Thursday, April 26, 2007

My Knefe Recipe

There's nothing like a taste of Lebanon every once in a while, and no other desert is more representative of Lebanese cuisine as Kunafeh, or Knefe as the Lebanese say it. To those who asked for my special Knefe recipe, well, here it is, I hope you enjoy it :)

The Knefe dough (from supermarkets) (separated as best you can)
2 cups of sweetened milk or 1 can of sweetened condensed milk
1/2 a cup of cornflour
1 cup of room-temperature water
5 tbs of Ghee

For the sugar syrup:

2 cups of sugar
1 cup water
a squeeze of lemon
2 tsp of orange blossom water (mai zaher)

First, you will need to separate the kunafa dough and place it in pyrex pan or a non-stick pan.
Separately in a small saucepan add the milk (whichever you choose) and add the cornflour, stirring constantly, add the water and continue to stir until the mixture is firm and boiling.
This will be your cream between the two layers of the Knefe.
Then sprinkle some ghee (or butter) over the dough, spread the cream over it and add another layer of dough on top of the cream. sprinkle more ghee over your knefe and place it in the oven for 30 to 35 minutes or until it is slightly golden.

For the syrup:

Place the 2 cups of sugar and one cup of water in another saucepan. Bring to the boil. Allow to cool slightly then add a squeeze of lemon juice and some orange blossom water (mai zaher) and pour over the hot Knefe.

For Decoration: Sprinkle some ground pistachio in any pattern you like!

And Voila! you are almost a Lebanese chef.

If any one tries my recipe, be sure to come back and tell us about the taste ;)


Tuesday, April 24, 2007

On Terrorism and Virginia Tech

Its been a while now since the Virginia Tech Massacre by the estranged Cho, who chose to take his own life and the lives of 32 other people with an unclear motive.

The attacker is being described by everyone including the media as an unstable, young man. He seemed to be angry, depressed and basically with a few screws loose in his head. That I can comprehend. But what I fail to understand is the lack of questions being posed by the same media that make a fuss about Islamic fundemtalism and Jihad.

Not one of the many TV stations or other media outlets ever made a connection to the words he uttered in his "video". The dude actually said: "Thanks to you I die like Jesus Christ" and many other references he made to Christian fellowship and the church... Why isn't anyone making a connection to this act as an act of religious terrorism, as is the case with other acts of terrorism that have been blatantly linked to Islam simply because the attackers were Muslim! Why is a connection not made between his act and his "inspiration"? Could he have been reading the Bible perhaps? Where there are many references to martyrdom and killing your enemy, and other similar statements? Why is that only applied to Muslims?

Can these same standards be applied to Israeli soldiers who choose to open fire on Palestinian unarmed civilians who try to cross the border to go to work, simply because they are not of the Jewish Faith? Or the collective punishment bestowed upon the Palestinians because they are Muslims or Christians and not Jewish?

There are many questions that need to be answered. So many issues that are so obviously wrong and we choose to turn a blind eye to injustice...

Do I see double standards here? Or is this rule applied only to Muslim "terrorists"? If someone chooses to act in a certain manner, is his religion the only factor to blame? Or can we also blame anti-depressants?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Weekend Desert

Because my dad is a chef and specialized in Lebanese cuisine, I've always taken it for granted that we have tabouleh, stuffed vine leaves, chicken fata for lunch, and kunafah, baqlawa, and basboosa for desert.

However, I went into a lebanese cooking frenzy in the past few months, and decided to cook all things Lebanese, that have always been there on the table but very difficult to attempt cooking.

I made tabouleh the other day, and the last weekend I made Kunafah. My dad was all smiles, proud of his offspring, at her first attempt at real Kunafah. And it was a major hit, my husband loved it, my brothers downed it, my cousin almost finished it, and of course my dad and mom were like proud parents at their eldest child's graduation.

I'll leave you with my Kunafah!

p.s. the little bite on the side was Amoona. She couldn't resist but take a bite!! =)

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Reading Treat

Every night, I get to go somewhere, to follow a story so tremendously amazing and heartbreaking, that I am having trouble sleeping. My mom lent me this book the other day and urged me to read it. It was in Arabic so I was kind of finding it cumbersome. But then I decided to stop being silly and decided to start reading more Arabic novels in order to strengthen my dwindling Arabic skills.

But once I started, I couldn't stop.

As much as the story is amazing, it sends shivers down my spine.

Its called "The Prisoner" (in Arabic) by Malika OuFakir and Michelle Fitoussi. I found an English version of the book on Amazon. com called "Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail" which was also listed in Oprah's Book Club.

It scares me to read the devestation that happened to this poor family, inflicted upon them by a sel-centered king who has no value for human life. It scares me to know that this has happened in the Arab World, and it scares me even more to think of the other untold stories.

The story is told by Malika, the daughter of a Moroccan General back in the 1970s. Malika was adopted by the King Hassan II and went to live with his siter Lila Mina in a lavish palace where she spent all of her childhood. Although she lived extravagantly, she missed out on her life with her real family. Its heart-wrenching to read the worries from a child's point of view. Her parents were helpless because what the King wants, the King gets.

*Spoiler ahead*

Later on, her father stages a coup against Hassan the Second and is executed on the spot, leaving behind his family who get to experience a rainbow of torture in prison. Her mother, her 3 sisters and 2 brothers, one of them only 2 years old, get whisked away to a Desert prison where they spend 20 years of their lives behind prison gates.

They go through hell, their lives stolen by an unruly, narcasistic King who did not care about the least of any himan rights. Imagine a child who has never seen a newspaper, a car, or the asphalt of the road. They feed on the grass that grows near the prison bars, since they don't get enough food supplies. They get separated into 4 prison cells and they spend 11 years of their lives in separate cells never seeing each other. The mother with Abdulatif, her youngest, Malika with her 3 sisters, and the eldest brother Ra'ouf is locked up in a separate cell. the psychological torture that they go through is heartbreakingly inhuman. They are so close yet so far away. The 2-year-old boy is 22 by the time they escape, having never set eyes on a toy or on a real football field. He grows to love football from the radio that they have to hide so elaborately.
But they device an intricate plan to dig a 5-meter hole to freedom, they have to get past the guards outside, the stray dogs in the desert and they have to get to the city to reach the French Embassy where they plan to take political asylum.
And that's where I reached last night!

I want to go back home as soon as possible, get the kids to bed so I can continue my reading. Will keep you posted on the events of the story when I'm done.

A true page-turner, the book is an excellent read, and an invaluable insight into the injustices that take place behind the media frenzy and the galmor and the politics.

Its a jungle out there.



Friday, April 20, 2007

More Jews in the Middle East?

Can you believe that our Ambassador to Washington, actually wished that? Was that a political statement or was it a reflection of Bahrain's new foreign policy?

Thanks Lulu for bringing this Washington Post article to the local blogosphere. Being chums with Israel is what we need as Arabs and Muslims, especially at a tough time such as this, when Baghdad is burning, heads flying around, when Somalia is on the verge of a humanitarian disaster, when Morocco and Algeria have just been shook by bloody bombings, and my list can go on and on.

Well, the Jews have displaced more than 4 million Palestinians, and unlawfully occupied their land and declared the only country in the world based on a religion.

I'm not sure if this was part of diplomatic protocol, bubt did he really have to say he wishes there were more Jews in the Middle East? Does he want more Russian or Polish immigrants to occupy more Palestinian homes? Does he agree with the Jewish plans of destroying Muslim Religious sites, such as the Al-Aqsa Mosque?

Please, does any body see, what a sorry, sorry situation...



Thursday, April 19, 2007

Crazy Week

Its been a crazy week. I've been as busy as a bee running around doing everything and being everything at the same time.

I turned 29 on Monday. Thanks Naz, Mool, and the rest of the gang for a wonderful lunch and coffee. The shawl is beautiful, the perfume confiscated by hubby =)

Tuesday was a another day of errands, I was at the clinic in the morning for a medical check-up, (upset stomach).

Running around all hardware stores for bathroom tiles for our dream home! Love the stuff at Marmara, Sitra Highway. Prices were surprisingly reasonable and we are very close to finalizing all 7 bathrooms! Yey =)

Another day of going around, this time it was for kitchens. W e visited a few kitchen places. We are now in a dilemma. Should we go for a wooden or an aluminum kitchen? I want to go for the Alu choice, while hubby is thinking of going for the wooden (I am suspecting!)

I'm glad its Thursday. Tomorrow is Friday and I'm hoping I can stay at home and be a bum. Do nothing. But I will have to wake up early tomorrow, play with the kids and give them all the love, time and attention I can. I miss them and feel infinitely guilty for being so busy all week. The only consolation is: I do all of this for them. The house, the job, the life all revolves around them. You would only understand if you were a parent. I guess at the end of the day, your kids are the priority. Little human beings who totally depende on you for their lives. How could you even think of turning your back. You wouldn't.


Friday, April 13, 2007

A World of Hopelessness

Hope for Life. When I started this blog, I hoped I could write about my concerns as an Arab citizen living in the Arab world.
But today, I feel I have reached a dead end. Killing, wars, conflicts, suicide bombings, in many parts of the Arab world; is this the spiral to our destruction?

So many questions on my mind; is it our fault? or governments'? our leaders? our inaction? our slumber?

Or is it fate, is it our destiny to watch people around us die for no reason.

Iraq is one fire,
Palestine is still occupied,
Lebanon is a political time bomb,
Morocco is shook by a bloody attack,
Algeria follows...

Who's next? Is it Al-Qaeda? Is it Israel (very conspiracy theory, I know)? Is it the US?
Does Al-Qaeda even exist? or is it just a fabrication of the media by a superpower who created this bearded monster extremist monster to blame all the BS going on in the world, for economic and political gains?

Where are we going? What is happening? Do we just go on living our lives? Do we just work, and take aour children to school? and go have lunch somewhere? and then come home?
What about the destruction around us? What about the future? What about progress?

Is this normal? Is anyone out there?


Tuesday, April 10, 2007


Just wanted to share my tabouleh with all of you, I made it over the weekend and my dad was so proud!

This delicious lebanese salad has tons of vitamins in it and I've been trying to get my kids to eat it instead of those horrid Happy Meals!!

You've got to chop, chop, and chop some more, as fine as you can, for the finer your vegetables are chopped the smoother your tabouleh is. You'll also need olive oil and lemons to make your tabouleh taste zesty!

Loved it. I also made fried fish, eggplants, and potatoes to go with it. Delicious Lunch. I love Friday family get-togethers!


Monday, April 09, 2007

Home Sweet Home

The Ministry of Housing have kindly agreed to fund our dream home project. I want to update the world and share my joy. Below is the latest pic of our dream home...
There are stairs now, the walls are being cemented, and we're waiting for the concrete slabs to arrive for our ceilings.

SoulSearch Beach Clean Up

It was a wonderful, satisfying feeling to have early on a Friday morning. I would like to thank Thinkpink for the mighty cleaning efforts and BuRashed 4800 who helped relentlessly to clean up the whole beach. We had loads of fun, baking in the sun, and cooling off in the water, filling gorgeous garbage bags and feeding the dumpster. The beach was strewn with filth and debris, as you can see the images below will tell the story.

I hope this will spur a movement for clean ups everywhere, another place that seriously needs attention is the Al-Jazayer Beach, which is far more messy than the Al-Fateh Beach.

I'll leave you with the SoulSearch Beach Clean Up Inititiative...

Before and After effects...

More debris...

Dumpster briming with debris from the beautiful Marina Beach...

And on our way out, we were treated to this beautiful flowers on the beach...

Thanks to all who participated and I hope people will become more aware of their environment, and love the land they live on...

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Palestinian "Militants"

Besides being more like a tabloid newspaper, the editos at GDN continue to be as blind to our stance as a country, to the people as Arabs and Muslims, and to the political situation in the Occupied Palestinian Territories. Their article today calls the Palestinian "martyred" today as a Militant who was killed as he was " evilly" shooting at the poor defenseless Israeli Soldiers who were to protect the right of Israel to exist. Hohoho

Do you need to be reminded that Bahrain is an Arab and Muslim country by majority and that people here are on the Palestinian side? Do you need to be reminded that Palestinians are defending or trying to defend their stolen land?

According to Wikipedia: The word militant has come to refer to any individual or party engaged in aggressive physical or verbal combat, normally for a cause. Popular usage sometimes sees "militants" as synonymous with terrorists.

Do these guys just cut and paste from Reuters, Associated Press or Agence France Presse, do they not realize that the western media is biased against the Palestinians and choose to ignore the plight of the Palestinians?



Does this guy really think people listen to him? Instead of addressing real issues, issues plaguing his area, issues that desparately need to be raised, he yaps about how men should marry 3 women!

What makes this "enlightened" MP think that women would want to marry someone like him, I wonder what his wife, no sorry "Wives" think of his latest remarks. What kind of a suggestion is that? Thank God the other MPs had the nerve to at least ask him to talk for himself, because being the brainy deputy that he is, he suggested that all the MPs set the example!

With a 4th grade certifcate, this guy seriously needs someone to tell him we live in the 21st century, and that Islam is not about satisfying your sexual needs by putting wives on your payroll.

Please wake up Mr. AlSaidi or go home, and spare us all your valuable opinions, we seriously don't need people like you to tell us, men and women, how to live their lives. Trust me, you are the last person anyone would want to take marriage counselling from. Women don't need men like you to live a dignified life, women are more resilient, more determined, more empowered to live an independent way of life, and don't need cavemen like you to marry them.

Go back to Riffa and see the misery that people there live in, the sewers are overflowing, the roads have huge craters in them, many houses are ready to collapse on the people living there, parking is a nightmare, the smell is unbearable, and the list can go on forever.


Monday, April 02, 2007

The Sands of Bahrain

I have been trying to get people to volunteer to clean up a beach near the Marina Club.

So far, its my family, thinkpink, tito and I. Thanks guys for participating. However, we still need to get together, discuss a plan of some sort, get the things we might need, like garabage bags maybe, a few buckets, shovels or something to the effect. We also need to agree on a date, I suggested next weekend, Friday the 6th of April.

Its not that bad this beach but its got these annoying rocks that make it impossible for anyone, especially kids to wade into the sea. Plus of course all the wrappers, bottles, and plastic strewn all over the area. But I am asuming this should not take us 2 to 3 hours. Anyone is welcome to bring their children, I'm bringing mine, to teach them the values and the satisfaction of community work and volunteering.

Anyone willing to pitch in would be most welcome. If you would like to volunteer, or propose a new timing, or send your contact details, please email me at