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.

.

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 […]

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.

Italian Food – From Australia to Little Italy in Israel

Italian Food on the Go

Italian Food on the Go

Italian Food can be bought around the world but nothing compares  to the meals we ate on our recent trip.  Desserts are always tasty, If you like Tiramisu,  Panna Cota or even a great Gelato which can be found around the world but try one in Florence or Sirmione along Lake Garda and you won’t need to eat for days after.

As a child everyone liked Pizzas not me, then I visited Rome and ate my way through square Pizzas with Zuchinni, Artichokes or Onions with all my favourite Italian Spices Oregano, Rokula – Rocket, or Basil and was hooked.

As for Main Courses Pastas are all the go especially for children whom devour the dish with their favourite sauces such as Nepolitana Tomato Sauce or even additions such as Eggplants, and Green beans with Penne.  Then I discovered Gnocchi but coming across a great Pizza place “SAPORE in San Martino 20 minutes from Verona returning from Venice last year got me hooked. Even my son whom avoids the commercialised versions of Gnocchi here wanted more.

I’ve always had a penchant for Italian food ever since I discovered Grandfathers Moustache in Sydneys Rose Bay or Papa Giovannis an institution in Bondi Beach.  But if your in Melbourne check out any of the places in Carlton Street and you’ll feel like you weer in Italy.

Here in Israel during the Gulf War I discovered Luigis, and the Pera Le Mare in Jerusalem or Little Italy that serve great Kosher Italian Fare. Of course my son favours Spagettim which I treated him to one night in Tel Aviv but any of the branches are popular. Trying Teresa in Rishon Lezion Cinema City is great but their branch in Nes Zionna/Rehovot is best where we celebrate Birthdays.

So if you are near Verona or close to Bussolengo this Summer Check out Paradiso Della Frutta for great fruit desserts on their outside porch or a Great local hangout with a garden for the best meals  and of course my most recent discovery is a Piade from the North at the local Piadeneria.

Heres a Recipe for Gnocchi:

Gnocchi 

1 kg old potatoes

200gr (max 250) white flour

1 egg (not needed if the potatoes are really old and good)
pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg (if you like it)

Boil the potatoes, smash them, until warm mix quickly with flour and egg, form a roll with a finger diameter, cut in pieces, throw the dumpling in boiling salted water and wait as they come on the surface.

Serve with your preferred sauce.

Paradiso Della Frutta 

Via Pastrengo 30 ,

Bussolengo 37012

VERONA

Tel: 045 7151937 

Sapore’

Via Ponte 55 / a | San Martino Buon Albergo (VR)

Tel / Fax 045 8781791 |  contatti@saporeverona.it

Opening hours

Monday: 18.30 – 23

Tuesday to Sunday: 11.30 – 14.30 | 18 – 23

Friday and Saturday nights the service is deployed in two shifts: 19:21 hours

 

ISRAEL Teresa Branches

Rishon Le Zion Cinema City

Posts on Italy  Check out Translating Dreams:     http://wp.me/pR7TH-6U

Foods from Foreign Palates

The foreign foods Australia needs
Date
April 3, 2013
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The Backpacker
Ben Groundwater
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Choripan Bibimbap Shakshuka Esfahan

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Beer food … currywurst. Photo: Penny Bradfield
So I get back to Australia after a long trip away, and everyone’s eating banh mi. Which is fair enough, because banh mi is awesome.

But it’s a bit like the band you were listening to years ago that’s suddenly popped up on Nova. You want to tell everyone, “Yeah, I was eating banh mi years ago. In Vietnam, before it was cool.”

It’s interesting the foreign foods that suddenly become popular in Australia. Kebabs, I guess, were once cutting edge foodstuffs. Spanish-style small plates had their go. Tacos are still de rigueur. Ramen is everywhere. Ceviche is cool. We’re all hungry for sliders.

Ethiopian injera … more please. Photo: Marco Del Grande
But what’s next? What are the foreign foods that deserve their time in the Australian sun? Or at least in the pub?

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We could do worse than these…

Currywurst (Germany)

I was eating banh mi before it was cool.
Germans know how to do good beer, and they also know how to do good beer food. Currywurst is simple: just a bratwurst sausage grilled, sliced, then covered in a sweet curry sauce and sprinkled with curry powder. Served with chips it’s the ultimate beery fast food – not sure why it hasn’t made a splash in Australia yet.

Choripan (Argentina)

Choripan is a basic thing: a chorizo sausage (chori) in bread (pan). But then think about the smoky, spicy flavour, and the sauce, the finely chopped chimichurri, and all of a sudden you’ve got the kind of snack you could see upmarket bars peddling to the inner-city masses in no time.

Batata Vada (India)

If you’re the sort – er, definitely not me – who wanders around Sydney at 2am looking for an “Indian kebab”, then this is the snack for you: a spiced potato cake served in a small bread roll with chutney. This Mumbai specialty doesn’t sound like much, but wait till you taste it. The kebab guys would be out of business.

Pork tea (China/Malaysia)

The name is a misnomer, as there’s no tea in this dish: just some hardcore pork bits, cooked in an intensely flavourful sauce that gives it its name. It’s spicy, sweet, porky and delicious. Like many of the dishes mentioned here it can appear to be simple food, but is deceptively complex.

Acaraje (Brazil)

Forget a kebab, or even a banh mi – this is the foreign sandwich of the future. A cake made of black-eyed peas is fried in oil, then split in half and filled with small prawns that have been cooked in their shells in chilli and cashew paste. It’s street food in the beachy Brazilian state of Bahia, and it would work here.

Krokets (Netherlands)

Like currywurst, this is bar food, plain and simple. A good Dutch kroket is a thing of beauty: it’s like the filling from a meat pie has been formed into a cylinder, crumbed and deep-fried. Add a little mustard and all of your drunken dreams have just come true.

Fried liver sandwiches (Morocco)

On the narrow streets of Fez they serve these amazing sandwiches: round bread rolls split and stuffed with a mixture of sausage meat and liver that’s been chopped and fried in spices. These snacks go for about $1 each, and they taste incredible. (Though, admittedly, they may not taste quite as incredible when not surrounded by Fez.)

Soba noodles (Japan)

We’ve got sushi, we’ve got ramen, we’ve got tempura, but there’s still not a lot of love for the delicate awesomeness of soba noodles. Served cold or hot, in soup or dipped in an equally delicate sauce, soba is not for midnight devouring. It’s for – ahem – sober appreciation.

Halim Bademjan (Iran)

How beef and the humble eggplant is cooked to become this pale, molasses-thick soup I have no idea, but the result is delicious. Dusted with spice and served with a huge flatbread, this specialty of Esfahan deserves a go in the cafes of Australia.

Shakshuka (Israel)

This one is already beginning to find its way onto trendy café menus, and with good reason. When I wake up in the morning, the thought of eggs poached in a spicy tomato and capsicum sauce, served with bread, is about the best thing I could picture.

Bibimbap (Korea)

It’s the new nasi goreng! Bibimbap has everything that makes a rice dish good, including egg, chilli paste, mince, and some sautéed greens that you won’t find in any other cuisine. It’s also cooked (properly) in a stone bowl, giving the outer bits of rice a beautiful crunchy texture. I’d eat it every day.

Bobotie (South Africa)

There’s some weird food in South Africa – like a salad made of baked beans, banana and mayonnaise – but bobotie is fantastic. It’s comfort food: a baked casserole of mince, curry spices, dried fruit, and Mrs Ball’s chutney, with an eggy white sauce on top. You wouldn’t exactly expect to see it at Tetsuya’s, but for pub grub it works.

Injera (Ethiopia)

There’s maybe two Ethiopian restaurants in Melbourne, and one in Sydney, but there should be more. It mightn’t be to everyone’s taste, but injera – a sort of sour, spongy pancake – served with wats (stews) could easily find its place on the Australian dining scene. To some it tastes like eating your napkin, but I love it.

Which foreign foods would you like to see become popular in Australia?

Email: bengroundwater@gmail.com

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