Feeling accomplished

As an Egyptian middle-class guy, travelling abroad isn’t easy. As example of how expensive it is, I was once offered a very discounted travel offer from my employer, yet it cost more than 6 times my net salary back then ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ not to mention the ugly and bizarre visa processes.

However, I’ve always had a dream of visiting different countries, and living among different cultures (which is considered worthless and pretty dumb of an idea in the traditional Egyptian culture, where you have to be saving boat-loads of money to invest in your marriage or whatever). Back then, the idea that I’d be gainfully employed in the EU, and able to travel wherever I want within 26 different countries was just insane.

2015 was a particularly hard year for me with a lot .. A LOT of disappointments. However, out of trying to coop with the ugly reality I made a wish-list (well, a stripped-down version of a bucket-list) of the activities that seemed to be doable but very improbable back in those tough days. I used Google keep to always have this list.

One of the items on the list was “Buy something from IKEA Sweden” why IKEA Sweden ? well, back then it seemed almost impossible for me to visit such a faraway country from Egypt such as Sweden, and I thought I’d need a souvenir once I am there .. and it was just obvious that I’d get it from an iconic Swedish place ! 🙂

This Easter I found myself in Stockholm for the Easter, surrounded by the most awesome group of friends anybody would dream of having, and it was even sunny ! I thought it’s time to cross that item out of my wish-list ! Unfortunately, it was a public holiday and most probably IKEA had been closed that day. Luckily, while we were hanging around, we stumbled upon a flee market, with a lot of cool-looking items to choose from. I was so happy that my simple old dream came true with even a better outcome !

Why am I writing all of this ? Most of the time, when someone achieves his/her goals, the brain looks at the accomplishment as something insignificant and tells the person to move on to the next goal, or to only think of the hardships that they’d encountered until they reached their goal, swallowing the joy and the pride they should take in their accomplishments. Also, visualizing your goals, and looking at them regularly makes them easier to track, and apparently, accomplish ! 🙂 .

This post is reminder for me (and anybody reading this) to make more goals, take more notes and appreciate what I’ve done !

BTW, this is the lovely souvenirs I got from Stockholm

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goal

From Taha Hussein to Audiobooks

As an expat who works in IT, learning German and doing other activities, the time I was able to allocate for reading was shrinking and it was driving me mad. Thanks to my friend Karim, I started listening to podcasts and and Audio books while commuting, working out or even cooking ! I found out that I can actually make even bigger progress with Audio books than with normal ones.

Karim Ali

Several months ago I was reading Prof. Taha Hussein biography The Days. And one of the main points of his biography as you might expect was his experience with blindness. How he learned by listening. How he finished his degree. How he mastered new languages like French and even Latin besides Arabic. How he finished his Ph.D. in Paris. How was he able to sit for hours and hours to just listen to someone who was reading for him. How was he remembering all that without even taking notes?!

His life was hard, and his experience was just amazing and motivating.

After I finished the book, I wanted to try that. To try listening instead of reading. So I tried Audiobooks from Audible. I liked the idea so much, and I switched most of my books reading to Audiobooks. The experience is entirely different.

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Vermicelli Rice رز شعرية

This is a super popular side dish that is usually served with chicken, beef or lamb based dishes in Egypt. It’s dead simple and I was asked many times how to make it. so, here you go !

Ingredients

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1 Cup of rice … well .. I use Jasmine rice as it feels close to the Egyptian rice (obviously I can’t get Egyptian rice from Edeka 😀 ).

1 teaspoon of Butter/ Margarine/ Olive Oil (personally I use Olive Oil).

1 tablespoon of Vermicelli pasta (Fadennudeln auf Deutsch).

1 teaspoon of salt.

Tools

  • A saucepan.
  • A deep bowl.

Steps

  1. Soak the rice in water. wait for five seconds until the water becomes white. Throw the water away.

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2. Keep soaking the rice into water and throwing the water away until the water doesn’t become white when the rice is soaked into.

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3. Leave it for 30 minutes.

4. Heat some oil in the saucepan on a medium to high heat, then add the Vermicelli.

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5. Keep stirring until the Vermicelli becomes gold-brown.

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6. Add the rice

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7. Add water until fully covered, add the salt.

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8. Stir.

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9. Turn the heat up and leave until the water is vaporized enough so the rice is not covered anymore with water.

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10. Turn the heat down to the lowest possible temperature and cover it with the lid.

11. Leave it for 15 minutes.

12. Profit !

 

And the final product …

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Balady Pita Bread

What can be a better start to a blog than a food-related post 😀

One of the first things I discovered about myself as an expat is how much I miss the traditional food in Egypt, which wasn’t the case when I was living  there. Actually I have to give it to Egypt … the food there is friggin’ amazing, may be the only materialistic thing that I actually miss 🙂

Balady بلدى means local … so Balady Bread basically means the Egyptian variation to the well-known Pita bread. In case you’re already curious .. here’s a random image from the Internet

So without any further delay … here’s the recipe …

Ingredients

2 cups of all-purpose wheat flour.

2 cups of whole-grain wheat flour.

1/2 cup of wheat bran.

1 tablespoon olive oil.

1 teaspoon sugar.

1 teaspoon salt.

1 pack baking yeast.

warm water.

Tools

– A deep bowl.

– A cup.

– A hand mixer.

– An oven (obviously 😀 )

– Baking sheets.

– A baking tray.

Steps

1.  In the bowl, dissolve the sugar into one cup of water, stir until well-mixed then add the yeast.

2. Leave the water-yeast-sugar for 10 minutes. The mixture should similar to this

3. Add two cups of all-purpose wheat flour to the mixture.

4. Add two cups of whole-grain wheat flour to the mixture.

5. Add half a cup of bran to the mixture.

6. Add the olive oil to the mixture.

7.  Add the salt.

8. Mix with the hand-mixer, add water very very VERY carefully and always make sure that everything is well-mixed and need more water before you start adding more water. Your goal is a well-mixed homogeneous and elastic dough that barely sticks to your fingers. Excessive amount of water can RUIN YOUR LIFE FOREVER .. just kidding .. I’m writing this post on the Halloween  😀 … your dough would be screwed though !

9. Cover the dough and let it sit for two hours.

10. When you move the cover after two hours the dough should be doubled or tripled in size.

11. Get the dough out, put it on a floured flat-surface, roll it so it’s easy to cut and cut it into 8 – 10 equal pieces.

12. You can start baking immediately … or .. to get freshly baked bread .. you can wrap the pieces with thin film and put it into the fridge.

13. Preheat the oven to the maximum degree possible.

14. Spread some bran, put one of the dough-ball-thingies over it, spread some flour on top and flatten it well with a rolling pin.

15. put the baking sheet on top of the tray, put the dough on top of the baking sheet and put it into oven.

16. Leave into oven for a couple of minutes until it puffs up.

17. You can serve it immediately if you like it crunchy or cover it if you like it softer for 5 minutes before serving. Here’s the soft version …

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18. Enjoy 🙂