Sunday, December 10, 2006

Life Among the Beasts

Well, I survived my weekend with only minor scratches from
the beasts...

Unfortunately the main reason for going to my aunt's was to help her learn how to use a computer and navigate around the WWWeb, and the tech showed up before we had returned from the trainstation and didn't bother calling her cellphone... So I will have to make the trip all over again in the near future. Which isn't really such a chore - I love my aunt, I love visiting her menagerie and I love all the attention the dozens of animals give me.

One downside of visiting is that we never seem to stop eating and drinking. This time I limited myself to 2 enormous chai's (she makes them herself, none of this teabag stuff), 1 square of chocolate, 2 bowls of chocolate rum and raisin icecream, a big glass of freshly squeezed pomello/clementina juice, chicken soup, masabacha and a dinner out. This is about half of what we normally eat in the same space of time...

Please note that the kitten is attacking the dogs, not the other way 'round

I have to admit to feeling a little bit guilty about the dinner. I couldn't enthuse about the food the way my aunt did. Ness Tziona is not exactly a hotbed of haute cuisine, though admittedly it has a really amazing spice store with loads of middle eastern and north African mixes that send me into an uncontrolled frenzy of buying. The town most certainly doesn't have an Asian population that would make the necessity of a decent Chinese, Thai, or Japanese restaurant obligatory. Dinner was definitely not the highlight of the weekend.

We ended up having some ok inside-out salmon sushi, they didn't play with it so it passed muster. At the enthusiastic recommendation of my aunt we then split an "Asian" salad and a beef stir-fry on a bed of noodles sauteed with mixed vegetables.

The salad was oak lettuce with 3 kinds of peanuts - candied, crushed dry roasted, and extruded deepfried peanut butter noodle thingys served with a regular vinaigrette that had 3 drops of sesame oil to provide the Asian-ness.

The stir-fry was so lacking in any form of flavour that I asked for chili oil, soy sauce and any other kind of seasoning to create some form of image in my head. Their version of chili oil was sweet Shiriracha sauce, they gave me back the jar of soysauce from the sushi, and I found some chili salt on another table and swiped that. Once adulterated it was edible. The noodles were linguine, and the mixed vegetables were 1/2 a chopped cabbage leaf and a single green bean, which I though was a bit of an exaggeration. I coerced my aunt to forgo the hot cider - as a born and raised Canadian, the though of what an Israeli line cook in Ness Tziona would do to that doesn't bear consideration. I shudder to think about it.

The good thing about this was there were no leftovers and no washing up, though I would have preferred to cook...

The same kitten hogging the communal food bowl

My time was mainly spent fending off the amorous attentions of the dogs and cats. Amorous in the sense of "oh I love you, oh I want you to give me lots of attention" rather than having to shake them off my leg. Though the 2 month old kitten did get removed numerous times from said leg as he used it as a scratching post or a quick way to get up onto the table.

The best time of day for me was sitting on the verandah, wrapped in a blanket with a hotwaterdoggie snuggled on my lap, watching the sunset.

This is the sunset with no touchups...

How much more perfect can life get?


yudit said...

Aya, u know how to make chai?
Could you perhaps post a good recipe?

aja said...

Hey Yudit,
I actually don't have a "specific" recipe - it all depends on personal taste.

The standard spices used are ginger, cardamom, cinnamon, black pepper, cloves. (זנגביל, חל, קינמון, פלפל שחור, ציפורן) boiled in milk together with lots of black tea (either leaves or bags, but not green tea). This is then sweetened with sugar, sucrazit (sweetener) or honey. Personally I like very strong tea, so my chai turns almost orange. My aunt, on the other hand, likes weak tea with lots of sweetener. The best thing to do is experiment until you get what suits your own personal taste... 8^)

burekaboy — said...

aj, i thought kitty was asleep in the communal bowl not chowing down!! lol.

the pictures of the menagerie are great -- i take it the horse sized one wasn't a bedmate?!

glad to hear you had a nice visit & the chance for a weekend enjoyment of chai on the veranda with the israeli sunset as a back (front?) drop -- eventhough the intended "internet weekend" didn't pan out.

hopefully, next visit will include better restaurant food. i think forgoing the hot cider was a good move (hahaha).

aja said...

Hey BB,
Actually, little kitty rules the roost... The horse just puts her head on laps and sighs deeply, but prefers to sleep on the sofa. It is the littlest dog with the biggest eyes and ears who invades beds... and makes the most noise 8^)

burekaboy — said...

yep, as i thought. looks like a troublemaker. lol, lol. i'm sure your aunt has her hands full. and i thought a solitary kitty was bad! ;P

yudit said...


thanx a million, gonna try it the minute i get home, some time much later today


aja said...

Hey Yudit - let me know how it turns out... Don't forget that cardamom and cloves are very strong so start with less of them and then increase the amounts until you get what you like.

Enjoy! 8^)

Hey BB,
Solitary kitties don't have as many living toys to play with, so of course they can't get into nearly as much trouble as those with an extended family!