Saturday, 3 September 2016

The Beauty of Being Alone |

"Be a loner. That gives you time to wonder, to search for the truth. Have holy curiosity. Make your life worth living." - Albert Einstein

Once upon a time, I was incapable of being alone. The thought of being in my own company scared me, whether it was galavanting around town with friends in London, or insisting on company by my side, I just could not sit still or be alone. Whilst sitting still, is still something I can't quite manage, the idea of doing nothing makes me anxious just as much as being alone did, based on the fact LIFE IS SHORT. We should do everything we can to experience, discover and learn about this beautiful earth that we live on and to understand humanity as a whole, to truly know the meaning of life as you know it you must look beyond what you think you know, learning and understanding the science behind our existence. If you blink, you might just miss something beautiful, therefore in order to truly understand the meaning of life, we need to start with understanding ourselves, our purpose and explore beyond.

Here I am, alone, sipping a chilled glass of Rose in the September heat, cooled by sundown and today's blowing breeze, documenting my meandering thoughts on life as I know it. I am surrounded by families and friends, locals muttering in a number of languages, mainly Hebrew, which to my delight, I can sort of understand. Everyone is sat listening to the beauty that is a live orchestra, a two-string quartet with a keyboard and and a lady dressed in red, singing opera, completing the quartet. The lady is dressed in red, an off-the-shoulder number, Israeli by assumption, with her stereotypical dark ringlets blowing in the wind singing Italian classics. The orchestra are set on a marble and stone stage amongst the stone buildings, centuries old here on Andromeda rock, riddled with history, enjoyed by people of all ages. A different sound to what you hear on the radio, far stemmed from the electronic house we dance around in the dingy, alcohol fuelled nightclubs of today. Classical music is a treasure I enjoy, and in my eyes, not by enough people in today's society. The plastic chairs surround the stage, filled with couples and families, children running around, some even coming to speak to me, engaging for moments in Hebrew, before they disappear into the night, afraid from shyness, but intrigued by the curiosity that inspires them to break out of the shyness they so far fear. It is like something out of a movie, effortlessly romantic and beautiful, except this is the beauty of the home I now live in. So different from the culture of England that I grew up knowing. I am captivated by the sounds of the violin, my favourite classical instrument; made by strings, woven out of animal intestines. GROSS I know, except for those who don't know, you now do.

Today, I woke up, later than I expected, except after feeling over-wrought with feelings of stress, uncertainty, the feeling of not fulfilling my true desires and being off-balanced, it was time to be alone with my thoughts and clear my mind. I cleaned my apartment, put on my favourite summer dress and set out with no true destination. Just the desire to wander and discover Tel Aviv, alone. 

As a self-proclaimed coffee addict, I need coffee in the morning to break me from my croaky morning voice, and unknowing clumsiness. However, I refrained from drinking any until I found the perfect coffee place to lap up every single drop of the finest, freshly roasted, ground and brewed coffee. As I enter the stone, cobbled streets of Yaffo, I stumbled across BASMA, 'Grandma's Coffee' house, an arabic cafe founded in 1914 by a family dating back over a century ago. The place is picture perfect, with copper turkish coffee pots of all shapes and sizes lining the walls and hanging from the old ceiling. Furnished with curtain fabric sofa's dominating the interiors, with tables and chairs that mix and match, reminiscent of something you would imagine finding in a traditional Arabic grandmother's home. The outdoors are lined with mahogany wooden tables and straw woven stalls and chairs, for where you are then served coffee in a turkish coffee pot only to be poured in a miniature, floral teacup and saucer accompanied by 3 small shortbread biscuits. A coffee experience to be adored and enjoyed by the best of us, due to it's authenticity and feeling of homeliness sojourned by my short time spent at this cute, little coffee house. 

Nestled away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, you find hidden treasures. Across the way from me, sit an Arabic family of 10, smoking Hookah (shisha), gossiping and laughing about life, my ears filled with the music of the Arabic language, with Hebrew intertwined, then appropriately interrupted through my conversing with an interesting American couple, middle-aged, non-jewish but living in Israel for business and leisure. The stories of those met on my travels intrigue and inspire me, as it broadens my mind and interest me on a cultural and also intellectual level. I am instantly filled will wonder and enjoyment through colloquial conversations with travellers and locals alike. 

Alia, the owner of this beautiful coffee house, sat with me to tell her tales of how she endeavours to bring people of all cultures together through fresh coffee, and conversation on culture and life. She kindly gifts me a pack of their freshly in-house roasted coffee, 2 spoons mixed with hot water every morning she explains. In a small country, taking up a small percentage of the Middle-East, inhabited by Christians, Muslims and mainly Jews, there is an abundance of hatred and fear, unfortunately. What Alia seeks to do, is bring people together, and I support every aspect of her desires. We need this here, to make peace, it starts in society, so I am all in. I have been invited to join in the cultural conversations enjoyed daily, I will seek to spread the word and share this with my friends here, so they too can enjoy the experiences shared through this small and hidden coffee house in the Arabic town of Yaffo. How much did I spend for such a heart-warming afternoon? 15 Shekels (approx 3GBP well-spent). 

In Arabic, Basma means: a smile, something I wouldn't even try and take off my face right now. I can't stop smiling. Life is so beautiful and is characterised by such experiences, that we take on ourselves, from being open with ourselves and the world and the people around us, to then stumble across and find. Life really is what you make of it. My biggest advice to those of you reading my ramblings on life, would be to be open-minded, talk to strangers and enjoy the simple things in life beyond what money buys you and material things. The best experiences are spent through understanding people and your surroundings, not from lavish goods. 

However, take my advice with caution, I say this to the best of you, those who have an understanding of street-awareness; by all means do not be frightened of society, but know who is worth a conversation and who is not. We are taught as children not to speak to strangers, especially growing up in the UK, it is almost socially unacceptable since childhood to talk to strangers who stop in the street. Maybe why foreign travellers deem us as cold. Whilst we should teach our children to be street-smart, we should also teach them when it's right and when it's wrong. By being scared, we close ourselves off to opportunity and understanding and learning more about society and humanity. So be aware, but be open to the beautiful little experiences earned through meeting absolute strangers; that in turn enlighten you and place a huge smile on your face, not forgetting the other person, who too, enjoyed your company, conversation and warmth. 

OK so another example, all experienced in one day. About 20 minutes ago, a beautiful lady, 50 years old, blonde, dressed in a LBD (little black dress), an Israeli mother with a warm smile; asks me in Hebrew if she can have a cigarette. As I offer her a cigarette and my lighter, she takes a seat and we start conversing in Hebrew. A family lady, a beautiful one at that; I mean she definitely doesn't look 50! Her warm and honest smile, lets me know she is harmless. So she sits. We speak in Hebrish, a mixture of Hebrew and English as a full conversation would not prevail in purely Hebrew. We speak about life, men, family and culture. Again, my face is accentuated with a smile, but more importantly I feel at home and I am touched by her presence and words. It doesn't end there, she leaves me her number, and asks to meet me for coffee in Ramat Aviv at the Mall, nearby where I studied Hebrew and somewhere I regularly shop...shortly after my hard-earned paycheck...WHOOOOPA. 

Afterwards, she leaves to go back to her family (after her 'secret' cigarette) she comes back maybe 40 minutes later, to greet me with her husband and children. She can't have looked much older than 30, she was just someone that sat with me for 5 minutes. We are almost 30 years in age difference, yet enjoyed each others stories and company even if for a short time, only to be continued... Both of us are left with an effervescent smile. I don't know why people choose to speak to me, in fact, many question why I seek to speak to others, the feeling isn't always reciprocated. Arguably, this can often worry my father and sometimes my friends who do not think in the way I do, however, I believe I have a deeper understanding of life and people to know when it is right and when it is wrong. Henceforth, I am only ever graced with wonderful conversations and experiences, that I will undoubtedly treasure forever.

There is a prominent divide between our remembering self and our experiencing self. My remembering self remembers both the happiest memories spent with my family and friends. Also reminded of the darkness that engulfed me in my teen years, a deep loneliness filled with self-hatred which 'unfortunately' engrain in my mind. However, enlightened by my experiencing self who feels completely at one with myself, at home and in love with the world, curious about more than what I know and enlightened by those around me, it is far less than 'unfortunate'. In fact that fear of being by myself, 'alone' has left me. I thank my past, all the experiences that almost took me away from this earth, now have my feet firmly placed on the ground, not to leave (unless I go to space, eagerly anticipating this day). Every teardrop and feeling wavered has left me with a deeper and emotional understanding of the world around me, whilst I cannot see into the soul of others, I feel enamoured by the people that grace me with their presence. Each life experience is a lesson learned and leads to growth in ourselves. My friends joke 'Bianca you will talk to a wall, but if you don't care about someone, they are nothing to you'. I am open to those I meet, I enjoy the company of likeminded wanderers, those who are curious and hungry for life. Yet, arguably I have no time for those who I know will not be worthy of getting close to me. That doesn't make me a nasty person, I believe it makes me strong, letting those in who will bring light to your life and in turn be open to receiving that light. 

In conclusion, as a wanderer in this big, at times bad, but beautiful world, I have found solace in the experiences enjoyed from being by myself. When I am by myself, I actually don't feel alone. Today has reminded me why I made such a huge decision to leave my family and friends in the UK, to move to Israel; where my close friends are scarce by choice but loved deeply, my understanding of this country limited until discovered. Yet, here I am finding myself, step by step. I have met people who have touched my soul, interesting minds, which have engulfed me, left me even more curious, excited and ready for the life I have to lead ahead. I now enjoy being by myself, what a wonderful feeling, one money can't buy. You are never truly alone.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Baked Lemon Sole & Brazilian Mango Salsa served with Sweet Potato & Sweet Dates |

Your main dish doesn't necessarily need to be savoury. In fact, integrating sweetness created balance or could create absolute mayhem, a beautiful mess. This dish for me is like dinner and dessert on one plate, and the flavours play off each other favourably. Fruit is often overlooked when it comes to a main dish. I feel in mainstream restaurants, especially in London, you don't find it too often in your main meal, usually in dessert. Some of my favourite partners in crime are: 

- Orange, pear, walnut & blue cheese
- Strawberries, basil & balsamic
- Dates & sweet potato (dessert on a plate...MMM) 
- Mango, chilli & coriander 
- Gammon & pineapple
- Honey roasted root vegetables
- Watermelon and olive oil 

So why fruit and fish? Surely BLEURGH? Whilst adding fresh fruit to fish might not be the first flavourful combinations to come to mind, I can ensure you that you will be graced with a more than pleasant surprise. In fact, unlike red meat and poultry, fish has a certain freshness to it, with iodine and sea-resembling fishy flavours being passed down the food chain and essentially onto your plate. Its texture is delicately soft and light; it's flavour best accentuated by the freshest of ingredients. White fish has far less of a 'fishy' taste than other variations of fish, for example tuna. I have used lemon sole, a flat fish which has a sweet delicate flesh and works well in many dishes.

I first tasted the mango, coriander and hot red chilli salsa when I worked for the Rolex HQ in London. Our meals were catered for us everyday, and we were lucky enough to have Pete the chef cooking 3-course meals for us daily! Oh how I loved Pete :D Even if my gluten-intolerance really did him up the backside sometimes. Pete if you're reading this, I miss coming into the kitchen each day, you were so great and you inspired me always! Pete served us once, cod on crushed new potato's with this Brazilian style salsa, which I was enthralled by! It is genius. It is SO fresh, flavourful and spicy. I felt so many flavours whizzing around my mouth, except my taste buds accepted them clearly and confidently. IT. WAS. DELICIOUS. Note to self, next time, try adding chopped red onion into the salsa, for another kick in a different direction. I think that too is a match made in heaven. 

OK. So I bought a sweet potato. I baked it and then I had one of those mid-creating brainwaves. I know I sound like a loony tune, but being creative in the kitchen is SO much fun, I am buzzing still from the flavour pairings...EEEK! The best part is you never actually know what you are doing half the time, you explore and experiment and then VOILA! I tried to slice turned to much OBV. They are SO soft. I have date syrup? That's it. Sliced sweet potato laced with melted butter, date puree, garnished with drizzled date honey. OH MY this is what I am dubbing dessert on a plate. It is a wonderful side to an savoury or spicy dish, it not only adds balance, but the sweetness is not overpowering, it went beautifully with the delicate flavours, seeing as it has an earthy undertone. OK, it sounds like earthy and ocean bearing flavour just don't mix. Think again! 

DATES! DATES! DATES! My favourite restaurant, that I have eaten at so far is La Shuk on Dizengoff. Why? Firstly, the ceviche is incredible. The best ceviche I have had and right now I am loving ceviche. It was white John Dory fish and sweet dates...I need to recreate this dish. Speaking of ceviche, restaurants here in Israel serve such wonderful ceviche dishes, diverse in flavour, and right now its my favourite dish. I'll have a glass of Cava please (but really I say it in Hebrew) :P There is only one place I can find Prosecco here in Israel, luckily it's in a wine bar called Denim, which is conveniently located down my street, with a daily happy hour. WHOOPS. Whilst I no longer drink it as often, I consider myself more of a sangria girl now, Prosecco was undoubtedly my favourite drink back home and in London. 

PS. Can we just appreciate this cute silver scoop! On my wanders around Tel Aviv last weekend, I got lost exploring the back streets leading to Levinsky Market, by which I stumbled across several professional chef stores! ERRR I'M IN HEAVEN. I lost myself and found myself a million times over planning dishes based on plates, accompaniments and so-called kitchen gadgets. Exhibit A. The sweetshop scoop. I knew instantly when I saw it that I would, essentially, serve the accompaniment to a dish. In this case, the salsa fitted perfectly in there. Cooking isn't just about making food and eating it. The creative processes actually start before you even start cooking. I bought so many cute and kinda cool things in these stores for the presentation of my food. I can't wait to share it all with you :)


Fish in Foil, the Scoop of the Day and Finally the Sweet Potato found himself a DATE! 

Baked Lemon Sole & Brazilian Mango Salsa Served with Sweet Potato & Sweet Dates
(This recipe SERVES 1 to increase yield, multiply quantities by amount of people) 
Preparation Time: 15 minutes 
Cooking Time: 25 minutes


- 1 fillet of Lemon Sole white fish
- wedge of lemon
- knob of butter
- 1/4 sweet potato
- 1 King Solomon dates (my favourite Israeli dates, other variations will do!)
- 1 tsp date syrup
- Sea Salt & Pepper

Mango Salsa Ingredients: 

- 1/3 Mango
- Handful of coriander
- 1/3 Red Chilli Pepper
- 2 slices red onion (optional & not included in this recipe)

Make the Magic Happen: 
  1. Preheat fan oven to 180 degrees. Wash sweet potato, and mark an X in the middle using a sharp knife. Place potato in the microwave for 6 minutes to pre-cook it. This reduces cooking time and it is just as tasty. If you beg to differ, pop the potato in 40 minutes before preparation begins :D
  2. Take a piece of aluminium foil approx. 30cm x 30xm long and place the fillet of fish in the middle of the foil square. Season with cracked sea salt and cracked black pepper, squeezing a little of the lemon wedge over the fish and leave on top with a knob of butter. 
  3. Fold in the foil first length ways and then horizontally, create a roof over the fish, sealing in a little house, ensuring all edges are folded over so nothing seeps out. Use a fork or a knife to poke holes in the top to allow steam out. This is one of my favourite ways to cook fish. It is baked inside all the juices, the addition of ingredients such as lemon, parsley, onion, herbs or whatever induces flavour and keeps the freshness. It also keeps the flesh soft and moist. 
  4. Place the fish in foil in a small casserole dish, just in cas any juices spill out, you don't want to have more hassle when it comes to cleaning the kitchen. 
  5. Take the potato out of the oven...careful...this is not a game of hot potato, be sure to use something like a tea towel to grab it. IT'S HOT!! Pop it straight in the oven to continue cooking and to crisp over. 
  6. Meanwhile, slice off the mango. I used an avocado slicer to slice the mango out from the skin, an alternative is to use a knife and chop into chunks. Place in a bowl.
  7. Finely chop the coriander and add to the mango.
  8. Slice the red chilli pepper into fine circles. If you like it hot like me, start at the top of the chilli where the seeds are, you will get more spice, and more heat! Use sparingly if you are sensitive to spice.. Add to the bowl and mix it all up!
  9. Pop the fish in the oven for 15 minutes, he can sit tight with the sweet potato.
  10. Slice the dates and mix together to form a puree. 
  11. Once the fish and sweet potato are cooked, take out of the oven and leave to cool for 5 mins, at this moment I pour myself a glass of vino rouge...
  12. Arrange your plate accordingly; slice the sweet potato and add a tiny knob of butter to each slice. Top with sweet date puree and drizzle with date honey, make it look pretty.
  13. Serve the mango salsa on the side and VOILA! 

Enjoy Dolls 
Bete Avon 
Bon Appetit! 



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Gluten Free Enchiladas with Black Bean Chilli & Guac with a Kick |


Shabbat here in Israel comes in Friday night and goes out Saturday night at sundown, meaning during this time the supermarkets and shops are closed. Whilst arguably I should be soaking up the rays on the beach, I enjoy a certain type of challenge: making something scrumptious using the ingredients I already have. It isn't planned, it's a dish created in the making. Spontaneous Saturdays.

Inspired by the street food at the Shuk, I originally set out to make Arepas; a corn flour pitta/pocket which is then stuffed with whatever you like, supposedly savoury fillings, except I'm already dreaming of red meat, mixed spices, cranberries, currents and dates. Arepas are prominent in Venezuelan and Colombian cuisine. OH and they are most certainly GLUTEN FREE. HOORAH! OK but enough of these for now...because the cornflour I had bought was in actual fact, cornstarch. HMMM....have any of you mixed cornstarch and water? It is just the weirdest and coolest thing ever. It basically creates both a liquid and a is more or less quick sand. OK, so now I know, cornflour in Israel is CORNSTARCH. Noted. If any of you haven't done this science experiment at home, I highly recommend it. Besides, science is fun!

All you need is:

- 2 cups Corn Starch
- 1 cup water
- Food colouring (optional)


OK, Arepas were officially out of the question, still are until I source actual cornflour. The language barrier and the fact that that my supermarket just doesn't stock it, makes my life that little bit harder. For a millisecond. As my creative processors developed, I decided that I would make vegetarian black bean chilli with my pre-soaked black beans that I had soaked 2 days prior. NOTE: When using dried legumes, you must allow for them to soak overnight. My roomie is a vegetarian and for our weekly date night, it's tortilla time! Goodbye Venezuela, Hello Mexico!!

This was my first time making Gluten Free tortilla's and I can't say that they looked, nor felt like the fluffy discovery ones that I remember from growing up. They were a staple in my cupboard, it was only when I realised that I was gluten intolerant that I stopped eating them. Before that..mmm fajitas. I haven't had them in years, nor have I had the chance to enjoy proper Mexican food; seeing as the gluten free alternative at restaurants is a completely different dish. OH CUTE. That is NOT the gluten free alternative I was looking for. Which is why science and cooking is so friggin incredible. Nothing is impossible. At home, you can have everything you always wanted, not a completely different dish but the same one, better or more authentic than the original.

So...What was different?

- Firstly, they are not the perfect tortilla. In order to create tortilla's suitable for rolling fajitas and wraps, I need to carry out more experimentation to create a thinner tortilla with a lighter, fluffier texture:

1. They are too thick
2. They tore slightly when folding inwards for the Enchiladas making them not so suitable for wraps or rolling

- Arguably, I created a different texture with a delicious taste. Seasoned with cumin and cinnamon, they were chewy in texture. Sweet and aromatic, with nutty undertones, the tortilla was earthy, and a perfect home for the VERY spicy black bean chilli.

Sally described them as a 'new' creation of tortilla. So I guess I just created my very own style of tortilla for Enchilada's, who said everything has to be by the book. This is the whole beauty of experimenting and being creative in the kitchen! You create and play around with flavours and textures, and sometimes what seemed like a failure at first ends up being a pleasant surprise. Exhibit A. We ate every mouthful, they were ever so scrumptious. The dish altogether was VERY spicy. WARNING: NOT FOR THE FAINT HEARTED. Both sally and I are lovers of spice...and all things nice. (It had to be rhymes). It was earthy, filled us right up and was wonderfully accentuated by the fresh guacamole.

In conclusion, this gluten free tortilla recipe is for Enchiladas only, however made thinner you may find they are suitable for wraps. If you are looking for a fajita/wrap style fluffy tortilla...the kitchen is calling me but I don't have the answers for you just yet my darling dolls. After more experimentation I will be sure to get back to you. Next up...smokey fajita's!

Gluten Free Enchiladas with Black Bean Chilli & Guacamole with a Kick
(serves 2)

Enchilada Tortillas 
(Yield = 2)

  • 1 1/3 cup Gluten Free all purpose flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 25g butter 
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp cornstarch mixed with water (optional)
Make the Magic Happen 

1. Place in a bowl and mix together the flour, baking powder, salt, cumin and cinnamon. 
2. Knead in the softened butter using your fixers to really bring it together, it should look a bit like cornmeal, and kind of lumpy!
3. Add the water bit by bit, no one wants a sticky dough that can't even be handled. It's a nightmare, it will be stuck in your fingers!
4. Mix it all together, kneading with your hands to ensure that all the lumps are out, until you have a wonderful smooth and not-too-sticky ball of dough. You don't want it to be too dry or too wet, so if you notice there is something irregular about your dough, balance it out with more water/gluten free flour.
5. Ensuring you have a clean surface to work on, sprinkle it generously with gluten free flour. Placing the dough on the surface, using a floured rolling pin, roll the dough to create a surface about 3mm thick, you can go thinner if you like, but be careful not to break the tortilla! We really enjoyed the chewiness of the tortilla which is achieved by being slightly thicker. Nom nom nom!
6. Now you need to cut out the shape of the tortilla, I used the lid of a small-medium saucepan to perfectly cut a circle. Pat with gluten free flour, to prevent sticking and place on a plate.
7. Gather the remaining dough and repeat process. 
8. Heat either a griddle, skillet (I used a skillet) on a medium-high heat and place the tortilla's in one at a time. No need for oil or anything, you just place it on the hot surface and cook for 3 minutes on each side. Make sure to ensure you aren't burning the tortilla by checking the underside. Oh and don't forget to flip it!
9. VOILA...If you aren't eating them straight away, you can re-heat on the skillet for 1 minute on each side before preparing the Enchiladas or pop them straight in the oven.

I did cook them further on the skillet... here they were a bit undercooked. But the half-by-half cooking process made them chewier. 

Vegetarian Black Bean Chili

  • 2 cups black beans
  • 1 red onion
  • 1 can tinned tomato's
  • 5 cherry/plum tomato's (variation of red, yellow, green)
  • 1/2 tsp sezchuan chilli powder (this is a very spicy chilli powder I picked up at a spice store, if you don't have access to one you can replace with chilli powder or cayenne pepper, increase quantity depending on spiciness and personal palette)
  • 1/2 tsp dark brown sugar
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic (coarsely chopped)
  • 1 red chilli (sliced)
  • 5 slices of green chilli
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • sprinkle of cinnamon
  • season with salt/pepper
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • Cheddar Cheese, or cheese of your choice
Make the Magic Happen

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees (fan oven)
2. Drizzle the olive oil in the pan, toss in the sliced chilli's and coarsely chopped garlic, allowing the pungency of the chilli's and garlic to infuse the oil for 2-3 minutes. 
3. Remove his skin, then chop the red onion semi-finely. Toss in the chopped onion, dark brown sugar, chopped red pepper and fresh tomato's, stirring occasionally until the onions are browned. 
4. Pour in the chopped tomato's, black beans, cumin, cinnamon and chilli powder. Stir and leave to simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
5. Taste, and season with salt and pepper
6. Serve inside Enchilada
7. Place in the oven for 5 minutes
8. Take out and cover with cheddar cheese, or cheese of your choice and place back in the oven for another 5-10 minutes. 

LOL..this one might be the ugly duckling...I increased my gluten free flour quantity as I was lacking a tiny bit hence the scraggly edges. It might not look as pretty as the first one, but it was just as delicious.! The updated quantities are in the recipe so you should have the right amount of dough to make 2 tortilla's like the other one.

Guacamole with a Kick TSSS

  • 1 avocado 
  • 5 mixed cherry tomato's
  • 4 slices of red onion
  • 1/2 red chilli 
  • 2 wedges of lime SQUEEEEZED
  • Sea Salt
  • Handful of fresh coriander to garnish
Make the Magic Happen

1. Slice the avocado in half, remove the stone and remove the avocado fresh using eith a knife or spoon. I have an avocado slicer that I use, I then diced the avocado. Personally, I like mine chunky!!! 
2. Choose whether you want it smooth or slightly chunky: Smooth? mush it all up using a fork or blend it. Chunky? Mush half using a fork and then add the remaining chunks and mix together. 
3. Cut the tomato's into 4-6 pieces and add to the avocado. I use a variation of small cherry tomato's; green, yellow and red which I pick up in season at my local market.
4. Depending on how many you are serving, you can alter the quantities. I am cooking for two, therefore I only used 4 slices of a halved red onion. The rest? Wrap him up in cling film and pop him in the fridge for another time. Chop the onion into small chunk and add to the avocado. 
5. Slice the red chilli into small slices and add to the mix. Sally and I LOVE spice, red chilli fresh adds a kick, it is hot but not SUPER hot so you should be me? That is unless all spice is too hot for you to handle, or your flat out just like BLEURGH. In which case, forget it.
6. Squeeze the lime and add some cracked sea salt. 
7. Mix it up and serve with fresh coriander to garnish

Sorry Dolls! For some reason the bad lighting in my apartment made the guac look yellow...not green :D

Enjoy Dolls
Bete Avon
Bon Appetit


Tuesday, 24 May 2016

DINE WITH BEA: Jewish Penicillin - My Favourite Chicken Soup |

When we are in the wars, as my grandmother would say, we all crave our favourite comfort food. Growing up, chicken soup was quite literally the cure for everything, we don't call it Jewish Penicillin for nothing! When I am poorly, there is nothing more satisfactory than a bowl (...or several) of my mother's chicken soup. My mother's chicken soup was a little less traditional than her inspiration, my nanny Pauline; except, my mother, who acquired her Cordon Bleu through Raymond Blanc's cookery school, would add seasonal vegetables such as suede, parsnip, leek, sweet potato and even potato to deepen the flavour of the stock and add various textures and flavours to each and every mouthful. The root vegetables are earthy and sweeter in taste, suede is the most flavourful of them all, textured similar to a carrot, yet the sweetest of them all and it is delicious!! The most delicious winter warmer...

Mother's Kneidels (Matzoh balls) were always made from scratch and abstractly large. I mean let's just say you definitely got your servings worth, and they were fluffy, and moist; not dense. I personally am more in favour of the traditional Kneidlach for chicken soup, dense and small; with the larger, fluffier Matzoh ball dumplings perfect for accentuating winter stews. Except they aren't Gluten Free so I will need to experiment in the kitchen to create an alternative, seeing as Matzoh meal contains wheat! I've used past tense, don't fret my mother is still alive. In fact she is currently indulging in 'Gambas Pil-Pil' on Mistral Beach in Marbella. It is here that I tasted the spiciest, freshest and most delicious Prawn Pil Pil IN THE ENTIRE WORLD (to date), which undoubtedly has been enjoyed every year since the age of 6. I like my spice... If you are reading this, HI MUM! HOPE YOU'RE HAVING AN ABSOLUTE HOOT - I am shouting because you are F A R    A W A Y!

My mother and step-father at Mistral beach, my favourite beach in Marbella. The food here is incredible, gigantic tiger prawns on skewers along with lobster, beautiful seabass and THE BEST PRAWN PIL PIL IN THE WORLD. Have an amazing time guys - Miss You xo

But anyways, seeing as I did move over 2200 miles away, to the sun-bronzed, cosmopolitan metropolis that is Tel-Aviv. My new home is far away from the bitter, jaw-chattering winters and unforgivable, foreseeable rain showers. Except I now have to fend for myself (and I love it)! Yes that means I have been able to perfect my own chicken soup recipe, one that will be passed down to my children for them to also experiment and perfect, but most importantly enjoy every sip with happiness and love.

In regards to being young, fun and no longer living with mum (I like this rhyme a lot); The other night I procrastinated for 2 hours before putting my freshly laundered bed sheets on my bed - TED talks got the better of me. My slight OCD means that NOTHING clean can touch the floor without having to be washed again (give or take depending)- it involves standing on a higher surface, getting inside the (inside out) duvet cover, grabbing two corners and flapping about like a bird trialling lift-off. Lets be honest - I don't lift off, instead smile in relief, feeling fully-accomplished and often hot and slightly bothered. It's a real palava, mum thank you for all the years that you made my bed, I definitely took it for granted.

Whilst I didn't grow up in a religious family and we didn't keep shabbat, we did have my favourite chicken soup! For Ashkenazi Jews, it is part of tradition to indulge into a bowl of their mother/grandmother's chicken soup at sundown on Friday's, or in all of our cases when the flu gets the better of us. My Nanny, Step-mother and Step-grandmother make a more traditional jewish chicken soup, which has inspired my own recipe a lot. I have gained inspiration from each and every one of them and developed my favourite recipe, which I now want to share with you all :) It doesn't matter who you are, where you come from, this is a recipe to be enjoyed by everyone! Trust me it is the best cure for anything! You feel poorly? You need chicken soup! Did your boyfriend break up with you? Yeah you definitely need chicken soup! You want to lose weight?'s chicken soup week! Whatever it is...chicken soup can cure it. Enjoy my very own recipe:

My Jewish Chicken Soup

Preparation Time: 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 4-12 hours
Serves: 6-8
(It's chicken soup week for me and whoever comes over for supper!)

What's in it?

- 1 Fresh Whole Chicken (take the guts out BLEURGHH)
- 4 Bay Leaves
- Handful of Parsley
- Handful of Dill
- 1 White Onion
- 2 Stalks of Celery
- 6 Large Carrots
- 1 Leek
- Handful of Black Peppercorns
- 3 Tsp Salt
- 2 Tbsp Osem Chicken Stock (find in Kosher section of Supermarket - PS check for Gluten Free options as they aren't always GF, so if you are Coeliac YOU MUST CHECK)

Make the Magic Happen...

1. I always get my meat from the fresh meat counter, you can also visit your local butcher for a prime bird, but it is whatever floats your boat. Make sure all the gross insides are firmly OUT OF THERE! For those who enjoy a Jerusalem Mixed Grill (you know who you are).. save them for later...
2. Once your bird is prepared, pop her in a large stock pot with 3 tsp Salt and cover with water. Bring to the boil on a low-medium heat for 45 minutes.
3. In the meantime, prepare you veg! Peel the carrots and chop into circles around 2cm thick. Chop the celery; peel and slice the Onion into quarters; chop the leek into 1-2cm rounds and place in a bowl with the peppercorns, parsley and dill.
3. Getting a ladle, lightly skim all the fat off the top into a bowl. The fat is separate from the water and floats on the top in an oil-like consistency. You can leave some for flavour, but I remove the majority.
4. Once you have removed the fat, add all the veggies etc from the bowl and simmer on a low heat for 1 hour and 30 minutes with the lid on. I often make the night before and leave to stew overnight with the lid on (no heat) as it is always better the next day and the heat remains for quite a few hours, leaving the flavours to stew and ferment.
5. In the morning remove the chicken from the stock pot onto a large plate and remove the skin and bones, taking all the beautifully tender chicken breast and adding it back in to the soup.
6. Bring to the boil on a low simmer removing all the fat from the top once more, and topping up with any lost water (depending on how many you are feeding) and continue to simmer for an hour, until piping hot.
7. Serve and enjoy piping hot...but don't burn your tongue.

TIP: Serve with cracked black pepper on top! 

As we say here in Israel: 
Or in other words, Bon Appetit my darling dolls! 


Bea xo.

Sunday, 8 May 2016

The Cutest & Fluffiest Gluten Free Cupcakes Ever |

Oh Glorious Cupcakes! Baking cupcakes has to be one of my favourite past-times and has been since about the age of 5, my mother who acquired Le Cordon Bleu through Raymond Blanc's private cookery school, has always been into baking. From meringooey grasshopper pie, to the BEST carrot cake I have ever tasted in my life, spotted dick cupcakes, bakewell tart and many, many more. I didn't just grow up baking vanilla sponge and chocolate cakes, which broadened my mind to the different flavours and methods of baking desserts at a young age, with carrot cake being a regular...which I will bake and share with you soon.

Growing up I was very much into baking, making cakes of all different flavours creatively decorated with different icing/frosting was also something that my granny and I loved to do together, granny if you are reading this, I love you and miss you, next time I am home, let's make cupcakes and bake apple pie! We would walk to the end of the garden with a wicker basket in which we would collect these big, green, juicy apples from the apple tree which remained beautifully at the very bottom of the garden by the swing at Sage cottage. I love making apple pie with Granny, she undoubtedly makes THE BEST! So with that in mind, I am going to make my own pastry and create Granny's Gluten Free Apple Pie to bring it back to life after all these years of not making it...especially for you.

There is no reason why everyone shouldn't enjoy cupcakes every once in a while, it doesn't need to be a special occasion! I made my Cute & Fluffy cupcakes for my team at work simply because I felt like it! They are simple to make, too much fun and so damn delicious. However since coming to the realisation that I am in fact GLUTEN INTOLERANT...DUN DUN DUUUUN, it's too often that I miss out on the cupcake party. Birthdays, party's, bakery's and pretty much anywhere that you may stumble across them...they're not GF yo. Plus even if they are, they aren't WOW. Out of all the Gluten Free cupcakes that I tasted in London, they were either too dense and dry or flavourless and well, y'all can't beat my buttercream icing! I honestly think that mine are better than anyone's, in fact I am shocked at how well they turned out. Modest I know, but really...They were fluffy and buttery-moist, with a melt in the mouth texture that is complemented by the most delicious vanilla buttercream frosting, but most importantly, you couldn't even tell they were GLUTEN FREE!!


The Rookie Errors of Cupcake Baking: 
- Using improper food colouring which alters the taste of the buttercream frosting to become bitter and tasting like chemicals BLEURGHHH
- Boring cakes. HAVE FUN WITH IT! GET MESSY!

RULE 1: Cupcakes are made to be shared & enjoyed.
Firstly, you create a batch of around 16. The decorating is a work of art. They are a happy cake, I associate so much happiness with cupcakes, from making them from scratch as a child, or out of a box with those hello kitty, barbie and Tom & Jerry edible papers...LOL. Not only do they put a smile on my face, but everyone's around me. Receiving a beautiful, delicious cupcake ALWAYS makes you smile, as does making them.

RULE 2: You need a piping bag and variety of nozzles to get really creative!
Cupcakes are SO yummy and require you to be creative and arty, the more resources you have available to you, the more creative you can be. Cake decorating is a serious art and can involve complex methods and design.

RULE 3: Bake with LOVE! 
I truly believe that food made with love is food better enjoyed, trust me you can taste the love. Everyone who eats my food feels such happiness and well it's an experience in itself because when I present my food, I also provide an understanding of how flavours are developed and created along with inspiring others that food is more than just a daily chore. Sharing is caring and food is a beautiful way of making others smile whilst expanding their visions of food and cooking. Questions often arise on how I make my creations, in turn they learn and I am able to inspire.

RULE 4: Everything to the weight of 2 large eggs (avg. 140g) 
A baking secret my mother shared with me. This applies to flour, sugar, butter plus the actual 2 eggs! This makes for moist, fluffy cupcakes which melt in your mouth...dribble...

RULE 5: For coloured icing use specially designed food colouring for cake icing.
No one wants to feel like they're tasting E numbers and have that BLEURGHHH chemical tasting in their mouth. I find that the cheap supermarket bought food colourings do just this. I got professional food colouring which is not dripped again and again lessening the delicious flavour. Instead I dip the point of a sharp steak knife in and the tiniest bit of the viscous formula adding a rich colour. More can be added of course to darken the colour. I got mine in my favourite baking store at Shuk Hacarmel in Tel Aviv but you will be able to find these in any good baking store.

RULE 6: Always use double the quantity of icing sugar compared with butter for the creamiest Buttercream Frosting.

The Rookie Errors of Cupcake Baking: 
- Using improper food colouring which alters the taste of the buttercream frosting to become bitter and tasting like chemicals BLEURGHHH

RECIPE: Cute & Fluffy Gluten Free Cupcakes 
(makes 16 cupcakes)

What's in it?

(140g OR Weight of your 2 large eggs)
For The Cupcakes: 
- 140g Gluten Free Flour
- 140g Granulated White Sugar
- 140g Unsalted Real Butter (soften before, I left mine out for an hour or so)
- 2 tsp Bicarbonate of Soda
- 2 tbsp Double or Whipping Cream
- 3 tsp Vanilla Extract

For The Buttercream Frosting: 
- 200g Unsalted Butter (soften before, I left mine out for an hour or so)
- 400g Icing Sugar
- 3 Tsp Vanilla Extract
- Tbsp Double or Whipping Cream

Make The Magic Happen!

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees, and weigh out the ingredients.
2. Mix together the softened butter and sugar, I use a wooden spoon, I'm pretty old school. You can of course mix it up with a stand/hand mixer.
3. Beat in 2 eggs, bicarbonate of soda and vanilla extract mixing together.
4. Sift in the GF flour folding the mixture to prevent it , then give it a real good mix/stir removing all the bumps.
5. Add the double cream and give it a final stir...before you prepare to lick the spoon...BOWL.
6. Using a tablespoon and a teaspoon, spoon 1 tablespoon of cake mixture into each cupcake cup, I also used a silicone heart-shaped cupcake tray.
7. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, DO NOT OPEN THE OVEN DOOR during the 15 minutes, it will tamper with the rising of the cupcakes. After 15 minutes, stick a knife into one of the cakes to see if the batter has cooked all the way through. The knife should come out clean, just greasy.
8. Leave the cupcakes to's time to make the yummiest buttercream frosting!
9. Mix together in a bowl the icing sugar and butter until smooth, then add the vanilla extract and double cream.
10. Depending on how many colours you are intending to make, divide the icing into separate bowls, I made pink, green and blue, therefore I had 3 bowls.
11. Mix in the colouring until at your desired colour.
12. Prepare the piping bag by cutting off the end about 1-2cm using sharp scissors and place the nozzle inside. Spoon in the buttercream frosting and push town, tying the top in a knot.
14. Share them with the people you love and enjoy! Besides you just made these beautiful cakes, ensure you have that first bite :)

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Bea {x}

Monday, 11 April 2016

DINE WITH BEA: The Tomato & His Hat In The Nest |

It is no secret that my love for creativity in the kitchen has spiralled out of control, in a beautiful way of course. However, at this moment in my life, I feel I cannot eat food nor cook it like a normal person anymore, I refuse to settle for either, something I have already made, or something that hasn't involved some form of invention and beauty. I can't stop, it is an addiction. The feeling that I get from inventing, creating, designing and developing ideas, which simply come from gazing at my ingredients and my surrounding, not just objects but feelings aside, emotions that are propelling me into this wonderland...that in hindsight, I have no idea where it will all lead. I suppose that is the beauty of this passion of mine, I lose myself in it all, to me it is a drug, not only does it make me ever so happy, but I am putting smiles on other people's faces which is priceless. What's more, I am inspiring them and in turn they inspire me because without them, this would all be worthless.

So here I am at 1am...plot lost. The pasta is boiling and I have my miniature fried egg pan on the stove with oil sizzling away (thanks for that mum it really is a nifty little saucepan). As I rush around my kitchen trying to make this crazy little idea come together in a matter of minutes, before the spaghetti is ready to be served, my phone rings. It's Ovi, who I recently acclaimed as a much appreciated, talented foodie friend plus, I figure, a slightly if not borderline eccentric like me. I mean you shouldn't even ask why he was out picking wheat in the wilderness at 1am.. I guess I am not the only one. LOL. Then suddenly I realise, I am quite literally (with my phone in my ear pressed against my shoulder) picking up these oily strands of pesto smothered spaghetti with my CLEAN, bare hands and placing them on my plate in pretty little nests. In I popped the little tomatoes, well equipped with their hats. So how do you find yourself in this situation at 1am?

I didn't get home from work till gone midnight, my new hours mean I can use the mornings to develop new recipes and trial them, to then later share with my work colleagues that afternoon. However, after stepping into the kitchen and staring aimlessly inside my overcrowded fridge of fresh produce from the Shuk, looking for answers, which undoubtedly I chose not to find. I decided, OK pesto pasta it is. Reasons why this can more often than not be a go to meal:

- ready in 10 minutes
- it'll do
- it's late...don't cook something now you'll be up all night then you will be full when you go to sleep, and as my mother always told me DONT EAT PAST 7....already done.

In goes the gluten free pasta and then it just happened...ok so this is where I go back to the AM I SANE moment. The moment you realise that eating pesto pasta in a bowl will not be satisfying enough, and that I can make my own version of the classic dish. Normal will not do and as I reopen the fridge for ideas, creativity is flowing through my veins which is when I created:

The Tomato & His Hat in The Nest
What's in it?

- 80g Gluten Free Spaghetti
- 3 Tsp Pesto (shop bought or homemade, I used shop's 1am guys...)
- 1 Tsp of Feta Cheese (Goat)
- 3 Cherry Tomato's
- Olive Oil to Drizzle
- Parmigiano (parmesan cheese)

Make the Magic Happen:

♥ Boil Spaghetti for 8-10 minutes, until cooked al dente, you don't want the spaghetti to fall apart in your hands

♥ Chop the hats of the cherry tomato's and using a knife, delicately cut out their insides. No this is not the operating table, how dare I make it sound like one.

♥ Place a small bit of Feta cheese inside each and every tomato and place in a small saucepan with 1/2 tsp olive oil. 'place' sounds so delicate...just shove it in...JK please don't, this part really is delicate, you want the tomatoes to stand up so that the cheese doesn't spill out.

DID YOU KNOW: Cooking tomato's boosts the antioxidant power and enhances their nutritional value by increasing the lycopene content that can be absorbed by our body. Oh and it changes the flavour!

♥  Drain the spaghetti, mix in the pesto. Picking up the pasta in your hands, swirl the strands in handfuls on a plate 3 times in order to create 3 nests.

♥  Place the tomato's inside the nests and cover with each of their hats.

♥  Sprinkle some freshly grated parmigiano on top and serve with salt and pepper.

Enjoy my Darling Dolls!

Kisses, Bea xo

Monday, 7 March 2016

Dine With Bea | Cauliflower Crust Pizza (Gluten Free) |

When you're gluten intolerant, Pizza is like the devil. Not only is it a restricted guilty pleasure, but it draws you in only to have INSTANT regret. You feel me? The best pizza I ever had was spicy AF and god damn delicious, I gave in to it on too many occasions. Guilty as charged. The culprit? The Rustica Piccante Pizza from Zizzi's, an Italian chain in England. "Made up of spicy n’Duja sausage, pepperoni, salami, mushrooms, mozzarella, hot roquito chilli, fresh rocket and dollops of mascarpone that acts as a fire extinguisher for your mouth." OK OK my mouth is's no secret that I am hideously obsessed with spice and chilli and this is perfection. My friends more often than not are unable to handle my quantities of spice...must be my fiery red hair TSSS.

 Rustica Piccate Pizza C/O: Zizzi

Recently I have been micro-dosing gluten after I fully eliminated it from my diet since coming to Israel. Why? Because when I couldn't control myself, I gave in that fluffy FLUFFY oh so fluffy pitta bread to dip in my hummus at brunch and well, it seems the effects are far more severe than before as my body just can't handle it. I find myself miserable, moody, lethargic, sharp pains and OH look I am 5 months pregnant...JK JK, but seriously my stomach swells to the point I am sure you'd think I was preggo and I'm not exaggerating. It's funny slash totally not worth it. Micro-dosing, aka, a bite a day or here and there will re-introduce gluten to your insides and hopefully prevent you becoming ill if you do eat it. However, bar a naughty nibble, I have taught myself to no longer crave it, I can pass on it and I am fine without it, maybe because I accepted that I just couldn't eat it and hadn't bothered to create a gluten free base. Until now... INTRODUCING THE GLUTEN FREE PIZZA UNDER 500 CALORIES.

My roomate Sally has been banging on about the Cauliflower Crust Pizza for months; when she first mentioned it, I hadn't even bloody heard of it and I am a complete foodie. I mean it sounds delicious but hideously unpractical. The thought of the whole pizza crumbling and falling on the floor during the dreaded transfer from oven tray to plate got me like HELL NO! So I embarked on some research, OH how I love the advances of food and the now available options for us gluten free foodies. YAY! Lets be honest whilst people love to take the piss, half the world has quite literally gone gluten free. Be it those who choose to eliminate gluten from their diet because there are added health benefits and supposedly weight loss (UM...about the weight loss..? My scales must be broken or I just didn't get the memo), genuine intolerance, or in more serious cases, the Coeliacs. So if you don't accept it GET OVER IT! By the way, Israel is great for Gluten Free and Vegan with many options available, um, everywhere. London catch up won't you...I think you're a bit late to the Gluten Free Dinner PARTAY.

So let's get down to the Pizza which has revolutionised gluten free pizza, not only because it's low fat but because it is GLUTEN FREE. All hail the Cauliflower, I always did love you, you fluffy cloud of nutrients and vegetable goodness.

COOKING TIME: 25 minutes 


| T H E. B A S E |
- 1 Cauliflower
- 20g Unsalted Almonds
- 2 eggs (beaten)
- 2 Cloves Garlic
- Handful of Parsley
- Zatar/Oregano (or both)
- Salt n' Pepper
- Clean Tea Towel/Dish Cloth/Cheese Cloth/Muslin Cloth

Design your own pizza toppings!

| T O P P I N G S |
(experiment as you please my darlings doll, everyones pizza should reflect their mood and wishes) 
- 1/2 Jar Tomato & Chilli Pasta/Pizza Sauce
- 5 Plum Tomatoes (I used 2 varieties but one is fine, cherry tomatoes are also DELICIOUS AF)
- Mozzarella Balls
- 1/2 Red Bell Pepper
- Red Chilli



1. Wash your cauliflower and strip him of his stalk and leaves. I removed as much stalk as possible and have stored it in ye old fridge for later...
TOP TIP: the stalk is delicious eaten raw with hummus or used in a vegetable soup!

2. Using a food processor, or in my case, the NUTRI BULLET (use with caution, it is not meant to be used as a food processor so in the event that you too decide it works perfectly well, blend in small quantity batches) blend up the cauliflower, almonds, 2 cloves of garlic and parsley to create a rice looking formula.

I blended the cauliflower, almonds, parsley & garlic separately and then mixed together

3. Place the cauliflower 'rice' in a microwavable dish and cover with cling film. Heat for 5-6 minutes in the microwave until soft and stand to cool for 2-3 minutes.

4. Open the Tea Towel and place the cauliflower 'rice' inside the cloth, squeeze it tight to make a ball, letting all the liquid drain out. MAKE SURE you have removed as much of the liquid as possible. Once you open the tea towel you will see a dough-like-ball has been created.
TOP TIP: Save the liquid for later, it has a lot of flavour and can be added to a vegetable soup along with the stalks. 

I have saved the leftover juice to add to a vegetable soup as the parsley,
almond and garlic residue remain in the cauliflower juice

Once you have squeezed out all the remaining liquid you should be left with a ball

5. Beat 2 eggs in a bowl and add the dough ball and mix together. This is your cauliflower dough!


7. Line a baking tray with a sheet of baking paper and grease with olive oil to prevent it from sticking. Place the dough on the baking tray. Now, you are ready to make the base!

Cook With Love xo.

8. TOTAL LOVE! Look at my heart, it's too cute, obv you can choose how you want your pizza to look, I make all my food with love so I opted for a heart shape. I did this using my hands, I pressed down and pushed the dough outwards forming my heart shape. I used a spoon to mount the edges to create a crust and pressed around the inside to perfect the crust.
TOP TIP: You don't want the base to be to thin as it will break, especially if you have many topping, so make it at least 1cm thick, making it thicker at the edges. Also keep it tight by pressing down using the palm of your hand.

9. Place base in oven for 10-15 minutes and then take out to add toppings

10. Firstly, spread the tomato sauce, I chose a tomato and chilli sauce for added flavour. Add your toppings, add anything you like, have fun with it!!! As you can see I added 2 varieties of plum tomato, black and red, I sauteed half a red bell pepper in plenty of olive oil and poured it on top, mozzarella balls, some freshly sliced red chilli and garnished with fresh basil leaves.

11. Finally, place in the oven for a further 10 minutes or until the cheese has melted and it starts to crisp! 


Enjoy My Darling Dolls!!

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| Bete Avon | Bon Appetit | Enjoy | 

Bea xo.