I love my desserts, especially Middle Eastern desserts.
The one ingredient I hate is Rose Water. Yes, it’s a harsh word, but seriously, I hate, hate hate it!. I just can’t get my head around the taste.
Have you seen the Devondale Milk ad series currently on Australian TV where the man tries a soy milk based drink and pulls the most disgusted face, relishing in the aftertaste? There’s a few different versions, but my favourite one is when his poor daughter enters the room and assumes her idiotic father is pulling faces at her lovely painting.
Here’s the hilarious clip for my overseas friends:
Well, that’s exactly what I end up doing when I taste even a smidgen of rose water. I can’t help it, it’s a reflex! My face distorts, tongue automatically protrudes and stays that way till I change the taste in my mouth.
So what happens is if we’re dining out and I eye some glistening Baklava or Basbousa in the shop window? I have to get hubby to take a lick of the syrup. If he gobbles the piece afterwards in one go, I’ll know it was laden with rose water (well, I have to take his word for it!!)
I’ve had packet of semolina sitting in the cupboard, lonely for a long time. It was time to let it shine with a delicious Semolina Syrup Cake. This recipe is so well known throughout the Wog World with different names depending on where you’re from; Basbousa in Egypt, Namoura in Lebanon, Ravani/Revani in Greece and Semolina Syrup Cake or slice for the rest of us!
Most countries do a version that uses Rose Water in the sugar syrup, however if you’re anything like me and just can’t stand the taste, rose water can easily be substituted for Orange Blossom water or Lemon juice in pretty much all sweets or sugar syrups.
Semolina Cake with Orange Syrup
- ½ cup unsalted butter
- ¾ cup caster sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
- 2 cups fine semolina
- 2 eggs
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ¾ cup yoghurt (plain)
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 ½ cups water
- juice of half an orange
- 2-3 pieces of orange rind. More if you like it zesty!
Preaheat oven to 180 degrees
Start by making the Sugar Syrup by combining the sugar, water and lemon juice and briging it to the boil. Boil rapidly for 5 minutes, reduce the heat to medium and let it reduce for 20 minutes. Stir frequently. Remove from heat and let it completely cool.
To make the cake: In a bowl, cream the butter, sugar and vanilla essence until fluffy. Add the two eggs, one at a time.
Sift the Semolina, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into the creamed butter mix. Fold in the yoghurt until well mixed.
Spread the mixture into a baking paper lined shallow baking dish and bake for 25 – 30minutes. When the cake is golden brown and cooked, run your knife through the cake to make diamond like shapes and gently pour all the cold sugar syrup over the top of the hot cake, and hear it sizzle!
Serve with some double cream and a cup of tea!