Feast, available online here. I’ve made several changes to the quantities of various items and cooking order/times.

Anna Jones’ Easy Clementine Compote

If you know me (or work with me) you will often see me eating a bowl of yogurt, granola and fruit for breakfast. In this regard, I’m fairly consistent – almost always thick Greek yogurt, usually 0% fat/ sometimes Skyr; a good helping of granola (95% homemade) and whatever fruit I’ve gotten my hands on depending on the season. Occasionally though I do like to go a bit fancy with my toppings – and use a compote or stewed fruits.

When I saw this recipe in a recent edition of The Guardian’s Feast, it was perfect timing as I had several clementines about to go off (very rarely does this happen!) and I really didn’t want to bin them. I’m glad I spotted this as it’s a perfect topper from my morning granola ritual. If you like marmalade you will enjoy this. Make it a little sweeter by adding one/two additional spoons of honey.

Eat this with homemade granola: Jordan Bourke’s Spelt, help seed and lemon zest granolaTropical Fruit and Nut Granola

Anna Jones’ Clementine Compote


Makes 1 Jar | Prep 5 mins | Cook 20 mins
Easy | Can be made Vegan* | Dairy and Gluten Free

You’ll need:

  • 8 clementines, peeled;
  • 3 tbsp honey or maple syrup (if making vegan);
  • 1 pinch flaky salt;
  • A few sprigs of thyme (optional).

Put the peeled mandarin segments in a saucepan, removing any big pieces of pith as you go. Heat the pan to low-medium and add the honey, salt and thyme, if you’re using it. Gently simmer until the fruit breaks down, using a masher to make a jam-like consistency. This should take around 20 minutes.

Spoon over yogurt, granola, porridge or top creamy desserts with it!


Original recipe by Anna Jones published in Feast, available online here.

Rachel Roddy’s Sausages with red onions and grapes

We are deep into autumn now and I found Rachel Roddy’s take on sausages and mash to be really satisfying in one of those crisp cold evenings. I wasn’t sure about the combination of grapes in this sausage stew but they really worked quite well, adding a bit more sweetness to the caramelised onions. This dish is perfect served over mash (think posh sausages & mash) and/or with crusty bread, like Rachel suggests. This recipe is from Rachel’s column in The Guardian’s Feast magazine.  I have adapted it slightly reducing the amount of onions and grapes.

More in comfort food: Cheeseboard Mac & Cheese | Chicken, olive and caper ragu | Tagliatelle with roast ‘nduja and tomato sauce

Rachel Roddy’s Sausages with red onions and grapes


Serves 2-3 | Prep 10 mins | Cook 30 mins
Easy | Gluten Free (if you can find GF sausages)

You’ll need:

  • Olive oil;
  • 6 good quality pork sausages;
  • 150ml white wine;
  • 2 small red onions (or 1 large), peeled and sliced;
  • 1 small red chilli (fresh or dried);
  • 200g mix of red and green grapes, cut in half;
  • Salt

In a large frying pan, warm a little olive oil and brown the sausages on all sides. Pour over the wine, cover and cook for 15 minutes, or until the sausages are cooked through. If the pan looks too dry at any point, add a little more wine. By the end of cooking, there should be just a little thick, glossy sauce.

Lift the sausages from the pan and pour/scrape the sauce into a cup: set aside and keep warm.

Add four tablespoons of olive oil to the pan and fry the onion and chilli with a pinch of salt until the onion is soft and lightly golden. Add the grapes and a pinch of salt, increase the heat, and cook at a lively pace for five minutes, stirring often, until the grapes start to soften and wrinkle.

Add the sausages back to the pan along with a spoonful or two of sauce, cook for a minute more, then serve, making sure everyone gets enough of the grapes and soft, sticky sauce.


Original recipe from Rachel Roddy, available online here.

Meera Sodha’s Courgette & Chickpea Dal

Funny story. When I made this Dal from The Guardian’s Feast magazine last week I thought “Wow, that’s an incredibly hot dish…” and wondered about the quantities of spices inside. I eat a lot of spicy food but this was very near killing off the other flavours! I almost was about to blame the recipe before it hit me… instead of chilli powder I had put 1.5 tsp chilli FLAKES. Not only are they usually hotter, but mine are even hotter (having been acquired from a market in Bangladesh). So there you have it, Meera Sodha is most definitely not to blame and also…. be careful with that chilli powder/flake situation! I managed to eat the Dal but it did involve an extra serving of Greek yogurt to cool it down.

More Dhal Recipes: Coconut Dhal

Meera Sodha’s Courgette & Chickpea Dal


Serves 4 | Prep 15 mins | Cook 30 mins
Easy | Vegan | Gluten and Dairy Free

You’ll need:

  • 5 tbsp rapeseed oil;
  • 1 tsp black mustard seeds;
  • ¼ tsp fenugreek seeds;
  • 750g courgettes, (about 4) halved and cut diagonally into 3cm pieces;
  • 250g vine tomatoes, chopped;
  • ½ tsp turmeric;
  • 1 ½ tsp chilli;
  • 1 ½ tsp cumin;
  • 1 ½ tsp coriander;
  • 1 ½ tsp salt;
  • 2 x 400g tins chickpeas, and their water.

Heat three tablespoons of oil in wide frying pan over a high heat, and, when very hot, add the mustard and fenugreek seeds. Let them sizzle and pop, then add the courgettes. Fry for 10 minutes, turning only now and then so as to get some good golden colour on them.

Add the tomatoes, cook for five minutes, then add the spices and salt. Mix well, then briefly take off the heat.

Tip the chickpeas and their water into the courgette pan, and put it back on the heat. Cook for a further five minutes until everything comes together, taste and adjust the seasoning if need be.

Meera Sodha recommends serving the Dal with chapatis, some lime pickle and a dollop of cold coconut yoghurt. I served mine with Naan bread and Greek Yogurt.

Original recipe by Meera Sodha from The Guardian’s Feast Sat 17 Aug issue, available online here.