After the excitement of lots of travel in October, I was happy to be firmly placed back in Amman for all of November.
This month’s main focus was on working.
We shifted our focus after attending the International Food Blogger’s Conference in July and we were really starting to see an impact on our website traffic.
So this month was about figuring out what was working well and applying it to our strategy going forward.
As I was writing down all the things that I did this month, I definitely noticed a food-theme!
Building a Bread Oven
It’s been a dream of mine to build a bread oven in my backyard for quite some time!
Now, I’m finally able to do it.
When I was getting quotes initially, they were in the ballpark of 3,500 JOD ($5,000).
I love making fresh bread but even that seemed a little crazy to me.
We repainted a lot of the house here this month and I started talking to the painter, who is from Syria.
He told me that he’s actually trained as a stonemason and after talking for a bit, he happily told me that he could build me a bread oven for a tenth of the price.
As you can see from the picture, it’s halfway there.
I can’t wait until this is finished and I can make some fresh taboon bread!
Harvesting our Olive Trees
Down in the Valley, in our little garden, it was time to pick the olives from our trees.
We got quite a few to say the least!
I’ve been on a mission to figure out the best way to cure olives for the best taste.
I separated them into three batches and I’m testing different levels of salt and water, as well as cracked vs. uncracked.
I’ll write about this next month when hopefully they’ll be ready to try.
They take around 6-8 weeks of curing to become edible.
I made the mistake of trying an olive two weeks in and it took quite a while to get rid of the bitter taste in my mouth!
We Took Both Dogs to the Valley
Now that our new dog Charlie has settled in, and the weather has cooled in the Valley, we decided to take both dogs down.
I go down every Friday morning with my Dad for breakfast, some gardening and fresh air.
There can be as much as 20 degrees difference in temperature between Amman and the Valley.
Meaning when it gets a bit cooler in Amman (around 59°F), it can be a very nice 77°F in the Valley.
Our labrador Max can get quite unsettled on the way down due to the excitement of going but on the way back, they both collapsed!
It’s been very sweet seeing how they’ve been bonding and have become the best of friends.
Date Night @ Fairmont Amman
We decided that we needed to make more of an effort to get out and see Amman.
Starting with a date night at the Sushi restaurant in the Fairmont.
Not very traditionally Arab or Jordanian but we had been craving Japanese food.
I had (unfairly) low expectations for a decent Japanese meal in Jordan but I was pleasantly surprised!
The food was fresh, tasty and deliciously balanced.
We had a wonderful evening and will definitely be back to try their other restaurants soon.
It’s nice when you’re both busy to spend some quality time together.
Getting my Shipment from America
I’ve been trying to organise getting a container of my belongings shipped from America to Amman.
In true Jordanian style, it’s not been straightforward.
If you don’t know Jordan, things take a long time to get done and normally include going back and forth between offices with no clear procedure.
It drives me absolutely crazy!
I went with my Dad one day to a government building to arrange some paperwork and when we parked, we were parked as normal as you can.
When we returned, it looked quite different!
What’s Happening in December
In the first week of December, we’re heading to Muscat in Oman to visit my cousin Mansour.
We visited Muscat a few years ago but only for a few days and didn’t get a chance to explore very far.
This time, I want to hire a car and head around to some of the Wadi’s.
The weather is perfect this time of year for it.
I’m also hoping to do some fishing when we’re there!
The other most obvious event is Christmas!
We’re hosting at our home this year so I’m looking forward to cooking for everyone.
Until next month,
Chef Tariq 👨🏽🍳