French Tabbouleh and JPiX


French Tabbouleh differs from the Lebanese version in that we use couscous grain instead of bulgur.

250 g pre-steamed and dried fine grain couscous
4 tomatoes
1 cucumber
2 lemons
1 tbsp olive oil
10 leaves of fresh mint
salt and pepper

Place the couscous grain in a large salad bowl.

Coarsely grate the tomatoes and cucumber and pour over the couscous. Squeeze the lemon and add to the bowl. Season with the olive oil, mint, parsley, salt and pepper and gently mix with a fork.

Put in the fridge for at least three hours – a whole day is better. Stir once or twice.

Don’t miss the latest edition of JPiX – Jewish Photo Bloggers Carnival 2013 on Leora’s blog!

Weekly Review with Nelson Mandela


On My Blog

Rhubarb and Banana Crumble

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – Orphaned

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Leora shares a photo from Israel and a painting: Fast Day – Jerusalem Memories

Lorri has some stunning photos of bridges

Changing God’s Mind: One Law at a Time! – Amichai Lau-Lavie dwells on the weekly portion

Rusty and Tainted – two stories by Freya

Web articles

In the JC: How Orthodox women can be liberated in shul

Rabbi Jonathan Sacks shares his thoughts On Parents and Teachers

The Decline and Fall of the English Major – a NYT article

Shabbat Shalom!

Alastair’s Photo Fiction – Orphaned

Once again, thanks to Freya for pointing out this writing meme.

Alastair is both a writer and a photographer. The idea of Alastair’s Photo Fiction is that a photo that he has taken is used as a prompt for flash fiction – a short story – or poem of around 150 words.


The waves were licking Ailsa’s toes. She took another step into the water, then another. The sea was grey and rough, the beach empty. She was shivering, despite the navy pullover she had kept on. She bit fiercely on the hair she had been chewing all along and froze when she realised her shorts were wet.

She rubbed her nose, the sand only making the tears and snivelling worse. All she could hear were the waves and her sobs coming and going in unison.

Ever since Mum had come back with the silly baby boy, nothing was the same. Where was the fun she had been promised? It was all about him, him. She might as well be swallowed by the sea, nobody would ever notice.

Then Ailsa heard her before she felt whisked off her feet in a swift embrace of Chanel, silk and red hair.

She was a daughter again.

Rhubarb and Banana Crumble


Fruit mixture:
500 g rhubarb, washed and cut into small pieces
1 tbsp cane sugar
2 bananas, peeled and sliced
Freshly grated ginger (optional)

100 g plain flour
50 g cane sugar
50 g butter

Place rhubarb and sugar in a pan with 2 tablespoons of water and simmer until soft. Add sliced bananas. Drain off excess liquid if necessary and add the grated ginger. Place mixture in ovenproof dish.

In a bowl rub together flour, sugar and butter. Place crumble mixture on top of the fruit and bake at 180C/350F for 20-30 minutes until golden brown.

Summer Weekly Review


On My Blog

Lean Baked Falafels

A Year of Tai Chi

Philosophy: the 2013 Edition

Friday Fictioneers – Stockholms Slot

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Pragmatic Attic shares some Cold Soups

Lorri reviews Children of the Ghetto: A Study of a Peculiar People

Club and Dulce et Decorum Est – Two stories by Freya

Leora shares more photos from Israel: Sabra Plants – Prickly and Sweet

A new Heblish post by Mrs. S.: Heblish: The “You Have a Blog?!” Edition

Does Jewish Law Permit Internet Surveillance? – a responsa by Rabbi David Golinkin

Balak – when animals speak – Zivah ponders on this week’s parasha

Web articles

Young, Orthodox, gay, out – a Times of Israel article

Respect to the Jewish refugees who gave us fish, chips and M&S – a JC article

Women’s prayers answered – another JC article

When the ultra-Orthodox advocate religious freedom – a Ha’aretz article by William Kolbrener

Shabbat Shalom!

Friday Fictioneers – Stockholms Slot

This is my latest entry into the weekly challenge brought to us by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Just follow the rules: Using the photo below as a prompt, write a one hundred word story that has a beginning, middle and end. (No one will be ostracized for going over or under the word count.)

Comments are of course welcome!

copyright – Managua Gunn

“Who’s this granddad?”

Nils climbs on my lap, puts a peck on my unshaven cheek and makes himself comfortable. He points at the photo behind me, half-hidden behind a stack of books, newspapers and bills.

Nils is my daughter’s first son, the latest addition to the family. I love them all but this little blond guy reminds me of the three year old I once was. They have come for the week.

I look wistfully at the old shot. A young person in full uniform, proudly guarding the Royal Palace in Stockholm, staring ahead. Long before the accident that stole my legs, and his grandma.

Philosophy: the 2013 Edition


I know you are all waiting with bated breath for this year’s essay questions so that you can wonder what you would have written and share the topics at home or at work! So here are this morning’s exam questions.

Philosophy is a compulsory subject for all French students at the end of the high school years unless they are preparing a vocational degree. The students sit for four hours and have to write about one question out of a choice of three – two in the form of a question and one text.

– Is language a tool?
– Is science limited to recording facts?
– What do we owe to the state?
– Do we interpret because we cannot know?
– Is it possible to act morally without being interested in politics?
– Does work allow an awareness of the self?
– An extract from a letter to Princess Elisabeth of Bohemia by René Descartes
– A extract from De Concordia by Anselm of Canterbury
– An extract from The Creative Mind: An Introduction to Metaphysics by Henri Bergson

A Year of Tai Chi


Tonight is my last tai chi class so I wished to look back on a year of practice. I started tai chi classes last September so technically it is not a year but that’s how classes work (from September to June) and I liked the title!

There were various reasons why I wanted to take up tai chi:

– I had seen Chinese people perform in local parks in Hong Kong and found the choreography graceful and seemingly easy.

– I wanted to start an activity which I would be able to do for several years.

– Above all, my body was telling me that I needed a regular physical activity.

Tai chi is an internal Chinese martial art practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits. It has become popular in the West because of its value in treating or preventing many health problems. Its origins are old but vague and it is hard to distinguish between myth and reality.

The original philosophy of tai chi is that, if one uses hardness to resist violent force, then both sides are certain to be injured at least to some degree. But to meet brute force in softness and follow its motion while remaining in physical contact until the incoming force of attack exhausts itself or can be safely redirected, meeting yang with yin – or to quote Lao Tzu: “The soft and the pliable will defeat the hard and strong.” (Shortened and adapted from Wikipedia)

I attend a class once a week. There are about ten of us – all in their forties and a bit more. The instructor is a retired school teacher. The tai chi class lasts 90 minutes and falls into the following three parts:

Warm-up and unlocking: Easy motions, such as shoulder circles, turning the head from side to side, or rocking back and forth, help you to loosen your muscles and joints and focus on your breath and body. They are easy to perform and remember. and thus can soon be repeated at home on your own.

Qigong practices: Translated as “breath work” or “energy work. The practices all involve a posture, (whether moving or stationary), breathing techniques, and mental focus. The idea is to help relax the mind and mobilise the body’s energy.

Instruction and practice of tai chi forms: Short forms — forms are sets of movements — that include a dozen or fewer movements. Longer forms that include hundred will come later. They are the most difficult, not physically, but because it is essential to remember and master the details.

These classes have proved to be very beneficial: Tai chi is certainly not extreme but it is more dynamic than it looks. I now rarely have back aches and when I do I know what to do to ease the pain. Another thing that I appreciate is the non competitive aspect of this sport; with time I have mellowed and the only competition that now interests me is to improve at my own pace. I have really enjoyed the classes and intend to continue next year. Ideally I ought to set up a schedule for the summer so as not to lose all the benefits.

For further reading:
Tai chi: getting there more slowly, but gracefully and intact
Tai chi … a gentler way
Tai Chi Eases Depression in Elderly

Lean Baked Falafels


Serves 4 people:

For the falafels:
2 x 400g cans chickpeas, rinsed and drained
1 small onion
1 garlic clove, crushed
1/4 cup fresh coriander, chopped, parsley can be used instead
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp bicarbonate soda
1/4 cup plain flour

For the dressing:
1/2 cup low-fat natural yoghurt
1 tbs tahini
2 tsp lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200°C.

Place chickpeas, onion, garlic, salt and spices in a food processor and process until combined. Add bicarbonate of soda and flour and pulse again until combined. Shape mixture into 12 patties and let stand for 15 minutes.

Place the falafels on a baking tray lined with baking paper. Bake turning occasionally for 25 minutes or until golden.

Meanwhile whisk yoghurt, tahini and lemon in a small bowl.

Serve with cubed tomatoes and cucumber as well as pita bread.

This WW recipe eliminates deep-frying. Thus you end up with a healthier dish while retaining the lovely flavours of more traditional falafels.

Women Write Weekly Review


On My Blog

Homemade Ice Cream

Code Name Verity

Friday Fictioneers – Ouch!

Elsewhere in the JBlogosphere

Scoop! and Trilby – Two stories by Freya

Leora hosts a guest post by Ariella Brown: Introverts in Jane Austen’s Novels

Lorri reviews Daniel Deronda

Zivah ponders on this week’s parashah: Chukkat – access denied

Web articles

“The United States Of Autism” Sugarcoats My Family’s Situation – a Jewish Week article by Rabbi Rebecca Schorr

In the JC: Inaugural UK conference of Jewish Orthodox Feminist Alliance

Orthodox Yeshiva Set To Ordain Three Women. Just Don’t Call Them ‘Rabbi.’ – a Tablet article

Not a full Stockholm guide: Our Stockholm at Green Kitchen Stories

Shabbat Shalom!