Photo by: Jonathan Lovekin

Pot barley, orange and sesame pudding

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½ tbsp each white and black sesame seeds, toasted (or use 1 tbsp white)
1½ tbsp dark muscovado sugar
125g pot barley, covered with cold water and soaked overnight
750ml whole milk
½ vanilla pod, seeds scraped or ½ tsp vanilla paste
Finely grated zest of ½ lemon,
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
20g tahini

For the orange syrup:

1 medium orange
40g caster sugar
¼ tsp orange blossom water

This is like rice pudding with texture, for those who don't mind using their teeth to eat pudding. It's also totally delicious. Serves two to four.


Start with the orange syrup. Shave off a long strip of orange peel, avoiding the pith, and put in a small pan. Trim off top and bottom of the orange, then cut down its sides to remove all the skin and pith. Working over a small bowl to catch any juice, cut out the segments by slicing between the membranes. Add the segments to the bowl and set aside.

Add the caster sugar to the pan with the peel and add 75ml water. Bring to a boil and cook, stirring, until the sugar dissolves – this should take less than a minute. Set aside to cool, then add the orange segments and juices, and the orange blossom water.

Roughly crush the sesame seeds in a pestle and mortar with a teaspoon of muscovado sugar, and set aside.

Drain and rinse the barley. Tip it into a medium saucepan with the remaining muscovado sugar, milk, vanilla pod and seeds, citrus zest and an eighth of a teaspoon of salt. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat to medium-low and simmer for an hour, stirring occasionally, until the barley is cooked but still has some bite: if it's becomes very thick, add a little milk towards the end. Leave to cool for five minutes, then remove the vanilla pod and divide between four bowls. Dribble a teaspoon of tahini over each portion, spoon over the orange segments and syrup, sprinkle with sesame and serve.

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Perfect with

  1. Black sesame seeds

    A great and dramatic addition to salads, noodles and vegetables

    Black sesame seeds

  2. Orange blossom water

    The magically exotic potion behind many of our favourite sweet and savoury dishes

    Orange blossom water


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