Bazella (pea, mince and tomato casserole)

Here’s another Lebanese dish.

This was a last minute meal, when mum didn’t have time to cook something long and slow.

It seemed that it was on the stove one minute and in our plates the next. Mum was always good at doing that. Most of us have left home now, so she has a lot more time to slow things down and really enjoy cooking.

We all still get together at mum and dads for lunch most Sundays. During the week mum will phone around and ask for lunch requests. There are so many of us, the menu can be very different from one week to the next, depending on who has chosen lunch for us all.

The dining table has more than doubled since we all lived at home, what with partners and kids and sometimes friends. It can get very loud and chaotic, but we wouldn’t have it any other way….

This is a slightly slower cooked version of mums bazella  –image

In a medium saucepan gently heat 2 tablespoons olive oil then add 1 diced medium onion and 5 or 6 cloves chopped garlic and stir for about 2-3 minutes or until onion starts to soften. Add 200g lean beef mince and stir it into the onion and garlic mix, squashing any clumps of meat. Keep going until the meat has browned. Season with salt, pepper and 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon.image

Add 200g tinned diced tomato and about 1/2 cup of water. Cover and leave to simmer for  30 minutes, then throw in 200g frozen green peas, stir, cover, and let simmer for a further 20 minutes.

Now, this is served with rice, or in Lebanese, Riz, which has egg noodle vermicelli added to it.image

In a small saucepan melt 30g butter with 1/2 teaspoon olive oil. Crush 1 nest or 50g vermicelli egg noodles into saucepan and stir constantly until brown (careful, once they start to colour they darken very quickly and can burn, so keep stirring them). Add 200g rinsed long grain rice, 1 teaspoon salt and continue stirring for 1 minute coating every rice grain with butter. Carefully pour in 450g (nearly 2 cups) water (watch out for the steam), stir, cover tightly and leave for 20 minutes until the water has been absorbed and the rice is cooked through.

Turn heat off and leave covered for another 10 minutes.

Serve some Riz with the bazella and some lemon wedges on the side (lemon juice makes this dish even more amazing).image

Enjoy…

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Perfect cold weather foods

so, now that the easter festivities are done, its time to start thinking about other things.

I’ve put away the currants and hot cross bun spices and brought out the winter warmers.

Tonight is beef and red wine casserole with rice and broccoli. It’s a pot full of  cubes of chuck steak, and chopped onion, garlic and ginger, gently simmering away in a tomato and red wine gravy.

Gotta say, the smell is wonderful.

next to go in the pot will be some cauliflower, potato and maybe some peas.

Served on a bed of steamed rice with some steamed broccoli.

And a glass of good red wine.

yum