Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Bulgur/Burgul and Garbonzo Beans/Hummos – Great Cold Weather Fare

While we were staying with our son and his wife, we had a lot of fun cooking. EnviroGirl shared a great grain recipe, with like seven different grains. It reminded me that I had wanted to find a recipe for the wonderful dish we ate at Naranj, in Damascus so I Googled, and found a recipe that sounded a lot like it – and besides that, it looks really simple.

There are a lot of ingredients I cannot find in Kuwait, but burgul is something easily found. I gave it a try, and AdventureMan and I agreed, it is a total keeper. Looks pretty good, hmmm?


When we sat down to dinner, AdventureMan asked what it was called.

“Burgul and garbanzo beans,” I replied.

“What was it called in Damascus?” he asked.

“Burgul Wa Hummos” I replied, and we both laughed, because it is exactly the same name, except maybe it was called “Hummos wa Burgul,” I might have switched it. Same thing, same thing.

Of course, I changed the original recipe a little. The one we had in Damascus was sinfully butter-y.

Here is the original recipe:

Bulgur and Garbanzo Bean Pilaf

1 1/2 cup Chopped onion
2 tbl Butter or olive oil
1cup Bulgur or cracked wheat
1cup Canned garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup Diced dried apricots or golden raisins
1 stk cinnamon
2 cup chicken broth
2 tbl Sliced natural almonds, toasted in dry skillet

Method :
• Combine onion and butter in deep wide skillet. Cook, stirring, over mediun-low heat until onion is golden, about 10 minutes. Stir in bulgur, garbanzo beans, apricots and cinnamon stick.
• Add broth and bring to boil. Stir once. Cover and cook over low heat until broth is absorbed. about 20 minutes. Let stand. covered, 10 minutes.
• Meanwhile, toast almonds in small dry skillet, stirring, over low heat, about 3 minutes. Remove cinnamon stick from pilaf. Sprinkle almonds over pilaf and serve.
• Makes 4 servings.

I doubled the butter. I added five cloves of finely chopped garlic, which I sauteed until soft. Instead of apricots or raisins, I used those dried pomegranate seeds you find in the Mubarakiyya market – can someone tell me what they are called? So tart, so beautiful, so delicious! It just made this dish.

(Wiki says: Wild pomegranate seeds are sometimes used as a spice known as anardana (which literally means pomegranate (anar) seeds (dana) in Persian)

We used about double the toasted almonds.

This was my very first time ever for toasting almonds. It took me a little longer than three minutes; maybe my low heat is too low, but it was fun, and the toasted almonds make a big difference in the final taste. I had so much fun toasting the almonds that afterwards, I also toasted sesame seeds, just to see if I could (and I could! 🙂 )

I have to tell you, this dish is delicious! We are trying to eat less meat, eat lower on the food chain, and this dish will help us to do that. We figured, we actually could add a little meat – some leftover chunks of chicken, some sausage, or even some shrimp – and it would still be really really good, and keep meat intake minimal.

Does anyone eat burgul for breakfast? It seems to me it would be good with a little brown sugar and cinnamon and pecans, or blueberries?

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Qatteri Cat Trims the Tree

3:30 in the morning, and I am wide-awake. I can lie in bad and toss and turn, or I can get up and make use of all this energy now and take a nap later, which is what I decide to do. I want to get a Christmas tree up, and I am hoping Qatteri Cat will not take too much interest. Two years ago, he pulled the tree over in the middle of the night, utter chaos.

Toss a load of laundry in the washer, pull down the tree box, get it set up, lights on – it’s great putting on lights while it is still dark out (I can see the ring of fishing boats along the horizon, and I shiver, thinking it must be really, really cold out there with the near zero Centigrade overnight temperatures) because I can see where I am putting them and how they will look when it is all finished, not too many lights in one area and big empty spaces elsewhere.

And then – the ornaments. When I have my own house, I usually have one big tree in the living room and one smaller one in the family room. The big tree has all the beautiful ornaments we have collected over the years, and the smaller tree is usually a theme tree – Maybe all red and white, pepperminty, one year and all blue and silver another. It’s my experiment tree. But we never mess with the serious family tree – it is thoroughly eclectic, and that is the way we want it to be. Hmmm. I think I will do a separate entry later on the ornaments.

The lights are on – just as the sky is beginning to lighten, the Qatteri Can and I finish up. The Qatteri Cat goes and gets his babies to share the tree with. Thanks be to God, he is not showing any interest in pulling on anything this year. We enjoy the lights together.


We put on Christmas music and I get a cup of coffee so I can sit and see if the tree needs more. Here is one of my very favorite Christmas CD’s (I have a collection of very old Christmas music, along with some very good more recent Christmas music)


The Qatteri Cat says he is finished. He is exhausted. He is going to take a nap. Wouldn’t it be nice, to have the life of a housecat?


December 19, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Christmas, ExPat Life, Kuwait, Living Conditions, Music, Pets, Qatteri Cat | 2 Comments

Night Flight

Arriving at the next airport, we find our flight is delayed, while a seat is found for every single passenger. As I look around, I feel dismay – this flight is like 3/4 college students. We thought with Eid having ended, the plane would be half empty – NOT so! The lounge is packed with twenty-somethings headed home to Kuwait on Christmas break from their universities in the USA.

I used to be one of those. My parents lived in Germany; my sister and I would travel home. One difference, we were flying military planes, so they would wait until a whole planeload of college students had gathered and then send us all off to Frankfurt on one plane. It was party party party, card games, laughing, talking, catching up with friends from all over Europe, some flying on to bases in north Africa and Greece . . . I don’t think we had any bases in the Middle East at that time (It was a LONG time ago!)

But payback is hell. Now I am about to board a flight full of young people like I used to be. I can kiss a good night’s sleep goodbye! Every single seat on the plane is taken, and it is a BIG plane. I prepare for the worst. I remember those days . . .

Here is what really happened: this was the nicest, most polite group of college age students I have ever met. When they gathered at the food places, they talked quietly. Most of them slept or quietly watched movies the entire flight. The flight was one of the quietest I have ever been on. The bathrooms stayed relatively clean. I was so totally impressed.

If there are Kuwaiti parents reading this blog whose college students are flying home around now, you can pat yourselves on the back. You raised young people with excellent manners. 🙂

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Adventure, Character, Christmas, ExPat Life, Holiday, Kuwait, Travel | 3 Comments

Photo Contest at

From my morning e-mails, may be of interest to my photography friends out there. Bu Yousef, send them a photo or two of your pigeons!


I’m writing to let you and your readers know about a photo contest that’s going
on over at There’s a daily prize of $25 and a weekly prize of $125,
totaling $300-a-week for the cutest pet photos (voted by users). is
a new online community for pet lovers and their pets. It doesn’t cost a thing
and all you have to do is join. I’ve put together this minisite which explains

I thought this might be something you would like to share with your readers. Feel
free to steal anything from the news release and if you are able to post, or
have any questions please let me know.

Thank you so much,


Dan Krueger

December 19, 2008 Posted by | Arts & Handicrafts, Blogging, Events, Photos | 9 Comments