I've had a bad experience recently. One that nearly resulted in domestic strife with a refusal on my part to eat any supper. I was taken in, lead astray and stupidly fell for enticing images and the seemingly simple preparation of a recipe I had not tried before. The perpetrators will remain nameless, except to say that there are two of them, they characterise themselves as greedy and they're Italian! The recipe in question was for pearl barley with minced pork and spinach. Now don't get me wrong I don't fall for the hackneyed TV scenario of two minutes cooking followed by a miraculous table ready meal - the hey presto approach to food does not seduce me. But a recipe that uses minimal ingredients and especially one that includes favourites such a spinach and barley could not be passed over.
Alarm bells should have rung when I printed out the recipe which did not correspond to logic or the demonstration I had witnessed on TV. The barley was meant to be cooked in the same fashion as one would cook risotto - gradually adding stock until it evaporates - DO NOT ATTEMPT THIS. I stood over the cooker for ONE AND A HALF HOURS and still the barley was not cooked - the flat was steamed up, with condensation pouring down the windows but my barley was still skinny as opposed to plump.
In the end my husband restrained me from pouring the whole lot down the loo in a fit of pique. And the barley was left to stew in its own juice - exactly what it needed. So do not take recipes at face value - the desire to promote quick meals in bite size chunks on TV may sometimes lead to an over optimistic estimate of how long a meal takes to cook. So until I have re-attempted the recipe I will not repeat it here but I will say when it was finally cooked it was delicious.