Vegetable Barley Soup and Half and Half Bread

I love, love, love vegetable soup in the winter. Often, I will make a big pot of soup one day and then have enough left over for dinner the next day. Although it may not be absolutely ideal to have leftovers for dinner, what is a busy mother to do? Actually, I often find that soup tastes even yummier the next day, and no I’m not just trying to make myself feel better about serving leftover soup to my family. If you decide to also serve soup two days in a row my tip is to mix it up a bit, serve the soup with bread one day and rice the next day. Also, serve different salads or side dishes each day.
The best thing to have with soup, in my humble opinion, is fresh baked, homemade bread, warm out of the oven. Baking your own bread at home is great for a few different reasons. The first reason is that you can be sure that only good things are in your bread. Secondly, you have some control over the consciousness of the person that is cooking your bread. Thirdly, having the oven on in the winter will make your home or at least your kitchen nice and warm. Lastly, your house will smell divine with a lovely fresh baked bread aroma.

[Recipe by Pishima]

I was taught how to make this soup by my wonderful mother who made it often as I was growing up. Because my mother doesn’t measure when she cooks, I had to write the recipe for myself so it is a little different from my mata’s version. This recipe makes a fairly large pot of soup.

5 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 ¼ tsp Hing
7 heaping cups assorted chopped vegetables (I used carrots, cauliflower, potatoes, kale, zucchini)
13 cups of water
½ of a 6oz can of tomato paste
1 ½ Tbsp Italian seasoning (I like Frontier brand)
¾ cup barley
1 ½ Tbsp sea salt
1 Tbsp yeast extract (I use marmite)

Place a large saucepan on medium heat. When pan is warm add the olive oil and then the hing. Let the hing cook for a minute and then add all the chopped vegetables. Stir-fry the vegetables in the hing for a few minutes until they begin to “wilt” a bit. Next, add the water. Let the water come to a boil (if you wish to hurry this process along, you may add already boiling water) and then add the tomato paste, Italian seasoning, sea salt, barley and marmite. Let boil for about 50 minutes giving it a little stir now and then. You will know the soup is ready when the barley is cooked fully and soft. If the soup is too thick you can always add more water.

[Recipe by Pishima]

This is a nice hearty bread to make on a cold winter day. Once again this is a recipe I learned from my mother with no measurements and thus have had to make the bread with measurements for all of you. I used a dough mixer to make this bread but you could just as easily make it with your hands as my mother likes to. She says it’s easier to “feel” when the dough is right.

4 cups white flour
2 cups whole wheat flour
¾ cup 7 grain cereal
1 Tbsp yeast
1/3 cup sugar
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/3 cup Olive oil
2-2 ½ cups warm water

In a large bowl or your mixer bowl combine the white flour, whole wheat flour, seven grain cereal, yeast, sugar and salt. Mix a little with your hands to combine. Make a well in the center of the dry mixture and add the olive oil and the warm water. If using a mixer with dough hook, place the bowl in the mixer and let knead for approximately 10 minutes or until dough is soft and uniform. If using your hands begin to knead the dough, kneading until a somewhat sticky but elastic dough is formed (about 8 minutes of kneading). Let rise in a covered bowl until double in size. This takes about one hour depending on how cool your kitchen is. Once risen turn the oven on to 350 degrees F. Punch down the dough and then form into rolls or loaves and place on a greased tray or loaf pan (I like to use a oil spray such as Pam to grease the trays). Let rise again for about 30 minutes and then put into the oven. Let bake for 30 minutes checking after 15 minutes to rotate if one side is cooking faster than the other. When ready the bread should be nice and golden coloured. Remove from pan and place on a cooling rack to cool. Let loaves cool completely before cutting.

I wish you all happy and successful bread baking and soup making.