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Spicy Braised Barley with Butternut Squash & Spinach

Full of warming ingredients and winter goodness.

Serves 4



  1. Pre-heat the oven to 180C/gas 4.
  2. Wash the pearl barley thoroughly in cold water and then put to one size.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a pan and add the onion, and fry gently for 2-3 minutes or until just starting to soften, now add the butternut squash and garlic and fry for 3 more minutes. 
  4. Add the spices and as soon as you can smell then, put the barley, sake, soya sauce and mirin into the pan and allow the alcohol to burn off. 
  5. Finally, pour in the orange juice and zest and the miso bouillon and cover the pan with foil.
  6. Back in the oven for 1 hour.
  7. Remove from the oven, take off the foil. Stir through the spinach and serve as soon as it has wilted.


Celia PlenderCelia Plender

Celia Plender is a freelance food writer and chef with experience in both Japan and the UK. She has written for publications including Time Out Magazine, channel4.com/4food, goodfoodchannel.co.uk and clearspring.co.uk.

Since returning from Japan, where she worked as a chef in a Tokyo kaiseki restaurant, she has devoted more and more of her time to Japanese cuisine. As she trained in the West, she is also fully conversant with European cuisine.

She is the proud editor of two cookbooks: Dashi and Umami, the Heart of Japanese Cuisine (Cross Media 2009) and Umami World Recipes, Filipino (Cross Media 2009).

In her food writing career she has written for various magazines and websites, including www.channel4.com/4Food, where she is currently Deputy Editor, www.goodfoodchannel.co.uk, Time Out Eating and Drinking Guides, www.Eat-Japan.com and www.clearspring.co.uk. She is also a member of the Guild of Food Writers.