Wimmera grain salad
The key is getting all the grains and pulses cooked just right so that they're tender but not over-cooked. We then mix them with diced preserved lemon, currants and serve with a separate sachet of toasted seeds, nuts and dressing.
This makes a great addition to a modern Australian Christmas table - it's colourful, festive and would make a wonderful vegetarian or vegan Christmas dinner along with the festive-spiced vegie filo pie.
It's a chewy, nutty mixture of pearl barley and Puy lentils, studded with currants, preserved lemon, toasted seeds and nuts, inspired by George Calombaris' Cypriot grain salad but with a few extra twists and flourishes of our own. We'll be cooking the grains and pulses, making the dressing and toasting the nuts and seeds. You just need to add some fresh herbs and salad leaves.
To finish the salad, add finely sliced spring onions, plucked herbs (coriander, parsley or mint) and a handful of baby leaves like spinach or rocket. Taste for seasoning and acidity - you may wish to add a sprinkle of salt and/or a squeeze of lemon. Dress the salad with the sachet of dressing provided. Toss with the seeds and nuts and serve, sprinkled with pomegranate seeds if you'd like.
This would make a great accompaniment to barbecued lamb or vegetables like eggplant, zucchini and mushrooms or a fine dinner on its own, maybe topped with fingers of grilled haloumi.
Frozen product. Defrost in refrigerator. Once defrosted, consume within 48 hours.
Defrost salad and allow to come to room temperature. In a bowl, mix the salad with the nuts and seeds plus whichever herbs and salad leaves you like. We use coriander, mint, spring onions and rocket. For a warm side dish, peel back the film, remove sachet of nuts, replace the film loosely and microwave for 2 minutes, stir and heat for another 2 minutes before serving, sprinkle with the seeds and nuts. You may like to add a sprinkle of salt and a drizzle of olive oil to finish the dish.
This dish comes in a microwave-safe foil container. Ensure that you place only one tray in the microwave at a time and that it has room to move freely.