I bet you read that title and thought, what the heck?
Let me explain.
I’m nearly at the end of the second trimester of my pregnancy. About a week and half and then I’ll be entering the third trimester. This means nesting. Nesting, I tell you! I know I’m nesting because I am baking (I’ve mentioned before that I don’t consider myself a baker because I don’t really have the patience for it).
Also, today at work (probably due to hunger – I forgot to bring an afternoon snack), I got a huge hankering for Mediterranean and Indian food. I looked up a couple of local restaurants just to drool over the food. Not a good idea when you’re hungry. Soon I knew I had to have one cuisine or the other. I batted my eyelashes at my husband, spoke in a super pathetic voice and said that I really wanted to eat this type of food tonight. Thankfully my husband is super nice and we’ve got a bit of a cushion in our budget so he agreed. He was a bit tired from his work day so we decided on Mediterranean take-out. Hurrah!
On our way home we stopped by one of three Mediterranean restaurants in our sleepy (for now) college town. Mmmmm. I ended up getting chicken shish tawouk (or taouk) with jasmine rice and cucumber salad (their version of tzaziki sauce with chunks of cucumbers). My husband got chicken shawarma with hummus, pita bread and cucumber salad as well. We ate the food at home, probably finished everything in 5-10 minutes. It was just so good!
I warned my husband that I will direct most of my nesting towards making us homemade Mediterranean and Indian food. I’m excited about this.
Anyways, after dinner I proceeded to scour the interwebs for recipes, particularly Middle Eastern ones. I’ve never been to the Middle East or the Mediterranean but I’m telling you, it’s some of my favorite food ever. Even close to my love of Filipino food. After searching for about 10 minutes, I found a great website that you should check out. It’s called Lebanese Recipes but it’s got tons of other recipes from different countries in the region. This website is a treasure trove! I knew it was too late for me to start cooking an entree (seeing as how we just finished dinner) so when I stumbled upon a simple dessert recipe, I thought why not?
Bring in “sfouf”. According to Wikipedia and the aforementioned website, sfouf is a Lebanese dessert, made out of almond-semolina flour. Very easy recipe. Unfortunately, I did not have semolina flour nor did I have pine nuts. I searched quickly for a reasonable substitute (some of you real bakers might shake your head at this . . . I know, I know) and ended up just using all-purpose flour. I also used walnut pieces instead of pine nuts. So, this isn’t that authentic but it’s a start into my foray of Mediterranean cooking while nesting 🙂
Sfouf (slightly adapted from Lebanese Recipes)
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp ground turmeric (first time I’ve ever used this spice in a dessert! have to admit, I was a bit nervous)
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 cup sugar (whoops, forgot to add 2 tbsps that the original recipe called for!)
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup canola oil
- 1 tbsp walnut pieces
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a glass pie dish with butter. Set aside.
2. Mix the flour, turmeric and baking powder in one bowl.
3. Add sugar to milk, stir sugar until it is dissolved.
4. Add dried mix to the milk and sugar, and add oil. Using an electric mixer, beat on medium speed for 5 minutes. Necessary step – don’t skip this.
5. Pour mixture into pie dish, sprinkle with walnuts and bake for 25-35 minutes or until an inserted knife or fork comes out clean (we don’t have any wooden toothpicks but use what you have).
The cake seemed a teensy bit mushy on some parts but it’s definitely cooked. Not bad! Not bad at all. In fact, it’s pretty good! It’s sweet but not too sweet and I only taste a very slight hint of the turmeric. My husband even liked it so I think I’ll have to try this again, with semolina flour. If you’re not used to “exotic” flavors, I’m not sure if you’ll like this but I do. The taste of it actually reminds me of some other Indian and Arabic desserts that I’ve had before. But I say, give this a shot! Be adventurous. Step out of that cake mix box and explore a part of the world through this recipe.