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.

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

PIADINE WITH SWEET FILLINGS

Bring on the Brocolli Penne

Bring on the Brocolli Penne

Mascarpone, Mozarella,   all cheeses I associate with Italy. Shavuot a festival for those with a sweet tooth. Even in far away Australia Italian food is considered a staple along with Pavlovas and Lamingtons. My favourite cheese cake is made from 5% Cream cheese and topped with chocolate.
Every 2 years on Shavuot I make it in memory of Rina from Kibbutz Afikim.  Still I have modified the base as I prefer the crust from crumbed biscuits and this year I used 1 Kg of 5% Cream Cheese when in previous years I used 750gr. Both amount are equally good. In Italy we ate Tiramisu which is made with Mascarpone and recently I decided to use it for a savoury dish of baked cauliflower with Sage which turned out delicious. Mascarpone is a very fattening cheese so I will try to use it sparingly although it is one of my favourites. In my home Mozarella reigns but I find it a bit bland as I prefer spicier cheeses for savoury dishes. Still Lasagne is a favourite and a recipe with tomatoes and 5% Cottage cheese follows. I like Italian food so much that when my son convinced me to go to Spagettim with a guest from the Hashmonite Kingdom we devoured a delicious Penne with Brocolli, Almonds and ricotta cheese with a salad using Balsamic vinegar in the dressing. Still this time I decided to forget the dessert although my son and the visitor from our neighbouring country did and promised to return to Israel again to share stories over Italian dishes.

Italian Food on the Go

Italian Food on the Go

In Italy we discovered a Piadineria in Salo and I tried the savoury version as we strolled around Lake Garda gardens and the promenade.   Of course after eating my Piade I ate a Sorbet Gelato before we headed back to Verona.   via PIADINE WITH SWEET FILLINGS.

Cheese Cake Please

Cheese Cake Please



Rinas Cheese Cake

Cheese Mix Chocolate Sauce topping
1 cup sugar 6 Spoons sugar
3 egg yolks 3 Spoons Cocoa & 3 Spoons Milk
Vanilla Essence (teaspoon)

First Cook Choc Sauce until l Sugar boils  then add 1/2 pack margarine and mix
Next after beating together 1 Kg Cream cheese (5%)
Pour onto  biscuit crumb base and pour over Chocolate sauce then place cake in fridge  overnight
Serve with your favourite drink.

Cheese Lasagne

Cottage Cheese Layer Tomato Sauce Layer 
2 Tubs Cottage Cheese  5% Tomato Paste
2 Eggs 2 Cloves garlic crushed
Parsley,Salt & Pepper Oregano, Salt & Pepper

In a dish place Lasagne Noodles, Yellow cheese, Cottage cheese layer add in Parsley and salt & pepper then remaining layer of tomato sauce, top it off with a layer of yellow cheese and bake at 180 Degrees C.

Then Serve with your favourite salad.

Baked Potatoes passed over to Baked Marshmellows

I love potatoes especially when they are baked. Of course every baked potato depends on the amount of time you bake it and if its been oiled properly.  My favourite used to be Scandanavian Baked Potatoes but recently I enjoyed eating potatoes baked directly from a Bonfire.  Of course its never enough charred potatoes with a bit of salt makes me yearn for another Bonfire night.

Memories drift me back to bonfire night and firecrackers on the Queens Bday holiday in Australia. As a teenager a number of the locals would gather around the local bonfire catch up and watch the stars in the middle of the night until morning break. Just before dawn we would look beyond our already dead bonfire reminiscing of the nights fireworks display and then wondering on the cliff face I would stroll to a place I called home many years ago.

The other night after feasting on Baked potatoes and eating some cooked corn cobs with a bunch of parents I stood by watching one of my daughters showing off her young brother to her classmates. Luckily I proudly walked off knowing the 2 yr old boy would be taken care of with 30 minutes to myself  I sat by listening to the DJ playing popular tunes seeing all the school enjoy the bonfire and awaited the guitars.

Memories of Lag Baomer as a child in Israel where we sit around the bonfire chatting with the other children playing games and singing songs left me with a yearning to for my childhood. But alas this time the twins classes sat seperately far away from each other the parents acknowledging each other from a distance if at all I felt like a stranger.

Until the fireworks came on I was reminded of my childhood in Sydney where memories are held dear. My husband tried to associate with fellow parents helping out but also I felt the distance. One day maybe I’ll return to celebrate with the rest of Sydney a New Years eve for my children to see the difference when Millions of Aussies join in mateship sharing the traditional midnight kiss.

Now I have to be content with the sticklights as I place a broken guitar on the bonfire to follow my dreams as I look up at the night stars and munch on skewered toasted marshmellows.

Hope you leave a comment or spread the word as your feedback is required to give you posts of interests with a difference.

Recipes: Rocky Road Marshmellows, Scandanavian Baked Potatoes,

SCANDANAVIAN BAKED POTATOES

Make sure you have a nicely sized potato the size of your palm or larger cover it with oil and drizzle rosmary or another spice over the potato.Cover it in Aluminium foil and baking it on 200C for over 45 minutes should make the crust pretty crispy depending on the crunchiness decide if you want it to bake longer before serving with Sourcream,Chives, Corn or your favourite topping . Serve it with a great salad or grill your favourite BBQ and enjoy.

ROCKY ROAD MARSHMELLOWS

200 Grams Petit Berre Biscuits crushed          150 Grams Butter
1/4 Cup Peanuts,                                                    1/3 Cup Shredded Coconut
250 Grams Marshmellows                                  500 Gram melted Milk chocolate.

Layer the crumbled biscuits with butter and place in the refrigerator for an hour.
Mix the peanuts, marshmellows and coconut together  then pour the melted chocolate over the mix.

Once the biscuit layer is firmly in place place the marshmellow mix on top with the chocolate and refrigerate then you can slice it in big pieces but I personally love this  hand-wripped so the pieces are different sizes and shapes.
Reminds me of an Australian treat…

Check out this link  : http://wp.me/p1fIkQ-1Jn

Watch out for the upcoming posts of cheese cake recipes for Shavout or check out my post on Passover recipes.