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eG Foodblog: Lior - Spend a week in sunny Ashkelon.

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Hello to everyone and sorry that I made you twiddle your thumbs!!

First of all teaser 1 is pita bread in a bag on the shelf of my local minimarket. Israel has tons of mini markets all over, every house or apartment has one within about 5 minutes walking distance from home. We usually buy daily products like pita, rolls, breead and dairy goods, either daily or every couple of days. So every morning the bread delivery trucks deliver to all these little mini markets early in the morning. Nobody keeps bread for longer than two days or it dries out. The basic breads are called either white or black. It is actually hard to tell the difference between them! They are the same bread that has been sold for 50 years and is considered a basic here. Further down you can see the pictures of this. Either you slice at home or at the store you can put it through a slicer. Slightly more expensive are pitas and rolls. So my first set of pictures is to document this! Then I will write a bit about Ashkelon.

So hereis one of my daily stops: everyone calls it Eli's who is the owner, but the sign translates as Mini Market- everything is good (sounds better in Hebrew!!)


Here are the breads-white and "black" can you see the difference?


Here are the rolls and what we call "long bread"


The slicer:


Now the teaser 2 is called a Cereus cactus. It blooms only at night and only for a few hours and only a few times a year. It is usually ugly but when it blooms it is truly a sight!

Teaser3 is a picture of some goats by the Dead Sea. We went there about 2 weeks ago hoping to see some floods. When it rains a lot this area turns into violent rivers and floods as the earth does not absorb the water, it is very amazing to see it turn from desert to river. It can be dangerous also...

Be back later! Gotta put my kid to bed!!

Edited by Lior (log)
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Yay! I had a hunch it was you, Lior! :smile: Please say we'll get to see some shots of your chocolates, this week.

(Was the teaser photo with the goats taken near the Dead Sea?)

I'm really looking forward to your blog. Kol tov!

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YESSSSS! Awaiting every picture and caption.

I used to have a cereus (Night bloomin' cereus, as it's known in garden clubs all over the South, with ALL its title said every time, like Sissy Louise and Billy Joe).

We have been known to just sit awhile on the patio and watch.

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Hi again! Well I love that flower when it blooms so every time I run to get my camera! Aren't they something? I am actually called Ilana, Lior is my youngest daughter and she asked me to use her name-now everyone thinks I am Lior!! My paternal grandfather was born in Israel. He left to work in the mines of Rhodesia to send money home to his family (11 brothers). He met Granny and that is how I ended being born in South Africa. I lived in the states from age 9 till 18 and then back to close the circle-to Israel.

I will return to thebread issue later on-I do have more on that, but now as promised: Ashkelon.

There is no specific date for the founding of Ashkelon.

Its origins date back about 5000 years and it is considered to be one of the world’s most ancient cities, a cradle of human culture.

Due to its strategic position, the city fulfilled an important role in the ancient history of the Mid East.

Ashkelon, whose name is derived from the root shekel (Shekel is the name of our currency today), is first mentioned in the Egyptian “mearot writings” of the 19th century BC. Its name appears in the hieroglyphics on pottery shards, as “Askala.”

This is a bit about ancient Ashkelon.

The ancient seaport of Ashkelon located 40 miles south of Tel Aviv, Israel, on the Mediterranean coast and was the capital of Canaanite kings, the harbor of the Philistines, and the stomping ground of the biblical hero Samson.

From the Canaanite era, Ashkelon is the oldest and largest seaport yet known in Israel, and a thriving Middle Bronze Age (2000-1550 B.C.) metropolis of more than 150 acres, with ramparts and the oldest arched city gate in the world, still standing two stories high.

From the Philistine era (1175-604 B.C.), excavations of the seaport are uncovering remains of the city from the days of Samson and Delilah, and the city's destruction by Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar.

We have a national park here that should be something amazing but basically is neglected-I suppose funding and etc has a lot to do with that.

Ancient Ashkelon is reminiscent of a large 150-acre bowl, with the gigantic Canaanite ramparts that once protected the city forming its rim and sides. Inside, at least 20 ancient cities rest in layer upon layer—spanning more than 5,000 years from before 3500 B.C.E. to 1500.

One of the most important sections of the park is the sculpture garden, which houses a variety of Roman statues and splendid marble reliefs, including Nike, Goddess of Victory, atop Atlas’ globe. You can also gaze upon the ruins of several Byzantine and Crusader churches, shadowed by age-old olive, tamarisk and carob trees.

Some pictures to document:

Nike, goddess of victory:


ancient port-the poles sticking out wereused for tying up boats:


Churches -chambers in a semicircle:


Isis with her son, Hippocrates:


more Roman ruins and a mosaic:



and in another area of Ashkelon a sarcophagus:


So that is about the ancient ruins. Lately an interesting excavation has uncovered a dog cemetery. Tel Hachra is a small hill by the sea (Tel means hill), is where Ashkelon of the Philistine biblical period thrived. Here a very strange cemetery from the 5th or 6th century BC was discovered with more than 1,500 canine skeletons. Researchers have not yet deciphered the reason behind these ancient graves.

Another interesting sight is an old sheik's grave. The Sheik's tomb is a square, domed structure, resting atop of a small hill and overlooking Ashkelon's northern beaches. The main chamber is supported by eight stone arches and contains the Sheikh's) tomb. The building was constructed in the Mamluke period (13th century) when parts of Israel were in the Crusader hands.


By the way, Harvard Univ. has students here doing the summers helping and working on various excavations.

Modern Ashkelon consists of about 110,000 people from different backgrounds. In the 1940's South Africans settled here, in the 50's a wave of immigration from North Africa came and in the 90's a huge wave of immigrants from Russia arrived. There is a beautiful college, about 6 junior high schools and high schools and about 30 public elementary schools. There are about 12 kilometers of beach. The climate is semi arid. Winters are about 14-20 degrees Celsius with rainy or sunny days. This year there has been a lot of sun and we need more rain. Summers are hot and humid, staying at around 30-32 degrees Celsius and humidity of 70-80%, no rain and every single day is very sunny. Summer is from about June to mid October. Spring is lovely as is our short autumn. We are about 54 kilometers south of Tel Aviv and 70 km from Jerusalem. Ashkelon has great potential for being a major tourist site, but somehow this area remains undeveloped and undiscovered. And, of course, security is also an issue.

A beach:


The college:


Our twin cities include:

Canada – Côte St. Luc

United States – Portland

United States – Baltimore

France – Aix-en-Provence

Germany – Berlin Vicenzy

So now we can get back to food!!

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Hi Ilana! I always read about your chocolates and other fine creations--they are always beautiful!!! Even your pile of "rejects" looks great to me! I really enjoyed reading about where you are from and all of the history. Can't wait to spend the week with you!

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Lior/Ilana - bruchim ha'baim to blogging! (= Welcome.)

I spent a month on a kibbutz not far from Ashkelon (Ein Tzurim) and have really fond memories of going into town in the evenings for pizza and burekes, maybe a falafel or schnitzel. :wink: More memories of eating the best melon I've ever had on a hot morning while working in the cotton fields.

I'm looking forward to this. As the Coke sign (and store sign) says, Kol Tov.

Are Krembo still in season?

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Ilana - we have the same name (basically...)!

I loved the sight of that bread, thank you! You say that it dries out quickly, and I wondered...I know (from Japanese bread) that it is possible to make bread that never exactly "dries" out, and never goes moldy, so why do you think this slightly dry bread is popular in Israel? English bread isn't incredibly dry, since it mostly has butter on it - is Israeli bread a little drier so that it is better for "wet" toppings or dipping into things?

What kind of bread did you buy yesterday, and how did you use it?

Also, what kind of flour is used for the big loaves - and is it mostly domestically produced, or mostly imported?

Just curious!

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Good morning! For me at least! My youngest is having breakfast and soon I will car pool-my turn today- to her school. She studies on Kibbutz Yad MOrdecai. I will tell more about that after Saturday as there is a dairy festival there over the weekend...

Ilana actually is a liturgical name for "tree" Lior means "my (LI) "light (Or). She was born 10 years after my third child and after some family tragedies, so she brought us back some light! Completely spoiled by all but behaves very nicely and is usually an angel!

The bread here is not at all dry- only it is good for two days. Then it does dry out. It is quite basic but when very fresh very nice. You can also get bread in bags ofdifferent types but these are with all sort of ingredients to keep it longer and such. Bread is subsidized by the gov but less and less and so the price increases and the people get very mad! Bread prices are controlled and when the gov lessens funding the bakeries still should produce....So then the bakeries all go on strike and no basic breadis available. Eventually the bakeries bake and sell at higher prices! Bread is a staple here. I buy all sorts- lots od pita, rolls, baguettes, whole wheat bagged, and basic.

More bread pictures:

This usually sits by the cashiers to tempt


more types of rolls:


gotta run Iwill post more later!!

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Oh and thank you sooo much for the compliment about my chocolates! The chocolatiers on that forum are so professional and great I often feel awful!!

On my way home I bought a loaf of black bread and so here it is:


and a slice- by the way the end crusty part is called the "kiss" and either you love it or hate it:


Lately my favorite tea- I go through tea stages, the last one was red tea with vanilla and cinnamon and now I am into Bedouin tea, which is flavored with cardamen and sage.

My tea box:




and the teabag!


and ready to sip from my favorite cat mug:


I will post pictures of my animals at some point!

Edited by Lior (log)
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What a wonderful place to blog from. Thank you! My Kiddle is going to Israel in the new year, she is taking a 'gap' year between high school and university- to volunteer and live in Israel. She can see better than I'm able to these days, so we'll be following your adventure together.

Refrigerator shot coming, please?

spelling edit

second spelling edit, will I ever get it right? :raz:

Edited by Rebecca263 (log)

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Okay! Your daughter is welcome to visit here and stay with us! We often have guests coming and going-a place to sleep for free...

My fridge died so I am using the one that was my mom in laws. It sat on the back porch with all kinds of frozen goods and when we had crowds it was great for storing extra food... Now it is in my kitchen until we decide which one to buy! Background fridge info! By the way, my mom in law is a Yemenite Jew, married to a Hungarian (holocaust survivor)! Quite unusual for their times- usually there were no "mixed" marriages!! People seem to always find reasons to separate themselves!! Ridiculous. So when at their house we have a variety of styles. Here in Israel, people are fanatic about their ethnic foods. Each country of origin has a very specific list of foods. All are great. Saturday morning we will eat Jachnun with eggs and grated tomatoes and salad. Jachnun if done right is great. It is a dough rolled into a croissant shape, put in a special baking pot with lid. Fresh eggs in their shells are also included. All bakes on very low heat all night for 12 hourrs. The eggs turn brown as do the Jachnun. Then the grated and herbed tomatoes are poured over it all. Yum!



and messy pantry:


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Every few months I try to organize this pantryand then I am sooo proud of the result- which lasts about a week or two! I am messy by nature I think!! Okay: This is only a partial few of the pantry I will take the rest later. Top left are the cereals. Israel never used to have them until about 15-20 years ago when there were a few kinds. Now there are quite a few! The box facing is is called "Shugi" an Israeli cereal-corn flakes with sugar kinda like Frosties in the States. Near the Life cereal box are two jars- concentrated fig syrup-no added sugar and likewise with pommegranates. Shelf below has a bottle of glucose syrup for my chocolates,granola bars, and a tin box from Russia that has goodies inside, like cookies etc. Next to that is a bag of pasta and then my recipe box- a homemade one rom decoupage -napkin glue art.

And thanks for the pantry support!! :biggrin:

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This is awesome!

For me, nothing helps a foodblog more than historical perspective and this one has it to spare. Thanks for the wonderful photos. Looking forward to the markets if you get a chance.

What sort of fish come ashore and which are the favorite in Ashkelon's restaurants?

"I took the habit of asking Pierre to bring me whatever looks good today and he would bring out the most wonderful things," - bleudauvergne

foodblogs: Dining Downeast I - Dining Downeast II

Portland Food Map.com

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Hey thanks!! Market days are Wed and Thurs. I will goon Thurs to take photos for you. Askelon is a bit of a sleepy town. Lots of little cafes and dairy restaurants. Two very good ones are Nitzachon and Luna. I will post pictures and info for you later. The Luna is gorgeous as it is in an old arched building... Gotta run- car pool time for me!! I made palet d'or chocolates today will also post those!

Bye and thanks-oh I will get back to you on the fish!

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This usually sits by the cashiers to tempt


This just takes my heart and my imagination---a spire of plain, sturdy bread, right out there on the stainless, where baskets are set down and money exchanged. Customers brush past them, or perhaps lift three to get to just the right one.The breaths of the ages circles round them, as centuries of commerce continue and they sit there waiting their turn to enter the cycle. More impressive than mountains or statues, in their way, and as beautiful. The gum and cigarettes flanking the bread are so pristine in their cellophane and plastic, and the good, honest bread is just there, naked and true.

My awe and imagination color all your words, with history and faith intermingled too closely with modern convenience and old ways. This is so fulfilling a journey you're conducting, and there's an atmosphere in these pages that crosses many miles and years.

I am so looking forward to seeing your hands preparing food in that kitchen so far from all I know.

Edited by racheld (log)
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Okay okay I, the vegetarian and gluten free soul will forget the bread pictures and go to a butcher for you-specially for you cause you are so nice. Now about the fish. I am having a hard time finding where to translate names!! What I found so far: St.Peters, Mullet, Denise, Sea Bass and Barbounia. The Luna does anice Barbounia. It is a spanish influenced style. It is in a 700 year old building. Even though there sight is in Hebrew you can look at top 3rd (from right) words click for some so so pics. http://www.luna-cafe.co.il/

I wasat a restaurant for lunch for my friend's birthday and another's for celebrating the birthof her grandchild:

It is a tiny Italian one

Stirred fried mushrooms in wine


Mushroom soup:


Salad smothered with grated Bulgarian Cheese:




We also had eggplant rolled up and stuffed with cheese in Pesto sauce, but I can't find the picture!!

Tonight I will show you our standard suppers. Supper here is the lighter meal, whereas lunch is the main one. My sons also do a midnight meal and I have pictures of that too. Off to my daughter;s piano concert, but first:

Winky mother cat:


daughter cat Kitsy


Sandy my golden retriever will come later!!

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Saturday morning we will eat Jachnun with eggs and grated tomatoes and salad.  Jachnun if done right is great. It is a dough rolled into a croissant shape, put in a special baking pot with lid.

Please let us see what you do with the jachnun from start to finish. I sell it, so I tried making it once and it . . well, I don't think I cooked it properly. :blink:


What's the Osem bottle on the top right shelf in this picture? Is it dressing?

And can you tell us about some of the dairy products below it? Do I see 'Israeli white cheese'?

eta: Do you have a shuk in Ashkelon?

Edited by Pam R (log)
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Can you tell us anything about the lovely pitcher made of pottery in the upper left corner of this photo? It reminds me of the pottery that I saw everywhere in Bulgaria last summer.

Also, will you post pictures of your breakfasts, please? I love to see what others are eating in the morning.

Thanks so much for sharing your week with us. :smile:

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Racheld you are a poet!! Those are called bagella here and believe me, the kids and teens always buy them and munch on them to school. They are given the holy right of passing by all the others in line-they need to get to school on time after all!!

Pam, my mother in law makes the jachnun-sorry! I can show it to you made as that is what I froze last week!! I will get the exact recipe and instructions for you-butit is devine believe me. Dina, my mom in law will make a dish tonight for the blog. Tomorrow morning bright and early I will go to photo it. It is also an all nighterin the oven, usually eaten for breakfast made of beans of different sorts-more on that tomorrow. The osem(!) jar is a soy sauce sans gluten!!! How observant! The cheeses are Israeli cottage cheese, 3% (light blue behind red yoghurt containerup above a bit), 5% (regular blue) the green is 9% and the white cheese is in the squarish container next to the green! Cottage cheese and white cheese are also basics here. White cheese is also in the 3,5,9% varieties and is sort of like a smooth cottage cheese. Cottage cheese is called just "Kotehj" here!

Of course we have a shuk(market)! Thursday is shuk day. Now Sandy and then dinner:


Eaten almost every evening by the family. Sometimes Lior has pancakes or toast which is what we call toasted cheese- we put pasta sauce on the bread or roll, cheese and then in the toasting cheese device and it HAS to be squashed very flat otherwise it isn't good!

Salad, boiled egg, on left is cottage and on the right is Tehina, Humous and eggplant "on the fire" (the eggplant is done grilled on the range flame till black.


Tehina and olive oil


Tzfatit cheese 5% it also comes in 16%


opened and cut:




Some like to mix it all together-not me!!


and the boys also like to eat burekas- here is one that fits in a dinner plate and is called Ziva. Made from puff pastry filled with soft cheese like above kind of and rolled up:






Oh and about the dishes!!! Thanks!! The bottom shelf is a typical hungarian style from Hungary-when the family went on a back to roots trip with granddad. Above is an Israel Na'aman set. Iwill take a close up tonight for you! Oh! again! Yes it is from Bulgaria!! So very very observeantmy goodness!!! Do you all see my mess in the corner of photos also? And yes I will photo breakfast!

News is on- and then I will return!!

Edited by Lior (log)
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