This and That

Random bits of my life

Posts Tagged ‘market’

Campo de’Fiori, Rome

Posted by Avital Pinnick on June 14, 2015

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The Campo de’Fiori (literally, Field of Flowers) was only a few blocks away from our flat in the Jewish Ghetto. We bought our fruits and vegetables at the market in the Campo because the quality was much better than what we could find in local supermarkets. The artichokes were huge, big enough for two people. We ate a lot of artichokes during our vacation! Centuries ago, the Campo was the site of public burnings and executions. Now it’s a gathering place

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Coffee is a major religion in Italy. My husband always thought he didn’t like espresso, until he tasted Italian espresso. He was surprised by the small size of the cups; he realized that espresso is the perfect pick-me-up and costs very little when you drink it like the locals, standing at the bar (it costs four times as much if you sit at a table). A significant advantage of adopting the espresso habit is that it gives you access to bathrooms, in a country not over-supplied with public toilets.

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I never bought spices (packed my own), but I was impressed by how clean the spice section was and how they were pre-mixed for different pasta sauces and bruschetta.

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The ubiquitous tourist liqueur in a boot-shaped bottle….

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Balabasta 2011

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 20, 2011

Balabasta 2011

For the second consecutive year, the Jerusalem municipality sponsored a cultural festival, Balabasta, in the Mahane Yehuda shuk. It takes place on Mondays in July, so if you plan to go, next Monday is your last chance! There are bands playing on the roof, performance artists, acrobats, people in costume, people dancing, and the place is packed. There is so much to see, so please forgive me if this post gets a little long.

We went fairly early (around 6:30) because the fast day of 17 Tammuz starts at sundown. Although the fast doesn’t begin until the following morning, my husband thought it would be inappropriate to stay after dark on that particular day. The name Balabasta is a pun on different levels. A “basta” is a market stall, so “balabasta” sounds like “ba’ le-basta” (“Come to the market stall”) and like “balabusta” (Yiddish for housewife, ba’alat ha-bayit).

The band on the roof was a religious band, Acharit haYammim (English site with videos and photos). The open road of the shuk was so crowded that they were very difficult to photograph, especially with the high parapet. These were taken with 135mm zoom lens:

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

It was very crowded below, with some dancing and others watching and taking pictures.

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

The guy in the wheelchair with the “Will you marry me” sign is a regular. My officemate saw him last week with a “Will you talk to me” sign. He seemed quite popular!

Balabasta 2011

This boy and his friend were totally absorbed by their phones. The parallelism of their positions caught my eye.

Balabasta 2011

Two women stood on facing balconies, dressed in flowers.

Balabasta 2011

Dancer in a tutu made of “Rami Levy” (discount supermarket) bags:

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

This woman was performing inside the covered shuk (Etz Chaim), in front of a boutique. My husband thought that maybe we should buy a knife at the kitchen store and set this poor girl free….

Balabasta 2011

Blues band in an alley (going downhill, near the Iraqi shuk):

Balabasta 2011

Chess tournament in the Iraqi shuk:

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

The break dancers were very difficult to photograph! They move so fast, but the sun was going down so I needed a longer exposure. I was also in a really bad position, stuck behind dancers who were getting ready to move onto the mat, so I didn’t have many clear shots.

Balabasta 2011

This guy with the toilet plungers was hamming it up for me!

Balabasta 2011

Juggler with music, props, and lots of balls.

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

Balabasta 2011

I wish I could have gotten a better angle of the refraction in the ball in the last shot but I was behind two young girls and the crowd of spectators was tightly packed.

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Basher Fromagerie, the Best (Not Kosher) Cheese in Town

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 12, 2009

It seems presumptuous for me to blog about a place that I only visited for a few minutes, last Thursday, but I don’t think I will ever forget it. And it will not be my only visit.

If there’s a kosher cheese heaven, it must be Basher’s Fromagerie in Mahane Yehuda (53 Etz Hayim Street, the covered shuk, midway between Yaffo and Agrippas, 02-625-7969).

Basher's Fromagerie

Eli Basher and his brother Dudi are Mahane Yehuda veterans (or vatikim, as we call them). Their grandfather and father ran a successful restaurant in the shuk for many years. Now Eli Basher has a shop that carries over 700 kinds of kosher cheeses. Actually, I read one article that claims 850 cheeses, but I’ve never counted. Maybe I’ll ask next time I’m there.

Basher's Fromagerie

The staff know their cheeses and will press upon you any number of free samples.

Basher's Fromagerie

My moment of capitulation arrived with the Gruyere. I like Gruyere and always thought of it as a nice, mild, nutty cheese for making fondue, among other things. Goes well with dry wines. Remember that scene in “Confessions of a Shopaholic” where the heroine, deeply in debt, sees the perfect green scarf and decides that she MUST have that scarf? That’s what happened to me when I tasted the Gruyere. The flavour was so deep and penetrating, the texture so smooth and melting, that I knew I had to purchase that cheese. I hadn’t planned to buy anything, just take pictures. A tiny wedge cost more than a whole chicken. I had to have that cheese.

Basher's Fromagerie

I used only 50 gms of that wedge of cheese to make a tomato and gruyere quiche. The other 50 gms are carefully wrapped and stored for my next inspiration.

I found an article on the Web that describes Eli and Dudi’s wine and cheese shop, Wine & More (New Industrial Zone – Rishon LeZion, G-compound, Yaldei Teheran 3 Street), in Rishon LeZion. No idea whether it’s kosher. It probably isn’t.

A co-worker told me that the kosher cheese industry received a boost, indirectly, from the outbreak of mad cow disease. Many European cheese-makers switched to microbial rennet, which made it much easier to receive kosher certification. (Kosher cheeses can be made with animal rennet, but most are made with synthetic rennet. The OU site has a clearly written, somewhat technical, article that explains kosher dairy products.)


Update (July 2011): I’ve heard reports that not all of Basher’s cheeses are kosher, so check the wrapper first! If you’re buying off the block, as to see a wrapper or certification. It’s still fabulous cheese but you can’t assume that it’s all kosher or chalav yisroel, etc.

Update (January 2012): Basher’s has no kosher supervision. Sorry! What a pity….
See Jerusalem Kosher News for details.

Posted in Food, Israel | Tagged: , , , , , , | 6 Comments »

Tomato and Gruyere Quiche

Posted by Avital Pinnick on July 10, 2009

I made this quiche this morning with the plum tomatoes and Gruyere cheese that I bought yesterday at Basher’s Fromagerie, in Mahane Yehuda. The Gruyere was expensive that I used only 50 gms (a little less than 2 ounces) but I can smell it through the whole house. In fact, after I grated the cheese, I had to cover it because the smell was making me so hungry. The original plan was a tomato and Gruyere tart, but at the last minute I converted it into a quiche because I decided I wanted something slightly more substantial for a Shabbat lunch. My measurements below are a little quirky because I don’t use a recipe for my pastry. I just use the 1:2 ratio (by weight) of butter to flour and butter is sold in 100 and 200 gm blocks in Israel.

Note: If you’re substituting a cheese of lower quality or (gasp!) Israeli “yellow” cheese, you will probably need a lot more to get any flavour at all.

Tomato and Gruyere Quiche
Yield: 11″ quiche

Pastry
200 gm flour
1 tsp salt
100 gm butter, chilled and cut into pieces
5-6 tbs ice water

Filling
1 tbs mustard ancien (Dijon with seeds)
6 plum tomatoes, sliced into 1/4 inch slices
4 eggs
1/2 cup milk
50 gm Gruyere cheese, finely grated
salt and fresh ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400 F (200 C).

Combine the flour and salt. Cut the chilled butter pieces into the flour with a pastry blender or two knives. Sprinkle just enough water and toss with a fork until the dough barely holds together. Press into a flat disk, wrap in plastic wrap, and chill for 2 hours.

Roll pastry on a floured board until it is a 13″ round. Carefully fit it into an 11-inch quiche pan. Prick all over with a fork, cover with foil, weight with beans, and bake blind for 12 minutes. Lower oven temperature to 350 F (180 C).

Cool pastry shell slightly. Spread mustard thinly on base. Fill shell with single layer of plum tomato slices. Season with salt and pepper. Beat eggs with milk and pour over the tomato slices into the shell. Sprinkle Gruyere cheese on top. Bake for 35 minutes or until golden. Cool in dish on rack.


Update (Jan 2012): Basher’s has no kosher certification. 😦 See Jerusalem Kosher News for details.

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