The great British Coronation Chicken – sandwich food of kings

I might of previously mentioned here, in Israel its hard to find curry, there maybe an Indian restaurant here but it not anywhere near me or the old city.  At the same time if you want a make a curry, a simple jar of curry sauce from Tesco (even the dead cheap stuff is quite decent) and fry some chicken does the job nicely.   I have tried making curry here from scratch albeit with the flavours not quite what they should be.

Here in Israel I haven’t seen any jars of curry sauce, partly because most food is made from scratch and lazy shortcuts to make things are something of a rarity.   I am not sure how popular curry is with recent Olim (new immigrants to Israel) from UK or anywhere else but no one could accuse Israelis or anyone from the middle east of being wussies when it comes to spices, I have a ton of them in my kitchen mostly inherited from the previous volunteers before me.

One of nicest things to have in your sandwiches at work is Coronation chicken, its combination of Chicken breast diced into small pieces, curry sauce and raisins and finely chopped dry apricots is a winner in my books.  Of course regular curried chicken or some of the other related spicy lemon chicken is also pretty darn good.  You can get tubs of Coronation Chicken from Tesco for about #1 (or #1.50 for two on occasions, sorry stupid keyboard has no pound sign) although it has only a three day life span or so once opened.

If you take my dad, he always makes his sandwiches the night before work, this is something we should all do more rather buy plastic triangles of naff sarnies that lost all their taste somewhere on a long journey on a truck from the West Midlands, in addition to that the money we spend in the UK on lunch ad hoc from somewhere in a close radius of our work places could be saved and done it ourselves could mean you could have enough money after a year for probaby quite a decent holiday.   In addition to this as a volunteer in another country I have decided to absolutely not throw away any food in date and reuse and reheat anything and everything where possible and still usable.  I have a carcasss of chicken from Christmas Boxing day when I had a roast.

With a bit of imagination all the good quality bagettes and rolls that you can get from a sandwich shop can be done yourself, I decided to do research on how Coronation Chicken is made, I came up with this formula.

– medium tub of plain yoghurt (sorry cant remember how big it was, maybe 500ml?)
– fine chopped chicken
– spice powder – I used one teaspoon of curry powder and one of chilli.
– some raisins.

I know I ought to put in some measurements but will leave this up to your own preference.

Throw into a tupperware and stir thoroughly and spoon liberally on bread.   Actually today I decided to mix this with middle eastern food and dip some pita bread into it.  Next need to learn how lemon chicken is done.

Job done.  Lovely.

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Christmas in Jerusalem

Unless you can find the small number of shops owned by Arab Christians in one or two parts of the old city of Jerusalem, and theres a few in the Palestinian territories with decorations of some sort, the Armenian and Greek churches didn’t have much in the way of decorations, Christmas is something of a non-event here, everyone is working as usual, but I get the day off as well as monday in leiu of boxing day being on the Shabbat.This came out a bit blurred but I put my phone here to show the date being 25/12/09

Chinese cult gathering by old city walls

On Christmas day I was at the Jaffa (that the main and most famous) gate of the old city.

Firstly just a few metres away I was given a leaflet from some people in yellow Tshirts about people being killed for organ transplants and to campaign against this thing from happening.   This may be true but some truly nasty propaganda only few months ago by a Swedish newspaper accused Israelis of doing this to Palestinians.

By the gate are all these people doing some kind of meditation.   I did some research and found out this organisation are called Falun Dafa.   Its sad and seems hugely insulting to promote an Eastern cult outside the gates of a holy city.  The Torah (Christians know as the old testament) says that worshiping idols and believing in other gods is totally forbidden, nevertheless these things of all types go on in Israel, mainly in the more secular cities of Tel Aviv or Haifa.   When using Facebook I often get adverts (in Hebrew) for astrology web sites, anyway I just prayed for these people discretely as I walked to head to the Kotel.

prophecy from Isaiah as seen in late 2009

some of my fellow believers here (Jewish believers in Jesus and regular gentile Christians)  often talk about prophecy and how the stage is being set for Jesus’s return here.  To be honest I try to be realistic and don’t go nuts how about who the anti-Christ is, etc, but these events will happen over a longish period of time, and every now and then something mentioned in the bible can be frighteningly similar to what I see with my own eyes here.

In this instance, in a bible group I go to there is a young woman who joins us and she works with elderly Jews who are holocaust survivors.   She is German.  This doesnt seem to be an issue to these people in the home, they know that she is at least two generations away, and the number of people who think the events that happened in 1939-45 where a good thing in Germany is extremely small.

One of the leaders of our class told me that this girl here in this land is something foretold in Isaiah.   Tonight I looked this up to see for myself.

Isaiah 60 : 14 The sons of your oppressors will come bowing before you; all who despise you will bow down at your feet and will call you the City of the LORD, Zion of the Holy One of Israel.

Time to go home :o(

My 6 months volunteer in Israel is up in less than two weeks.

My flight home is 9th of January, which means I need to go and get a new job.   This isn’t a particularly good time to find employment at the moment and I havent had any response to any applications I have sent in so far.

I am look forward to meeting up with friends and family but I am sure I am going to pine for warmer temperatures, stony hills, rocky clad biblical looking buildings and somewhat faster, frenetic, unpredictable and often a little chaotic atmosphere that is Jerusalem.

At home I really would need an all new challenge of some kind, partly because I am approaching my mid 30s and am single, and fit awkwardly between youth & students and the married couples which most of my friends are these days.   That’s not to say I mope around all the time wanting to get married, if it something I said I don’t think about regularly I would be lying.   But I am passionate about seeing God becoming accessible to ordinary people and I am seeking some kind of challenge.  Being single of course does give me a lot flexibility to things that would otherwise be impossible, so I am making the most of that time, whatever period that may be.

This could be back in the regular work place doing IT support, my job of doing support technical issues with staff in businesses, is something the fits be perfectly not just because of my computer skills I have used in the workplace, but more also with the fact God has placed my in several normal secular companies with other Christians where we can meet up and pray and encourage each other, one of these three groups was one I set up myself.   I don’t go about pushing my faith in peoples faces, its more of case I just try and do my work well and be discrete, polite and professional in my manner and my faith in Jesus seems to rub off on people it seems.  I could be in a different town perhaps.

I could go back.   With flights to Israel are a hundred quid or so (providing they don’t charge extra for baggage, using the toilet or breathing, as some budget airlines have shown to do)  I could continue my role here, my visa runs until May (my sister has a baby this time and I am going to a close friends wedding in Spain then as well)  and there is no replacement for me at BFP.   For me to stay I would need to get some proper sponsorship and I have had some kind people donate me funds but its not always been consistent, and I have been living off my last two pay cheques from my last paid job, the refund of my unused car insurance and a few other (got paid to fix other volunteers laptops) things.  My time here hasnt been a holiday, it has been stressful often, and requires a lot of prayer which God has been amazingly faithful, even with some things happened this week.  I have got to stay in a town frequently threatened by terrorism and see Arab people turn replace Islam with the love and acceptance of Jesus, things you would never experience on a tour or see accurately portrayed in television.

If you are a believer whether you know me as a friend or just bumped into this page somehow, I would like to ask if you can pray.

Please pray God can provide me with the right steps of what to do next.  The Lord has pointed me in the direction of doing this volunteer work in terms of lots of different steps and has provided for me faithfully each way.

I am tired of guesswork, I need God to give me a very clear answer what to do next.

Yes I should listen to the quiet voice God mentions in the bible.   I have a rubbish attention span and get things lost on all my imagination and plenty of other distractions.  Even if I try and sit on the Mount of Olives my mind will wander, its why I spend a lot of time walking both here in Israel and back at home.  Therefore I really need something explicitly clear of what to do next.

Its a case of if I should get a normal paid job or stick to being here a bit longer.   In all honesty, there’s places (more of Galilee, Megido, Nazareth, Golan Heights, etc) I still want to visit here in Israel and have some great friendships with people which have matured to the point where its going to be painful to say goodbye.

Thanks for your time.

I need online browser favourites/bookmarks feature for Firefox

My personal laptop I took with me to Israel was set up a few months ago to dual boot into Windows XP and Windows 7 (RC1 release)  so could test drive Microsoft’s newest OS.   Also I set up my work PC to do the same thing just for training purposes.

Often I get home and I find some web site I find interesting I find I saved on my browser favourites which was at work, and now I cant find it.  The same when using Windows 7 and not being able to find the site saved on the browser of XP.

I use Firefox and have done since the first release 5 years ago, and am gradually getting people at work to completely phase out Internet Explorer and provide them with training to learn any differences in using it.  Normally they take to it pretty quickly.

One thing I really could do with and that is the means to keep my browser favourites on line, so I could just get at a particular site no matter where I am.  I think the Opera browser has this feature (tried Opera once but didnt really like it)

At work, my users might often have to sit at another desk, either to cover for another member of staff, or if their PC develops a fault and needs to be fixed or replaced.   Likewise we also have Macs for publishing, audio and video development work, and Windows PCs for regular administration as its cheap and more familiar to many users.   Now, without getting into a debate of what’s better, Firefox is perfect choice for me as the Windows and Macs versions are similar and consistent in use and some of the extensions are usable on both systems.   I just need a way to get at my favourites from any darn type of computer anywhere.

Multiple sets of browser favourites that could be used with a log on and password, for an individual member of staff or for a department would be good.

Its not as if browser favourites should be a big file, so bandwidth is not going to be an issue here.

The RSS feed feature is nice for reading news but don’t think its that widely used for anything else.

I think there are dedicated Firefox extensions for live bookmarks but they are not widely used by any of my fellow IT professionals I know.

Does this sound like a much needed new feature that a lot of other people, be it regular administration staff or IT professionals should have.   Of course this could be used on handheld devices with web access as well.

Please do comment.

UK Christmas music charts 2009

One of the most great things about Great Britain that a lot of my non-British friends I have been working with would agree is our pop music.

Take a city like Manchester, probably the most musically fertile places in the world.   Everything from The Smiths, New Order, M-people and of course Oasis started up there.   In the late 70s and early 80s bands like The Selector, The Specials, Madness and UB40, took some of the ska and reggae sounds of the Carribean and brought them into a new audience in the UK and whole sub genres of music like two tone (referred both to the sound of music and that it appeal to two different racial groups) were born.

Punk, was of course very British with The Sex Pistols and The Clash, these have an obviously aggressive, political theme for it, but it was good musically as well.

The early 1980s had a lot of music that represent the depression that had was around in the 81-82 era, just listen to say the Specials “Ghost Town” which was an iconic track from that period.

Indeed Britain is and should be very proud of the vast amount of talented bands spawned from our green and pleasant land.  And I absolutely love pop music of all kinds, old and new, popular and obscure, British and otherwise.

So what the hell happened with the charts in December 2009?

The X-factor.   Its cheesy but fun, kind of like Eurovision, some pleasant but short life span tunes often appear often at Christmas.   But Christmas isn’t always cheese.   Kylie Minogue had a Christmas number one “I believe” which was a sweet, happy feel good sort of song, just the sort of thing Kylie does best.

Someone came out with the idea the Rage against the Machine should reissue “Killing in the name” for the Christmas number one.  Oh dear.

Facebook is really good for getting people onto Band wagons, whether its for or against the BNP, or immigration, every type of soap box which people want to stand on, it only recently I have seen the enourmous amount of motivation in can start up to lead people.   Take the Wispa chocolate bar was brough back by a Facebook group.   I didnt even realise this product had been discontinued in the first place, by nevertheless the PR people from Cadburys listened and people rejoiced as the familiar blue packaged fluffy centre chocolate bar reappeared in corner shops all over the UK again.

So when a campaign to get Rage to number one, Simon Cowell the often rude and disliked record boss who makes short life span fun but ultimately disposable music appear and disappear is the target of a campaign, a bit like hating a parking warden after getting a ticket.

There is nothing wrong with hard rock or metal, but sorry I think Retards against the machine have absolutely no substance to them.   Getting 40,000 or so teenagers to click to buy a 79p track on iTunes just to make the X-Factor bands lose was more of factor to see them win.   The song was poor in 1992 its certainly no better now.   Rage’s message is all about being up against ‘the man’ and being as their title, ‘against the machine’  the fictitious authority which make people like to be on the rebellious side.  I hope to see them fast fade away as quick as snow in Basingstoke.   Maybe they will appear again 17 years time again.

Of course the angst ridden teenagers that bought this song will be a bit disappointed to find Rage’s record label is the same company as a certain Mr Cowell’s.   So in Rage’s expletive ridden lyrics, “f*** you, I wont do you tell me”

Yes you did.

You did exactly what you were told and gave your pocket money to the men at the record companies that put together throwaway music, both X-Factor and kiddiegrunge, and they are chuckling you did.

Do yourself a favour, there were probably more than 2 songs in the charts.  Turn on your radio and listening to real music with talent.

third temple car

This local man from Eilat showed off his modified car, a 1963 Peugeot 404.

The car’s body has been painted to look like its made of wood, the roof of the car has been decorated with a model of the proposed new temple which is predicted in the bible.  You can see little figures and animals have been glued in place, even on the dashboard 🙂

One last thing.  Its a pity he didnt keep the badges on the car, as the Peugeot Lion looks exactly the same as the Lion of the tribe of Judah 🙂

Journey to the Red Sea – part two

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After arriving in Eilat, I seem to have left my proper map of the city in my flat, and the freebie map I got from Hertz Israel from somewhere showed Eilat quite decently but nothing that showed the Youth Hostel.

Eilat is safe place and generally free of political problems (apart from there was one bombing about 3 years ago though) and is something akin to Brighton in the UK as a weekend holiday resort with funfairs and bars on the beach, but also with some Vegas style themed hotels springing up a few places along the coast.  This one here is strongly influenced by the dome of the rock from Jerusalem.

I took a look at the beach and the shopping mall overlooking the Red Sea, this place is definitely something of a chill out place and you can see why its a popular holiday resort with Israelis from all over the holy land, there is a small airport but I am not sure which places fly there.

There is a bar and restaurant on a pier, so from here you can see four countries, from Israel to Egypt and Jordan and in the distance Saudi Arabia.  Underneath the pier you can see some workmen where doing some welding work to the steel bars underneath.

I gave my room mate a quick call, it was then I was told that my airline (BMI) were ceasing flights to Israel after an article in local Israeli news and I would have to change my return flights home.  Anyway he gave me the correct street to get to, and although I got to the wrong road at first and knocked on a bomb shelter next to a shop, which a young man was using to practice playing his drums down there, he pointed me to the next street that I had overlooked to find the shelter.

The Shelter!   This place is well known amongst Christians that have been in Israel for sometime, as the owner of the hostel is a Jewish believer in Jesus, so are quite a few of the people that just come and hang out there.  There is a regular bible study in the lounge often with some of the staff there, its optional though, and the hostel doesn’t proselytize any visitors that come there.

I like youth hostels as a single chap who likes traveling as you can meeting people from all over the world and swap stories of where you have been or quick find some new friends to go out somewhere.  It was quite dark by now and there wasn’t a lot of people around when I arrived, I went round the corner to get myself a falafel and sat in the lounge and spent a quiet evening chatting to Canadian and Swedish people and the staff there.

In terms of the Youth Hostel’s ratings its pretty good as far as hostels go, although the bathroom could of been a bit better with no soap or paper towels in the toilets, the showers were ok thought.   I was in a small dorm room with 5 beds, two bunks and an extra bed.  I didn’t sleep very well the whole of this trip to be honest, there was always something to disturb me some how.  During this first night I got woken up by some thoughtless person who arrived late at night, mumbled things in Hebrew and moved his stuff around the room whilst myself and a Canadian chap were trying to sleep.  Thought the next day he had some kind of nocturnal OCD habits or something.   The small size of the room gave not much space to put shoes, bags and clothes for all occupants.

Anyway I was getting more excited at seeing Jordan, Petra, the Nabutean desert, and tropical fish aquarium in the next few days…

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middle east furniture

Walked past this shop with some tables for sale out side around Hillel Street.  I really like middle east style furniture that has ceramic tiles on top.

I was in the home repair workshop the other day, BFP has a team of people that does repair work to Jewish people in need of their house repaired.   I needed to pinch some side cutters to chop off a cable tie inside a computer I was fixing.   This room with the smell of paint thinners and oil for a block for sharpening tools reminds me of my grandad (Henry Hayward) who was a carpenter and as a child I would watch him sometimes fix things.  Both these things made me think of two things.  I have a coffee table that Grandad H made, its nicely made although the pretend wood effect formica top looks very dated now.

What I would like to do is somehow get some nice middle east style tiles and recover the top of the coffee table.  I think the formica stuff is glued securely on and I am not sure what the best way of doing this (stick tiles on top or try and remove it?) would be.  If you have expertise in this kind of thing please do comment.

By Jonathan Posted in me