I find pearl barley very underused in the kitchen. It's so versatile and has such a lovely consistency. I love using it instead of rice with my curry, along with porridges, or in burger patties. But it's good for and with almost everything else. Also, the cinnamon flower isn't used a lot. It's sweeter than the cinnamon itself and doesn't have the strong wooden component to it. It's perfect with sweet as well as with savory dishes like Moroccan tajine.
Always Roast Your Spices
I grind all spices myself with mortar and pestle, and whether I make an Indian dish or do my Thai curry paste, the ingredients get roasted in a pan before being used. It adds so much more flavor. And just the smell is breathtaking. I'm also a big fan of making my very own gomasio and dukkah mixtures. I highly recommend making big batches and giving those spice mixtures away as edible gifts. They both add this little extra to almost any dish. Just imagine having your beloved avo on toast, topped with some homemade dukkah.
My favorite ingredients for smoothies have to be berries. I am a berry addict. They are pure luxury, especially in summer when I go and pick them myself. In winter I use frozen berries. Also, I rarely make one without adding ginger and lemon juice. And for extra creaminess, I recommend ripe pears. Much better than bananas.
Fridge Clean-out Curry Recipe
Ingredients for the curry paste (preferably with roasted spices, but it works without roasting them as well)
1 thumb sized piece galangal
6 garlic cloves
1 tsp cumin seeds
1 tsp coriander seeds
3 peeled shallots
40 g fresh ginger
1 red hot chili
2 sticks lemongrass (without the hard outer leaves)
1 good tbsp salt
Put in the food processor until you have a smooth paste
Ingredients for the curry
1 liter ( preferably homemade ) veggie stock
About 10 lime leaves
400-500 g tiny and tasty tomatoes
2 good handfuls cauliflower florets
500 g all sorts of mushrooms
500 g bok choy
2 cups coconut milk
Salt according to taste
Bring veggie stock to boil with the lime leaves, a teaspoon of salt, and the tomatoes. Cook for quite a while, but at least 10 minutes. The liquid should reduce a little. Add the curry paste and the veggies and cook for about three minutes. Then stir in the coconut milk and heat it all up together. Remove from the heat, and do not boil again. Serve with the herbs of your choice and some rice or pearl barley. Feel free to pimp this up with any veggies you've got in the fridge that would match a curry. Get adventurous; it will always taste nice.