1 large bunch of carrots
, peeled and cut into diagonal slices (approx. 500g/1lb 2oz)
5 banana shallots, quartered
4 garlic cloves, lightly crushed
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tbsp olive oil
300g pearl barley
small pack parsley
, roughly chopped
½ small pack dill, roughly chopped
140g blue cheese, crumbled
a few fennel tops or dill, to serve (optional)
For the dressing
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp white wine vinegar
juice 1 lemon
Heat oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Put the sliced carrots in a large roasting tin with the shallots, garlic and fennel seeds. Drizzle over the oil, toss everything together and season. Roast for 35-40 mins until everything has caramelised and the carrots are tender.
Meanwhile, boil the pearl barley in a large pan of salted water until al dente, about 30 mins. Make the dressing by whisking all the ingredients together with some seasoning. Remove the carrots from the oven.
Strain the pearl barley and toss through the dressing, carrots, dill, parsley and half the cheese. Finish with a few of the fennel tops and the remaining cheese. Serve warm or cold with a slice or two of warm buttered soda bread, if you like.