Exactly what I was hoping for!
This came out just as i had hoped. Yes, it took a long time but I read the reviews and new what to expect, 6 hours on high. I love fennel and this came out with a great mild fennel flavour. I didn't have any fennel seeds so left them out. Also didn't have any black olives. Used 1 large and 1 small fennel bulb and also threw in some celery that I needed to use up. Used 2 carrots and 3 shallots. Served to my friends here in Italy and they said "a wonderful barley risotto!" Thanks for the recipe!