Monthly Archives: February 2012

Beef Barley Soup

The recipe for this winter stew is from my dear friend Tina Bornman. We had it for dinner on Monday. It can easily be transformed into a vegetarian variant with lentils.

Once we served it for a crowd of 90 for lunch at church preparing three batches. Surprisingly each batch turned out very different from the other depending on the taste buds of the chef. Amounts for 30 servings are included in brackets.


  • 1 pound ground beef (or ground turkey)                                      (6 lb, 3kg)
  • 1 cup chopped onions                                                                            (7-8 cups)
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic                                                                  (7-8 tbsps)
  • 6 cups of beef or chicken broth                                                         (11.5 litres)
  • ½ cup pearl barley                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced turnip                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced carrot                                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • ½ cup diced, peeled potato                                                                  (3.5-4 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons tomato paste                                                                       (1/3 cup)
  • ½ teaspoon thyme (and/or bay leaf,  marjoram, oregano)     (4 teaspoons)
  • black pepper


In a large pot, sauté ground beef, onions and garlic over medium heat until meat is cooked and onions are soft. Drain any fat. Then add beef brooth and pearl barley. Bring to boil and simmer for 20 minutes. Then add vegetables and potatoes, tomato paste and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add salt and pepper to taste.

Tina comments:

This is the basic recipe. Some things I’ve tried are:

  • Use different vegetables
  • Omit meat and add ½ cup green lentils with the barley.
  • Use 3 cups tomato juice and 3 cups broth, and omit the tomato paste.
  • If you rinse the barley in cold water several times before adding, the soup stays more clear-looking, and is not as thick.
    My family likes the thicker soup so I always just throw it in.

Thanks for sharing, Tina.


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Filed under easy, for a crowd, soup/ stew, winter

Millet Risotto with Carrots

When I prepared the lemony lentil soup for the first time I was so excited about the taste of carrots sauteed with garlic, onion and herbs that I decided to use this as a base for my next risotto. So as last Friday my menu plan called for a millet risotto I got creative with cooking. Here is the result:

Ingredients (4 servings)

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 2 carrots, diced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 300g millet
  • 1 l chicken or vegetable broth
  • 4-5 tbsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream.


Heat oil in large pot, add onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, garlic, salt and pepper, rosemary, oregano and the bay leaf. Saute until carrots are tender. Add millet and saute for a bit. Cover with broth and let simmer. Add more broth as needed. When millet is done stir in the cheese and the whipping cream and let sit for five minutes.

This risotto makes a great side dish for any kind of chicken.

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Red Wine Bundt Cake

This is a family recipe that my mom used to bake quite often. I like it especially in January as the cinemon flavour keeps the Christmas spirit alive a bit longer.


  • 250g margarine or butter
  • 200g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  •  280g flour
  •  4 tsp. baking powder
  •  1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. dutch processed cacao powder
  •  80 g finely ground hazelnuts
  • 1/2 cup red wine
  • 3 ½  squares of semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped.


Beat margarine and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time and the vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder, cacao and hazelnuts and pulse into the margarine/egg/sugar mixture, ½ cup at a time. Gradually also add the red wine. Add the chopped chocolate and pour into a greased loaf pan.Bake at 340ºF for 1 hour.

When cooled off dust with powder sugar before serving.

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Lemony Lentil Soup

This is a recipe that my dear friend Claire Funk shared with me. It has been waiting on my fridge for quite a while before I finally tried it last night. I love the amazing flavour!

Ingredients (8 servings)

  • 2 tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 6 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1/4 tsp. red chili flakes
  • 1 tbsp. fresh rosemary, minced
  • 1 tbsp. oregano
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 8 cups vegetable stock
  • 2 cups red lentils
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest
  • 1 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 2 tbsp. fresh dill, chopped.
Rinse lentils. Heat oil in large pot, add onions and saute until translucent. Add carrots, garlic, salt and pepper, chili flakes, rosemary, oregano and bay leaves. Saute until carrots are tender. Add stock and lentils and simmer until lentils are soft. Remove the bay leaves and puree the soup if you like. Add lemon juice and lemon zest, salt and pepper to taste. Serve in bowls and sprinkle with feta and dill.
I served this delicious soup with fresh bread and a fruit salad for dessert.

This interesting variation of the recipe adds greens like spinach or kale at the end.

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Filed under soup/ stew, vegetarian

World Nutella Day

I just discovered that February 5 is world Nutella day and found this incredible stack of Nutella recipes. Check it out. My personal Nutella favourite are crepes with nutella and banana slices. Add yours if you want!

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Filed under dessert