Wow, I just had a blip of a flashback/fantasy where I wrote a piece of code that went out to the online TV Guide, looked at the three to seven Hollywood films that are on the major Dutch networks every night, then went out to Metacritic and found out their metascores and averaged them, so I could have like a daily Cultural Apocalypse Quotient just handed to me.

Tonight's is a good one: we have Demolition Man (34/100), The Saint (50/100), Night at the Museum 2 (42/100), A Cinderella Story (25/100), and Intolerable Cruelty, which gets a 71 out of 100, BUT unfortunately stars Catherine Zeta-Jones, for whom Mara and I harbor such an irrational hatred that we are unable to watch any movie featuring her except High Fidelity (79/100), so there would be some automatic adjustment code happening for special cases like this.


Ummm....right. A few days ago I sent Mara an article from Serious Eats about 10 great winter desserts featuring oranges or something, oh wait here it is. I sent it to her because she really likes winter oranges and because I really like it when someone makes dessert for me.

Her choice from that list was the Orange Semolina Cake, which sounded great and was an interesting recipe (you puree two oranges whole, skins and all, for example): little did I know that it was essentially a recipe for one of my favorite desserts of, if not all time, then of the last 5 years or so: basbousa. Anyway, it turned out really really authentic-tasting, and if you want some, come by, 'cause there's lots.

Speaking of which, this recipe: it makes an imposingly dense cake that you will want to share with other people. We tripled the amount of syrup in the original recipe because that's the only way it really seemed like the basbousa that I know.


orange semolina cake (aka basbousa, revani).

2 cups sugar
3 tbsp lemon juice
3 tsp orange blossom water
2 and 1/4 cup water

2 almost softball-sized navel oranges, scrubbed
3/4 cup olive oil
3/4 cup sugar
5 large eggs
2 cups semolina
4 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup almond flour
1 cup untoasted almonds with skins, chopped

Fill a medium pot halfway with water. Add oranges and boil until softened, about 45-60 minutes, you might have to add more water. Drain and let cool. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9 1/2 inch cake pan.

In a small saucepan, combine sugar, lemon juice, orange blossom water, and water. Bring heat to medium and cook, stirring constantly, until sugar dissolves. Let mixture come to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 6 minutes. Let cool.

Quarter oranges and remove the seeds but not the skin. Place oranges in a food processor and pulse until you have a smooth pulp. In a large bowl, combine orange pulp, oil, sugar, and eggs. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth. In a small bowl, whisk together semolina, baking powder, and almond flour. Stir dry ingredients into orange mixture.

Pour batter into pan and garnish top with chopped almonds. Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 40 minutes, but keep an eye on the almonds on top, ours browned really fast and we had to cover the top with foil. Cool cake for ten minutes then pour syrup over the top.


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