Mussels and barley with watercress
This bowl of goodness is somewhere between a stew and a soup. It’s light enough for a summer supper, but also warming when the temperature drops. Serve in the pot at the table.
Heat the oven to 200C/390F/gas 6. Take two cloves from the garlic head and peel and thinly slice them. Drizzle a teaspoon of oil over the rest of the head, and sprinkle with a little salt and pepper. Wrap the head tightly in foil and roast for 40 minutes, until the cloves have softened and turned golden brown. Remove the foil and, when the garlic is cool enough to handle, squeeze out the cloves and discard the skin.
Meanwhile, put the barley in a medium saucepan with plenty of cold water and put on a mediumhigh heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for 25-30 minutes, until the barley is semi-cooked but still has a good bite to it, then drain.
Put a large saucepan on a medium heat with the remaining 75ml oil, the raw and cooked garlic, shallots, caraway seeds, lemon peel, scotch bonnet and two and a half teaspoons of salt. Fry gently for 10-12 minutes, stirring often, until the shallots are soft and golden brown (turn down the heat if they start colouring too quickly). Add the tomatoes and tomato paste, and cook for eight minutes, until the tomatoes start to break down. Add the wine, 750ml cold water and plenty of pepper, bring to a simmer and cook for seven minutes. Add the barley and cook for eight minutes more, until it has swollen a little in the sauce.
Turn up the heat to medium-high, add the mussels, cover the pan and cook until they open – anywhere between three and six minutes.
Pour over the cream, add the watercress and plenty of pepper, and gently stir everything together. Serve hot with the lemon wedges.