I’ve been a bit out of sorts lately so no wonder my new year’s chocolate mousse turned into what looked like a bowl of poo, and didn’t taste much better. Sad face. I tried to simplify all the recipes I’ve seen to create a healthier and slicker version, you see, but it didn’t work out. Ah well, you can’t win them all. Note to self and to anyone else tempted to make a “healthy” chocolate mousse: some chocolate, egg whites and cream does not a chocolate mousse make


At least the little deer enjoyed his muddy pasture


On the happy face, successful front – I made a fabulous pearl barley “risotto” today! I was inspired by the rabbit pearl barley risotto I had at The Old Ship (on Mare St in Hackney) last summer. It’s surprisingly easy to make. Well, I don’t know about the rabbit one, I made a kale version, which was a simple, healthy and delicious start to my New Year

Ingredients

100 g pearl barley
100g kale
1 garlic clove
1 chilli
Vegetable stock 
1 tblsp butter
Splash of red or white wine (whatever you’re drinking)
Salt and pepper
Handful of grated parmesan or any other strong, hard cheese

Cook the pearl barley as you would a risotto, starting off with a little bit of stock, stirring often and adding more when the stock is absorbed. At the end, add the splash of wine and season. That should take about 40min. In the meantime, fry the chopped chilli and garlic in the butter and before it changes colour, add the kale. Keep stirring. Finally, add the whole lot to the pearl barley, along with the parmesan, stir it all in, and serve while piping hot. That up there makes enough for one person. I recommend!