Rustic Chicken, Mushroom and Red Onion Risotto


Getting the most out of our food in terms of flavours and numbers of meals we can squeeze from one staple ingredient is very important to us, here at Love Food HQ and this dish is no exception! We’re using left-overs from our traditional Sunday roast chicken that we did a few days ago and creating this tasty alternative dish for you.


Serves 4

200g of the leftover roast chicken

1 red onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

1 garlic clove, peeled, sliced and crushed

115g of mushrooms, peeled and sliced

175g of pearl barley

500ml of vegetable or chicken stock

Salt and pepper for seasoning


  • In a large, non-stick frying pan, place the onion and a splash of water; heat and allow the onion to cook for approximately 5-10 minutes until it begins to look transparent. Now add the garlic and cook for a further 1-2 minutes while it releases its aroma amongst the onion.
  • Add the mushrooms, pearl barley and the stock of your choice. It’s important to add the stock a ladleful at a time, allowing it to be absorbed before adding more stock while stirring the ingredients continuously until the pearl barley is tender. This takes about 20 minutes in total.
  • About 10 minutes into cooking the pearl barley, add the chicken pieces that you pulled from the leftover roast chicken. Gently stir the chicken into the risotto; season and serve in warmed bowls.

Andrew: In case you missed the delicious roast chicken recipe, here it is for you try this weekend:

Dawn: Yes, along with our ‘How to Make Chicken Stock’ recipe which is in our growing and newly launched “Essentials” section with a super quick link to it is here:

Andrew: I like this risotto idea, Dawn. Pearl barley rather than rice or the traditional arborio rice. 

Dawn: Yes, the pearl barley gives a lovely nutty taste to the dish that I particularly like. And, of course, pearl barley is quick to cook, you don’t need to soak it beforehand, it’s a good source of fibre and is an excellent low fat, low cholesterol food.

Andrew: All in all, a really nut-ritious and economical winner!

Dawn: Yes, Andrew – nut-ritious, indeedy. 

For more recipes, nutritional tips and advice to help you get more from your weekly food budget, follow the Cooking Duo’s blog here and their Twitter account over at @Love_Food_UK.

Pea and Mint Soup


Soup – such a simple, short word that belies the depth of variety and flavours to be had from this liquid food. From light consommé to thick, hearty stews containing delicious chunks of meat and vegetables, soups serve to make wonderful meals and are great for using up leftovers and vegetables close to their sell by dates.


Serves 4

1 onion, peeled, sliced and chopped

1.2l of vegetable stock

900g of frozen peas

2 tsp of dried mint (or couple of sprigs of fresh mint, washed and finely chopped)

Salt and pepper to season

Dawn: There’s nothing to beat the taste of a really good, homemade soup and the real benefit of crafting your own is that you know exactly what has gone in to it. 

Andrew: Yes, and I really like how soups can be served piping hot or chilled – which remind me of Mediterranean holidays!

Dawn: Dreaming in the kitchen! Yet that’s the beauty of food: it can transport us to places and times bringing make memories whilst creating new ones. So, let’s press on and create a memorable meal here. 


  • Place the onion in a medium sized saucepan and add a little of the vegetable stock. Cook for 5-10 minutes or until the onion starts to become transparent in look.
  • Add the frozen peas and the rest of the stock. Bring to boiling point and then lower the heat to low, to allow the ingredients to simmer. Simmer for 10-15 minutes or until the peas are soft. Test with a fork by prodding a pea or two to test if they are soft.
  • Add the mint and sample the taste. Add seasoning.
  • With a hand held blender, blend the ingredients until all are combined. Serve with warmed, crusty bread.

Andrew: Soups can have traditional accompaniments such as croutons and grated cheese that are served with French onion soup as well as ingredients such as cream or yoghurt swirled on top like here. 

Dawn: Or crispy bacon bits, fresh herbs – even small pasta pieces! You can just about use anything that compliments the main ingredients and enhances a soup’s flavours. You really are only limited by your own imagination! 

For more imaginatively simple, easy and economically appealing meals and tips, follow this blog – – and the Cooking Duo’s Twitter account @Love_Food_UK and see you there for a daily new recipe. 

Spicy Pork, Chick Pea and Apricots Tagine

DSCI1613 Dawn: This is a dish I’ve conjured together with ingredients I already have in – so, no shopping required! 

Andrew: Excellent idea! Busy people have no time to shop midweek. What we have in our stock cupboards and freezers should keep us going all week, or longer!


Serves 4

4 lean pork chops (the fat is removed)

2 onions, peeled, sliced and chopped

240g of chick peas (or 1 450g tin, thoroughly washed)

1 carton of passata

12 apricots, halved

4 carrots, peeled and sliced

400ml of vegetable stock (using a vegetable stock cube)

1 tsp of ras el hanout (or a 1/4 tsp of paprika, cumin, chilli and cinnamon mixed together)

Dawn: Oh, I can smell the tagine cooking as I write! It’s warming – both the kitchen and my soul!

Andrew: Sounds divine and I’m really looking forward to finding out more about this recipe – especially as it’s one made from ingredients you already have in, Dawn.


  • Preheat the oven to gas mark 4, 180°C electric.
  • Seal the pork chops in a non-stick frying pan. There’s no need to add oil as the chops will produce sufficient juices to enable them to brown. Brown both sides and set aside in a large, ovenproof casserole dish.
  • Into the frying pan, add the onions and cook in a little warm water until they have become transparent in look. Add the garlic and cook for a further 2 minutes.
  • Add the passata, apricots, carrots, chick peas, vegetable stock and spices. Bring to the boil. Once reached, transfer the ingredients to the casserole dish with the pork chops.
  • Put in the centre of the hot oven and cook for approximately 60 minutes. At this point, remove from the oven and test to see if the chops are cooked by pushing a fork into one or two: if the fork goes all the way in, they are cooked. If the meat is tender, there’s no need to return the casserole pot to the oven: if the meat isn’t yet tender, return to the oven and cook for a further 15-30 minutes until the meat is tender to your liking. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Allow 60g person of dried cous cous, pre-cooking weight.

Dawn: Tagines are so warming and you can, quite literally use whatever meat and vegetables you have in to create your very own versions.

Andrew: Having herbs and spices in helps make cooking a real treat so whenever you can, buy one or two so you’ll always have these key components in to bring to life even the simplest of dishes. 

Dawn: Excellent tip, Andrew and another one is how easy it is to use dried pulses like I’ve done here with the chick peas. Dried pulses are very inexpensive to buy and easy to rehydrate. We’ll be bringing you how to make chick peas ready to cook with, too so for more tips, follow our blog with its daily recipe added and our Twitter account @Love_Food_UK. See you there!