Matters of the Belly is a food blog by Noha Serageldin,an Egyptian expat currently living in Australia with a focus on whole foods, healthy recipes. She shares the food she likes to cook and eat and the memories it evokes.
This one-pot wonder of a dish is just the sort of food I crave and like to eat during these chilly winter months. Spice-heavy beef mince suspended in fluffy grains of basmati rice, studded with golden almonds & raisins and speckled with pops of fresh green peas.
This jewelled, beefy rice is the perfect complete dish to cosy up with on the sofa after a long, cold day, when all you can manage is pj’s and one utensil.
1 tsp. mixed spice (any general mixed spice will work, I used baharat)
1 tsp. ground turmeric
½ tsp. ground cardamom
¼ tsp. ground nutmeg
2.5 cups basmati rice
4 cups beef stock
200g frozen peas
100g toasted almonds (blanched whole, or flaked, or slivered)
50g barberries (totally optional if you can find them)*
salt & pepper to taste
half a bunch of fresh parsley, roughly chopped
Place the oil, onion & garlic into a large pan on medium heat (use a pan that is nice and wide, moderately deep and has a tight fitting lid). Cook, stirring, for 5 minutes until softened.
Turn the heat up to high & add the beef, and cook, stirring frequently to break up the mince, until the beef is starting to brown, about 5 minutes. Add the spices and cook a further 2 minutes till spices are fragrant.
Add the rice and stir for a minute to evenly distribute the ingredients & get all the rice grains nicely coated in spices & oil, then add the stock. Bring to a simmer, then turn down the heat to the lowest possible setting and place the lid on the pot. Leave it, covered for 10 minutes.
Take the lid off, add the peas, almonds, raisins & barberries (if using), scattering them onto the surface of the rice, then put the lid back on and let it cook a further 5 minutes.
Take the lid off, and use a fork to fluff up the rice. Have a taste and adjust seasoning if needed. Top with the chopped parsley & serve right away.
*Barberries are a lovely Persian sour berry that can be found dried in most specialty Middle Eastern stores. It gives nice tangy pops of flavour and colour, but the recipe will work absolutely fine without it! Feel free to change the type of nut and dried fruit in this recipe, such as hazelnuts, pine nuts, chopped dried apricot or prunes etc.
*This recipe is proudly sponsored by Australian Beef.
Think spaghetti & meatballs, but with an Asian-inspired twist. Tasty beef meatballs immersed in a fragrant broth scented with aromatic lemongrass & ginger, along with a tangle of soba noodles & crisp snow peas…if that doesn’t scream winter comfort, I don’t know what does!
This recipes only takes 30 minutes from start to finish and is such a wonderful warming dish for the colder months.
1 stalk of lemongrass, bruised with back of knife*
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, peeled
4 spring onions, white parts roughly chopped, green parts sliced and set aside
3 cloves garlic, peeled
¾ cup fresh breadcrumbs
2 tbsp fish sauce
500g lean beef mince
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 packet (270g) soba noodles
200g sugar snap peas or snow peas, trimmed & halved
toasted sesame seeds, to serve
lemon wedges, to serve
In a medium saucepan, combine the stock, water, sugar, lemongrass & sliced ginger. Place on medium heat & let it simmer until needed later on in the recipe.
In a food processor, combine the white parts of the spring onions, the other piece of peeled ginger, and the garlic. Pulse till finely chopped. Add the breadcrumbs, fish sauce and beef. Pulse until the mixture comes together (don’t over mix!).
Form heaped-tablespoons of the mixture into meatballs by firmly rolling them between your palms. This mixture is very easy to roll and should yield about 20 or so meatballs.
In a large pot over high heat, add the oil. When hot, add the meatballs and leave them to brown on one side undisturbed for 3 minutes. Carefully flip the meatballs over and brown on the other side for another 2-3 minutes.
Add the simmering stock to the pot with the meatballs through a sieve (to catch the ginger and lemongrass, which you can discard). Turn the heat down & let the meatballs simmer gently for 5 minutes.
Add the soba noodles, let them cook for 3 minutes.
Add the sugar snap/snow peas, cook for 1 minute.
Serve the soup in large bowls, with a generous squeeze of lemon juice and some sesame seeds sprinkled on top.
To bruise the lemongrass, simply bash it with the back of a heavy knife on your cutting board all along the stalk. If you cannot find lemongrass, you may replace it with a few strips of lime peel instead.
*This recipe is proudly sponsored by Australian Beef
As the Northern hemisphere peeps are off enjoying their summer vacations, tormenting us with endless beach photos and tanned selfies, bombarding us with sandy toes and tropical fruit, here we are, deep in the throes of a very cold, very wet Australian winter. And, as much as I would like to hibernate through this miserable season, life must go on…and in food, as always, I find my comfort.
On this note, I’m back with the lovely folks from Australian Beef to bring you two wonderfully quick, simple and nourishing dishes to cosy up with this winter, both hero-ing my all time favourite cut of beef; the humble mince.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again; beef mince is one of the most underrated cuts, and one the most used in my kitchen on a regular basis. It is affordable, quick cooking, and packed with flavour, as well as being endlessly versatile. Often when I can’t think of what to cook for the week, I just grab a kilo of mince and know we’re all set, even if it all simply goes into a big pot of bolognese to carry us through the week.
Today though, I’m sharing a couple of different ways I love using beef mince to make quick, super-warming recipes that are perfect for colder days.
First up is this Beef Meatball & Soba Noodle Soup. Think spaghetti & meatballs, but with an Asian-inspired twist. Tasty beef meatballs immersed in a fragrant broth scented with aromatic lemongrass & ginger, along with a tangle of soba noodles & crisp snow peas…if that doesn’t scream winter comfort, I don’t know what does! Follow this link for the full recipe.
Second up is a Spiced Beef & Rice Pilaf. This one-pot wonder of a dish is just the sort of food I crave and like to eat during these chilly winter months. Spice-heavy beef mince suspended in fluffy grains of basmati rice, studded with golden almonds & raisins and speckled with pops of fresh green peas. This jewelled, beefy rice is the perfect complete dish to cosy up with on the sofa after a long, cold day, when all you can manage is pj’s and one utensil. Find the full recipe here.
*These recipes are proudly sponsored by Australian Beef.