Sophia Lindop is a South African author of Lebanese descent, and her latest book Going Home is about an exploration of her roots through stories and food.
This book is more than a recipe book, it’s a combination of beautiful personal stories and a voyage of discovery, where food finds a way of weaving itself in between and ultimately brings them all together as one.
Speaking of food, the recipes are exquisite (and just the type of food I love to cook and eat). Unfussy, authentic, rich in flavour, freshness and love. It’s the kind of food you want to share with others, which is indicative of the Lebanese culture.
Having grown up in a home where our Lebanese heritage was celebrated, as I got older, I became more and more aware that the culture – especially the food culture – was what defined me.Sophia Lindop, Going Home
I’ve been paging through my copy during the week and making mental notes of all the things I want to make, which is practically everything. I’m a sucker for anything containing honey, tahini, orange blossom or rosewater, and warm, earthy spices like za’atar, cumin, paprika, cinnamon and sumac are also the kind I cook a lot with, so the recipes in Going Home are just up my alley.
Choosing a recipe extract to share was a tough choice, but the Nammoura stood out for me because I adore the combination of semolina, lemon and rosewater, plus the cake is made with Greek yoghurt (which is a winning ingredient when it comes to cake recipes). If Greek yoghurt isn’t a staple in your fridge, it needs to be – the stuff is magical and can be used in so many sweet and savoury dishes.
Semolina lemon cake – Serves 12
Lebanese sweets are seldom overbearingly sweet – that’s what I like most about them. This cake is baked in a baking tray and cut into diamond shapes before serving. It has a lovely lemony flavour.
For the syrup
350 ml water
225g caster sugar
60 ml lemon juice, freshly squeezed
2 tsp rosewater
For the cake
225 g caster sugar
225 g semolina
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
350 ml Greek-style yoghurt
4 tbsp butter, melted
24 whole blanched almonds
- Preheat the oven to 180°C.
- Prepare the syrup by placing the water, sugar and lemon juice in a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat, stirring continuously until the sugar has dissolved. Turn the heat up to high and cook vigorously until it begins to turn a light caramel colour. Add the rosewater and set aside.
- For the cake, mix the caster sugar, semolina and bicarb together in a bowl. Using a wooden spoon, beat the yoghurt in a separate bowl and then add the butter and mix well. Mix the yoghurt mixture into the dry ingredients and scrape the batter into a well-greased baking tray of 20 x 30 cm and about 5 cm deep. Bake for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and top with the almonds, spacing them about 4 across and 6 down. Place the cake back into the oven for a further 15 minutes until golden brown.
- Cool the cake in the tray for 10 minutes and then cut into square or diamond shapes, with an almond in the centre of each. Slowly pour the cooled syrup over the cake, allowing it to soak in – use enough to just soak into the cake as it should not be soggy.
- Serve at room temperature with a blob of thick yoghurt.
This cake will keep in an airtight container for up to a week.
I have two copies of Going Home to give away, which you can enter via the Instagram post here. The closing date for entries is Monday 8 March 2021.