Malaysian Monday 31: Barley Water

Monday, April 5, 2010

Hear that? It’s the sound of a late post squeaking in through the gates just before midnight – it’s still Monday!

How was your weekend? Ours was pretty relaxing, we caught up with friends - over food of course, and ate lots of chocolate.

Over the top Easter brownies - choc macadamia brownies topped with ganache / buttercream and mini-eggs.

And if you were my mother, right about now you’d be saying, “too much chocolate is very heaty”. Remember the concept of heaty/cooling (yin/yang) foods? If not, here’s a link that came up when I googled.

Anyway, the usual recourse after eating too much of a “heaty” food, is to cool the body down by eating/ drinking something “cooling” instead.  Which brings us to barley water. I don’t really believe the whole hot/cold thing, but I made barley water because
a) it was easy,
b) I had pearl barley in the pantry and didn’t have to go to the shops,
c) it was one of my favourite childhood drinks.

It’s an odd drink because it’s so viscous but I used to love it with ice. It was handy for whiling away the time while waiting for our food order to arrive, I’d attempt to suck up bits of barley through the straw one at a time.

Barley water isn’t really that hard to make, just boil up a bunch of barley, sugar and water. Some folks add pandan leaves for scent, or candied winter melon for flavour. Usually rock sugar is used but I don’t see why ordinary granulated sugar wouldn’t work as well.

I made mine with the following ratios:
½ cup pearl barley
¼ cup rock sugar (for mild sweetness, add more if you like it real sweet)
10 cups water.

Place everything in a large pot, bring to the boil then simmer for about an hour or more until the barley is soft and tender. Skim surface of drink if necessary.

Let stand for a while then serve warm or chilled. (I prefer chilled)

Did the rest of the Skewer household like it? Mr.Kitchen Hand declined a try, while MC Senior sang its praises.

MC Senior: “Mmmm, I like barley water! It’s sweet!. Come on (MC Junior) try it, it’s yummy”
MC Junior: “No, I don’t like to try it because it’s got seeds in it”

Finally, we convinced her to have a sip but she pronounced it “yucky!”

Ah well, more for us then ☺

Have a great start to the week and here are some pics from our weekend.

 We met up with a lovely friend for lunch at Fratelli Paradiso in Potts Point (12-16 Challis Ave, Potts Point, NSW 2011). I'd read some mixed reviews about this place, but luckily it lived up to expectations. It felt very "authentic" and the food was spot-on and bursting with flavour. Don't worry if you don't speak Italian, the waitstaff talk you through the menu, I could sit and listen to them all day :)

Then we went round the corner and sussed out the food store Fratelli Fresh where I got carried away  and  just HAD to buy these pine mushrooms  even though I have no idea what I'm going to do with them just yet.

Easy entertaining - get a bunch of different tomatoes, slice and arrange prettily on a plate, sprinkle on soame basil leaves and flowers from the garden, just before serving, drizzle with balsamic vinegar and olive oil and a sprinkle of salt.


The Real Mother Hen said...

Those mushrooms look like blewit. If they are blewit (ie the color is purple, cap is bald, not slimy, gills are close together/ attached to stalk, examine the characteristics of the stalk, veil, ring, volva absent etc), once all the characteristics of a blewit are checked and you know for sure that these are blewit, then well, the best way to prepare blewit is to dry saute them, otherwise they will turn all rubbery.

The Real Mother Hen said...

wait, just realized the gills of one mushroom were shown in your picture and the stained gills look like a milky cap. Anyway, hope you did check with the shop the name of these mushrooms, so you can prepare them accordingly.

Barbara said...

Lovely chocolates, Shaz, but I think I'll pass on the barley water and eat the plate of tomatoes to get my yin/yang!

Juliana said...

Shaz, the chocolate look so yummie and cute :-) Barley water? I haven't try this yet! But he tomato salad sure looks good.

grace said...

barley water. i don't think i could call that my beverage of choice, but it's interesting to be sure! like barbara, i prefer chocolate and tomatoes, although probably not in combination. say...has that ever been done? :)

Ellie (Almost Bourdain) said...

I like my barley water with a squeeze of lemon :)

Marcellina said...

When I saw the title I just had to look at what was Shaz talking about barley water! I can understand though I'm not sure about the barley water. I can only remember in Home Economics we were given the recipe to be used for when one was cooking for an invalid laid up in bed! So it just brings bad images to mind! However that tomato salad! YUM!

shaz said...

The Real Mother Hen - thanks for all the tips! They told me it was a pine mushroom at the store, and they did have one or two pine needles sticking to them. When I got back, I looked up my trusty Cook's Companion and found out they are also called saffron milkcaps. I'm going to saute them tonight to top either a pasta or risotto, haven't decided which yet :)

Barbara - it's funny how cultural sweet/savoury preferences influence us. I have always associated barley with a sweet drink, so the first time I saw a savoury recipe that used barley in stew, I was shocked. I know better now though, it's fabulous in stew too.

Juliana - thanks :) Hope you do brave the drink, it is quite refreshing.

grace - hmmm...chocolate and tomato, very interesting *steeples fingers*.

Ellie (Almost Bourdain)- nice one :)

Marcellina - yes, that would certainly conjure up bad images I'm sure. Thanks :) Hope you had a great easter.

Vanille said...

It looks like you had a great gourmet week-end !

Anh said...

You know, my husband requested this from time to time and I told him to drink green tea instead :)). The truth is I don't really know how to make this drink (never tried before). Now I have some helpful info ;)

3 hungry tummies said...

I make this very often and I also like adding some candied winter melon.
I didn't have a single egg this year but drank way to much lol
I can do with a plate of the tomatoes right now!

Lisa Michelle said...

I'm not a mushroom aficioinado except for the portobello's, cremini's, shittake, oysters etc. However, I will take every single one of those brownies with a shot of barley water..even though I've never had barley

Hungry Dog said...

How interesting! I have never, ever heard of barley water. I do like barley, though, so I might enjoy it!

Y said...

Mmm haven't had barley water in ages and ages! What did you end up doing with the fab mushrooms?

shaz said...

Vanille - certainly did :)

Anh - surprise him one day!

3 hungry - pretty hard not to have eggs around when there are kids about :) Drinking sounds more fun!

Lisa Michelle - very game of you :)

Hungry Dog - actually I have a feeling you'd enjoy it too

Y - I ended up sauteeing them with garlic, butter and fresh thyme, and used them to top a basic bacon (well, speck really) and pea risotto. Not sure if I kept them for too long (2 days) but the texture was quite firm, almost "dry", not what I expected actually. But the flavour was very earthy which I liked.