INDIA CALLING

It is two years since our last work trip to India.The trip was a success in every way and sure worth a separate post .
In the travels to different parts of this fascinating world, I find the human part the most exiting. Meeting with the locals helps you understand the culture better and get a healthy perspective on this world and your own life as well.
This next trip will be a private 10 day vacation tour to the Golden Triangle.
Can’t wait to step out of our winter B/W freezing reality into the multicolored, smoky, beautiful subcontinent.
In this gallery I want to share with you a few of the many people that I portrayed on the last assignment.

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OUR JORDAN ADVENTURE

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In Um Qais I met these cute guys who were on a class trip.

 
OUR JORDAN ADVENTURE
 
Last year one of my dreams came true – I got the chance to visit Jordan on our work trip. We spent nine wonderful days touring around the country. We drove (actually sat as we had a driver) 2000 km.
 
I didn’t have many expectations. I just wanted to see the Jordanian miracle – Petra. I was suprised how much there was to see: lot of history and archeology everywhere. People were really nice and the food… what is a trip without food? We ate and ate and ate… a lot! The food was really good. The Jordanian kitchen is a mixture of Turkish, Lebanese, Palestinian and Bedouin kitchens and the results are mouthwatering. Where ever we went, even a simple place to eat only hummus, we got fresh and tasty food.
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A tea break with a Bedouin man in his cave.

 

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The best (and funnest!) guide in Jordan Kamel Jayusi showed us his country. His knowledge was awesome… try to find a question he doesn’t know the answer 🙂

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El Khazne, the treasury in Petra.

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Wadi Rum desert is one of the most beautiful in the world. It is famous for its red sand.

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Tea break. The chai was a mixture of sage, cardamon, cinnamon and the taste was so good!

 

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Uzi working late at night in his tent…

Jordania, Aqaba; maustekauppa

 

 

The best possible sales man. You simply can’t refuse to buy from this guy. Ibrahim in his spice store in Aqaba.

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You can’t be afraid of the water in Wadi Mujib water cayon.

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Uzi in action. The Jordanian food is mostly a wide selection of mezze as a starter and meat for the main course. Coffee/tea and something really sweet such as baklava to finish with.

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Don’t fall down Uzi!

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Uzi constantly misses his grandsons on our trips… here he showed his skills as a babysitter.

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Sheikh Uzi with a Bedouin family. We spent one day with these nice and hospitable people. I even learned (or tried at least!) how to make the Bedouin break on fire. I also got a lesson how women eat with their burka without taking it off! I hardly could do it without covering my face.

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Read more about our Jordanian adventure in Kodin Kuvalehti  issue 2/14.

Suomenlinna

For as long as I have been living in Helsinki I have kept visiting this guarding island of the capital. Looking at the island from the shore it is massive granite rock that shows no signs of change for almost as long as it was built by the Swedes in 1748. The fortified island is mostly visited in the warmer parts of the year but I keep finding myself there, freezing loyally almost every winter, taking pictures or showing the place to a friend.
An old stone church, ammunition bunkers, gigantic canons, fantastic rocky beaches, an art gallery and a few seasonal restaurants/cafés… The little café by the dock yard near the submarine is a lovely hidden place that not all visitors will find.
These images show some of the landscape of the island on a very cold day. IMG_2725

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Being spoiled by Chef Moshe Basson

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Chef Basson from Eucalyptus restaurant brought a bunch of herbs from the kitchen and taught us about wild herbs. Many of these ended up on our plates during the dinner.

Being spoiled by Chef Moshe Basson
 
If you have to choose one place to eat in Jerusalem, make it here! We ate a big dinner here. It was nice and cozy while outside it was storming. 
Wonderful food, great atmosphere and good value for money. 
 
Biblical food doesn’t sound good but it certainly tastes that, at least in this case! Simple, good quality ingredients, fresh herbs – you don’t really need more than that. Well, knowledge in kitchen of course 🙂  
We ate a 12 course tasting menu called Song of Songs.
Chef Moshe Basson warned us not to fill our stomachs with bread but couldn’t stop eating the tasty and freshly baked bread with delicious spread such as eggplant and tahini. We would regret that much later when we understood that we were totally full and only half a way in the menu.  
 
Don’t miss Katlav wines! The small winery is located just outside Jerusalem and produces high quality wines. 
 
The chef and the owner Moshe Basson, is a pleasant company. He explains about food and its origins. He walks on the mountains and picks up fresh herbs such as hyssop, oxalis and mallow from the nature and from his garden in the morning. In the evening you can find them on your plate. I learned about and tasted herbs I even haven’t heard of. 
 
When I asked Basson what is inside the delicious pesto, it was only a while until a trolley arrived next to our table with a huge mortar and the ingredients for a pesto. I was ordered to wear an apron and called to work. I smashed the fresh hyssop, nuts, olive oil, salt and pepper and a bit of garlic and what came out: one of the best pestos I have ever eaten. I still have a jar of my own home made pesto in my fridge that Moshe Basson wrapped for me to take home. He generously gave the recipe and you can find it underneath this post. Recommended! 
 
Would you like to try other dishes? Basson promised to give the readers also the recipe for the Chicken makluba and stuffed figs. Anybody interested? 
zaatar pesto
Za’atar (hyssop) pesto (recipe below)

 

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The starter soups (tomato soup, with mint,  lentil soup and Jerusalem artichoke soup with almond milk) were served in small glasses. 

 

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Stuffed figs were one of  my favorite dishes. 

 

makluba

I got the honor to turn  upside down the traditional Arab dish Makluba . The dish was enough for several tables!

 

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Tea with geranium, hibiscus, mint, verbena, lemongrass was exactly what I needed on a cold winter day in Jerusalem to make myself warm. 

http://www.the-eucalyptus.com/

Osoite/ address: Hativat Yerushalyim 14

Zaatar pesto

Huomaa, että yksi kuppi vastaa kahta desiä.

1 kuppi (2 dl) paahdettuja manteleita (minä laitoin saksanpähkinöitä)

3/4 kuppia tuoreita, huuhdeltuja zaatar-lehtiä (Suomessa käytän tuoretta korianteria)

1 tl suolaa

1 sumakkia (etnisistä kaupoista)

2 isoa valkosipulin kynttä

1 kuppi hyvälaatuista oliiviöljyä

1/4 kuppi sitruunamehua

1. Laita mantelit tehosekoittimeen (tai käytä isoa morttelia). Jauha, mutta älä anna manteleiden muuttua sileäksi tahnaksi. Pesto maistuu paremmalta jos ainekset ovat rouheisia ja niissä on suuntuntumaa.

2. Lisää zaatar. Tämä järjestys on tärkeää, sillä jos aloitat zaatarin kanssa, siitä tulee mössöä. Jatka jauhamista muutaman sekunnin ajan.

3. Lisää muut ainekset. Jatka jauhamista kunnes saat levittevän peston.

Käytä voileipien välissä, pastan päällä tai tuoreiden kasvisten dippinä. Muista, että zaatar on rauhoitettu kasvi ainakin Israelissa, joten varmista, että sen kerääminen on sallittua jos keräät sitä luonnosta. Sitä saa Israelissa luvallisesti vihannesmyyjiltä.

 

Za’atar Pesto

Ingredients:


1 cup toasted, blanched almonds (I prepared this with walnuts)


3/4 cup fresh, rinsed, za’atar leaves (in season right now at open-air markets), patted dry and stripped off the stalks
(go for fresh coriander if you don’t have za’atar!)
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon powdered sumac (rhus coriaria, an edible Middle-Eastern variety of sumac with a lemony flavor)
2 large, fresh garlic cloves
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
 
1. Place the almonds in a food processor (or use a big mortar). Whizz till they’re coarsely ground, not pasty.
2. Add the za’atar next. This sequence is important: if you grind the za’atar first, it will liquify too much. Process for a few seconds.
3. Add the salt, sumac, garlic cloves, olive oil, and lemon juice. Process for a few minutes, till you have obtained a spreadable pesto.
Enjoy it as a flavorful shmear on sandwiches, to top pasta as with basil pesto, or as a dip for raw vegetables.
And remember…za’atar is a protected plant in the wild, so buy it from a farmed source.