Beef and Barley Soup

My husband loves soups, especially ones that are thick and hearty. We had some leftover barley and I found a super easy recipe from one of my favorite YouTube chefs, The Domestic Geek. She unfortunately didn’t write a blog post about the recipe, so here is the YouTube video:

The recipe was super easy to put together before you just let it cook for ~40 minutes. I thought it tasted great but my husband absolutely loved it and ate two bowls. Overall, it’s not a quick meal but is perfect to save for a cold weekend.

I ended up using a bit more carrots and celery than she suggested and it turned out even more hearty and thick. I used a dutch oven like she did but I’m sure you could use a big pot instead. I also probably didn’t cut my steak cubes small enough; make sure they are bite sized!

I’ve pasted the recipe below for convenience.


  • 1 lb sirloin steak, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 1 celery stalks, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 9 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup pearl barley
  • 1 tbsp parsley, chopped
  • oil
  • salt and pepper


  1. Season beef well with salt and pepper.
  2. In a Dutch oven, heat a drizzle of oil on high heat.
  3. Add beef and brown on all sides. Transfer beef to a bowl and set aside, leaving behind all the juices and browned bits.
  4. Reduce heat to medium-high and add onions, celery and carrots. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  5. Add garlic and cook until fragrant.
  6. Add Worcestershire sauce, thyme, bay leaf and barley. Cook for 30 seconds.
  7. Add broth. Bring to a boil and reduce to simmer.
  8. Cover with a lid and simmer for 35-40 minutes, or until barley is cooked through.
  9. Remove bay leaf. Stir in parsley and serve.

Japanese Curry Rice

When I traveled to Japan, one of the foods I came back loving was Japanese curry rice and curry katsu. This curry is a bit sweeter and thicker than other types of curry (like Indian or Thai) and it’s considered a Japanese comfort food. It reminds me of a hearty meat stew. It’s pretty easy to make at home, if you have access to the curry roux (which you can buy at a Japanese grocery store or maybe the Asian section of a supermarket).

I bought Vermont Curry, which is a popular brand of curry roux with a hint of honey and apple. (I don’t know why it’s named “Vermont”, though, haha) Most curry rice recipes are the same with small variations, but I decided to follow Ochikeron’s recipe, who is a great Japanese YouTube chef. You can also choose the level of spiciness you’re comfortable with, but my favorite is medium-hot.

Here is her video:

I’ve also posted the recipe below for convenience.


  • 1 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1/2 large box or 1 small box of Vermont Curry
  • 1 lb meat of your choice, sliced thin (I used pork loin)
  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 1/2 medium potatoes, cubed
  • 1/2 medium carrot, cubed
  • 850 ml (or 3.6 cups) water
  • White rice


  1. Prepare your rice according to package instructions. (I use a rice cooker)
  2. Heat cooking oil in a large, heavy pan over medium-high heat. (I used a dutch oven)
  3. Add onion, potatoes and carrots to the pan and stir fry for 1-2 minutes until everything is coated with oil.
  4. Add meat and cook, stirring frequently, until meat is no longer pink.
  5. Add water and bring to a boil. Remove the foam that forms at the top.
  6. Lower heat and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered.
  7. Turn off the heat completely. Add curry roux and stir until completely dissolved.
  8. Turn back on the heat and simmer until thick, about 10 minutes.
  9. Serve over the white rice.