Sunday, 25 October 2009

Get Stuffed!!

In a area in north London called Angel, I usually drive by a weird shop that sells or hires stuffed animals! its a grubby shop and usually when driving by I can spot large animals inside such as ostrich and zebra, the other day as I was driving by, Amir my son spotted the shop and asked me if we can stop and have a look so I thought why not, I too always wanted to have a look and this was my chance, we parked the car and walked over to the shop but unfortunately it was closed, I am not sure if it is closed for good or just for the day, the shutters were down which made looking inside the shop and taking pictures difficult but still we managed to spot many animals inside and just about managed to take few photos through the shutters, that is why pictures are not clear, they had a sign saying no photography was allowed but there was no one there to stop me!
(Click on pictures for a bigger view)

in this picture there is a lion and a hippo's head!

Unsurprisingly the name of this is... yes you guessed it right:

Taxidermy (stuffing animals) must be a dying tradition and the truth is that these animals do look quite freaky and there is no way that I would put one in my house, I think this shop mainly hire their animals as props for movies and shows and so on......

Staying on the subject of stuffed animals, yesterday (Saturday) I took the kids to the Natural History Museum we travelled by train which added fun to the day, the museum was very busy being a Saturday and school's half term holiday, there was a long Que outside and once we were inside, the place was jammed even though we got there early, we only managed to go through half of the museum in 3 hours, it has been many years since I went there and it had changed a lot, the most popular exhibit was the Dinosaurs area but there was a Que of few hundred people trying to get in, by then we were tired and the kids didn't want to stand in the Que so we gave it a miss, hopefully we will come back another time when its quieter.

The last of the Dodo which has been extinct for hundreds of years


The X Factor which has taken over British TV as it does every year at this time is in full swing, from what I have watched so far there aren't many talents this year but I do like 2 girls that seem to be talented and do have a good voice, one of them is Lucy Jones who comes from Wales, she has given good performances so far and I think she has a chance of winning the x factor this year, here she is singing My Funny Valentine on last night's show, very classy:

Here is the link to the song in case the above video does not work

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Halal Food!!

Halal food is becoming more and more the norm in London, where ever you go there are shops and restaurants selling halal food, even most primary schools now offer only halal food as standard and it is becoming acceptable by most people, in fact many people I know have admitted that they do prefer the taste of halal meat and appreciate the fact that it doesn't contain blood.
Many well known food outlets now offer halal branches, halal Nando's and Subway are every where in London, I actually think that the halal branches are more than non halal branches and I think it wont be long before most places here will offer halal food.
On the other hand I myself do occasionally go to some fast food restaurants for a non-halal burger like the Angus burger at Burger King which is not available in a halal version and I believe since Britain is officially a Christian country then we have a licence to say Besmellah (in the name of Allah) and eat non halal meat, many years ago I was at some one's house and one of London's highest Islamic clerics was there, I asked him if it was OK to eat non halal food, he told me that while preference is for halal food that if I fancy something that wasn't available as halal then I should go ahead and eat it and that's what I do sometimes, it is common sense, for example in an area called Wood Green in London there are 2 Subway restaurants within 100 meters of each other, one is halal the other is not, in this case I wouldn't go to the non halal Subway when the other one is only few minutes away.

So the other day I had a discussion with friends who weren't convinced that I should eat non halal food and they thought I should only stick to halal food and so on...
The day after I was in a busy high street here in London, at lunch time I felt hungry and fancied a burger at Burger King, as I was walking towards the restaurant I noticed this new hut selling burgers and hot dogs, all food was advertised as Halal, it looked clean so I thought I will try it, I went there and saw a man inside cooking burgers on a hot plate, I stood there trying to get his attention but instead of serving me he was looking at a girl who was wearing a muffin top, he kept whistling at her and doing funny things with his eyes with no respect for me what so ever, he looked north African and was young enough to be my son, I thought to myself this is not going well but kept myself calm and waited for him to serve me, eventually he turned to me and asked what I wanted! since it has been many years since I had hot dog, I ordered a hot dog even though I wasn't sure if I really wanted it, he put the hot dog in a bun and I told him to put some mustard on it, by then a friend of his passed and they both spoke in Arabic/Algerian, as he handed me the hot dog an old English lady came over and ordered something, I paid him and walked off. I took a bite of the hot dog and it was stone cold and really disgusting, I got angry but still kept calm and thought no I am not going to let it go, I walked back to the hut and spoke to the guy in Arabic so to be discreet, I told him the food was cold, he became angry and started shouting so I said to him, listen I am speaking to you in Arabic so that I don't put off your customers, by then there was a Que of about 6 or 7 people and told him to taste the food that it was stone cold but no he wouldn't accept it and kept shouting and saying his food is good and that I was nasty to him and so on that's when I told him that perhaps if he wasn't ogling the girl and paid attention to cooking then his food would be hot (still speaking in Arabic to him) he continued shouting back in English and said he didn't want my custom so I said in English, fine just give me back my money which he did while swearing at me, that's when I really had enough of him, I turned to the people queuing and told them not to buy anything from him that his food was cold and disgusting and that is why I got my money back, they all looked at me and walked off so fast! he went mad and was screaming abuse at me in the middle of a busy high street, I smiled at him and walked away, I don't think someone like him would become successful, he had no customer service or any manners, me! I went to Burger King for a well deserved Angus Burger, Yum...

Staying on the subject of food, here is a channel on Youtube about Libyan Cooking, they are posted By Libyan Jews living in Italy and Libyan recipes from Italian TV (La cucina tripolina) cooked mainly by old Libyan Jewish ladies, very interesting to watch, here is a video about cooking Libya's national dish: BAZIN

Saturday, 3 October 2009

Queen Fatima of Libya

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

"كُلُّ نَفْسٍ ذَائِقَةُ الْمَوْتِ ثُمَّ إِلَيْنَا تُرْجَعُونَ

"صدق الله العظيم

It is with great regret to read the news of the passing away of Queen Fatima Al-Shifa Al-Sinousi, wife of Libya's late King Idris Al-Sinousi.

Queen Fatima died today in a hospital in Cairo after she fell ill last month, Queen Fatima was born in 1911 and left Libya in 1969 with her husband the King, they both never returned back to their beloved Libya.
Queen Fatima is to be buried in Medina in Saudi Arabia.

Here is a link of a post I did about her which includes rare pictures of a lady that shunned the lime light and lived her life quietly in Egypt refusing to get into any media interviews or comments, she had a dignified life, an elegant beautiful lady that was never to see Libya again.

A friend of mine left this comment on my facebook which I think says it all:

"I feel today that a page of our history has been turned for good. A nice and a clean one, representing all the hopes we had for our country and the future ...رحم الله الملكة فاطمة و اسكنها فسيح جناته "

above picture taken from: Libya Al-Mostakbal

إنا لله وإنا إليه راجعون

Friday, 2 October 2009

Libyan Slap Up Meal

Salam, long time no see :o)

I have been away from the blog world for a while as I had some issues to deal with, I am not sure if I will continue to blog the same way I used to but we will see.....
It has not been long since Ramadan finished and we all celebrated Eid, I actually have a rant about Libyan Ramadan here in the UK which I know some people wouldn't like but still I have to say my piece, most Muslim communities in the UK celebrate Ramadan by doing the occasional Iftar (Ramadan dinner) for their community where families and single people gather together in a hall, restaurant, hotel or even a mosque, usually a selection of their national dishes are served and it can be very enjoyable if done correctly, now I know that the Libyan community here is not well off but there are other communities that are lets say, a lot poorer, I myself over the years have been to other Arab/Muslim community Iftars and they were usually simple but clean and well organised, after all here in the UK they cater for all pockets, you can actually organise a decent clean hygienic dinner for very little money which brings me to the Libyan community Iftars, one of the official Iftars held in Ramadan was advertised on the Internet and Libyan families were invited to attend, I didn't attend this one but have been to similar ones few times, the advertised Iftar I mentioned was attended by many Libyans, they even posted pictures on the Internet but is it just me or was that not right!!

people were served food straight from the cooking pot as you can see from the picture, believe me this is normal! it really does look like a slap up meal served in prison, I have even seen people serve French bread tucked under their arms (remember they work in hot kitchens and might be a bit sweaty!) then when they arrive at your table they break the bread with their hands and just pile it on top of the tables that have no dishes or even table cloths, some of these tables have old encrusted food stains that even Bacteria wouldn't like, how is that for hygiene? and if you dare mention anything you would just get: eat man its not going to kill you!

A friend of mine who lives in London but travels a lot to Libya told me that it is nothing like that there, that food events are well organised and clean and that the Libyan community here need to move on, I am not sure why we are not trying to improve our standards here, I only see this with Libyan community, of course I am not saying everyone is like that but it does seem to be the norm with most, maybe we should look at other Muslim communities here that are lees fortunate than us yet they got it right, we can learn a lot from them.

Looking at the picture again, I bet the UK hasn't seen anything like this since Victorian times!