Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 20, 2013
It’s that time of year again, the oh-so-brief period when fresh fava beans are plentiful in the shuk. They have to be shelled twice — first to remove the outer pod and then to remove the tough inner skin. You don’t get many beans to the kilo but they’re worth the effort. In the photo above, you can see the tough, pale green skin surrounding the shelled beans.
Below is about half a kilo of unshelled beans sitting in my sink. I only remembered to grab my camera when I had already started shelling the kilo.
Although some people recommend piercing the tough skin with a knife, I find it much easier to use my thumb nail.
Here’s the method:
- Hold the bean in your right hand and use your left thumb nail to dig the short black “seam” out of the skin.
- Slide your left thumb and first finger over the bean, and under the skin, to separate the bean from the skin.
- Grab the bean firmly under the skin with your left thumb and first finger and use your right hand to slip the skin off the bean.
The reason you want to grab the bean at the end with the seam is because that’s where the bean is naturally joined together. You don’t want to break the join because the beans look prettier when they’re whole (breaking them into halves is unavoidable if the beans are very small, but it’s easy to keep them intact when they’re older and larger).
That kilo of unshelled beans yielded 350 grams of beans, enough for bean salad for the two of us for a couple meals. So delicious!
The photo below shows the beans before I made them into a salad. The salad is less photogenic because the beans have been cooked with spices.
Moroccan Fava Bean Salad
350 gm shelled, peeled fresh fava beans
3 large cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp sweet paprika
1 tsp ground cumin
2 tbs olive oil
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 tbs fresh lemon juice or to taste
2 tbs chopped fresh cilantro
Put the fava beans, garlic, paprika, cumin, olive oil, salt and pepper into a pot with about half a cup of water. Simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Cool and pour lemon juice over the beans. Serve with fresh cilantro sprinkled on top.
Posted in Food, recipes | Tagged: fava beans, full | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 19, 2013
If you spend any length of time in Utrecht you will have ample opportunity to photograph its largest landmark, the Dom Tower (cathedral tower). At 368 meters, it is one of the largest European towers constructed during the 14th century. At one time it was part of the cathedral. However, the unfinished nave collapsed in 1674 and the tower has been free-standing ever since.
It has an impressive carillon of 52 bells. Warning: if you are a light sleeper, do not book a room close to the Dom. Those bells ring all night, playing melodies every hour. I was about a kilometer away, so the noise didn’t bother me, but one of my coworkers came to work looking haggard and mumbling, “The bells, the bells….”
The next shot was taken from the plaza, which would have originally been inside the nave.
The remaining cathedral building still has the flat wall where the collapsed nave was closed off.
View of the cathedral from the plaza:
I was playing around with the angles to show the separation of the two buildings.
Posted in photography | Tagged: cathedral, Dom Tower, Domtoren, tower, Utrecht | 1 Comment »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 16, 2013
You didn’t seriously think I’d finished posting my Utrecht photos, did you?
Silhouette of church roof:
Rather baroque university building near the Domplatz:
Orange university building with nice brickwork:
Office section of a church:
Row of old white houses on Springweg:
Corner building wih iron ties on the side:
Corner building dated 1897:
Another building with fine ironwork ties:
Old brick tower with very colourful shutters:
Posted in photography | Tagged: architecture, buildings, streets, Utrecht | 5 Comments »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 8, 2013
Knitted fish spotted in a kitchen window:
Wire bicycles with Jakarta travel brochures:
The Pusher’s Apostrophe: I’ve given up trying to tell people how to punctuate ”hash joints”…
Colourful metal necklaces
Multi-tasking on the flight from Paris to Amsterdam. He wanted to make a change in the document on my laptop while he was doing his email.
Posted in photography | Tagged: funny, travel, Utrecht, whimsy | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 7, 2013
The five-star Grand Hotel Karel V is in the center of Utrecht. The original building complex dates from the 14th century and was home to the Teutonic Knights for 450 years. Karel V (Charles V of the Holy Roman Empire) and his sister Maria of Hungary stayed there in 1546. In 1808, King Louis Napoleon forced the Teutonic order to surrender the building and it was turned into a military hospital in 1811. Between 1986 and 1999, the building was neglected. After 3.5 years of renovation, the building re-opened as a hotel (info from the folder holding my key card).
The photo above was taken in the courtyard, behind the main building. It’s quite a large complex with a spa (I didn’t have time to visit it), a couple restaurants, and a modern Roman wing.
The photo below shows the building from the front. It was a bit too wide for a wide angle (canal makes it difficult to get enough distance), so I photographed it at an angle. My room was in the former attic, at the right end of the building, just under the chimneys.
Same courtyard, from a different angle, with the Dom Tower in the background.
Hallway leading to my room. The porter said the beams are original, so I checked the joins and pegs. All hand-carved.
View inside the room, showing only half the room. It was quite large, with a high ceiling with beams and two triangular windows. It was too dark at night, but generally quite comfortable.
Photo in the corridor showing the original attic. My room stretches across the entire width of the building.
Room in the Roman wing. My coworker ended up in a deluxe two-level room. The bedroom (huge bed with a canopy thingie) and two marble bathrooms were downstairs.
Study upstairs, with desk, TV, couch, and a/c. Rough life!
Posted in photography | Tagged: hotel, Karel V Hotel, Utrecht | 2 Comments »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 6, 2013
Oudegracht canal with the ubiquitous Domtor (cathedral tower) in the background.
Small restaurant on the wharf. Many of these warehouses seem to have been converted into artists’ studios.
Sepia view on a rainy morning.
Posted in photography | Tagged: architecture, canals, photography, travel, Utrecht | 1 Comment »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 5, 2013
Two bicycles, facing each other, in front of a red building with a vine
Commercial building in the city center:
I was struck by the beautiful lace curtains and sometimes rather elaborate still-life arrangements in ordinary windows. Unfortunately, I couldn’t photograph one window with porcelain jars because a man was sitting at the table, drinking coffee, behind the window both times I checked (morning and evening). I guess he really liked the view.
Detail of a library window.
Love the red shutters…
Triangular window in my hotel room, with a view of the Dom tower.
Residential buildings in the historic city center
Message in the door of a house. I’m not sure how the letters were fastened to the glass. The passageway was quite dark.
Posted in photography | Tagged: architecture, buildings, photography, Utrecht, windows | Leave a Comment »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 3, 2013
I added some annotations for the relatives abroad but it’s pretty much self-explanatory. We were lucky that the ceremony was held in a large open plaza with a raised hill at the back. I would not have been able to do this video so easily at the Kotel. So apart from the heat and the long journey, it was really great!
Posted in Israel, videos | Tagged: Israel, Israeli air force, swearing in ceremony, video | 1 Comment »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on May 3, 2013
My son finished basic training last week, so we went down to the swearing-in ceremony. The newly minted soldiers swear allegiance to the State of Israel and the IDF and receive a rifle and a Bible (Tanakh).
It would have been great if the ceremony had been held at the Kotel (Western Wall) or some other place central. But noooo — it was held in Ovda, about 20 miles north of Eilat. Because of work, we couldn’t arrange to take an extra day off midweek. We left the house at 5:30, traveled seven hours in each direction, on three buses, shlepping a picnic lunch and food and water for the journey, for a half-hour ceremony. The things parents do!
The scenery was spectacular. The photos aren’t the greatest because they were taken from inside a moving bus (and sometimes not even by a window).
This photo isn’t great but the people give you an idea of the scale (two soldiers from a field camp that we passed).
Entrance of Ovda air force base.
Most permanent bases have their own synagogue, but this synagogue was for the basic training camp. It originally belonged to another base, which was dismantled.
Waiting to march into the square. It was about 40 degrees that day. I was standing at the very back of the crowd, on top of a little hill. All shots were taken with an 18-135 mm lens.
Saluting his officer
Receiving a rifle (he won’t be carrying a rifle when he does his real army service because he’s in air force intelligence)
and a Bible (Tanakh)
Photos taken from the bus on the way home
This is probably coming up to Makhtesh Ramon (Ramon Crater), created by erosion, not a meteor.
Posted in Israel, photography | Tagged: air force, Israel, Israeli army, photography, swearing in ceremony, tekes hashba'ah | 6 Comments »
Posted by Avital Pinnick on April 30, 2013
I was in Utrecht for business last week, from Monday evening until Thursday. Although I put in plenty of 12-hour work days, I did manage to take a few photos. The hotel that I chose was in the center of town, near the old section of Utrecht, with canals. The canal in the first photo was only a few blocks from the hotel.
Below is a a church roof, underexposed to show the silhouette.
Tile peacock decoration on a building on Neugerachte.
The Dom tower is visible from almost every place in the center of Utrecht, so I have a lot of photos of it. There was good light on the second evening.
Love the colours of the boots and bicycle. If I hadn’t been so rushed I would have taken this shot at a lower angle. When you’re wearing business clothes it’s a lot harder to get down on the ground to take some shots.
The first morning it rained. I photographed this tulip near the large canal in front of the hotel.
Posted in photography | Tagged: buildings, canals, photography, Utrecht | 1 Comment »