recipe: semolina cake

Semolina Cake 

Originally uploaded by sonnnia

Heat oven to 180 degrees Celsius 


  • 2 cups semolina flour
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup oil (corn, canola, or vegetable)
  • 1 cup yoghurt
  • ½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
  • ½ cup rose water (or half a cup of water with drops of rose essence added)
  • ¼ cup blanched almonds (and halved if you can be bothered)


  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • juice and zest of half a lemon
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom 

Combine semolina and oil. Add remaining ingredients except almonds. Grease baking dish, pour mixture in and smooth with a spatula. Arrange almonds in rows. 

Bake for about 1 hour.

Prepare syrup towards end of cooking time. Cook for 10 minutes on low heat. Remove cake from oven and cut into squares. Pour syrup on top of cut cake while both are still hot.


November 10, 2008 at 11:07 am Leave a comment

dreaming of sleep

Château Vary
Originally uploaded by faygate

Where our baby once woke up cooing and murmuring, he now moves quickly from fidgeting and shuffling to major crying. The breakdown started in the Loire Valley when he was six months old, and we haven’t really recovered yet.

From a strictly objective observation, it appears that the week or so that he spent trying to get some sleep in a black netting rectangular hole of baby hell (that is otherwise known as a traveller portable crib) did some serious damage to his previously positively dreamy routine of up to 12 straight hours of nightly sleep. That, along with parental nerves stretched paper-thin, twilight until 10pm, and being surrounded by strangers left him a bit of a wreck.

Now 11 months old, the lovely baby who was a lovely sleeper by six months now cries in the middle of the night more often goes down for naps with greater difficulty, and frequently wakes between 4 and 5am, although husbandly intervention in the mornings has given us the occasional 5:30-6 waking.

November 10, 2008 at 11:02 am Leave a comment

other new things

Recently, both our baby and I have been doing new things – he’s been doing more than me. My new things are few so I’ll tell them first – I cooked wheat berries (why berries? I’m confused by that – isn’t it just … wheat?). I’m sure there was something else new but can’t remember what.

The baby has been rocking on his hands and knees, and jumping forward, and scooting all over the place. He has also, for the last month, been sleeping, in a way that enables me finally to realise why people refer to a certain kind of sleep as sleeping like a baby. At nights he sleeps between 10 and 12 hours – so ladies, don’t let anyone tell you that the boob won’t give him enough sustenance to last the night: since four months, he’s been sleeping all night.

He has also been grabbing both feet and putting them into his mouth, which he seems to find pretty satisfying.

May 13, 2008 at 5:07 pm Leave a comment

positive reinforcement

The baby and I went to the shuk today, to pick up a few necessities and a few non-necessities. One of the first stops we made was to buy me some juice. The guy was selling half a litre of carrot and orange juice for 7 shekels, so I asked what that amount looked like. He pointed out a cup and said “there, 500ml, but you would know all about mls!”; I said that I wasn’t really in the bottle business, at which he said “much better, he’s getting the original thing” … and went on to lecture me about his daughter-in-law’s lack of breastfeeding and told me not to ask about the illnesses and allergies that were surely the result of her bottlefeeding, and that people don’t feed because they don’t know … and so on and so forth. And it was very nice.

Our last stop was to buy some delicious chocolatey-cheesy snacks that are called ‘fingers’, but that doesn’t begin to describe them. As I was waiting in line, I noticed that the woman in front of me was wearing a Bravado bra – which from advertisements I knew was a breastfeeding bra. She saw my naturessway sling and asked where I got it, but I only had the bad news that my sister sent it to me. I commented on her bra, we wished each other luck, and each went our separate ways.

Somewhere in between the juice and the chocolatey-cheesy treat, on our way to the olive stand, a random fruit-seller asked “doesn’t he take a dummy?”. I told him that he does, but if it falls out, there’s always the thumb stand-by. Because that’s a new-ish thing, in the last week – he’s properly sucking his thumb instead of his middle fingers. He started by chomping on it, but now he’s discovered its true use. And for now, it really doesn’t bother me. And although I didn’t get any positive reinforcement in particular at the olive stand, the last time I was there he was very impressed with the sling and said that it must be just like being back in the belly.

May 13, 2008 at 4:40 pm Leave a comment

three new things

Our lovely boy did all of the following on Tuesday 11 March, at the ripe age of three months: 

  1. Grabbed his foot
  2. Turned from his back to his front
  3. Started blowing raspberries

March 13, 2008 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

a very basic salad

Cut the following into fine strips (I use a mandolin, if you’re capable of making julienne strips without such an aid, good for you):

  • carrot
  • cucumber
  • red capsicum
  • fennel bulb

Mix together the following in quantities that seem sensible:

  • canola oil
  • sesame oil
  • apple vinegar
  • rice wine vinegar
  • brown sugar
  • soy sauce
  • ginger (powdered or grated fresh)
  • chilli powder

Cook some three-minute noodles, toast some sesame seeds, put everything in a bowl, EAT.

March 6, 2008 at 6:40 pm Leave a comment

12 and a half weeks

I’ve been noticing lately that our lovely boy:

  • Has very active and expressive eyebrows – even if they are somewhat sparse
  • Is still a very patient and calm little person
  • Can go 4.5-5 hours after his morning feed before getting antsy for more food
  • Only eats for about 10 minutes when he’s hungry … much longer if he’s sleeping like during night feeds, or if it turns into a comfort feed; I’ve been pulling him off once in a while but only after reasonable amounts of time (according to me, that is), and for the sleepy feeds he usually continues sleeping so I’m pretty sure he doesn’t mind
  • Grabs toys in a fairly determined way
  • Stuffs things in his mouth, mainly his fingers – either a selection of two or three, or all four (haven’t graduated to a thumb yet) – but also his blankets if we let him
  • Laughs and talks all the time and smiles readily at strangers – sometimes those who talk to me but mainly those talking to him

March 4, 2008 at 6:45 pm Leave a comment

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