Tel Aviv, Israel

Jaffa is one of the oldest ports in the world, with ruins dating back to the Bronze Age. Today, it’s a thriving destination for visitors and locals alike.

Tel Aviv at 100

ABOVE: The Tel Aviv boardwalk is a hub of activity during warm weather months.

Market on Tel Aviv - Nahalat Binyamin

ABOVE: Arts and crafts at Nahalat Binyamin market.

Portrait of a young woman - Dana Friedlander

Jaffa Floating Orange Tree - goisrael

ABOVE: This modern work of art, the Suspended Tree, is a popular attraction in a neighbourhood filled with wonder.

Israel – A History Lesson

Words by Shai DeLuca-Tamasi

Church of the Holy Sepulchre - Noam Chen

Church of the Holy Sepulchre – Photography by Noam Chen

Jerusalem used to be the centre of the world. An ancient New York City, Paris or Milan if you will. At one time religion trumped everything and Jerusalem was a mecca. People travelled to Israel for religious pilgrimage, but also for business, trade and the arts. Though at the time called Judea, Israel was part of the Roman Empire. As the years progressed it was captured by various empires. Each conquering civilization contributed its own style, design and fashion sense to the collective fabric of Israel.

Jump forward to 1948, post World War II; immigration to Israel was at an all time high, flowing in from all over Europe, North Africa and the Americas. With each swell of immigration, new design and style arrived in Israel.

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Rabin square, Tel Aviv – Photography by Dana Friedlander

Today, Israel has evolved and developed in ways that are often described as remarkable. Israel has its own unique design sense—a compilation of our rich history.

In October 2013 I travelled to Israel with my friend (and Cityline co-celeb) Kimberley Seldon. I was able to share the richness of Israel with Kimberley and the Cityline viewers. It’s a trip I won’t soon forget.

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Kimberley Seldon and Shai DeLuca-Tamasi film for www.cityline.ca

Though having spent my formative years in Israel, as well as serving for three years in the IDF, the experience of seeing the country through a camera lens was a life changing experience for me. It was a blessing being able to bring back footage for our Cityline viewers and Dabble readers.

I was fortunate to see how the design scene has surpassed even my high expectations. Needless to say, I couldn’t even bring back everything I purchased. Thank goodness for international shipping! I hope that all of our readers have the opportunity to visit Israel, but in the interim, I wanted to share some of my favourite Israeli products and design with you. Though I could fill the next year of issues with the amazing items, I’ve chosen my five favourite!

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Shop Israel with Shai in the May 2014 issue

Shakin’ Shakshuka

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When I booked my fare to Israel the very last thing I envisioned was cooking a meal or funnier still, finding myself in front of a hot stove!  But Tel Aviv is full of surprises. Dr. Shakshuka is a culinary treasure in a country where there are so many fabulous meals to be sampled. This was my first taste of the classic egg-based dish and certainly, my first time cooking it – although I had some help from the doctor himself.

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If you’re planning a trip to Israel then this has to be a stop. Travel plans or not, the recipe is simple and satisfying:

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Shakshuka Recipe
Courtesy Shai Deluca

INGREDIENTS
• 1 tbsp olive oil
• 1/2 medium brown or white onion, peeled and diced
• 1 clove garlic, minced
• 1 medium green or red bell pepper, chopped
• 4 cups ripe diced tomatoes, or 2 cans (14 oz. each) diced tomatoes
• 2 tbsp tomato paste
• 1 tsp chili powder (mild)
• 1 tsp cumin
• 1 tsp paprika
• Pinch of cayenne pepper (or more to taste– spicy!)
• Pinch of sugar (optional, to taste)
• Salt and pepper to taste
• 5-6 eggs
• 1/2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley (optional, for garnish)

DIRECTIONS
1. Heat a deep, large skillet or sauté pan on medium. Slowly warm olive oil in the pan. Add chopped onion, sauté for a few minutes until the onion begins to soften. Add garlic and continue to sauté till mixture is fragrant.

2. Add the bell pepper, sauté for 5-7 minutes over medium until softened.

3. Add tomatoes and tomato paste to pan, stir till blended. Add spices and sugar, stir well, and allow mixture to simmer over medium heat for 5-7 minutes till it starts to reduce. At this point, you can taste the mixture and spice it according to your preferences. Add salt and pepper to taste, more sugar for a sweeter sauce, or more cayenne pepper for a spicier shakshuka (be careful with the cayenne… it is extremely spicy!).

4. Crack the eggs, one at a time, directly over the tomato mixture, making sure to space them evenly over the sauce. I usually place 4-5 eggs around the outer edge and 1 in the center. The eggs will cook “over easy” style on top of the tomato sauce.

5. Cover the pan. Allow mixture to simmer for 10-15 minutes, or until the eggs are cooked and the sauce has slightly reduced. Keep an eye on the skillet to make sure that the sauce doesn’t reduce too much, which can lead to burning.

6. Garnish with the chopped parsley, if desired. Shakshuka can be eaten for breakfast, lunch, or dinner. For breakfast, serve with warm crusty bread or pita that can be dipped into the sauce (if you’re gluten-intolerant or celebrating Passover, skip the bread). For dinner, serve with a green side salad for a light, easy meal.

Tel Aviv Home Tour

Kimberley Seldon and Shai DeLuca-Tamasi take us on a tour of Israeli design in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, ways to incorporate your TV into your decor, plus a beautiful winter mantel.

Originally aired on Cityline.ca on December 19, 2013.