Every settlement has its own benefits particular to that specific area. However, As Newton’s Third Law of Motion tells us, every object that exerts a force on another object, itself experiences an equal, but opposite, reaction. This quote may appear a little tangential at first, but it is a general law that can be applied to where one is situated. For instance, though one may say that it is a great benefit that Aberystwyth is, to all intents and purposes, relatively isolated from any British metropolis since it means that one may lead a peaceful and stress-free existence, it also ensures that travelling is problematic and that holiday-makers flock to the town in the summer. Still, you must be wondering what on earth this has to do with food – fear not for I am about to make an incredibly important point. As you might imagine, Aberystwyth is surrounded by a rural landscape, most of which is owned by farmers, as a result local food isn’t particularly difficult to come by (except seafood, ironically). This is great, but it means that more interesting and exciting items of food can be extremely difficult to find, the orzo pictured below being just one such example. It is sold nowhere – that particular jar of pasta was purchased just outside of London.
For those of you who have similar problems, orzo is a type of pasta shaped very much like long-grain rice. Indeed, the word ‘orzo’ means ‘barley’ in Italian and, as such, is extremely accurately named. Similar varieties of pasta are used in both Greece and Turkey and are generally found lurking in soups and casseroles – something with which I shall soon experiment. However, since the weather is so frustratingly warm at the moment, it seemed like a jolly good idea to prepare a Greek-themed salad. Fortunately, orzo is extremely light and pleasant to ingest in such uncomfortable conditions, so it worked perfectly.
I anticipate that the smart-arsed among you will read the recipe below and immediately challenge the title given to this recipe; the only vegetable present in this dish is the onion. As it happens, since I too have a smart-arse, I agree. However, it is named as such because most would refer to them as vegetables. Just thought I’d cover my smart-arse.
Roasted Vegetable, Feta and Olive Orzo Salad
• 200g orzo
• 1 red bell pepper, roughly chopped
• 1 yellow bell pepper, roughly chopped
• 1 small courgette, diced
• 1 small red onion, roughly chopped
• Olive oil
• A handful of kalamata olives
• A handful of feta cubes
• The juice of ½ a lemon
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. Toss the peppers, courgette and onion in a little olive oil and salt. Spread on a baking tray and bake for 30 minutes, until soft and sweet.
2. After 20 minutes, boil the orzo until soft. Drain the pasta and set aside. Once the veg is done tip it into the orzo in the saucepan and mix. Drizzle over the lemon juice and a little olive oil before mixing in half the olives and feta. Serve at any temperature and finish off with a little more olives and cheese.
Cost: The orzo was surprisingly cheap, at 99p for 500g (which will go far). This, added to the fact that this dish doesn’t make use of any outrageously priced ingredients, means that the entire salad can be yours for only £1.60. I think I’d make a cracking salesman.