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ZWT 6 NA*ME Celebrity Couscous Capers ChallengeGo to page << Previous Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
Thu Jun 17, 2010 10:21 pmFood.com Groupie
for the couscous challenge, I've made and enjoyed Moroccan Peanut Couscous With Peas #428026 by Virginia Cherry Blossom
Fri Jun 18, 2010 12:22 amFood.com Groupie
The Mischief Makers travelled to Syria with the gorgeous and talented Australian actor and singer, Hugh Jackman. We also invited Omar Sharif, but he had work so couldn't come.
Syria is particularly special to me as I lived there in the early 1980s and our first daughter was born in Damascus. By the way, I took all the photos I have used to illustrate this journey, on a visit around Syria in December 2009.
With Hugh in our company, our first stop was Damascus, Syria's capital, which claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited capital in the world. It was once capital of the Umayyad Dynasty, but is now home to the Syrian Government. With a population of 3.5 million, Damascus is the hub of Syrian economic affairs.
The first highlight to see in Damascus is the impressive Umayyad Mosque. Its history goes back three thousand years. The plan of the mosque is quite simple, there is a magnificent courtyard which is heavily decorated by mosaics. In the middle of the courtyard are the Dome of the Hours, the ablutions fountain, and the beautifully decorated Dome of the Treasure. The first pic below features the courtyard and the Dome of the Treasure. The next photo shows the interior and features the Shrine of John the Baptist's head.
We stopped in a restaurant for a mezze lunch -- mezze being lots of little dishes. And then visited one of my favourite shops in the nearby Souk al Hamidiyeh. I was surprised to learn that the fellow who always served us in the 1980s, had married an American and moved to Ohio, I think. We found some wonderful treasures.
We also visited the magnificent Azem Palace, which was built in the 18th century as a palatial residence for Assad Pasha al-Azem, Ottoman governor of Damascus for 14 years. It is considered a great example of Damascene houses. It is divided into separate quarters, one for the kitchens, one for the haremlek, where the governor's family used to live in private, and the third was the selamlek where the governor and other male members of the family would receive guests and conduct their business. I especially love the courtyard.
After enjoying all Damascus has to offer, we headed east. There is a direct route from Damascus to the ancient city of Palmyra, and Hugh was very keen to see it. By the way, we travelled around Syria by truck, so we could see all the scenery.
We stopped briefly so Hugh could show off his climbing skills. That guy is such a monkey. It's easy to see how he could play Wolverine in X-Men.
Here are the MIschief Makers -- pretending that it's Christmas.
We finally made it to Palmyra, Syria's most beautiful and magnificent ruin.
Called Tadmor by the Arabs, Palmyra was mentioned in writing for the first time in the 2nd millennium BC in the archives of Mari and in an Assyrian text. It was also mentioned in the Bible as a part of Solomon's territory.
The Seleucids practically ignored Tadmor and it became independent. It flourished through trade with Persia, the Indian subcontinent and the Arabian Peninsula. In 41 BC it had become rich enough to attract the Romans and Anthony attempted to occupy it but failed because of the Palmyreans escaping to the other side of the Euphrates.
Today Palmyra is a major tourist attraction. Because we were travelling by truck, we gave the big hotels a miss and stayed in a bedouin tent that could cater for a crowd.
Then it was off to see the Krak Des Chevaliers (Castle of the Knights). Standing about 2300 feet above sea level, the Krak (as it is fondly known) is what many consider to be the greatest fortress in the world. From the outside this fortress is intimidating in its grandeur and power.
With its command over the valley between Homs in Syria and Tripoli in Lebanon, and being a model of perfection of medieval fortification, this castle was never besieged or taken by storm. It only fell through a unique plan involving trickery.
For many of us Mischief Makers, it was one of the best stops in Syria.
Then it was on the Hama to see the famous norias -- waterwheels -- on the Orontes River. These are some of the oldest waterwheels in the world, and were first built by the Byzantines, as a system of irrigation. Seventeen remain.
Our last stop was Aleppo to see the famous souk and the enormous citadel. Our pictures of the souk were too dark, but the view of the citadel at dusk was breath-taking. The sole entrance to the Citadel is through the outer tower in the south (pictured). This defended the stone arched bridge, which covered the 22m moat. The magnificent gateway is almost a castle in itself.
Just so you know, the Aleppo souk is covered by stone archways for about 30km. This makes it the longest covered souk in the Middle East. Once the most important trade area in Syria, this bazaar has a complicated maze of narrow cobbled streets.
And that was our tour of Syria. Thanks for joining us on our jaunt.
The trip was so action packed that I made a simple recipe of Lemon Couscous by CaliforniaJan.
Final note and unabashed advertising. I spent most of 2009 travelling in Africa and the Middle East. If you are interested in the following the story it is posted here on Zaar.
Fri Jun 18, 2010 1:05 amFood.com Groupie
NA*ME Forum Challenge: Celebrity Couscous Capers Challenge: Part 2
Have made and reviewed:
katew - Caramelised Onion and Couscous Seasoning #388428
Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:10 pmFood.com Groupie
Guess who won the World Spoon Cup? Yes that’s right The Looney Spoon Phoodies. The grand prize was a Trip to UAE. After hearing about where our destination would be I decided to do a little research. UAE consists of 6 states Abu Zaby, 'Ajman, Al Fujayrah, Ash Shariqah, Dubayy, and Umm al Qaywayn . The capital and second largest city of the United Arab Emirates is Abu Dhabi. It is also the country's center of political, industrial, and cultural activities. For our trip we are hitting the hottest state of Dubai. Dubai is right on the Persian gulf and the Arabian peninsula. The Pearl of the Emirates
Our plan was to begin our trip and meet up at the hotel at the Arabian Courtyard Hotel. Dubai is known for it’s lavish hotels and this one had a beautiful charm of old world Arabia.
We were shown our very fabulous hotel rooms . Cookgirl was dancing and skipping around the room at how beautiful it was. We all agreed the hotel was fit for a Sheikh. After checking out our lavish hotel we were ready to get started on our first day in Dubai. We agreed we needed some lunch and headed out into the streets to find some local food. Outside of the hotel the streets were filled with many places to eat. I suggested we try Al Tannour restaurant because they have room for a crowd and air conditioning. We decided to dive right in and start off trying a little bit of everything. We ordered a Mezze of things.
Hoummus, Tabbouleh, Ghuzi, a whole roast lamb
Wara enab, vine leaves stuffed with rice.
Koussa mahshi, stuffed courgettes. Matchbous, spiced lamb with rice.
Hareis, a rich delicacy of slow-cooked wheat and tender lamb.
We all ate and made lots of mmm mmm sounds. We even convinced Chef PotPie to try many of the dishes. She admitted the lamb was pretty darn good. Just as we were ordering Coffee and some Om Ali for dessert. K9 Owned cell phone rang we all thought it was one of her doggies calling to say hi. It was the hotel calling us with details to our trip. When we got back to the hotel we found out we were going on a small tour and to our surprise the famous celebrity Amr Diab was going to be our guide. Everyone heard their favortie Amr Diab song in their head when they saw him Ma Field quickly offered him a kiss on the cheek and Amr blushed a little.
Our half day Dubai city tour started off at the
Was a fascinating tour through the city of Dubai, also referred to as the City of Gold. It was a constrast between the past and the present. At the beginning was the magnificent Jumeirah mosque.
The mosque offered it’s own mini tour to help with religious understanding. It was a beautiful building and everyone learned something new. Leaving there we headed along the Jumeira beach road, which is the most luxurious urban area in Dubai. We passed in front of the Mercato themed shopping mall and Charmie777 suggested we stop for photographs at the Burj Al Arab hotel. We snapped a bunch and everyone got a picture with Amr Diab. While we continued on our way towards the camel racetrack Nad Al Sheeba Amr hummed along a song for us. We got lost for a moment in the romance of the song and who was singing it. HELLO! that we almost forgot we were on a tour to look at the city. Soon we passed by Al Bastakiya’s old-wind tower houses Enjolinfam who has travled to many places and enjoys rich history informed us that the houses were built by the wealthy merchants of the past. Here we got out and did some tourist shopping. We found lots of neat handmade goodies as well beautiful postcards. The end of the tour we went on foot to go shopping at the spice and souk market alleys. Sharon123 being a spice lover stocked up on her favorites.
Starrynews was happy when we came across many of the Goldd souk shops she had her upcoming wedding on her mind and found some beautiful bracelets for her bridesmaids.
We found a nice café down one of the shopping alleys with outside seating and sat down to relax and have some Arabic soda , refreshing Kakerdeh (hibiscus) beverage and of course The Wallaces ordered a huge pot of tea as she'd been dreaming of having some of the tea since she arrived. It was then that Amr Diab informed us that we would be joining him as special guests to his concert tonight in Dubai. We hailed a taxi and headed back to the hotel so we could feshen up.
We were rushed off to Dubai Festival City where the concert was held. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IV1ZsLvfZNg&feature=related
We had front row and I screamed when he started singing my favorite song Amerain came on. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7dzDuykAuY&feature=related
All the Spoonies were having a great time dancing and tapping our spoons together to the beat .It was easy to see why he is the best singer of the Mediterranean and Africa. We danced off into the night with our Spoons never missing a beat and I thought how could we top this day tomorrow ? but then I remembered we were "Looney Spoons " and we'd never have to worry about that.
Fri Jun 18, 2010 2:15 pmFood.com Groupie
Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:10 pmForum Host
THANK YOU all for your contributions!! I loved reading your stories. Peggy, your personal photos are a special treat. Interestingly 'nuff, there is a Palmyra, Maine, too. Everyone's stories were wonderful with gorgeous photos!
I updated p.1 last night. I'm off to officially award points in your threads.
Sat Jun 19, 2010 2:16 pmForum Host
FABULOUS JOB, EVERYBODY!! I have posted points awarded in all team threads. Thank you for playing - see you back in NA/ME in a few years!
Mon Aug 23, 2010 10:31 pmForum Host
Beth, Have you seen Tony`s show tonight?
here is my challenge
Anthony Bourdain, author, television host and the original big bad boy of celebrity chefs, is not leaving business unfinished. States ï¿½The most urgent reason we are back in Lebanon because I have lived with a deep sense of dissatisfaction that I never got to show people how amazing this place isï¿½.
Four years Tony and his crew evacuated Lebanon by boat in the midst of the 2006 war between Israel and the militant group Hezbollah, we have returned to film a new episode, and to confront some painful memories in the process. And Tony is bringing me ~Rita~ with him!!! Do ya think I can out drink him? Well just in case I can`t we`ll be bring from the beverage forum Hope and V.
Anthony Bourdain arrived prepared Picking us up in a and off to Newark airport catching a plane to the only airport in Lebanon, Rafic Hariri International Airport in Beirut. It is also called Beirut International. With NO RESERVATIONS We drank on the ride to the airport. To calm our nerves. We landed in Beirut, Lebanon having a comfortable climate and mountainous terrain making it the ideal tourist destination. As rich in diversity as it is in beautiful scenery, different ethnicity's and religions make up the population of the West Asian country adding cultural appeal. From its beautiful coastline to its winter lodges (the Cedars, Faraya Oyoun as Siman, Laklouk, Fakra, Qanat Bakiche and Zaarour), Lebanon .
We arrived in Beirut and transferred to our hotel for check-in stopping for Moroccan Cinnamon Coffee With Orange Flower Water , snack on Bitleyweh, Lebanese Cookies and a smoke from the water pipe to calm the body . checked into which is bordered by the Mediterranean Sea.
Full day guided tour of Beirut, Harissa and Byblow by private vehicle driven by Mommy Diva herself!
Tony recoups after a night of partying in Down Town Beirut.
We met a bunch of Parting Gals named Leslie, Susie, Jubes, Toni, Laury, Nan, meg, and Sue celebrating Kathy`s cherry pitfalls!
Preparing for tonight. Tony enjoying looking out at where he watches Peter and Sage swimming among Pigeon Rocks Coastal Avenue, then we head to the city center to visit the National Museum.
Then proceed to Harissa, climbing by cable car to the Holy statue of Notre Dame for a breathtaking view of Jounieh and Beirut .
In the afternoon, proceed to Byblos, the oldest town in the world continuously inhabited for 5,000 years. One of the richest archaeological areas in Lebanon and the world, it is one of the top contenders for the oldest inhabited city award. Next, enjoy a guided visit of the city, including the citadel, St. Johnï¿½s Church and the old port. Off to check out the palace in Beit EdDine which took over 30 years to build. Yes! that is Karen walking to explore the palace.
Return to Beirut for dinner and an other night of drinking with Tony.
sitting at an outdoor restaurant
Beirut, Lebanon's capital is many things to many people. We hit the clubs along Rue Monot (Ashrafieh) or Rue Bliss (Hamra), in Beirut Central District. The gallery openings and museums continue on in the face of violence and assassinations. Soho-like bars, world-class universities, thick, aromatic coffee and an amazingly friendly people make Beirut a city more alive than many. Take in Aanjar as you stroll down the main street, enthralled by the remains of the Middle East's only Umayyad-fortified city. In Byblos you will catch a glimpse of the past in the archaeological remains and feast on scrumptious seafood at a quaint ancient harbor. Taste the infamous sweets in Tripoli while haggling for lower prices in the medieval souqs. Visit Beiteddine to see the marvelous mosaics on the fantastic Ottoman-era palace then travel to Tyre
to walk around the world's largest Roman hippodrome before wandering through the shore-side nature reserve here. Other cities worth mentioning include Baalbeck, Faqra, Jeita, Sidon, and Zahle
Was nervous going back to Beirut after his visit in 2006, which he doesnï¿½t want to remember. Today he enjoys better scenery.
In Beirut, you can find excellent international cooking, but you will also be offered delicacies of the local cuisine. The national drink is arak ,Yes we had a couple! an anise flavored alcohol. However, the offer of arak is a courteous way of leading you to eat ï¿½Mezzesï¿½, delectable hors dï¿½oeuvres of infinite variety. Homos and Tabouli, both now widely enjoyed in Europe and the United States, are still at their best on Lebanese soil. For a main course you might be offered Traditional Kebbe, which is mutton carefully pounded and cooked with crushed wheat. ï¿½Chicken Shwarma - Chawarma Lahmeï¿½ is lamb grilled on a vertical spit. Local wines, some of which rival those from Europe, go very well with these dishes. The sea also provides ingredients for savory Lebanese recipes and fruit is abundant, not only the kinds known in the west but those which only ripen under an oriental sun.
We did stop at Le Chef serving typical traditional plates such as Lebanese mezze, staples, hummus, kibbe, stewed lamb, arak. and a plat du jour varying between roast beef with mashed potatoes, sayyadiyeh, kibbeh bil sayniyyeh, mloukhiyyeh, and few others.
The most expensive item on their menu costs 8,000 L.L, while others such as lentil soup and fattoush cost 1,500L.L and 2,000L.L! We enjoyed incredible lamb and rice dishes, pickles, breads, the desserts in particular are subtle, sophisticated and unlike any other.
Beiteddine - Deir El Kamar
Full day tour of Deir el Kamar and Beiteddine. En route for the Chouf Mountains, he visit will start by Deir El Qamar, the ancient residence of the Governors of Lebanon. After, proceed to Beiteddine, a superb example of the Lebanese architecture of the 18th & 19th century. Return to Beirut for dinner and overnight.
Sidon - Tyre
Full day guided tour of Sidon and Tyre by private vehicle. Today you will travel south via Damour, to the site of Sidon. Enjoy a visit to the Sea Castle built by the crusaders, and the souks before proceeding to Tyre (which was previously an island.) Here, the main points of interest are the Arc de Triumph, the Hippodrome and the excavation bringing back to master pieces from Crusaders, Romans, Greeks and Byzantine era. If time allows, visit the Temple of Eschmoun, on your return to Beirut.
We couldn`t miss a visit the Ksara winery for a taste of the Lebanese production. Then proceed to Anjar, the only Omayyad city in Lebanon, and recognized to be one of the major market places on the Silk Road.
Transfers to the Beirut International Airport.
On our trip back home I wondered what is he writing?
I think about how the delicious food can bring world PEACE. I see Brenda Writing as well. Then I catch a glimpse she is recording recipes from the trip for the cookbook.
Knowing that not be part of it!
Tue Aug 24, 2010 6:44 amForum Host
Hi Rita!! No, why? Was he in the Middle East? watch for a zmail re: cookbooks - I haven't forgotten you!!
Tue Aug 24, 2010 7:03 amForum Host
Like I talked about in my story above. He went back to Beirut.
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