Food brings back nostalgic thoughts for all of us, returning often to favorite recipes as a way to relive good times gone by. When living in Jerusalem, a very beautiful friend made delicious bread for me one time. She made it look so easy, whipping everything together without the aid of a recipe and done only by memory. The smell of it baking will make you salivate, but just wait til you taste it….. This was in 2009, and it is the only bread I make to this day, and never ever have I seen someone try it and stop at only one piece. It is easy to make, but plan ahead, because it can take a few hours to rise (something that has had me serving dinner to my guests late more than once). My recipe is written in an old notebook that has its fair share of ingredient smudges all over Einav’s Black Olive and Rosemary Bread. Still warm, dipped in olive oil, sprinkled with a little bit of sea salt, and washed down with a glass of white wine is a good start to a nice meal with friends.
The flavors are typical to the Mediterranean diet, pepper, garlic, rosemary and olive oil. In an effort to share it the same way I received it, I have written it exactly as it was told to me that first night I tried it. Enjoy. – James
Einav’s Bread– Jerusalem, Israel, 2009
-1-2 teaspoons of yeast (warm water/bit of sugar)
-1 ½ cups of milk (maybe a little less), warm but don’t boil
-In a bowl, mix: – ¼ of a cup of olive oil
-2 tablespoons of sugar
– ½ or 1 tablespoon of salt
– black pepper
(add any spices you would like at this time, Zatar, thyme, etc.)
-Mix warm milk in to the bowl and stir
-Cut up one clove of garlic and add to bowl
-Let yeast mixture rise and once grown add to mixture
-Add 2 cups of flour
-Mix flour and yeast together little by little to get the right consistency
* This is when you add your olives and rosemary (or anything else like nuts, etc.)
-Mix dough in bowl with hands while adding more flour if necessary as you go
-Transfer to a large clean bowl and let sit for one hour (to rise)
-After 1 hour and risen, punch the dough and knead a bit
-Let rise 1 more hour
-Do this 3x
-Arrange on try, let sit one hour (this is the 3rd time)
-Put on toppings (extra rosemary, etc.)
-Preheat oven to 150-170 degrees and cook for 15 minutes
I decided to reach back a few years to a terrace I loved and wanted to share, a cacti and succulent haven. This terrace, with a focus on fleshy foliage and striking Aloe blooms, was always a favorite while living in Jerusalem, Israel. A perfect companion post, since a favorite recipe comes from Jerusalem later this week. – James
Maybe it was the recent passing of Arbor day, or Eric’s response to the question,”What plant would you choose to be come back as..”, to which he chose the olive tree, or maybe it from being asked about my favorite photo; I am not sure exactly but it brought trees to the forefront of my mind. There is one quote about trees that is a favorite of mine, a Chinese Proverb that reads, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.” It often makes me think about the admiration and respect we have for trees and wonder where does our love of trees come from, what is our fascination with them? Some answers are plain to see with the obvious factors of why we love them is that they are good for the earth and environment, the air, they provide wood which we have used to build our homes and shelters and most of our furnishings too, they provide the pencil we write with to the paper we write on, among many other rational reasons. There is no doubt that we are thankful for these things that trees provide, but there is something deeper, more emotional that they stir up in us. Trees evoke so many deep memories that probably started at a young age, maybe being pushed on a tire swing hanging from a strong limb or running in the woods with friends as children? Apple picking with the family in the autumn, when some leaves mesmerize us while turning their bright, brilliant magical colors?
One of my earliest memories regarding a tree was during my kindergarten graduation. All the students, with help from our parents, collected money to purchase a flowering dogwood (I remember the attached white tag clearly) and gave this tree as a gift to our kindergarten teacher, as it was her last year of teaching. It was all kept a secret until the end of the ceremony, when it was pulled along in a red flyer wagon, by myself and a fellow student, up to our unsuspecting teacher. As we pulled this beautiful little tree, with its peachy-pink blooms and root ball wrapped in burlap, we were met with gasps and smiles from those seated in the auditorium. The whole situation was fascinating and confusing to me – why were we giving her a tree, why a tree? What did it mean? Where would she plant it? We all lived in the Bronx! Would she think of us every time she looked at in in flower or in leaf? What if she didn’t like trees? And where was she going?! There were so many unanswered questions about this ceremonial act that were clouding my young mind.
Growing up in the Bronx, meant spending the weekends upstate at my grandparents house, about a 2 hour drive north to Red Hook in the Hudson Valley. My siblings and I would climb the huge trees next to the house, which were situated just outside the kitchen window, always trying to see who could climb the highest. Pines, I remember them with very large trunks and limbs. When we would be called in for lunches of baloney sandwiches and fresh cucumbers, we carefully descended branch by branch, jumping onto the soft pine needle covered ground when we were within safe proximity. Once inside, we always needed to spend some minutes scrubbing the sticky pine sap off our tiny hands before we were allowed to eat our lunch. I am sure if I saw these trees now, they would not seem as large as they do in my memories of those times. Could these early games have sparked my fascination with trees?
Texture and foliage keep a garden interesting through the season. Flowers are just moments of gratification. – Kevin Doyle
The sight of a single or grove of deciduous trees can invoke both pleasant and melancholy thoughts. The silhouettes of solitary trees in winter are their fingerprints on the horizon, stamping themselves against a bare sky. You might easily recognize what tree it is from a distance, whether in daytime or on a bright moonlit night. In a Pennsylvanian winter, I always imagined the large Platanus trees in the forest were the ‘Kings of the Winter Wood’ with the seasonal light picking up the silvery glints of their beautiful bark. Even in a mixed wood they easily stand out, it is the season for them to shine, glowing among a surrounding dreary sea of muted trunks of gray and brown, a king among men.
Solitary trees, if they grow at all, grow strong. – Churchill
The sense of coolness we feel in the warm summer months, as we sit beneath the shade of a single specimen or enter a dark grove, tingles the skin and puts the mind at ease, giving us a break from the heat of the blazing sun. A nap can easily be brought on by listening to the lullaby of the branches swaying slightly in a breeze, leaves rustling to and fro, causing our minds to wander into a sleepy landscape, protected underneath a large and looming canopy.
The plethora of trees in the countryside is always pleasurable due to their sheer amount surrounding us, so it might be possible to take single trees for granted there, but not the case for a city dweller. They might not know what the tree is, where it came from, or its significance to the world, but that single green tree in a sea of concrete puts a smile on the face of many neighborhood folk rushing about their daily activities. Is it the the short-lived colorful blooms they love, the soothing green color of a fully leafed out tree, or is it the thickness of the eye level trunk which quietly proclaims its sense of history in such a rapid paced environment? Perhaps it is why when we see one go down in city streets, we feel a tinge of panic, a moment of sadness, a shortness of breath because someone we saw each day is now gone, another piece of the present is now forgotten history. Some blossoming trees are sometimes further enhanced by surrounding garish city colors, letting the tree be an individual among other city folk, standing its own quirky ground just as it own citizens strive for individuality.
Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it. – Confucius
If there was only one tree I could plant, I would most definitely choose something from the genus Malus because of its continual hard work most of them provide through the seasons. Spring brings the beauty of delicate blossoms that attract and feed insects, lush foliage with developing fruits while providing good shade in summer, gorgeous and colorful delicious apples dangling from each branch in autumn and some with fall color, and finally the wonderfully twisted silhouettes to look at during the winter, especially pleasing in an orchard.
The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration. – Claude Monet
There is no denying that trees are the elephants of our plant kingdom; they are larger than us, old, gentle, wise, experienced, and have stories to tell. They are the plants we know have seen a lot, probably more in life than you and I have, and probably ever will. In keeping with the favored Chinese Proverb, remember to plant those trees for future generations, not just for the pleasure of ours today. – James
We met through a mutual friend during my time as a student at the Jerusalem Botanic Garden in Israel. Bonding instantly, we often spoke excitedly about many topics, creativity, art, plants and of course, Israel. Shortly after meeting, Shira and I discovered we shared the same birthday and she has been a talented friend and inspiration ever since.
How was it that you came to the realization you had a passion for jewelry design?
My passion for jewellery and adornment has been present since childhood. I was making pieces from whatever materials were available, from beads to threads and used colorful electric wires. But there was an ideal I grew up with; my maternal grandfather was a jeweler, never professionally, but that was his dream. His life was too hard to follow on it, though. You see, he was born in Poland and as an adolescent he went through the Holocaust. He moved to Israel as a young man, the country itself was very young and poor too, and he needed to get a proper job. So he became a blacksmith and as a hobby he also made some beautiful metal work, as well as some jewellery for my grandmother and mother. I, myself, never knew him, he died before I turned a year old, but I was always surrounded by things that I knew that he made. The idea then fascinated me, so I went on to study it, both to feel closer to that man I didn’t know and to understand how I can create such magical, shiny things myself.
What was the progression from studying at school to arriving at Vanilla Ink Studios?
I graduated with a BFA from the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem, in 2008 but five years passed and I was not doing anything jewellery-wise. My degree show was called “A pearl necklace” and it confronts modern ideas of femininity by contradicting materials and ideas of beauty. This project was very successful and was showcased in different locations worldwide. I then moved to London for three years, and had a job at an enamel goods gallery in Mayfair. After London I was living in Israel again, a bit discouraged with life and art, so I studied another profession and got an MA in Gerontology, the study of old age.
Moving to St Andrews was another new start and while checking opportunities available in the area, I found out about Vanilla Ink (click for link) a Dundee based jewellery collective, where we get a bench at a workshop, and receive business development sessions. I was very surprised to get accepted to it as I’m one of eight girls, all the others are Scottish, but I’m sure they liked me being exotic and I saw this as my opportunity to get back into creating.
What current project you are working on?
Being part of Vanilla Ink made me realize I love the craft of jewellery making, but the commercial side of it freaks me out completely…
So this is me trying to get back into art jewellery. It is something I’m still working on, a project called “31”, made of 31 brass beads (I’m now up to 14), each one is hand made individually to the same sort of pod shape, but each one is different in design.
This is a very personal project (I am 31), through which I am trying to grow up and embrace my age and my journeys, drawing inspiration from what I have done in my life, and sort of try and pull myself together. (Video of the bead making process at Vanilla Ink)
At the beginning of the creative process, how does it take shape for you, is it an idea, a series of ideas for a collection, or does it come from organically like seeing an object or image that sets it off?
When I start the creative process usually there is one idea that’s always in the background: to show beauty in imperfections, because nothing is perfect, each of us and each piece should be unique. I collect visual inspiration from different places, Jerusalem, my city of birth, is completely diverse and very inspiring and I’m influenced by the shapes and colors I find in nature, flowers, leafs, seedpods are all part of it; no two are completely alike.
With having moved a number of times in your life and experiencing different countries and cultures, has this affected your design process? Israel is a small but very beautiful country, and I was amazed with how quickly the landscape changes there. With the Mediterranean Sea, the Jerusalem Mountains, the Negev desert and Dead Sea in your presence growing up,have any of these landscapes influenced choice of color and materials? Some designs, like those in the pearl necklace series, reminded me of the flora I had seen in the Negev desert, so do you think there is any subconscious connection to your home?
I think most artists reflect in their works the places they come from and feel most attached to. Israel is very beautiful and has a great variety of landscapes for such a small place, but it can also be quite intense and a difficult place to grow up. Jerusalem and the surrounding mountains have always been a main inspiration. Until I was 26, I never left Jerusalem for more than 3 weeks, and its views and colors are very much with me. Living in London for three years, then the Negev desert for two years, and now in Scotland, I feel I keep coming back to those beloved views of my complex home town, probably in a desperate effort to define and form my identity, which is harder when you keep moving around. I find that the different landscapes, people and culture influence me and my design process, and have added much depth to my creative (and non-creative…) thinking; but in essence I’m still trying to realize where I come from, who I really am, and what I would like to be.
It is interesting how the colors of my pearl necklace collection have reminded you of the Negev desert flora, if I meant it, I am sure it was quite unconsciously done, but I do like that idea! On this project I was working on conflicts and contradictions (which do very much connect to the place I come from), and with working with superb materials such as sterling silver, lovely pearls and raw white wool, part of the conflict needed to come from the choice of colors and materials, and I wanted to contrast them with something that will look almost dirty, something that will take away all their freshness, and that’s when brown, hairy looking materials were brought into the designs.
Has the local landscape or culture in England and Scotland influenced your way of arriving at your ideas or materials?
Since I moved to London, the British culture has been a major influence on me but while living there the only creations I made were baskets. To Scotland I arrived five years after finishing my BFA in Jewellery design, in those five years I was not having anything to do with jewellery, so I am very grateful to Scotland and to Vanilla Ink who accepted me and gave me the opportunity to get back into the world of jewellery and silversmiths. As I returned to this line of work in Scotland, I really think it has influenced my ideas and choices I make; a lot of it comes from comparisons to different places I have lived. Here is the first time in my life that I live right by the sea, so it is bound to have some kind of influence on me in the long term.
Is there a favorite garden, public or private, that you know you will walk away from feeling inspired?
My parents’ garden in Jerusalem, is a pretty little wilderness, with different trees and plants, amazing for such a small garden, but it has everything – from the most fragrant climbing Jasmine, a lovely vine with sweet green grapes, a fig, a cherry and a lemon tree, a great rose with massive white flowers. In springtime, tulips, freesias, narcissus, loads of cyclamens and much more. My family moved to that house just before I was born, and I grew alongside that garden.
The Jerusalem botanical garden is also a lovely gem, with beautiful native plats alongside more exotic ones. In the spring there is an extraordinary display of anemones that will make your heart leap with joy.
But my ultimate public garden simply has to be Great Dixter, since no other place can ever be as beautiful to me as Dixter, which is magical in each and every season. It is very easy to love in the spring when the magnificent tulips are everywhere and everything looks so charming, during summer with the long border just so full of colors and excitement, and autumn with the dahlias and that fantastic mulberry tree they have there. It is in winter when it’s at its most magical, when you can really see how the garden is built and all the trees are just beautiful skeletons.
If you were to be left alone on an island and could have only take one plant and piece of art with you, what would you choose?
It depends; do I need them for survival? I will assume it’s a no and choose pelargonium, as it can sometimes blossom all year long, has bright colors and reminds me of Jerusalem. A work of art is so hard to choose, as I’m not even sure about which medium I would like it to be. I guess it should be a painting, an impressionist work surely, possibly one of Degas ballet dancers or maybe Monet’s poppies field, with the mother and child walking down the hill? They always cheer me up and reaffirm my will to live, but it’s difficult to choose
When not working with jewellery, do you have other creative outlets do you turn to?
I weave baskets, twining and coiling them from soft materials, and find it to be very relaxing. I like photography too, always have, recently joining instagram, which brought back this old love of mine. I enjoy painting, colored pencils and acrylics, sewing, loads of stuff apparently. If I really need a creative outlet and none of the above are available – then I usually bake a banana-chocolate cake…
Thank you Shira for a view into your creative skills and thoughts. If you would like to see more work or contact Shira here is where she can be found:
An exciting scholarship is offered to work and study at the Jerusalem Botanical Gardens in Israel for a qualified horticulturist who wants to broaden their knowledge of world plants and experience, while working in a different environment and culture . Applicants should be enthusiastic about new experiences, be up for a challenge and willing to spend a minimum of 6 months in Israel and possibly up to one year (conditions apply). There is accommodations offered in a shared apartment, a monthly living allowance and a return flight to the UK.
The Jerusalem Botanical Gardenscover approximately 45 acres and contain rare and endangered native plants as well as those from around the world, arranged in phyto-geographic groupings. You can expect to work under the direction of the Head Scientist on the rare bulb collection and on conservation of native species and maintain the nursery, where you can practice and encourage good horticultural techniques. If you think you have the energy, passion and interest to learn and grow away from home, email firstname.lastname@example.org for an application form which you should return by 15 June 2013. Interviews will be held in London in July, with the scholarship beginning in the autumn. For more information on the Jerusalem Botanical Garden, see www.en.botanic.co.il or email the Friends. To date, 115 scholarships have been offered to horticulturists from all over the world.
As a past recipient of this scholarship, I can say that it truly was an influential part of my education, and the amazing people, plants and landscapes that I came in contact with continue to have an effect on me to this day. If anyone else has had the opportunity to receive the JBG Scholarship, please let us know by sharing your experience with us. -J