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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Jane Baxter

Jane Baxter’s budget Scandinavian-style barley recipes

Jane Baxter's barley beetroot cakes with mackerel and dill yoghurt
Jane Baxter’s barley beetroot cakes with mackerel and dill yoghurt. Photograph: Matthew Hague/The Guardian. Food styling: Oliver Rowe. Prop styling: Anna Wilkins. Food styling assistant: Lucy Cottle.

Working on my latest book with nutritionist Dr Federica Amati has opened my eyes to the health benefits of barley, which has been grown in Scandinavia since the Stone Ages. The word barley means “what is cultivated”, and this grain is one of the oldest known to man; it is also vitamin- and mineral-rich, and has a high fibre content compared with other wholegrains. Today’s fritters are very quick to make, combining grated beetroot and caraway with cooked barley; smoked fish and dill are my favourite topping for them, but go with whatever takes your fancy. Cooking barley like rice, risotto-style, is a bit more time-consuming, but it can be the base for so many meals and, like so many things, is vastly improved by the addition of a fried egg.

Barley beetroot cakes with mackerel, dill and yoghurt

Prep 10 min
Cook 20 min
Serves 4 as a starter

200g grated raw beetroot
300g cooked barley
2 eggs
1 tbsp creme fraiche
2 spring onions
, trimmed and finely chopped
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
1 tsp caraway seeds
25g chickpea flour
Salt and pepper
100g Greek yoghurt
1 tbsp chopped dill
1 x 100g tin smoked mackerel fillets
, drained and shredded
2 tbsp olive oil

In a large bowl, mix the grated beetroot with the barley, eggs, creme fraiche, spring onions, garlic, caraway and chickpea flour, to make a thick batter, then season with salt and pepper.

Put the yoghurt and dill in a medium bowl, gently stir in the shredded mackerel and season.

Put the oil in a nonstick pan on a medium heat. Once hot, spoon in four fritter-sized dollops of the batter and cook for about three minutes on each side, until golden brown. Repeat with the remaining batter.

Serve two fritters per portion, each topped with a spoonful of the mackerel yoghurt.

Barley, bacon, pea and mushroom risotto with a fried egg

Jane Baxter’s barley, bacon, pea and mushroom risotto with a fried egg

Prep 10 min
Cook 40 min
Serves 4

3 tbsp olive oil
2 rashers streaky bacon
, chopped
250g pearl barley
100g mushrooms, sliced
1 garlic clove, peeled and crushed
Salt and black pepper
700ml chicken stock
00g frozen peas
25g parmesan, grated
4 eggs

Heat a tablespoon of the oil in a medium pan and cook the chopped bacon for two or three minutes, until it is lightly browned and has released some of its fat.

While the bacon is cooking, rinse the barley under cold running water, then drain. Stir the drained barley into the bacon pan, cook for a couple of minutes, then stir in the mushrooms and garlic, and season.

Add the stock, bring to a simmer and leave to cook gently, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes, until the barley is almost tender.

Stir in the peas, cook for another five minutes, adding extra stock or water if the mix seems a little dry. When the barley is cooked, stir through the grated cheese and season to taste.

Heat the remaining two tablespoons of oil in a large frying pan over a medium heat, then break in the four eggs and cook until fried to your liking. Divide the barley mixture between four shallow bowls, top each with an egg and serve.

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