Spice Auntie Guest Post - Lebanese Sfouf

We are so very lucky and honored to have two guest posts in a row wow! This one, the last in our turmeric series, comes from Michelle, whom I met in Hong Kong two years ago. Michelle was working at an Investment Bank but I could immediately sense that her heart was elsewhere - in lands far away yet to be discovered, foods and customs yet to be experienced, in people to serve and communities to give back to. Michelle's passion for life, travel, adventure and culture is palpable and contagious. She is currently exploring Central and South America (yes I am jealous) but was kind enough, before departing for her travels, to share this wonderful, aromatic, comforting, delicious and very traditional recipe for a Lebanese Turmeric Semolina Cake called Sfouf. Between trying to say the word and devouring the golden delicious treat, toddler had a delightful afternoon. Thank you Auntie Michelle! 

 

 

 

 

 

SPICE AUNTIE GUEST POST
Michelle Mouracade


MODERN SCIENCE

A diet enriched in curcumin, the active ingredient of turmeric, reduces symptoms of post traumatic stress disorder, specially the consolidation and recall of fear memories. 

RECIPE




As a child growing up in war-torn Lebanon, my most comforting memories are mostly related to food and family traditions. I remember so clearly the little “markouk” bread butter and honey triangles that my grandfather used to prepare for breakfast or the “mulukhiyah” soup of my grandmother, or how she would spread the “labneh” and “zaatar” in my sandwich with a piece of bread instead of a knife so that she could give me that extra bite to eat, not to mention the amazing ice cream sculptures that my mom used to surprise us with for our birthdays. But one of my absolute favorite treats was the “sfouf” cake that I would smell as soon as I would walk in the door! I remember being amused by my yellow fingers after eating them and how I kept wanting more because they were so light and felt so healthy... And I especially remember how I made sure that I would get the most pine nuts on my piece of cake, even if it meant cheating when no-one was looking. Enjoy!

RECIPE

Lebanese Sfouf
12 months+, Toddler, Kid, Adult

Adapted from this beautiful blog and post http://nevermindthehummus.com/2014/05/12/sfouf-yellow-lebanese-cake/

Nutrition
Semolina is made from ground durum wheat and is yellowish in color. It's richer in protein and iron than regular wheat. Here it comes together with milk, sugar, flour, turmeric and pine nuts for an addictive, delicious cake. I try and limit white sugar in my toddler's diet to a few treats a week but sometimes, a piece of homemade, love and spice-infused cake is just what the heart and soul ordered. 

Science Corner
Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), characterized by the activation of fear-based memories, affects about 8% of the US population, yet treatment options are limited. In one study using a well established model for PTSD in rats, a diet enriched in curcumin impaired the consolidation and activation of fear memories and affected the expression of genes involved in PTSD. The researchers suggest that curcumin may be useful in combination with other therapies for PTSD and anxiety disorders. 

Yield
About 12 diamond shaped pieces

Ingredients
2 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3/4 cup fine semolina
2 cups caster sugar
1 1/4 cup full fat milk
1 teaspoon turmeric
1.5 teaspoons baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil 
1 tablespoon tahini 
1/2 cup pine nuts

Method
Preheat the oven to 350F / 170C. Mix the flour, semolina, turmeric and baking powder well in a bowl. In another bowl mix the milk and sugar until well dissolved. Add the oil and mix well. Add the wet to the dry ingredients until you have a smooth batter without overmixing. Don't forget to ooh and aah at the gorgeous golden yellow color! Grease a cake pan with the tahini, mix the batter once again and pour into the pan. Sprinkle with the pine nuts. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out dry from the middle of the cake. Allow the cake to cool. Slice into traditional diamond shaped pieces and serve with cold milk for your toddler or a cup of hot mint tea for the perfect afternoon treat.