Cooking gives me time out from the business of writing, researching, editing, re-editing, revising and rewriting. As my brain rests my senses are refreshed by the smell of freshly picked rosemary or the crack and crackle of toasted coriander seeds being crushed up in the mortar and pastle. When the weather is cold like today (the forecast is for the temperature to drop to minus seven degrees centigrade) I enjoy anticipating the taste of something warm and filling like home-made barley soup.
The fun thing about barley soup is that there is almost no wrong way to make it. What vegetables and herbs to use is pretty much up to yourself. I usually cook the onions for a bit then add ground rosemary, crushed coriander, paprika and nutmeg for flavour, before chucking in diced carrots, potatoes, barley and1.5 litres of veggie stock. But the options are endless. You might want to try this lovely recipe from the BBC Good Food site
The one thing I do add to my soups and some other recipes is seaweed. This simple sea vegetable is packed with nutrients, aids the digestive system, helps you de-tox and is generally an all round power food. For more on the benefits check out the Guardian’s SevenReasons To Eat Seaweed. Seaweed is also very easy to use. Just take a couple of strips, soak them for ten minutes and then cut it up into little bits and pop it into the soup. Seaweed can be bought in many shops in Galway, including health shops, grocers and fish mongers. For a list of companies selling seaweed products check out Use of seaweed as a food in Ireland
And finally, the most important thing about cooking, is to have fun. Your brain and body will thank you for it :-)
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