Archive for June, 2007

pepparkarkor recipe

pepparkarkor.jpgThis morning I ate a whole pile of pepparkarkor biscuits because I finally planned in advance sufficiently to make some! The pepparkarkor recipe is one that insists that the dough be made the night before the biscuits themselves. So on Friday afternoon I made the mixture and Saturday morning I cooked them.

I almost had a disaster and as a result I won’t be copying the recipe down here – I have a feeling that I might have added the sugar at the wrong time.  The sugar was listed twice in the recipe, but only once in the ingredients list. And as I am not so good at the ‘bigger picture’ approach, I was following the recipe step by step. So when the recipe said to mix the sugar with the flour and cloves and baking powder, I did. And when the recipe said to mix the sugar with the melted butter and golden syrup and egg … I was a bit concerned. The most frustrating thing was having to wait until the next day to know for sure whether it had worked out!

In a continuing state of paranoia, I under-baked the biscuits on Saturday. I think that my oven is quite hot, and since it’s easy to burn the pepparkarkor to a crisp, I baked some of the batches for only four minutes insteed of five. Some of them are a bit chewy instead of crisp, but they’re still tasty.  I’ll try to get a picture up of them. I used Tupperware cookie cutters for the shapes.

June 24, 2007 at 7:03 am Leave a comment

the casualties of pregnancy

foetus060806_228x298.jpgOf the aspects of my life to fall victim to the effects of this pregnancy, alcohol and cigarettes are probably the most insignificant. Of greater concern to me is losing the ability to wear some of my favourite clothes. Following is a partial list of my wardrobe grievances:

  • My Mango and Old Navy jeans give me bellyache within a few minutes of putting them on
  • I’m starting to have trouble buttoning my precious Gap jeans
  • My linen Mango trousers are ripping at the zipper
  • My nicest grey Old Navy trousers fit me like a sausage casing
  • The brown corduroy trousers that DO still fit will be hellishly hot to wear in the summer

Tight t-shirts – always a somewhat risky venture – have suddenly become out of the question, and most are now packed away in a suitcase, optimistically awaiting their return to my wardrobe next summer.

As  for the clothes that I CAN wear, I already mentioned that I ripped a pair of big-enough-for-the-belly trousers in Italy. Not to be defeated, I took them to the seamstress yesterday. I admit that in their elderly state, they’ll probably rip again; the seamstress reassured me that I’ll get one more summer out of them. Here’s hoping. They might be see-through and saggy, but they fit, and that puts them at the top of my new list of favourites.

At least I’m not too much of a primper and pamperer, otherwise I’d also be cutting out hair-dying and inhaling nail salon fumes … small mercies!

June 21, 2007 at 6:51 am Leave a comment

goodies from italy

tortellini.jpgSince my trip to Venice last week we’ve been benefiting from  the plates of caprese and pesto on toast. Last night got even better when I decided to open a packet of the Barilla dry spinach and ricotta tortellini. The supermarket on the Lido was the first place I’d even seen this magical thing, and it was only 3 Euros and looked fabulous – I bought two of the spinach and ricotta and a different brand filled with parmigiano reggiano. There was a recipe on the back that seemed to include sage and pistachios (it was in Italian so I’m speculating), since I didn’t have either, I improvised. So although I didn’t make the tortellini myself, so I really have nothing to brag about, I’ll tell you how I cooked it.

Ingredients

  • one package dry spinach and ricotta tortellini
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • two cloves garlic, sliced
  • one cup crushed tomatoes (plus half cup water if tomatoes are very dense)
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • juice of half a lemon
  • 1 tablespoon chiffonade basil
  • grana padano cheese, grated (optional, and use whatever cheese you like)

Heat oil in a medium saucepan, and start water boiling in a large saucepan. Fry garlic briefly on medium heat, then add white wine and turn up heat until wine has reduced by about half. Add crushed tomatoes. When mixture is boiling, turn heat down and continue to simmer. Boil some more water in the kettle to warm the pasta bowls. If the tomatoes are too salty and dense (like mine were), add some water to thin the sauce a little.

In the meantime, salt the boiling water and add the tortellini. The tortellini need to cook for 12 minutes. When the tortellini finish cooking the sauce is probably ready too. Drain the tortellini, divide between bowls. Squeeze lemon juice over the tortellini, drop a decent scoop of sauce on top, sprinkle with basil, and add a little cheese if desired. Serve.

June 19, 2007 at 5:37 am Leave a comment

biology wins out

Now that I’m in my fourth month of pregnancy, I guess I can start talking about it.  So far, there hasn’t been much to report … the only pain and discomfort related to the pregnancy that I’ve suffered is ripping one of the only pairs of trousers that still fits me. That was a minor tragedy. Luckily, it happened on the very last day of my five-day trip to Venice, so I wasn’t too stuck on holiday. It does, however, mean that I only have two pairs of crummy jeans that still fit me. I’m not sticking out in an obviously baby-bearing way, but I’m up to 60kg and my hips and belly seemed to have increased by one or two sizes.

Apparently the foetus is now avocado-sized, which sounds highly appetising, and even vaguely relates to the purpose of this blog!

June 14, 2007 at 8:45 am 2 comments

shuk shopping

My lovely friend KP rocked up on Thursday night to stay with us and to go shopping at the craft market in Tel Aviv, so on Friday morning we got on the bus for a shopping morning. Taking the bus is cheaper than paying for parking, and I didn’t have to deal with dickhead drivers and have a heart-attack; that was the primary rationale.

 We got to the market (http://www.nachalatbinyamin.com/ or http://www.nabifair.com/en/sale.asp) at about 10am, its opening time. I didn’t have any particular plan of things to buy but I soon spotted a fabric shop that sold flat cushions that were exactly like what we need at home right now. I bought four for 45 shekels and was a happy camper.

Unfortunately, I had unwittingly made the cardinal mistake of buying at the first shop I saw. Indeed, about 10 minutes later we entered a different shop with prettier cushions that were only 40 shekels for four. I ran back to the original shop with a sob story about how my husband just called to say that he’d bought cushions at a different shop; clearly since the man of the house had bought, I couldn’t very well go home with cushions as well. To my surprise, the man at the shop refunded my money (UNHEARD of in this country); I went back and bought four gorgeous cushions and was an even happier camper.

On our way from the craft market to the proper shuk (selling really cheap clothes, gadgets, fruit, vegetables, meat, fish, etc, etc), we stopped at a juice place because I had a craving. There were two side by side, serving exactly the same stuff, but one had a smiling woman who was calling to people things like ‘yes, lovely lady, come have some juice, you’re wonderful, this juice will make you happy’ and other amazingly positive things – especially impressive considering she was squeezed into a 1×1.5 metre booth with no air-conditioning, another person, and a noisy juice machine on a hot early summer day. I ordered a 10 shekel apple-celery-beetroot-ginger juice.

In the shuk, KP found one of the things she’d been looking for – a battery-powered milk frother. I’d made coffee that morning with frothy milk using a similar gadget; this cost 25 shekels AND came with a little stand. Bargain-basement prices are us. I managed to cross a few things off my shopping list too – a giant spatula (all the cool chefs use those instead of wooden spoons for serious folding activities) and a couple of big packets of cleaning cloths – grand total: 19 shekels.

  • Bus fair to the shuk: 5.10 shekels.
  • Fullfilling all my shopping needs: 59 shekels.
  • Knowing that the same items at normal shops would cost three times what I spent at the shuk: Priceless.

June 4, 2007 at 6:29 am Leave a comment