Monday, February 21, 2011

Dream date: flatmates, nature & cheese

Oh hi outside!

I'm sure many people around the world like to wax lyrical about their flatmates, "I have the best flat mates ever" lalala et cetera, because it's so shit when you have bad flatmates that it's really exciting when your flatmates are awesome. The thing is, those people are lying. Not to you per se, but to themselves. Because I truly have the best flatmates.

Cut to Saturday morning: I'm sitting around drinking coffee, when my flatmate offers me a Bacon Butty. Just casually, as if such an offer isn't the best news I've heard all week. Then, while I'm eating said butty with Dave and Yael, they ask if I would like to come on a walk with them and Izzi, you know, outside. I give my laptop a parting glance and say yes.

We drive for a while (which is, honestly, almost my favourite part because I LOVE sitting in cars) and arrive at the American Independence Park, near Jerusalem, where we begin our stroll. Within ten minutes we accidentally stumble across a goat farm, where they make fresh cheese so good it 'almost' made me cry.

'Stumbling across cheese shops' in the middle of nowhere is the kind of thing I thought only occurred in Conde Nast travel magazine articles about upper-middle class writers tripping around rural France.

Women wearing headscarves like that while cutting us fresh cheese ?! What kind of fantasy land have I stumbled into.

We packed up the cheese and 'stumbled' on, more literally, along narrow paths through pretty thick scrub and trees.

Roughly an hour on, we reach this clearing and scoff the cheese, preparing for the hike up the hill and the drive home - where I fell into bed and had a well deserved (for once) sleep.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Industry and Frugality

My life recently hasn't contained a great deal worth blogging about, largely due to my horrendous financial situation. For those who don't know, Jerusalem is really expensive - even a student from Paris complained to me about the cost of living here. Add to that the fact I am having bureaucracy issues with organising my student allowance and you have my dismal situation, where I have literally been looking for spare shekels under my bed, inviting myself to friends' houses for meals and eating delicious scraps my flatmates feed me.

(Pictured above in our kitchen, Leeor (Israeli) and Yael (British/ Israeli) - two of my lovely flatmates. Last night Yael and Izzi cooked us all a delicious roast chicken. Bless their hearts).

The positive offshoot of my situation is that I am learning about frugality. For a Libran, this is not a particularly natural or enjoyable state of affairs, but I can certainly see the use-value. For example, I wanted to contribute to the roast (like everyone else did), so I found a delightful apple cobbler recipe and made that - most of the ingredients are things you already have, you just need to buy a bag of apples.

Tonight, I was hungry with only 9 shekel of spare change (approx $3nz) and barely anything in my cupboard. I do have a bag of brown lentils, so I googled 'lentil salad' and found a wonderful recipe for Mediterranean lentil salad. With my 9 shekel jangling in my pocket I strolled down to my local arabic green grocer and bought the pictured items: (I had to leave out numerous things in the actual recipe, but I did add in fresh rosemary, ginger and tomato)

This salad is cooked in a pot of water and makes the whole kitchen smell like heaven.

Tada! Ok, I'm never going to win any food presentation awards for this (it would certainly look more beautiful with the celery component added), but it did taste delicious and made me feel really sated. The dressing is olive oil/ lemon/ salt/ pepper which sounds basic, but when mixed with the bay leaves/ ginger/ rosemary and made using our fantastic Palestinian olive oil, well!

I will be making this again (and again!).


Saturday, February 5, 2011

In Which I have a Quiet Night

Last Thursday I was rather broke and also not much in the mood for going out, when this lovely Israeli couple from couchsurfing called me and asked me to meet them. I never say no to offers like this, because to do so would be shutting the universe and luck out of my life. Since I didn't want to drink much or go crazy, I took my camera for the walk. Above is my favourite street on the way from my house to my local bars (ten minutes walk max! amazing).

The event was a big Jerusalem grassroots festival thing, where they had all kinds of performances all over town. Below two hilarious Israeli performers imitate Nazis. Very well I might add. There were mixed reactions in the crowd. I can't say what my opinion is, as a lot of the dialogue was in Hebrew and for all I know I would have hated it. I did love the physical aspect of the comedy and also the parts where they spoke 'German' - it all reminded me of Charlie Chaplin's amazing rendition of Hitler in The Great Dictator.

A local band taking a moment between jumping around.

And, after one quiet drink and a nice conversation, my very early walk home. Below is my beautiful street, Hanevi'im - Hebrew for Prophet.

The gate to my home! Tea, internet and sleep time.