Thursday, 31 March 2016


Good Evening to you,

Oh my goodness, I am so behind with things at the moment. Consequently, I am writing to you in the evening, rather than the morning, which is my normal routine.

We have enjoyed a lovely Easter weekend and then we went on to celebrate my birthday. 

So all in all, I have had a fabulous week and feel thoroughly spoilt, but it has been a week, which has not included very much cooking.

.... so today, I decided I needed to organise myself and get back to normal.

I started by sorting out my store cupboard, checking dates and taking note of what food I had stored away. I then went on to check the fridge and freezer. 

.... and why this sudden burst of activity. Well, I have to tell you, I do have an ulterior motive. I have seen the most fabulous chair which I would like to buy.  To be able to buy the said chair, I have decided to set myself a challenge. I am going to try and create all our main meals, with the food I already have in the house, using only my store cupboard, fridge and freezer food.  I will own up to buying key essentials like milk, eggs and fresh vegetables, but other than that, I will be making our meals, with food I already have in the house.

Although it isn't the 1st April today, I decided, today would be a good day to start.  So I routed through my fridge and I found a chicken breast, some Feta cheese and quite a few sun dried tomatoes.

I then checked my store cupboard and found some preserved lemons, a couple of shallots and a half a packet of pearl barley mix.

On my windowsill sat a pot of flat leafed parsley, which was growing very well.

So what to make. I made a cup of coffee and had a think.... don't you find it easier to think when you have a cup of coffee in your hand.

.... and then I had it. I knew exactly what I would make. I would use the ingredients to make a,

Pearl Barley, Chicken and Feta Stack, with the addition of a few other ingredients which I already had.

So it's on with the pinnie and the music I am listening to, is someone who is new to me. Having heard one of his songs, which I really loved, Natasha bought me the album for my birthday.

The album 'Bitter Pill' by Gavin Jones is lovely.  I confess I know very little about Gavin, only that he is an Irish singer/songwriter, so I will have to do some research and learn a little more about him.

So while I listen to The Book of Love I will organise my ingredients.  


Serves 4
You will need 4 ring moulds to make 
the stacks

200g pearl barley mix, which includes
red lentils and dried peas
if you prefer
200g of pearl barley
1 preserved lemon
1 chicken breast
100g Feta cheese
1 shallot
2 tablespoons of yoghurt
8 sun dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 teaspoon to brush the moulds
handful of flat leaf parsley
sea salt
black pepper


Place the pearl barley mix into a bowl
cover with cold water.
Allow to soak for 4 hours.

Drain the pearl barley mix
and place
in a large saucepan.
Cover with cold water.

Remove the flesh from the 
preserved lemon.
Cut the preserved lemon rind into small pieces
and add to the pan.

Finely chop the
add to the pan.

Bring the contents to the boil 
and rapidly boil for 10 minutes.
Reduce the heat and
simmer until the pearl barley is tender.

When cooked,
spoon into a large bowl.

Drizzle with olive oil
(I used the olive oil from the sun dried tomatoes)
and then
toss everything together.

Season with
sea salt and freshly ground
black pepper.
(Not too much as the feta cheese and preserved
lemon are salty)
Set aside for the moment.

Cut the chicken breast
into small pieces 
and set aside for the moment.

Using a fork, mash together
the feta cheese and the yoghurt.
Set aside for the moment.

Using scissors,
snip the sun dried tomatoes
into small pieces.

snip the flat leaf parsley
into small pieces.
Add to the bowl

Using the remaining olive oil
brush around the sides
of the ring moulds.

Start by layering
some of the pearl barley mix
into the base of the mould.

Then layer a quarter
of the
chicken on top of the pearl barley.

Layer a quarter of the
sun dried tomatoes on top of the chicken.

Then a quarter of the
feta and yoghurt.

top with another layer of
pearl barley mix.

Using the presser
which comes with the ring moulds.
Gently press down.

Leave to stand for a couple of minutes.
gently lift the ring mould
and the stack will release
itself from the mould.

you have a really lovely lunch,
packed full of flavour.

So all there is left for you to do

I decided to weigh the ingredients to give you an idea of the amounts I used, but I have to say, this stack really is something, I make, without worrying about amounts, because as long as you have enough ingredients and they marry together, then you can make your very own stack with the ingredients you love.

Of course, you can pop everything into a large bowl and mix the ingredients together, but what I discovered, using these moulds, was that, I could decide the amount which went into each stack and I discovered the flavour was much better and I have to say, with very little effort the stacks look very impressive.

Just before I go, I wanted to say thank you so much for giving me advice on how to tackle my bundt cake issue. It was so very kind of you to share your experience with me. I feel a lot better, now that I know, that even experienced bakers who use buntd tins can get caught out every now and again.

I promise I will reply to your comments over the weekend, but what with the Easter celebrations and my birthday I really have not had the time.  But we are back to normal now, so I will be able to catch up with you.

As always,

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