June 26 2018

My Heart… On a Plate

This year I got the most beautiful Mother’s Day treat ever: a bouquet of stunning Tulips, my absolute favorite, and a very yummy, freshly made breakfast.
That would’ve been more than enough to make me very happy, but there was a very lovely surprise waiting for me.

Later that day an amazon package with my name on it was delivered to our doorstep.
You know that moment when you’re sure you didn’t order anything but you start doubting yourself and questioning your memory?
Well, after  a few attempts at guessing what’s in the box, I finally opened it, and in it was a gift note from my husband, wishing me a Happy Mother’s Day.
I peeked in to find a very special gift that made my day even more beautiful; a gift that checks four boxes of things I absolutely love: books, food, influential people and… (drum roll)… Palestine.
It was a cookbook about delicious Palestinian dishes by a person I really really admire.

The book is “Palestine on a Plate” by the awesome Joudie Kalla.

I’ve been wanting to get my hands on this book for a very long while, but swamped with a series of many unfortunate events, I just forgot all about it.
I’d never expected, in a million years, that my husband would be the one to get it for me, because I recall mentioning it to him only once, a long while back, and well, because I know for a fact he’s not into cookbooks. 😉

Where do I start?
I love this mouthwatering book, love its hard elegant cover, love the design, photos, the choice of colors, plates and cutlery. You can sense the book’s originality and creative style in every single bit of it really, even in the dish names.
I absolutely love how chef and author Joudie Kalla made sure to provide the Arabic dish names before their English translation.
I also found it very unusual for a cook to name many dishes after people who passed on the recipe, which adds a very pleasant personal and original touch in my opinion; and I like it because this is very much how my mom does it; in her small recipe book, you’d find many recipes named after their creators not the dish itself, and I find this very impressive, reflecting a very strong personality and a sense of confidence many women lack.
I mean how many women would actually tell you, that the meal you just went crazy over was not their original recipe? not so many, but a few including my mom (me and my two lovely sisters), and Joudie Kalla would.

The dishes themselves are fantastic, each page I turned took me to places and times I long for.
And although the same dish has many versions depending on what region of Palestine you’re from, which means different cooking techniques and slightly different flavors, but all resulting dishes are scrumptious and carry this distinctive Palestinian touch that makes every single dish stand out in a special way. So even if the recipe on the book differs from how you’re used  to making it yourself, don’t be afraid to try it out.

Another thing I absolutely adored was Kalla’s original Palestinian- Western fusion dishes, such as: ‘Figs with Labneh & Honey’, ‘Za’atar Scones’, ‘Freekeh, Fig & Pistachio Cake with Lemon Zest’ and ‘Medjool Date Scones’ to name a few.
And needless to say, my absolute favorite section was the “Vibrant Vegetarian”, which is really an amazing display of the best and most delicious Palestinian Vegetarian _and Vegan_ dishes that made their way to many other cultures, and that, to me, resemble vegetarian cooking at its absolute best.

Besides all of this, I couldn’t have picked a more perfect timing for this gift, for there’s no better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than being immersed in pages of meals from your home country, not only that, but it also happened to be a few days before the start of Ramadan, a month that brings the best out of people’s culinary skills (and their experimental urges) in creating the perfect meals to gather loved ones for breaking fast; it was also a couple of days before the Palestinian Nakba Day, and what better way to commemorate a culture than reviving its heritage and its cuisine that’s being robbed away by its occupier.

As for the author, I’m one of her biggest fans. I’ve been following her on social media for years now, sharing her videos and tweets, and I’m just impressed with her pride in her Palestinian descent and identity, and her persistence to preserve the Palestinian cuisine, heritage and culture.
From insisting on publishing a book with the word “Palestine” in its title, to hosting public dinners showcasing Palestinian culinary masterpieces, to never failing to mention her love for the Palestine that runs in her blood, Kalla succeeded in planting her name, her work and her beautiful spirit not only in our kitchens, but also in our hearts.

I love “Palestine on a Plate”, and highly recommend buying it. An awesome gift idea, and a great way to treat yourself, while supporting Palestine and reserving its culture and cuisine.

It is worth mentioning that Kalla is expecting the release of her second ccokbook BALADI: A Celebration of Food from Land and Sea, in October 2018.

September 30 2016

Celebrate ‘International Translation Day’ In Style

It’s September 30th, a day that is having more importance and a growing number of celebrators every year. A day that is gaining more popularity and is helping spread more awareness about one of the world’s oldest and most important professions: translation.
Translators are awesome. They help humanity cross borders without moving an inch, they connect cultures and pass on civilization from one generation to the other.
Translators Rock!

Every year, I try to share one of the many great aspects of being a translator, as well as the countless challenges that face one.
This year, I’m not in the mood for any serious-talking, so, for a change, I decided to share with you a fun and cheerful idea to celebrate today.
If you know a translator/interpreter, and you really want to make their day, how about you surprise them with one of these very thoughtful and extremely cool gifts: Awesome gifts for translators/ interpreters.

And if you’re a translator yourself, why don’t you try out this quiz: Mind your languages! Then, treat yourself to whatever makes you happy, because, you deserve it!
Happy Translation Day everyone! Hoping that we’ll be more appreciated and valued, hoping we wont be underpaid and overworked forever, and wishing that those of us who work in conflict areas will always be safe and sound.

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April 9 2016

Off To The Movies With Your Baby

A few weeks ago, and while watching a TV show about parenting on a German channel, I was taken by a scene shot in a cinema full of parents with their teeny tiny little bundles of joy. After a bit of googling here and there, I was introduced to “Kinderwagenkino“, which literally translates into: ‘Baby Stroller Cinema’.
The concept is to have movie theaters offer baby-friendly showings of brand new movies, to parents with infants and children under 2 years of age. So participating cinemas would specify certain times for these showings and would of course take into consideration babies’ sensitive ears and eyes by lowering the volume and dimming the lighting. The cinemas will also accommodate parents’ needs by providing a changing table inside the theater, (some theaters may provide couches for parents & babies to stretch on and relax) in addition to a designated area to park the baby’s stroller indoors right next to the entrance.

To be honest I was a bit jealous and envious of German parents. And for some weird reason, I didn’t dig deeper, I just let it go and went on as if I never heard of it in the first place… so unlike me :/

Anyways, a few days later, my husband took our older son to the movies, and they came back with a surprise; a flyer titled: “Stars & Strollers“. Which was exactly “Kinderwagenkino”, but Canadian version.
I was over the clouds. I got online, and after viewing what was available for that week, I decided to go for “My Big Fat Greek Wedding 2”. Continue reading

January 8 2016

New Year, New Mindset

As a new year starts, most people begin to challenge themselves, try to achieve their long list of new year resolutions, which I personally find very inspiring and positive. It is important for each person to review their life, where they stand, whether or not they’re actually happy, content; to take a break, reconsider, and set some goals to improve who they are and how they live.
What I find very upsetting though is that whenever I ask someone about their resolutions, it’s mainly about themselves, wanting to be healthier, lose some weight, learn this, practice that, get that job, write that book, visit this country, buy that house…etc; which as part of a bigger goal would be very fair and nice, but I truly think it’s selfish and ignorant for us to grow more greedy and self-centered with every passing year.

There’s nothing wrong with taking care of ourselves or those we love, but we constantly forget that we’re part of a universe, a bigger system, and that if we don’t take care of more than ‘us’ this system will collapse, and continue to suffer because of us, until we reach a point where we’ll eventually be sucked into this whole destructive process.

For those who know me in person, you’ll know that I’m obsessed with documentaries, I do enjoy movies of all kinds, but my absolute favorite are documentaries, especially those discussing health, environment or philosophy.
I love investing my time in something that will expand my horizons, add to my knowledge, remind me of why I exist, and most importantly something that will inspire me to improve on more than one level.

This year, I wont be discussing my resolutions, instead, I will recommend some of my favorite documentaries, in hopes that this year will witness the birth of more aware and mature individuals who will take better care of themselves and their surroundings.

1. “I AM”

2. “Hungry For Change”

3. “Living on One Dollar”

4. “Food Matters”

5. “Happy”

6. “Fat Sick & Nearly Dead”
Part 1:

Part 2:


May 18 2013

If You think a Watch Can Only Tell Time, Then Meet 1:Face Watch

There’s nothing I love more than a project with a purpose, a humanitarian one I mean. I’ve heard only recently about the 1:Face Watch, and immediately fell in love with everything about it: the high quality product, the cool fashionable design, and most importantly the idea of “changing the world, 1:Face at a time”.

So how does the 1:Face Watch change the world? it’s entirely up to the buyer; you choose the design, color and quantity of the watch(es) you wish to buy, and then decide how you prefer your money be spent. You can support breast cancer, or any other kind of cancer, fight hunger, provide drinking water, help preserve the environment, treat AIDS, or spread education. And the coolest thing is that through social media you can actually track the accomplishments being made in all mentioned fields, and see for yourself what’s being done with the money 1:Face Watch is receiving.

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June 4 2011

Stand Up For Justice In Palestine

Click here to view the embedded video.

Freedom OneWorld… Freedom For Palestine

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August 5 2010

Lady Pasta

Lady Gaga… I love her voice, adore her music, her songs are so damn catchy and entertaining, but I HATE the lyrics, I despise her music videos, and I wonder why someone with such a talent would choose to be labelled this way?!

I know these days crazy sells; dress up (or undress) in a weird way, put together a video clip addressed to sex perverts and there you go a hit that will attract millions of people and push sales to the peak, not to mention the millions who’d start wearing their hair, makeup, and fashion exactly the same.

Anyway, I couldn’t resist sharing this really cute video of my beloved Annoying Orange. This Orange certainly speaks for so many people. Enjoy.

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June 14 2010


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May 24 2010

Das schwarze Gold

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May 2 2010

Sleeping Positions

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