Tag Archives: Egypt


This week I have spent a lot of time planning and preparing a Middle Eastern meal for two very lovely friends.  I am so looking forward to a relaxing Friday evening combining good company and Egypt nostalgia, and if the food looks presentable enough I will inevitably be Instagramming it.  I couldn’t resist posting a sneak preview yesterday of the basbousa, and several people have asked me for the recipe so here it is.  If you are observant you may notice that I didn’t use an 8 x 12 inch cake tin.  If you don’t have one, a 10 inch round one will do!


½ cup unsalted butter

¾ cup caster sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla essence

2 eggs

2 cups fine semolina

1 teaspoon baking powder

½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

¾ cup yoghurt

blanched split almonds


2 cups sugar

1 ½ cups water

1 tablespoon lemon juice

  1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla essence until light and fluffy.  Add eggs one at a time and beat well.
  2. Sift semolina, baking powder and soda twice.  Fold into butter mixture alternately with yoghurt.
  3. Spread batter into a greased 20 x 30 cm (8 x 12 inch) slab cake pan and place almonds on top in rows.
  4. Bake in a moderate oven – 180° C (350° F) for 30-35 minutes.
  5. While cake cooks, make syrup. Dissolve sugar in water over medium heat, add lemon juice and bring to the boil.  Boil rapidly for 10 minutes, then cool by standing pan in cold water.
  6. When cake is cooked, spoon cooled syrup over the hot cake.  Cool thoroughly and cut into diamond shapes or squares to serve.

The recipe comes from The Complete Middle East Cookbook by Tess Mallos.