30 August 2016

Bourekas ~ Hebrew: בורקס

In Israel, bourekas (Hebrew: בורקס) became popular as immigrants who settled there cooked the cuisine of their native countries. Bourekas can be found made from either filo dough or puff pastry filled with various fillings. Among the most popular fillings are salty cheese, mashed potato, mushrooms, chickpeas, olives, spinach, eggplant/aubergine and pizza flavour.  Most bourekas in Israel are made with margarine-based dough rather than butter-based dough so that (at least the non-cheese filled varieties) can be eaten along with either milk meals or meat meals in accordance with the kosher prohibition against mixing milk and meat at the same meal. 

Israeli bourekas come in several shapes and are often sprinkled with seeds. The shapes and choice of seeds are usually indicative of their fillings and have become fairly standard among small bakeries and large factories alike.  For example, salty cheese Bulgarian cheese-filled as well as Tzfat cheese (from the city of Safed) with Za'atar-filled bourekas are usually somewhat flat triangles with white sesame seeds on top.  Less salty cheese-filled are semi-circular and usually made with puff pastry. Potato-filled are sesame topped, flat squares or rectangles made with filo and tend to be less oily than most other versions. Mushroom-filled are bulging triangles with poppy seeds. Tuna-filled are bulging triangles with Nigella seeds. Eggplant/aubergine-filled are cylindrical with Nigella seeds. Bean sprout-filled are cylindrical without seeds. Spinach-filled are either cylindrical with sesame seeds or made with a very delicate, oily filo dough shaped into round spirals. Bourekas with a pizza sauce are often round spirals rising toward the middle or sometimes cylindrical without seeds, differentiated from the bean sprout-filled cylinders without seeds by the red sauce oozing out the ends.  Bourekas can also be found with mashed chickpeas, tuna and chickpea mix, pumpkin and even small cocktail sized frankfurters. Another variation filled with meat (beef, chicken or lamb), pine nuts, parsley and spices are eaten mainly as a main dish but sometimes as a starter/meze. 

Bourekas come in small, "snack" size, often available in self-service bakeries, and sizes as large as four or five inches. The larger ones can serve as a snack or a meal, and can be sliced open, and stuffed with hard-boiled egg, pickles, tomatoes and skhug, a spicy Yemenite paste. Supermarkets stock a wide selection of frozen raw-dough bourekas ready for home baking. Bakeries and street vendors dealing exclusively in bourekas can be found in most Israeli cities.

 Meat bourekas are made from lamb, beef or chicken mixed with onion, parsley, coriander, or mint, pine nuts and spices.

23 August 2016

The David Nott Foundation

On the 5th June 2016, I listened to a BBC podcast of Kirsty Young's weekly program entitled, "Desert Island Discs".  Kirsty Young's castaway and interviewed guest was a British surgeon called Dr David Nott. I found the candid interview with 
Dr David Nott very touching and moving. Dr Nott spoke with such humility, it was inspirational to listen to him recounting his experiences in war-torn countries around the world performing surgeries in less than ideal conditions and operating on people regardless of their religion, race or political affiliation with the sole objective of saving lives. 

Kirsty Young introduced him by saying, "he works across three London hospitals performing general, vascular, trauma and reconstructive surgery.  In addition, for the past two decades, he has spent several weeks every year working in conflict zones around the world for Médecins Sans Frontières/Doctors Without Borders (MSF) and the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)."  Here are the links to the BBC podcast for your information:

In 2015, Dr David Nott together with his wife Elly set up the David Nott Foundation a UK registered charity with the aim of providing skills and medical expertise to surgeons who operate "in conflict and natural disaster zones around the world."  

 I wanted to use my blog as a platform to highlight the work of The David Nott Foundation so that people around the world could if they wished donate funds.  Further information can be obtained directly from 
The David Nott Foundation at the following address:

The David Nott Foundation
2 Lower Sloane Street

21 August 2016

My favourite place in Tel Aviv ...

Last weekend my husband and I went to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art again, it is fast becoming my favourite place in Tel Aviv.  I cannot emphasise enough how good it is.  Apart from the permanent exhibition which is very impressive with a vast collection of Impressionist paintings, each month there are at least ten or more temporary exhibitions on show.  On this visit we saw a temporary exhibition by Maya Zack entitled, Counterlight which included intricate pencil drawings alongside black and white videos with seemingly curious albeit bizarre subject matter.  Still, I think it is good to see new exhibitions and to challenge oneself, it broadens the mind.

Black and White Rule, Taming, 2012

Items from the video Counterlight, 2016 by Maya Zack

Sewing the Bellows, 2013 Pencil on paper

15 August 2016

Food for the soul ...

 It is my belief that art broadens the mind and helps us to put life into perspective and so with that in mind we went to the Tel Aviv Museum of Art last Saturday 13th August to see new exhibitions and admire the works of art by the Grand Masters.  

There was an exhibition by Nir Evron entitled Masad.  It featured five films and videos.  One of Evron's works on show was La Solitude, 2016.  It was an interesting film based on historical events regarding the Dreyfus Affair from 1894.  I must admit my knowledge of this injustice in history was quite sketchy and I had to read up on it later to become better acquainted with the events which took place.  Evron's film was shot on location at Devil's Island (Île du Diable) in French Guiana where Dreyfuss spent nearly five years imprisoned for "allegedly communicating French military secrets to the German Embassy in Paris".  The island was a place where political prisoners from this period in history were exiled.  

The film was thought provoking on many levels not only did it shed light on a historical injustice from the late 1800's but it also showed the island as it is today, still an overseas department of France and since 1964 it has been used as a research station for Europe's Spaceport.  The juxtaposition of the extreme poverty and simple lives led by the indigenous people who live on the island in stark contrast to the high-tech, multi-million dollar Spaceport was a real eye opener.  Towards the end of the film a pianist can be seen playing Chopin's - Etude no. 3 in E major, Op. 10 no. 3, "Tristesse" it is a spellbinding, enchanting and captivating  piece of music.  I would urge people to see this film which is on show at the Mizne-Blumental Gallery, March Rich and Gabrielle Rich Wing until 24.10.2016.

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Then there was a new acquisition of a work by the renowned artist Ai Weiwei, entitled Forever, 2003 which featured 42 bicycles all inter-connected in a circle.

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Vincent Van Gogh, The Shepherdess (after Millet), 1889 ~ Moshe and Sara Mayer Collection

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Leonid Pasternak, Portrait of Louis and Rosa Hoch ~ Bequest of Rudolph Hoch, through the British Friends of the Art Museums in Israel, 1979

13 August 2016

Torta della Nonna, Tel Aviv

This is my favourite cake shop in Tel Aviv.  The name of the cake shop/café means Grandmother's cake in Italian. There is an assortment of freshly made home-made cakes, biscuits, desserts and on Friday's they also sell a special Jewish braided Challah bread which is eaten on the Sabbath and on Jewish holidays.  As far as I am aware everything is made upstairs on the premises.  It is run by a close knit family and is located in a side street which is just off Frishman Street on number 13 Malkhey Yisra'el Street. I come here about once every two months to have a slice of cheesecake and a cup of tea.

28 July 2016

Hebrew lessons

מזל טוב

Apologies for my lack of blog posts.  Since the 14th June, I have been diligently attending Hebrew lessons which are four days a week and three and a half hours a day.  I am so happy to say that after 25 days of lessons I have learnt how to read.  Up until then I had been struggling with my reading in class.  I could recognise the letters of the alphabet but I had trouble forming words and knowing how they were pronounced, as there are no vowels to guide the reader it's all consonants.  Then this week, it was as if a light switch was flicked in my brain and half way during the lesson on the 26th July, when it came to my turn to read a sentence I read it with relative ease and our teacher was so pleased for me.  It's a credit to her tuition skills and my brain.  I had the biggest smile on my face and a great sense of achievement.  Up until then Hebrew had looked totally incomprehensible to me but now it's beginning to make sense.  Even walking in the street has taken on a new meaning as I can now read the general and public information signs, traffic and road signs, health and safety signs as well as shop names in Hebrew.  It's so exhilarating.  I am so chuffed ... it's the best thing that has happened to me in a long, long time.  It's better than winning the lottery after all money can't buy you happiness but learning a new language is priceless.

10 May 2016

Official working cats and feline companions with Twitter accounts ~ simply purrfect

Only in England, a country which is devoted to its pets and has many animal welfare charities and is home to the largest and most renowned dog show in the world  would you also have official working cats and feline companions with Twitter accounts.  I like the way the British have a great sense of humour and do not take themselves too seriously.  Having said that, Julian Assange is an Australian citizen and he has been living at the Ecuadorian Embassy in London since June 2012.  At least he now has a kitten to keep him company.  Larry, the No 10 Downing Street cat and Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office.
The Chief Mouser to the Cabinet Office. I'm a 9 year old tabby, brought in to deal with the huge rat problems inherited from Labour. Unofficial.
Downing Street, Westminster
Joined February 2011

***  Palmerston, the resident cat at the Foreign & Commonwealth Office and Chief Mouser.
Official account of the Chief Mouser and former resident of

***  Julian Assange's new kitten ensconced at the Ecuadorian Embassy, London
I live in the Ecuadorian Embassy with Julian Assange : Interested in counter-purrveillance // Yo vivo en la Embajada del Ecuador con Julian Assange
Ecuadorian Embassy, London 

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