Preheat oven to 200C. Rub 1 tablespoon of the olive oil into the pumpkin cubes and place on oven tray lined with baking paper. Place in oven for 30 minutes or until pumpkin is almost cooked and slightly browned. Set aside.
Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in deep saucepan and saute onion until transparent. Add garlic and cook, stirring for 2 minutes.
Add barley and stir to coat the grains in the oil. Add wine and stir, allowing the wine to evaporate slightly. Add the heated stock, half a cup at a time, while stirring until each cup is almost absorbed into the barley. Once all the stock has been added, stir in 1 3/4 cups boiling water and stir through. Add thyme sprigs and leave to cook until almost all of the water has been absorbed into the barley and the barley is soft. Add more water or stock if necessary. This will take approximately 40 minutes in total for the barley to cook.
Add cooked pumpkin and peas to the barley and simmer for a further 5 minutes, stirring frequently.
Stir through spinach leaves, pine nuts, parmesan cheese and season to taste just before serving to ensure the spinach leaves retain their colour.
Many flavour combinations can be successfully applied. Omit pumpkin, spinach leaves and pine nuts and try creamy mushroom (2 cups sliced mushrooms of your choice, 4 rashers of bacon sliced and sauteed with the onion, thyme and stir through 1/4 cup of light sour cream before serving), or chicken and sundried tomato (2 chicken breasts diced and sauteed with onion, 1/2 cup chopped sundried tomatoes and a handful of fresh basil leaves stirred through before serving).