A mix of spices Fixes the feelings

When creating a dish for the first time I experiment with the spices and ingredients I  want to add, I do not follow recipes!

Sometimes the dish comes out great and I pat myself on the back because I just earned a spot on TOP CHEF ;Ha! Sometimes I ruin an entire dish, it tastes and looks like slop, the dish needs to be chucked out and forgotten about! These 2 contrasts are the best ways to describe the emotions that accompany moving to a new country… Some days you are on top of the world and then other days you want to hide out under the covers and not see a soul.

No one said moving to a new country would be easy. Every one said you would have ups and downs. The Israelis mentality is not something one learns over night, it takes years to understand the intricate complicated Israeli and why he/she react the way they do. In the past few months we have met some amazing Israeli’s that are becoming more like family every day. They have taken us under their wings and helped us out, from translating school letters, helping us shop for the correct stationary needed for Eitan for kitah א, to calling municipal departments and lifting us to get our broken down car… Amazing how they go out of their way to help people that just a few months ago were complete strangers.

We have been here for 7 months now and every day we wait to see what surprise our country has to throw at us. Last week a great surprise knocked on our door, my son had been invited (along with other Olim going into kitah א ,ב ,ג ,ד or ה  from all around Israel) for a day at Mini Israel. Today is that day, the whirlwind of excitement is like my mix of spices in my dishes, what a treat is in store cause this dish is jam packed with excellence!

 

 

 

 

 

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TOSS THE TEA

 

What always fixes things? Tea! A cup of tea no matter the flavour is the most perfect food for your soul. Its calming effects are beyond explanations, Sip it slowly and watch all your hardships disappear… Nah, rather toss the tea and down a Beer!

I haven’t written in a long time, I thought of tricking you by saying I was testing your savlanut, but that’s not true… Truth be told; one needs to be in a good space to write quirky and funny blogs and I have found myself in the “rut part” of moving .We are no longer in the honeymoon phase and now real day to day life needs to happen. No one said moving would be easy, everyone warned us of the ups and downs of this part of the journey. You just can’t understand or relate until you go through it…

I speak Hebrew fluently, I read and write at a very basic level (self taught) So when I tell people that I don’t understand a specific word or what they are talking about or ask them to read something to me, they look at me flabbergasted. I have the mentality and Mannerisms of a South African, so fitting in here makes it a little tricky.

I am trying to find my place in this mad beautiful place and some days I just don’t know how. I miss my Family, my friends, my life, the familiarity of what we had. Who we had, even the simplest thing, like which direction to look before crossing the road… Here we start from scratch and it is hard…

Brain thinks and decided to pull itself and its physical out of the rut by doing the following:

Step 1: Toss the tea,

Step 2: Find some friends, even if you need to rent a crowd,

Step 3. Go out with said girlfriends for a beer!

Step 4: Forget your rut and let it not be the focus of your thoughts.

Step 5: Laugh loudly at life!

Step 6: Indulge in another Beer and just be.

 

Chilli it out

“SAVLANUT” – The Hebrew word for Patience!

I made you wait almost a month before reading my delightful post, did you miss me? Did you? Did you have Savlanut or where you about to e-mail me a million requests for the next installment?

“Welcome to Israel and don’t forget to have Savlanut” This is one of the first things you get told when arriving  in Israel!  Most Olim already have this amazing characteristic without needing to learn it, but how do you live in a country that is built for being strong and showing off your plumage by remaining collected and patience? Take a little bit of Chilli and chew it for a while, mouth explodes, scream into a pillow and once this is done you chill the chilli with a glass of milk, because another thing you get taught is that this is the country of Milk!

Did you know that Chilli comes in a variety of colours – , red, orange, yellow and green… The traffic light turns from red to orange (or yellow – whichever floats your boat) and before you even get a chance to glance the green the hooters have already made a million ear aching sounds. Anxiety kicks in and sweat begins to pour out of every crevice! “RELAX” I scream out the window, “I’m moving, I’m going”… I’m sweating, I’m fuming, I’m now as hot and heavy on the hooter and am hooting like a maniac at the car in front of me. My Savlanut has flown out the window and I have joined that red hot chilli explosion! I AM that red hot chilli explosion.

*Arrive at destination*

*Grumble*

*Breath*

*Repeat*

*Walk around in circles*

*Do the salsa*

*Add chilli to the salsa*

*Head for the fridge*

*Drink*

Calming down with a nice cold glass of milk.

I love how much dairy they have in this country. I love their yoghurts and cheese and creams and milk, YUM.

*Happiness*

A light bulb  goes off in my head and all of a sudden I realise that my hot headedness can be cured! I slurp my final sips of milk and on my journey home I blast the music in my car so I can no longer hear the hooters. Ha!  Chilli has chilled out.

 

No Onions needed, tears flow…

Ok, So an Onion isn’t categorized as a spice, but it definitely adds flavour!

I love Onions.

I use Onions in all my savoury dishes. Soups, stir fry, salads, none are complete without my trustee Onion.

What I don’t love? Is cutting onions!

My eyes swell, the ducts fill up and all at once the tears flow out! No matter how many tricks and tips I’ve Google’d to find a perfect no cry  method for  cutting an onion, end result is – me sobbing away.

 

Israel is seeing its fair share of tears at the moment.

Last week was “Yom Hashaoh”where we remember and honor the memory of the Holocaust and remind ourselves and teach our children that never again will we allow the horrors to be repeated!

Today is “Yom Hazikaron” where we remember and honour the fallen soldiers and civilians lost in the fight to protect this great country.

Yom-Hazikaron

The siren begins… 2 minutes, 2 minutes feel like a lifetime when you think about everything that others have endured… The tears of the onion don’t seem severe when you think of lives lost, parents loosing their children, future battles that always lurk… 

Israel is hard, life in Israel is no vacation, but the things we are experiencing here every day make this place worth the hardships; despite everyone, their differences, their political views, religious beliefs and petty mundane every day complaints; on these two days all Israeli’s throughout Israel stand together and give their respect to honour the past. I look at my kids and realise that they will one day be proudly wearing their army uniforms and fighting the fight to survive.

Tonight the tears completely wash away and we get filled with giddy happiness and laughter, celebration of life! Independence is what we have gained and achieved, the sorrows of the past have led us to this, our incredible “Yom Haatzmaut” – Israel, an Independent state!

Conclusion – A onion has many layers, my once cut onion might have created many tears, but now the delights of the meal are felt and we all share in the deliciousness that has been created together. May the dreams we all dream be the future we find and may each day be a celebration of life.

 

Cinnamon is where it’s at

So I don’t eat Cinnamon. Yes it tastes great when added to sugar on a pancake! But; I don’t eat it. (As you may recall I also don’t eat sugar, so there goes that plan!) Not only do I not eat cinnamon, I convinced myself that I was allergic to it. Ha! For years people would hand over the offering of a cinnamon bun or milk tart with cinnamon sprinkled on top and I pierce my lips closed as though they had been glued shut. Recently something changed, either my taste buds matured or my brain gave up thinking that Cinnamon was some evil spice. Over Pesach my sister made “Charoset”it is a paste made up of:

  • Pecans
  • Walnuts
  • Apples, peeled and cored
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Medjool dates pitted
  • Sweet wine 
  • Honey or Silan 

My sister also made a cinnamon free version for me, it was ok…  but my curiosity took over and I simply could not control myself. I shoved a huge spoonful of the cinnamon added Charoset into my mouth, YUMMYYYYYYY!

Cinnamon is supposed to be calming, relaxing and rejuvenate the body. If I had to describe Kefar Saba to you, then calming, relaxing and rejuvenating are perfect words to use!

When we decided to do Aliyah people asked us, “so where you moving to?” And our prompt reply was “Ïsrael”, YESSSSSS, But where in Israel??? “Right!” Our mission to discover Israel began. Exactly a year ago we did our maiden journey to discover Israel as less of tourists and more of people with a mission to find their new home! To be honest, it was an easier task than we expected! We drove through Israel and within 5 days had zig zagged our way through, not stopping for sites just getting a feel of areas, seeing the sights through the windows of the car with sandwich at hand and bottled water to keep the hydration.

We chose Kefar Saba almost immediately, something drew us to this little area that’s filled with a mix of Olim from all over the world. Its quiet, clean and very very green. The moment we walked in it said “WELCOME HOME“.

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Cinnamon is a spice obtained from the inner bark of several trees! Look around, from every window of my apartment I see trees.

Now that the Pesach Holidays are over and it’s back to the hustle and bustle of routine, I am happy to say that we are in the right place surrounded by trees. I am older and wiser, I have learnt to give things a try and while writing this I fantasize about that spoonful of Charoset and realise, cinnamon ain’t that bad, maybe in a few posts time I will be a full blown cinnamon eater and will tell you all about it’s healing attributes! But for now, I breath it all in and say thank you for my life!

Peppery Adventures on the streets of KS

Have you ever bitten into a raw pepper seed? That slightly burning unbearable flavour consumes your mouth for a few moments and just like that, it’s over! That is what buying a second hand car tastes like…

Before moving to Israel every one raved about the public transport system and said “you can get by without a car”. Once our feet landed on Israels’ soil, that notion was swiftly thrown out! Clearly things were lost in translation and this was not the case and as you might have read in my previous blog, getting places takes uber long! Sitting on a bus to commute to the next bus to then walk another 15 minutes until you reach a destination is not an option and by the way, buses and trains do not drive on Fridays and Saturdays, so how do we get places? EEEKKKKK.

I just did a huge grocery shop, now to walk home! 12 blocks doesn’t sound so bad, but add 20kg’s of shopping and then lets see who’s smiling!

The search for a second hand car was on and that bitter taste got stronger every time I opened “Yad2” to check what was on offer. “Yad 2” translates to “second hand” it’s an online site where you can find anything second hand, from purim costumes to cell phones to cars to apartments and and and…

Step 1. Open search engine,

Step 2. Type in Yad2,

Step 3. Google translate to understand how to navigate said site cause despite pretty pictures it’s asking far too many questions (Who is in charge of translating the Hebrew to English on this google translate app? Seriously, the word it just translated isn’t even an English word!)

Most signs and translations from Hebrew to English in Israel are bizarre and wrong.               In the short few months we’ve been here most things I’ve read I either giggle at or contort my face into a million awkward motions to try figure out what is actually written… For example, there are a number of variations of the spelling of the name of the area we live in: “Kfar Sava, Cfar Sava, Kefar Sava, or Kefar Saba… confused much? Me too!

Step 4. After figuring out which car we might want and inputting all information into said places, hit “SEARCH”

Okay, so I thought I could afford that, hhhmmm, moving on, that car has done how many kilometers???? OMG, did they drive to India in that? Moving on…

This tiresome search has taken us weeks and the bitter taste of the pepper was so embedded we felt like there was no hope, but wait, if you add pepper to something, like salad or meatballs, or pasta it no longer stings your mouth and all of a sudden it has added so much flavour you miss that stingy sensation!  Just like that, EUREKA.                                     A car was found, viewed, negotiated and BOUGHT! We receive our little car on Thursday yipppeeeeee. Watch out Israel, Bibi is now mobile on the roads!

 

car

It’s all about that Thyme

Today we celebrate 3 months in Israel! WOW! Time has flown…

In SA a weekly routine would be, up by 6am, kids fed, to school, work, fetch kids, have a playdate, extra murals, kids bathed, fed and in bed by 8pm, then only to start the routine again the next day! Weekends were a full 2 days of chillaxing with friends and eating a fortune of meat! The biggest obstacle most Olim face is that here in Israel there is only 1 day for the weekend. How I miss chilled Sunday braai’s with my family and friends.Meat is a huge expense here. We have been searching for that perfect cut of meat, no luck yet. Watch this space for my hopes are that it will be found! My favorite meat spice was always bought at Woolies, it was a mix of herbs – thyme, coriander and chopped red chilli, it brought out the flavours of the braai meat and every bite would make my heart sing. I will duplicate that flavour once I duplicate the cut of meat, but that’s a whole other story.

An hour was added onto the clock last week, they call it daylight savings, all of a sudden my phone said 1am while the rest of the clocks around the house had a very different number. An hour stolen just like that?

The week of “balagan” (meaning crazy, mess) began!

On Sunday I conquered a lot of fears, I over came the public transport system and managed to get myself to an area called Ramat Hasharon for a job interview. Over an hour of travelling with 2 buses and a 15 minute walk commute, thanks to my trusted MOOVIT app I got everywhere in the exact time I needed to, this app tells you exactly when the bus arrives, which bus to take and how many stops before you need to get off. The small differences between a 1st world and 3rd world country felt right there. I used public transport successfully! *sigh of relief*

After a successful job interview I was asked to returned the next day for a trial work day, 7 hours on my feet after an hour commute, 7 hours of sheering flowers!!! Then another hour back home… up 2 flights of stairs to greet 73 boxes! Our container with all our things arrived and the unpacking of 73 boxes promptly began. Hooray, Our stuff had arrived *happy dancing around the cramped house to “because I’m happy” soundtrack consumed my soul*

Following day I travelled an hour to Tel Aviv for another job interview, and another hour back, then more unpacking… Sum up – Within 72 hours I had achieved 2 job interviews which included 6 hours of commutes, 1 day consisting of 7 hours of hard manual labour and had unpacked 73 boxes!!!!!!!!!!

Time is one thing you can not get back and every moment counts, so yesterday we made it count by spending it with new friends, family and food. Tasty food, food with many spices, some familiar and some new. I can not escape the grind and the hustle and the long hours that await, the hours spent getting places and figuring out where things are, yet the journey is sometimes the best part and looking back on the past 3 months I realise that our journey is only NOW beginning!

 

Sweeter than Purim- Sugar!

I love Purim! It is the most joyous, fun, exciting, sugary, sweet festival. Kids walking all over in a variety of outfits, Colourful happy smiles, sooooo much fun. In Israel they don’t only celebrate one day, we get to experience over a week, if not close to a month of festivities!!! Yippeeee

Chocolates, Cheese cake, muffins… SUGAR! Hamentashen, sweets, donuts… SUGAR! Chocolate mousse, Orange cake, Custard… SUGAR! Mishloach Manot = SUGAR!

I am one of those annoying people that LOVE dress up, I dress up with my kids just for fun. We have boxes of clothing and hats to commemorate dress up. You can imagine my panic when purim was heading our way and our container with all our dress up boxes had not yet arrived. WHAT TO WEAR?

 

Luckily I am a creative and making a plan is my middle name. My son asked to be a pirate and my little miss decided to go as “Cleopatra” (thanks to Katy Perrys’ music video that she had seen). Pirate outfit was sorted within minutes, cleopatra on the other hand…

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We scoured the streets of Kfar Sava, went into every costume and toy store available and after days of tiresome missions, we finally found her an outfit. My sweet little miss tries on the outfit then says, “Nah, I don’t like it anymore”  What? After all that? Now what?

She glances at a costume hiding behind me and says “Mommy, I want to be a doctor like doc Mac Suffins!!!” SUCCESS!

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I’m so sweet and that is why I can’t have sugar. Well; that’s what I keep telling myself! Over a year ago I found out that I was pre-Diabetic, my insulin had stopped producing, my body was heavy and sluggish and I was getting sick a lot. “You’re headed to type 2 Diabetes” they said… “fix your diet or you’ll have to inject” they said. After a number of emotional breakdowns I got over myself. My amazing Homoeopath started me on a 3 month course of “liquid insulin” and a strict NO SUGAR, NO CARB regime. “What??? Then what do I eat? “  

Do you know that sugar is in everything. EVERYTHING! Have you read the labels? Sugar sneaks up on us in every item of food, ketchup = SUGAR, corn flakes = SUGAR… and on and on and on…

The Banting Craze was ripe in SA and I hopped on the wagon. Within days I lost a fortune of water retention, almost 2 kg’s, within weeks 6 kgs, within months I had lost a whopping 10kgs! Now, almost a year later I am officially down 14 kg’s in total. Not everyone agrees with Tim Noakes and his regime of sugar-less carb-less eating, but I am proof that this pudding is no longer a pudding and my body is healthy and happy once more.

The amazing thing about living in Israel is the amount of “No sugar added” products I am able to find. In SA it was a difficult task and I would have to mission to BluBird to get my once in a blue moon fix of Belle’s sugar-free cheese cake. Here in Israel it’s a haven for the sugar-less eater. Lucky me gets to indulge in sugar free Mishloach Manot and have the edible delights that Purim has to offer. With that being said, I am off to grab a sugar-free cappuccino and nut ice cream from “BUY THE WAY” and watch as the festivities and silliness of Purim commences!

 

 

 

 

 

Paprika, Cayenne Pepper, uummm that red stuff!

I’m a herbalist, a homoeopath believer, a natural home remedy taker, I try clean and organic, fresh and clean, eating and medicating without having to take antibiotics.

The saying that new Olim are new “Cholim” (Which means newly sick) is true. In the short 2 months we’ve been here myself, Jason and the kids have all experienced a bout of illnesses. I got Laryngitis and lost my voice for about 10 days. *happy hubby ran around the apartment with gleeful smirks due to the silence*

I tried every known remedy to get my vocal cords to respond, I gargled with concoctions beyond the imagination, I finally used what we call “Cayenne Pepper” .

I decided to order said Cayenne pepper from the grocery store, I do a shop once a week either on-line through Shufersal On-line or I venture out and do a physical shop… In an earlier blog I started telling you about Shufersal… Shufersal is the supermarket I mainly shop at… It would be the equivalent to Pick n pay in SA. However Shufersal gets broken down into a number of its own chain stores, you get Shufersal Deal, Shufersal Sheli and Shufersal express… Each has similar or same products but the prices are outrageously different for said products, why? Who knows, certainly not me, the shops look almost identical and well they share the same name!

Its not the only place to shop for groceries here in Israel. There are a few power houses that monopolise the grocery store industry and they are found in every area.

So you get :

“Chatzi Chinum” which reminds me of “Checkers”

“Rami Levy” which is like “Spar”.

“Eden Teva market” which is probably the closest option to “Woollies”, Oh woollies how I miss you!

(FYI : Not included in my list are the markets with all the amazing fruits and vegetables, cheese and the fresh produce places, I’m now solely discussing the grocery chain stores…)

HOWEVER

All these shops are super sized, super super super sized; they are the size of Makro, yes, they are that size if not bigger! Tons and tons of products to choose from… Tons and tons… in bulk…

So when going to said shops its a whirlwind of emotions for me, you can’t simply walk in and purchase a milk, there are 12 different milk companies that are offering you percentage after percentage of a variety of milk, in a variety of packaging and a variety of volumes! My brain starts to frizzle then it short circuits and finally goes blank,my eyes gloss and I get a dead pan stare, intense stare at the fridges……………

After regaining consciousness I finally decide to follow the lady that just walk by and add whatever she is adding into her trolley. “I am not a stalker lady I just have difficulty choosing my own products due to the variety of choices and the fact that I read Hebrew like a Grade 1 child and that half the ingredients are in Arabic or Russian or the letters all blur and I no longer know what language I’m reading!!!!”  PANIC ATTACK!!!! ALARM BELLS, ALL SENSES ARE ON LOCK DOWN, DO NOT CRY IN THE GROCERY STORE OVER MILK, DO NOT…

Breath… and count 1

Breath…. and count 2

Breath…. and count 3

So I ordered Cayenne pepper right, but Cayenne pepper never arrived, they delivered Paprika. Will this do the same thing? Is this the same thing? They are both red and hot? Right?  WRONG! NO THEY ARE NOT THE SAME THING.  Luckily my parents had sent me some Cayenne Pepper that arrived with a family member the following day. Lucky me *happy dance*

At this point I realised that no matter where I do my shopping, on-line or at the actual store;  both are going to take time getting used to. I need to breath…

And when all else fails, I’ll patiently wait for the next person to arrive from South Africa with Cayenne Pepper for me! By the way, gargling with Cayenne Pepper works like a charm and my voice came back louder than ever!