This is a very simple soup, so you must use a very good quality vegetable stock and vegetables.
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, chopped finely
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 bay leaf
1 cup mushrooms, thickly sliced
1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 1 teaspoon dried thyme)
2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
2 tablespoons tamari or light soy sauce
1 small potato, finely diced
1 medium carrot, thickly sliced
50g pearl barley, soaked for about an hour in water
1 litre vegetable stock (I use Moredough or Stock Merchant)
salt and pepper to taste
Soak pearl barley in water for an hour, then drain.
Gently fry onion, garlic and bay leaf in the olive oil for about 5 minutes.
Add mushrooms, herbs and tamari/soy – fry a further 5 minutes.
Add all the other ingredients, then simmer for about 45 minutes. Serve.