Monday, August 25, 2008

Daylight Saving Time to end

Egypt’s daylight saving time for 2008 will end at midnight between August 28 and August 29, when the country will wind the clock back by one hour.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Wadi Foods

Wadi Foods is a local Egyptian Company which grows, bottles and sells organic products.

I have been extremely happy with their olive oil selection including the naturally flavored varieties (which come in attractive bottles that look very elegant on a dinner table and can be served as is)

Their olives come in multiple varieties (black, Kalamata & green) and with various pickling spices.
They have excellent capers and sun dried tomatoes too. (tart and firm, not soggy)

The pepper pickles are not as spicy as I (an Indian) would like them, but I have friends who aren't into extremely spicy food, who love these pickles.
Do remember that in a non Indian setting, pickles normally refer to something that has been preserved in brine (salt water with a little souring agent) The cornichons are good and the lime pickle is what we call in konkani -meetha udkache - which means preserved in brine. they also have vine leaves, if you are inspired to create your own stuffed vine leaves at home.

They say that, all Wadi Food pickles are handpicked and then processed naturally by curing them slowly without any chemical additives or preservatives. They do taste that way.

They have some excellent tapenades that go well on bruschettas for an impromptu snack or on toast for breakfast. I love the sun dried tomato tapenade the best

They sell ready made pestos (Basil, mixed herb and artichoke) and pasta sauces (Arabioatta, Alfredo, Mediterranea and Basilico) I haven't tried these as I prefer to make my sauces from scratch, so I can tweak the taste to our taste buds. But I did try an onion paste of theirs for marination when I was in a hurry one day and it tasted quite awesome. I don't remember the exact name on the bottle and I haven't seen it recently. Some of their products go off the shelves for a while depending on the seasonal availability of their fresh produce.

The Apple Cider Vinegar may not be the same as the one available in the US, but its quite good never the less and works out much more reasonable and healthy than the imported varieties. The balsamic vinegar is ok for marination, but if the balsamic is to be used as a dip or as the main top note flavor in a dish, then I prefer to use my bottle from Modena.

All measurements on bottles are in the drained weight.

These are the logos, you are looking for, when searching for Wadi Foods products

Most of their bottle produce is available in the Major Grocery Stores in Egypt You can also buy them from the dedicated Wadi Food Stores around Cairo

The other advantage of going to their dedicated stores is that you can also pick up organic chicken and organic vegetables grown on their farms along the Cairo Alex desert road.

They also have appropriate baskets for their bottles, which are very handy when you want to take some over as a gift for your dinner hostess. Or you can even carry one of their fancy jars. - My husband is convinced that I buy half the products because of their bottles :) which I love to re-use in different ways.

Feel free to use any of their spice/bottle racks and combine it with whichever bottles you think your hostess may appreciate and create a beautiful basket for yourself. If you fall in love with the arrangement yourslef, just buy 2. I speak from experience :)

Credit Note: Pictures have been taken from the Wadi Food Website.

Apple Cider Vinegar in Cairo

I pick up Apple Cider Vinegar regularly. I normally shop at Carre Four. I think it is available in Metro too, but sometimes they run out of stock.

Wadi Foods also has their own brand of apple cider vinegar which is locally made and good quality, that you can pick up from any Wadi Foods store.

Receiving Indian Television Channels in Egypt

I'm often asked this question by Indians (and a few expats from the Middle East) who move to Egypt : "How do I receive Indian Television Channels in Egypt?"

NileSat receiver, receives some of the Indian channels for Free like NDTV Arabia and NDTV Imagine.

To get most of the Indian channels, you need to install something called a "Pehla" card into your set top box. From what I understand, people who migrate to Egypt from the Middle East can bring the same card over and continue to pay the subscription amount in the Middle East. I'm not sure of the legality though.

There are some cable operators who offer "Pehla" subscription in Egypt. I have seen some operators in Maadi advertise in the CSA magazine-"Oasis". I think his name is Tarek and the company is called "Queen"

The Pehla Channels offer Star Plus, Star Movies, Sony, Set Max, Star World and a lot more Indian channels, but the feed is the same as that of UAE not India. From what I have been told, the saas bahu serials in the UAE are running on par with the telecast in India.

You can check which of these options works for you.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

CSA Library

The CSA Book Library has a membership fee of 120LE annually, after which you do not have to pay anything extra for the books that you borrow. You can pick up quite a few books for this membership fee and keep them for a week.

The Library operates from 9am to 8pm from Sun-Wed and 9am-5pm on Thursdays.

Supriya the librarian is quite helpful. The library is quite well stocked for a community library in Egypt. It has a good selection of books on Egypt and the Middle East, a large selection of children's books and pretty recent copies of magazines from the Americas and Europe.

There is also a book club which meets once a month on the premises.

There is also a movie library. Membership for this too is 120LE annually. Same timings as the book library. This library operates out of the Village Gift shop at the CSA.

Call them at 33585284 or 3358 for more details.

They are currently offering 2 free rentals on renewed and new memberships. They have an after hour drop off slot too, if you can't make it in time.

Current titles in stock are viewable by clicking here

The CSA is located at
Building 4, Road 21
Maadi, Cairo

BCA Library

The BCA in Mohandaseen and Heliopolis have a decent sized library of books at both locations.

Membership to the club automatically gives you membership to the book library. The library works on an honor system and depends on members donating books to the collection.

More details on other benefits of being a BCA member are here :

There is also a Video (Casette and DVD) library at Mohandaseen which stocks the latest movies and tele series. BCA membership gives you automatic membership to the Video Library, but you have to pay 10LE rental per movie, which you can keep for a week.

The video library operates on certain days at fixed timings only. Contact the BCA for more details.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Wikipedians Leave Cyberspace visit Alexandria

In Alexandria, 650 Devotees Bemoan Vandals, Debate Rules;
Deletionists vs. Inclusionists

August 8, 2008

Alexandria, Egypt

The ancients ranked the Lighthouse of Alexandria, a 400-foot tower of stone, as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Just down the road, they overlooked a library that, beginning in the third century B.C., represented the greatest storehouse of knowledge anywhere on earth. The Great Library was the real wonder -- we can see that now.

The library's ghosts led Wikipedia to choose Alexandria last month for its largest gathering ever in meatspace. (In cyberspace the Wikipedians never stop gathering: It's a continuous round-the-clock rolling workfest.) The library managed to gather up most of the world's books, tens of thousands of papyrus scrolls -- and then it burned, not even a partial catalog surviving the cataclysm. Two millennia later, the Wikipedians are the library's heirs. Their online encyclopedia, going on eight years old, is many times more extensive than anything in print, comprising 2.5 million articles in English. Wikipedias have sprung up in 263 other languages, including Sanskrit, Choctaw and Twi. Wikipedians believe (and I do, too) that bits, being abstract, will outlast paper.

More at

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