Semolina Halva (Sooji Haluwa)

My best intentions for posting this month have been made insignificant by what is happening in my area of the world at the moment - which is why you haven't heard much from me lately! In the area I live there are currently 4 serious bush fires, a couple of which are burning out of control. Although we live in an area prone to fires, this year the fire season has begun badly - and it's only spring! The hot, dry, windy weather we are having now coupled with the fact that we had an unseasonably warm winter leading up to this has lead to terrifying bushfire conditions. Thousands of hectares of bushland has been burnt and many, many people have lost their homes, their cars, their possessions and, in some cases, their beloved pets. Fortunately there has been no known deaths in my area, which seems miraculous.

Today it has been predicted that the weather will be "as bad as it gets" for bush fires. Hot, dry weather with winds of up to 100km. This could potentially be disastrous for the spread of the fires that are already burning. All the schools and childcare centres have been closed for the next few days, hospitals and nursing homes have been evacuated or relocated and people are being urged to leave their homes if they are not prepared. It's a daunting situation!

We have been spending our days preparing our house and getting our plans in order. I feel that we are *pretty well* prepared now, so I've managed to find time to sit down and share a post with you. Today I will be hovering around with my sprinklers at the ready and hoping for the best. My thoughts and best wishes to all the thousands of other people across Australia that are facing similar situations (there are currently more than 60 fires currently burning in NSW alone, although a lot of these fires are being controlled and contained by our wonderful fire fighters).

So what delicious treats can we wheel out to distract us from natural disasters? How about some delicious Nepalese Sooji Haluwa? This is a really easy halva recipe, made with semolina and crammed full of tasty nuts and plump golden raisins.

Nepalese Sooji Haluwa (Semolina Halva)

1/3 cup vegan margarine
1 cup semolina
1/2 cup sugar
2 cups of almond, oat or rice milk
1/3 cup golden raisins
1/2 tsp ground cardamom
2 tbsp dessicated coconut
2 tbsp chopped cashews (about 10 or so)
2 tbsp chopped pistachios (plus more to garnish)
1/3 cup almonds, chopped roughly
Agave nectar, to garnish (or, if you are not a vegan, you can use honey which would be traditionally used)

To Make
1. Heat the margarine in a medium saucepan until melted. Add the semolina and cook over a medium heat, stirring constantly, until the semolina starts to turn brown.
2. Add the sugar and stir it through, followed by the milk, raisins, cardamom and coconut.
3. Bring to a simmer and then add the cashews, pistachios and almonds. Turn the heat right down and cook over a low heat until all the milk is absorbed into the semolina.
4. Transfer to a serving bowl. You can eat it hot or cold. Before serving sprinkle with fresh chopped pistachios and drizzle with agave nectar (or honey).

Serves 6.

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