If there’s one thing with the power to unite the world, it’s probably cake.
You might have have a recipe for something sweet and delicious taught to you by a parent, grandparent or friend. If you don’t, we bet you know someone who does.
So, take a few hours out this Refugee Week to share a sugary moment. Maybe you’ll end up sharing a story, memory or a joke while you’re at it. Or you might simply learn a recipe from another time or part of the world, to enjoy and one day, pass onto someone else.
Ask your classmates, colleagues or friends if they have recipes they’d like to share. Or, use one of the recipes below from Tastes of Home, a book by Edmund Rice England of recipes from refugees and people seeking asylum in Salford and Liverpool.
Share your pics, recipes and sweet experiences online using the hashtag #SimpleActs, or email us.
And most importantly, enjoy!
There are 20 Simple Acts to celebrate 20 years of Refugee Week. For more information and the full list, visit the Simple Acts page.
BACLAVA – بَقْلَاوَة
Country of origin
This sweet, layered pastry with honey and nuts is cooked across the Middle East and Greece. There are regional variations which have been given to us by many of the contributors to the book. This one is the Iraqi version. You can use a wide variety of nuts so experiment and let us know how you get on.
Sugar (225 g )
Self-raising four (225 g)
Pistachio/walnuts/cashew nuts (whichever is preferred) (250 g)
Butter (100 g)
Water with a pinch of salt (225 ml)
Heat the oven to 220c/Gas mark 7 Mix together the flour and 150 ml of water Knead into a dough Brush a baking tray with butter Divide the dough into six parts Roll out the first part into a very thin slice Spread a layer of over the dough Roll out the remaining portions of dough, covering each with a layer of pistachio/walnuts/cashew nuts Mix the sugar with the remaining water Heat to boiling point and simmer for ten minutes Spread over the layers of dough and nuts Bake in the base of the oven for 20 minutes until golden brown
GULAB JAMUN-گلاب جامن
Country of origin
This is a traditional Pakistani and Indian sweet enjoyed at parties and festivals.
Milk Powder (1/2 cup or 125 gram )
Semolina (2 table spoon)
Sugar (250 gram, 1 cup)
Baking Powder (1/3 table spoon)
Lemon Juice (1 table spoon)
Rose Water (1 table spoon)
Melted Butter (2 table spoon)
Whole Milk (Just enough to make dough)
Water (1 cup)
Oil for frying
Make the syrup: Add the sugar to the water and lemon juice. Boil Then add the rose water, simmer 6-7 minutes until syrupy. Set aside. Make the dough balls: Combine milk powder, semolina, baking powder with I tsp milk at room temperature. Roll these into smooth balls and fry on a medium heat – they will take 3- 5 mins. Re-reheat the syrup and carefully add in the in the fried Gulab Jamun. Bring to the boil then turn off the heat. Cover and set aside for 10 – 15 mins. Enjoy!
Country of origin
Barazek are famous Syrian specialty cookies from the Midan area. These crispy cookies are delicately thin and usually comes in tightly packed boxes from renowned Syrian bakeries.
Unsalted butter (1/2 cup- room temperature)
Powdered sugar (1/2 cup)
Baking powder (1/2 table spoon)
White flour (1 or 1/2 cup)
Vinegar (1 table spoon)
Pinch of salt
Dash of vanilla (Any kind of vanilla)
Roasted sesame seeds (1 cup)
Coarsely chopped unsalted pistachios (1 cup)
Cream the butter until light and fluffy then add the sugar and mix well. Mix in the egg, vanilla and vinegar until everything is well incorporated. Finally add the flour and baking powder along with a dash of salt, let it rest in the fridge for 30 minutes. Take a piece of the dough as big or as small as you want your cookies to be. Flatten the dough into a disc about 1/4 inch thick. The thinner the cookie is, the crunchier it will be. Press in a bowl of the roasted sesame seeds to coat one side. Then press the other side to coat with pistachio chunks. Bake in a 350F preheated oven for about 20 minutes until bottom is golden brown. You can brush on a little warmed syrup or honey to ensure the seeds and nuts stick well to each side of the cookie. Thinner cookies are crunchier and thicker ones are chewier, so roll out to your desired thickness. Great with tea, coffee or milk for the kids.