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Saturday, 19 January 2013

Red mullet and pearl barley risotto

We estimated this dish at around 450 calories as there was a lot less fish than last time. It was handy having lots of the red pepper sauce already in the freezer, so we dug some out. We made a good batch of the sauce when the peppers were in season and cheap. Fish is great when it's fresh, i.e. doesn't smell, and cooked gently - that's all you have to do!
TIP: When cooking the pearl barley, it may taste quite strong. The balance of flavours deliver when you taste this together with the red pepper sauce which is quite sweet. Delicous.
If you're starting from scratch, here's how to go about it:
Begin by frying a chopped shallot and some garlic until soft, add one and a half chopped red and yellow peppers to the pan, cook for a little longer. Add small dash of white wine vinegar to the pan, the vermouth and stock/water. Reduce by half, then whizz in a blender - you may need to add just a touch of sugar to taste due to the white wine vinegar. We did this bit early in the afternoon - so it was ready to go. Add salt and pepper to taste.
We used 80g of dried pearl barley between the two of us and cooked it in fish stock - but any stock and/or ordinary water will do - until soft. You can do this early in the afternoon, then when ready to eat, just heat through and add a tablespoon each of mascarpone and grated parmesan. Add a small knob of butter too, as this will give the dish a real richness. TIP: If we were making a risotto with rice, we wouldn't be able to pre-cook like this, so why not give pearl barley a go? You can relax with your friends instead of being slave to stirring a risotto! 
Don't forget to season - salt needs to be added carefully, little by little, not enough and the barley is 'missing' something.
The fish fillets were pan fried in butter/oil. We served with some courgettes last time but forgot to buy some, so added frozen peas to the risotto to give it a bit of colour for the um 'photo shoot'.

If you would like to know more about how we have achieved our fabulous weight loss eating all this wonderful food - see OUR UNIQUE METHOD.
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