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Semolina Treats

Semolina is a pantry staple and is noted for its versatility and for adding textural value to an array of dishes. Here are some of my current favourites, some vegetarian, one vegan.

Almond Semolina Tea Cake - Vegan
This recipe makes two round cakes that can be frosted and decorated or eaten plain. It is just delicious and keeps well! Combine 1 cup of fine semolina; 1 cup of almond flour; 2 cups of cake flour; 2 flat tsps baking powder; 2 tsps sumac. Then prepare the wet ingredients. In a bowl place 1 cup of brown sugar; 2 cups of boiling water; 2 tbls good quality coconut oil; 2 tsps vanilla essence. Stir until sugar has melted. Preheat oven to 180~ and prepare two cake pans with Spray ‘n Cook. When the oven is ready, add 2 flat tsps of bicarb to the wet ingredients and stir well. Add wet ingredients to the dry ones and combine thoroughly. Pour batter into pans and sprinkling crushed almonds on one. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes. Turn out to cool.Assemble with whisked Orley Whip in the middle and the crushed toasted almonds on top. This is also delicious hot!

Baked Semolina Apple Pudding.
Peel and core 6 firm cooking apples and slice. Make a light syrup with 1/2 cup of sugar; 1/2 cup of water, brought to the boil. Add sliced apples and simmer till done. Drain and reserve liquid. In a heavy-bottomed pan place 1 cup of semolina and braise on a low heat until golden, stirring all the time. In a separate saucepan, heat 1 cup milk; 1 cup of water; 1/2 cup of sugar; 2 tbls butter and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Slowly add this liquid to semolina, stirring well to avoid lumps - you want a medium-firm consistency and it is ready when the mixture leaves the sides of the pan. Butter an oven-proof dish. Take half the semolina mix and spread to create a base. Place sliced apples on top. Pour the other half of the semolina mix on top. Sprinkle with ground almonds, dot with butter and bake for 20 minutes. Meanwhile reduce the apple syrup to a thicker consistency by simmering gently in a pot without a lid. Serve pudding hot, drizzled with the cream is nice too!

Savoury Semolina Topping
Certain traditional dishes such as moussaka and bobotie require a nice firm, creamy topping - thicker than your average cheese sauce. For a topping that will hold firm when you slice the vegetarian versions of these yummy family dishes, use semolina instead of flour. For a dish to serve four people start by dry braising 1/2 cup of fine semolina in a heavy-bottomed pan, stirring until pale golden. Add 2 tbls of butter and cook on a very low heat. Mix 1 cup boiling water to 1 cup of whole milk and slowly add the liquid, stirring with a whisk until all the liquid has been added. Simmer for 15 minutes. Add 1 cup of grated cheddar and stir until melted into topping. Season well. Pour over your moussaka or bobotie (or any veggie bake) and spread evenly. Sprinkle with breadcrumbs and dot with butter, then bake until your dish is golden brown and bubbling hot. Totally yummy!!

Semolina & Almond Biscuits
Looking to make delicious gifts or have treats ready for visitors? It's worthwhile making these easy, melt-in-the-mouth treats! In a bowl place 1/2 cup cake flour; 1/4 cup semolina; 1/4 cup ground almonds; 1/4 cup caster sugar;1 flat tsp baking powder. Mix together Melt 1/4 cup of butter with 2 tbls milk and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract. Pour wet ingredients into dry and mix into a soft dough. Cover and leave for 10 minutes. Roll dough out into a sausage and cut off small portions to roll into balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet and press gently with a fork. You can press some crushed almonds on top for extra nutrition and texture. Bake at 180o until just turning golden. Best with a perfect cup of tea!

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