3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, thinly sliced
1 large leek, thinly sliced
1 large carrot, peeled and diced
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 x 400 gram tin crushed Italian tomatoes
5 cups vegetable stock
½ cup pearl barley, rinsed and drained
4 stalks silverbeet
2 spring onions, thinly sliced
handful soft herbs, any combination of flat-leaf parsley, mint, basil, dill, all roughly chopped
sea salt and freshly ground pepper
good extra virgin olive oil
Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan. Cook the onion, leek, carrot, garlic, rosemary and cumin with a good pinch of salt over a medium heat for 15 minutes. Add the tomatoes, stock and pearl barley and bring to the boil. Simmer for 20 minutes or until the barley is tender. It will still have a chewy texture when cooked.
Trim off the tough stalks of the silverbeet and slice thinly. Add to the soup and simmer until tender. Add the spring onions and herbs. Season.
To serve: Ladle the soup into bowls and top with grated Parmesan and a drizzle of olive oil. Makes about 8 cups.