Barley has long had a reputation as a highly nutritious cereal.
It was eaten by Ancient Greek athletes and Roman gladiators, who were known as hordearii (“barley eaters”). Cranberries are packed with antioxidants, and apricots are an excellent source of iron, so these power bars make a highly nutritious and sustaining snack to keep your energy levels up. Makes 12-16 bars.
Makes the most of seasonal dried fruits and nuts to help boost your energy.
1 Prepare the barley first [see note below]. Put the fruit and coarser, chopped pistachios in a blender or food processor and blend into a thick puree. Then add just enough of the toasted barley powder to make a pliable dough.
2 Sprinkle half the finely ground pistachios onto a flat surface, place the fruit dough on top, and roll it out into a rectangular shape about 6-8mm [1/4 to 1/2 inch] thick. Sprinkle the top of the dough with the remaining finely ground pistachios and press them by hand into the mixture.
3 Cut into 3 x10cm [1 1/4 x 4 inch] rectangles and place on a baking tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 50° C [122° F/Gas 1/4] for 2-3 hours until the bars have dried out.
4 Carefully lift the bars off the tray, allow to cool on a wire rack then wrap them individually in cling film or greaseproof paper. If wrapped and stored in a tin in a cool place, the bars can last for more than a week.
To roast barley, soak it overnight in lukewarm water, drain, and leave to dry on a tray covered with a clean cloth. When the barley is still damp, heat a large frying pan over a high heat. Turn the heat down to medium, and add” quarter of the barley, stirring constantly.
When the grain is golden brown and makes a gravelly noise as you stir it, tip it out of the pan and allow to cool completely on a plate. Repeat with the remaining 3 batches. Allow the grain to cool completely and store in an airtight container. Grind the toasted grains in a pestle and mortar to make a barley powder.
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