Sunday, July 31, 2011


It gets yellow after it opens, this one was photographed very early in the morning, the first one in the afternoon...

Saturday, July 30, 2011


First one who tells it right, gets a little prize!
Happy Sunday!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


Once upon a time there was a small house in the woods.

A man and a cat lived in the small house.

A cat, red and fat, and full of wisdom lived with the man in the small house.

Go and look for happiness, the fat red cat purred to the man, go to the mountain, the stream and the city, and look for happiness, the fat red cat said to the man.

A little man he was, shy and lonely, with a beautiful heart.

What is happiness, the little man asked.

You will know, the red fat cat said and closed its eyes.

The little man went out of the woods, he walked to the mountain, the stream and the city.

He met other men, and he met women and children.

He made friends and his loneliness was gone.

He wrote a letter to the red fat cat in the small house in the woods.

I found work and friends. I have money to buy a new shirt, to have a hair cut and a beer in the evening. 
Is this happiness?

The red fat cat wrote back to the little man. This is very good, but it is not happiness.

One day the little man crossed path with a little woman.

Her smile was shy like his and her hands were open.

The little man put his hands in her hands and his heart filled with love.

The fat red cat smiled when it opened another letter from the little man and read:

I found happiness.

It is called Love.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


A little while ago I was lingering in a book shop and stumbled upon a very special cook book in English. It was published by Al Haschulchan in 2007 and is called "The Book of New Israeli Food". Browsing through it still at the shop I immediately fell in love with it. It was written and compiled by Janna Gur and is truly a masterpiece! It is more than just another cook book - it is a book to enjoy just as a book as well!

It contains stories, some of them contributed by four other writers. And it shows absolutely marvelous and remarkable photos. Such beautiful pictures are revealed in this book - it is a great pleasure to turn page after page. My absolute favorite is the double page with a photograph taken at a pomegranate plantation - it is unbelievably delightful!  Eilon Paz is the skillful photographer with the exquisite eye! And there are eight more photographers sharing very pretty pictures. The photos are of course of all the recipes - many great cooks shared their secrets - and they make your mouth water.
And then there are wonderful images of everything here in Israel related to regional food: Olives and oil, wine and grapes and vineyards, the sea, and fish and seafood, the great fruit and vegetables grown here, sheep and goats and locally produced cheese, lamb, poultry and beef, figs, dates and honey, spices, oranges and citrus groves, bakeries with very special Jewish and Arab delicacies, coffee and coffee houses, humus and shwarma stalls, and colorful markets with splendid produce. 

Delicious and tasteful recipes are given for Shabatt. And for the holidays, for Passover and Hanuka, Rosh Ha'Shana and Tu'biShvat, Shavuot and Ramadan. And there are many recipes from the different cultures of the land, Moroccan, Yemenite, Sephardic, Arabic and more.

The recipes are easy to follow and I tried out already a small variety - one of them is majadra. This dish is simple but delicious, I love it and so does about every one I know. The cumin gives it its very distinctive taste. You want to try it? I asked for permission to use the recipe and the accompanying photo by Eilon Paz in a blog post and was kindly given it by Janna Gur - thank you so much Janna - I might ask you again :-)...

Mejadra - Rice with Lentils

Ingredients (serves 6-8)
1 cup brown lentils
2 cups rice
Olive oil for frying                             
3 onions, chopped 
1 tablespoon ground cumin
Salt and freshly ground pepper

To serve (optional)
2 onions, sliced into thin rings
Oil for frying

1. Cook the lentils in water until they soften, about 30 minutes. Drain and set aside.
2. Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and fry the onions until golden. Add the lentils and season with cumin, salt and pepper. Add the rice and stir-fry for a minute or two until the rice grains turn opaque.
3. Add three cups boiling water, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and cook for 20 minutes. Turn off the heat, fluff with a fork, cover and let rest for 10 minutes before serving.
4. Before serving fry the onion rings in oil until brown and crisp and arrange over the mejadra.

Bon appetit, Be TeAvon, Guten Appetit!

Sunday, July 24, 2011


Very much related to me! :-)

Twin sisters!


 Photos by my husband Uri Eshkar (taken at Mount Hermon, two weeks ago).

Saturday, July 23, 2011


Wishing you all a happy weekend! 

Photos by Uri Eshkar

Thursday, July 21, 2011


Al pozzzo dei pazzi - c'era una pazza - che lavava le pezze
passo' un pazzo - vide la pazza - la bacio' -
e la daro' un regalo - la borsa dei pazze (per Grazia)

This is what I wanted to create? A bag for the jester's wife? Not really! But it turned out that way - this new design has to get altered a bit! Only after I sew it together with the lining and turned it inside out I saw how funny it looks. I put much effort, thought and work in that bag. Hm, the happy flow of creativity was blinding my focus on the design. But I think it looks nice anyway! Notice all those delicious details: flowers, vintage buttons, old lace, sweet butterflies, frank and frivolous ladies (there is an additional one, flirting on one of the inside pockets)!

This is the back, the pocket closes with Velcro.

I braided many different kinds of yarn, to make the strap and the tassels. One is fuzzy and gives another funny element. Zoom in, there are many lovely details.
Now, did I make you smile? Or laugh even? That's good!

Monday, July 18, 2011


When the sixth crusade threatened to force their way through the Golan Heights towards Syria with the goal to reach Damascus, and with the German emperor Frederick II supporting them, the local Muslims under the leadership of Al Moatis, who was governor of Damascus at this time, and his brother Al Aziz Othman, started to build a very impressive, strongly fortified castle, to defend the road leading to the Syrian capital. This happened in the year 1227 CE. Three years later the fortress was reinforced even more and greatly expanded.

Qual'at Nimrud, in Arabic, is located on a rather narrow, high mountain range, about 800 m above sea level, at the northern Golan Heights, built in a remarkable size, about 450 meters long, its width varying according to the topographic givings of the ridge, from 50 to 150 meters, and going up gradually from the entrance to the keep. A strong wall, almost impossible to conquer circumferences the whole structure, interrupted by majestic and impregnable towers. Many of them have a 360 degree round view on the landscape below.

It was our weekend treat to visit there and hike up from the first tower at the entrance to the donjon at the end. The scenery is magically beautiful, the land below is hilly, strewn with fields, orchards and olive groves. Natural forest with mainly oak trees rises up the slopes. The donjon, the keep, is the most fortified and the highest part - the view from up there, makes you stand still and quiet and breathe deeply... Your eyes will wander from the mount Hermon over the Golan Heights, to the Galilee and the Hula valley.

A deep moat, hewn into the rock, surrounds the keep, and certainly made it even more secure. Four square towers were erected at the corners. The donjon was independent from the lower fortifications, and its defense was possible, even if the lower part was overrun in battle.
On the walk up there is much to see and to admire. The architecture in the Arab/Osman style is marvelous, grandiose, and in some places, like in the octagonal "Beautiful Tower", very graceful. We loved all the arches and the visible construction of them, sometimes with smaller stones, each fitting perfectly. After an earthquake in the 18th century struck the area some of the supporting stones of the arches were moved, but did not fall, they can be seen protruding near the neighboring slabs. The earthquake crumbled down many walls and destroyed roofs and buildings, the rubble is evident everywhere. But enough structure survived and remained standing to testify to the former glory of the fortress and to tell about its historical events.
Look at this marvelous piece of architecture - close your eyes - imagine - can you see the workmen preparing each rock to fit, first the big boulders, then the small stones, arriving at the end at a beautiful arch? Beauty created for battle - yes...

We examined all the towers, peeping down to the land through the embrasures, again and again enjoying the view. We admired the many inscriptions in ancient  Arabic, they look like beautiful calligraphic art, and we smiled at the lion carved in stone, the symbol of the great sultan Baybars. 

We climbed down a huge water reservoir, the steps leading to the bottom, musty brackish water was present in a large basin. As the route returns to the entrance a secret passage with a high arched ceiling can be explored, which ends in a hidden opening of the northern wall. Outside the fortress is the location of a large pool for holding rainwater.
I do not go deep into the history of the fortress, into all the battles it survived in the relative short time of its importance. In 1253 the crusaders returned and once more tried to conquer it, but did not succeed. By the end of the 13th century it had lost its significance and not much later was abandoned completely - sought after only occasionally by shepherds and their flocks seeking shelter.  
Where does the name come from? The Arabs tell a fable of Nimrod, a character from the Bible, grandson of Noah, a powerful evil hunter, who was punished at this place by Allah, who put a mosquito in his head, which drove him mad!

The flyer we got at the entrance of the Nimrod National Park gave me much additional information on this historical site.

All photographs by my husband Uri Eshkar.