The other day I gave you a little story on orgeat and I thank those of you who have emailed or commented on the story so far. I plan on a follow-up sometime soon, as the barley and almond elements of the orgeat story become clearer.
In the meanwhile, I think barley needs a little more time in the limelight. Barley is usually seen as a rather dull, second class grain, doesn’t it? It is useful to thicken soups or to add to bread when wheat is scarce, but isn’t likely to star. I did, however, have a marvelous duck dish recently, the duck served on a bed of pearl barley that was so good it almost distracted me from the duck, which, believe me, is quite an achievement.
I give you, to start with, some unglamorous but not uninteresting recipes using barley from World War I. I found them in The Times of Saturday, Feb 10, 1917, amongst some other utilitarian ideas in an article headed:
BARLEY AND OATMEAL RECIPES.
Weekly allowance per head:
BREAD: 4 lb. (or 3 lb.Flour for breadmaking)
MEAT: 2 ½ lb.
SUGAR: ¾ lb.
The following are some of the recipes which have been tried since the suggestion of voluntary rations and have passed the tests of the cooks and the patrons of the school restaurant at the Borough Polytechnic.
One quart of milk, a small piece of lemon rind, a gill of barley, a tablespoon of white sugar.
Stew the barley and lemon rind very slowly in the milk for four hours or more. Do not stir, and be very careful not to allow to burn. Add the sugar lastly, and remove the lemon rind. Pour into a dish, and serve.
About half a pint of barley cooked as above, 2 oz. chopped dates, one egg, ½ oz margarine.
Beat the egg and mix all together, Pour into a buttered mould and steam for three-quarters of an hour.
I lb. flour, 1 lb. barley meal, 1 oz yeast, 1 pint tepid milk and water, 1 teaspoon of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt. Mix flour and barley; make a cream of yeast and sugar; pour into a well into the flour, add milk and water, and mix into a dough; knead for 5 minutes; put in a bowl and leave for two hours to rise; work up again for 5 minutes and cut and form into small rolls. Allow them to “prove” (rise) for almost an hour. Then bake in a quick oven.
½ lb barley meal, 3 oz. white flour, 1 oz. butter or lard, 1 ½ teaspoonfuls baking powder, a pinch of salt. Mix flour and meal, rub in butter, add baking powder and salt. Mix with a knife to a soft dough with about half a pint of milk, work it lightly into a ball on a baking board, then pat it out to about half an inch thick and bake on a girdle.