HAPPY NEW YEAR – Horsing Around 2014

Its early February the sun isshining and the New Year is far from over for 1 Billion Chinese and thats not taking into account Chinese outside of the mainland. I’m so looking forward to the Year of the horse even though I’m not really Chinese, although I can claim some connection seeing as my mother was born in Harbin, China and studied in Shanghai until her late teens I grew up in Australia.

Today I’ve made my life in Israel faced with many challanges. Riding a Camel for 3 days in the desert was both comfortable and stable which wasn’t my experience on a horse. But like my past-time of Betting on the Australian Cup , going to the stables at the Race Course checking out my favourite Brumby it’ll be a while before I gamble again and now I can look forward for get to being lucky enough to get invited into the VIP Lounge.

Its time to check out the latest styles in Red Polka Dotted daks (according to one of my sources) from the local department store having heard about it reminded me of my trip in Australia where I stumbled upon a tree painted with a teeny weeny polka dotted bikini which was almost as good as this picture of a car rental place near Cairns.

I’m told its a New Year tradition to bring in Good luck in.2014 which ends on February 18th, 2015 and the Wooden Horse symbolises  Jiǎwǔnián, also called asMùmǎnián (Wood Horse). The Chinese  year 4712  is based on the Lunar Calender as is the Jewish Calendar which begins around September and is 5774 years old and counting. .

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).

Travellers  born in the year of the horse have ingenious communicating techniques and in their community they always want to be in the limelight. They are clever, kind to others, and like to join in a venture career. Although they sometimes talk too much, they are cheerful, perceptive, talented, earthy but stubborn. They like entertainment and large crowds. They are popular among friends, active at work and refuse to be reconciled to failure, although their endeavor cannot last indefinitely. Making friends around the world is a favourite pastime.

Having  vowed to renewed old friendships and make new ones this year , before embarking on a trip overseas next year.  Meeting  people from all around the globe teaches us to be tolerant and more understanding yet I find myself challanging personality traits given to people from different countries having lived a childhood in such places.

My perception of people from Austria, Czech Republic, Finland, Hong Kong/China, India, Russia or South Africa evovles and the stigmas involved give us preconceptions that in some cases prove correct until you meet a backpacker whom shows you the down to earth perceptions of people whom are continuously breaking walls of resistance challanging their fears and reaching new heights.

Some may be atuned to the works of Mozart and picturing Austria as a place of lush green hills and snowy Alps is very enlightening. Of course Arnold Shwarzzeneger put Austria on the map for Sports achievements and continued to show the world how trusting  instincts may not show sporty spirit but definately gives one an anchor to hold on to when in unfamiliar surroundings and can teach us all to be weary of the friendliest of intentions.

Still the sporty competitiveness of Austrians and Australians alike should be admired but not at all costs. My mothers cousin made a life in Australia after batting it out on the Tennis courts in China with a smile that would capture my heart when I think back to the precious moments I spent with him. Maybe it was life in China from my Austrian and Russian /Ukrainian background which instilled in me the spirit of the horse.

The spirit of the horse is recognized to be the Chinese people’s ethos – making unremitting efforts to improve themselves. It is energetic, bright, warm-hearted, intelligent and able. Ancient people liked to designate an able person as ‘Qianli Ma’, a horse that covers a thousand li a day (one li equals 500 meters).So in an effort to follow ancient Qianli Ma tradition I reached the Everest and ever since I’ve been on the run..

The memories of Sydney at its best on New Years Eve , will always  be  in my heart as are the galloping horses, from the movie Man from Snowy River.  reminding me of the Blue Mountains and abseiling /rappeling off  cliffs or the Scenic Railway which was as much fun as the Funicular in Hong Kongs Peak or Flamsbahn on the Flam Line in Bergen, Norway.

Warm people from Freezing Finland, Czech Republic or colourful India have inspired me to continue to travel and have faith in people opening my home to guests from around the globe over the years.

I dream of learning Spanish to speak with South Americans, and Spaniards and maybe even allow for me to understand Ladino a language still alive amongst Jewish ancestors in Israel and  around the world.Maybe one day I will get to go on Safari to Africa, see the waterfalls, tribal villages and beauty of South Africa inspired by the faith the late Nelson Mandela had in his people but for now I can dream in a world that peaceful harmony can be reached if we all accept each others differences and practice tolerance and abhorance for all types of terror and violence by teaching our children to communicate with one another no matter the language we use.

 Finally utilising my Couscous pot we were given as a wedding present years ago I managed to make delicious Dim Sums with Sweet potatoes and others with Capsicum or Red Peppers if you prefer. Celebrating The Chinese New Year was a special treat this year falling on a Friday Night and tempting me to be innovative for 4 customers whom insist I do it every year…

Guess its time I get out the Chinese Cookbooks. And share a few important facts for those of you whom were lucky to associate with those born in the year of the Horse whom like to move in glamorous circles while pursuing high profile careers.

Lucky Facts to horse around with!

Wu Xing (The Five Elements): huo (fire)
Yin Yang: yang
Lucky Colors: brown, yellow, purple; Avoid: blue, white, golden
Lucky Numbers: 2, 3, 7; Avoid 1, 6, 5
Lucky Flowers: calla lily, jasmine, marigold

So smell a Lily, marigold or Jasmine flower as you enjoy your Chinese Tea welcoming a great year ahead. Share my post and share your predictions for the year of the Horse.

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Winter Lights and Hanukah in Israel

Now the sun is out after it snowed here in Jerusalem but this time I took a raincheck, just thought you might like a pic of me and my Snowman from many years ago. Every year it snows for a few days in Jerusalem normally it happens in January or February and on a lucky […]

JEWISH FOOD AND JEWISH RAMBLINGS

They are very friendly, hospitable and great family. Mikki‘s home full of life, fun and arrangements. You can learn a lot from her. Mikki is very interesting, nice, smart, extremely positive person. Hope your childner will use CS to know the world, countries, cultures. Good luck and see you in Lithuania.

From Lithuania to Lochness

I’ve always thought of eating Haggis but when visiting Scotland found it more interesting to watch the Bagpipe players in their kilts. Still I enjoyed going to Lochness and Aberdeen with a German friend whom I continued to correspond with 8 years later after I spent time in the fjords and continued onward through Europe visiting Turkey, Italy, the United Kingdom and Bulgaria.

Recently I’ve been fortunate to meet some lovely Eastern Europeans visiting Israel and the memories from my Polish grandparents and Russian friends seem to cloud my sense of time.  Instead of living the moment these wonderful guests have helped me to couchsurf as I listen to their wonderful stories from their hometowns.

Lithuania until now a little known Country near Poland with the Capital Vilinuis yet on a wish list to visit. Having around 75% of Sth African Jew originating from Lithuania whom are now scattered in Israel,Australia and the UK, living in Australia  as a result of WWII and the end of the Apartheid region I was curious enough to want to meet my first Lithuanian, hopefully the first of many as we enjoyed discussing familiarities such as tastes from my past. Borscht a Beetroot soup I devoured at my Russian Aunts and Potatoes and Pickles which reminded me of my Polish ancestory.

Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic and Lithuania all places I’ve found to be enticing enough to list as countries travelled to on my bucket list for the future. But for now Bulgaria, Belgrade are the first off my list as places in Eastern Europe I have fond memories of.

The description of the forests and the Old Town take me back to my travels in Finland, yet sitting on my lounge room couch thinking of Bulgaria and the days I spent with my twin girls backpacking through to Nessebar and Varna in the midst of the biggest hail Storm in 90 years.

 

A smile from my guest as I enter the streets of Jerusalem on Shabbat to bring my guest home for the night.  Strange as it seems already within 20 mins a bond is formed with a stranger from afar.  We exchange recipes and stories and prepare for a day filled with Music.  Modiin transforms itself every year during Autumn for a weekend of Music from around the globe be it Irish melodies or Folk music from Israel and around Europe  as one listens to the local Jazz bands play Kleizemer music  as we continue to dance.

In Lithuania rains fall as I watch our Autumn trees turn yellow amongst shades of brown and green. The storms in Litnuania bring beautiful Amber stones to Lithuanians that are then turned into ornaments or gifts like the souvenirs given to my daughters. Here the sun shines gazing at the beauty in my hands and my memory recollects the friendship stone I was given some years back by a friend whom returned to America leaving me behind a gift from South Africa.  One day my son will recieve it as a token of my love. But for now my twins admire their gifts of Amber adorning their necklines proudly to show off to their classmates.

Having spent time farming for root vegetables and Potatoes the idea of making a vegetable soup from potatoes, carrots, celery and pickled cucumber entices me almost as much as Beetroot Borscht.  But for now I will share my Beetroot salad recipes for those whom wish to delight in a sweet accompaniment to any main course.

BEETROOT GOAT CHEESE SALAD

Beetroot Walnut and Goat Cheese Salad – After cooking beetroot and slicing it into cubes.

Add the Walnuts and Goat cheese cubes with a touch of Olive oil and Salt and Pepper.

This salad is quite delicious along with my Beetroot, Prune, Walnut, Mayonnaise Dressed salad will be added to my favourites for a festive meal.  And so until we travel again we can dream of Galapagos Islands ,Lithuania or Prague to keep my curiosity up.

Easy Pecan Pie Recipe

Now I’ll have to visit my Uncles Pecan Tree, Cant wait brings me back memories of great Pecan Pies I’ve got to try.

Cauldrons and Cupcakes

Pecan pie

“Earth is here so kind, that just tickle her with a hoe and she laughs with a harvest.”
~ Douglas Jerrold 1803-1857

Something very cool happened yesterday afternoon as we went for a family walk to wheel the rubbish bin (it’s a glamorous life on the farm LOL!) down our long driveway to the road.

As I trailed behind Ben and the dogs I spied a funny shaped rock on the grass.

Only it wasn’t a rock, it was a pecan nut!

pecans

The straggly-looking trees lining one side of our driveway are young pecan trees and this year was their first fruiting. They were planted before we came, and we’ve nursed them along, not knowing what they were.

Oh my goodness. I’m a pecan farmer!!!

Ben and I scrabbled around and I filled my apron pocket with nuts. There are still a few more to drop, but it’s not a bad first…

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Traditional Fruit recipes

Being invited to strangers home of different denominations is a pleasure, the chance to bless receiving such delicious dishes some which remind me of my childhood favourites at my religious aunts homes.
Wether you eat Apples, Cranberries or Tzimmes its time to bring in a fruitful New Year.

Out of Africa- Ethiopian Delights

Out of Africa is a movie I vividly recall from the days I used to frequent Cinemas, these days I’d prefer to see exotic places for myself.

Ethiopia, Sth Africa,Kenya, Zebras, Elephants or Lions all fascinate me. Like South America ,Africa is a continent I dream to travel in and meanwhile I’m being introduced to the different foods they serve.  I arrived in Israel together with Operation Moses without a connection to a community organisation yet knew family members would welcome me to the country. The essence of adjusting to a new country is enriched if you have a family or community support and all the more a necessity to endure the hardships of living in Israel.

Special Events in July

Ethiopians from Modiin

I’ve always been interested in Ethiopia, wether it be from living in Australia meeting an Ethiopian from Gondar whom had befriended a close friend whilst they studied at University together or meeting Ethiopians in a nightclub in Amsterdam. Arriving in Israel at the same time as the migrants from Russia and Ethiopia I was informed they were given preference as I had arrived from Australia I didn’t require any aid.

Well that left me alone looking for direction, stumbling around having climbed Ben Nevis, seen the Everest and the Pyramids.Travelling by train I also enjoyed the Valley of the Queens and Kings straight out of the Agatha Kristie Movie Death on the Nile… The Ethiopian Jews whom settled in Israel walked the deserts through Sudan and lost many friends whom couldn’t make it to Gondar or Addis Ababa  to save their heritage or return to their homeland after years in exile.

Their restaurants thrive and their culture can be seen in the businesses they set up or in the centres that they live in.  It was a surprise for me to discover my favourite Cafe in Tel Aviv recently thanks to a Shabbat Dinner I attended by chance.

I attended an evening dedicated to Ethiopian Jews in my home town and learnt that we have almost 30 Ethiopian families in Modiin and a total of 2% of the population of Israel are Ethiopian Jews.

Being introduced to their breads  and snacks of roasted wheat and their baby humous which were roasted in spices and observing  a traditional Ethiopian Coffee Ceremony where the youngest person of the family honours the eldest members serving them coffee welcoming guests to their home .

Walking the streets of Jerusalem often I pass an Ethiopian restaurant in the Centre of the City but seeing as I don’t eat meat I’ve never eaten there. Still the Ethiopians staple bread is the Ingera much like the Yeminite Lachuch a large pita that one wrips up as you devour dips and fill your senses with the smell of cooked legumes or spinach or potato side dishes.  In fact eating at Tanat reminded me of my days in India and the Cafe I frequent in Machane Yehuda to reminisce of travels to Agra and Varanasi.  So now I’ve met Itzik a cool dude with a passion to keep his heritage alive in Israel I’ve become his number one fan.

Itzik of Tanat Vegan Restaurant

Ingera at Tanat

His Cafe is in the heart of South Tel Aviv near Allenby Street or the Bus Station area, passing the illegal Erithrean makeshift restaurants one reaches Zchelnov Street and Tanat. Itzik surprised me as not only was he fluent in Hebrew but he conversed freely in English with Tourists walking by and the locals that pass by enroute to work or off to the local nightclub.  The warmth he showed me was just what I needed on a late Friday afternoon before Shabbat came in and the recommendation by a bunch of guys I met over a Shabbat dinner to try out this Vegan Cafe in Tel Aviv proved worthy.  Actually I really wanted a fresh Juice but was content with the cold water he served me to quence my thirst as I had all but spent my last pennies on a fun day walking Shenkin Street seeing the local Art work by innovative Israelis in all the colours of the rainbow whom market their wares to the public.

Still the Ingera with a dahl like lentil dish and potato/carrot dish filled my stomach just like Popeye as I devoured spinach and every last mouthfull ready to drive home to welcome Shabbat and be greeted by my young son.

Traditional pottery and cooking courses are offered in the Community Center of Ramla for tourists to learn about Ethiopian culture during a visit to Israel.

Ethiopian Cafe
Itzik of Tanat Vegan Restaurant
Rehov Zchelnov 27, Tel Aviv
Telephone: 077-4813513

Yemenite Restaurant  –  Lachuch on Fridays
Marvad Haksamim
Moshava HaGermanit, Jerusalem