Which herbs to plant in an apartment
My wife and I took advantage of the unfortunate COVID-19 lockdown to use our mini vertical planter to cultivate edible herbs. This adds some flavor to the stay-at-home "activity" especially the herbs can be used as condiments in many food preparations and salads as explained further below...
We bought for a ridiculous sum, crops for some herbs that can survive an apartment atmosphere with moderate light.
We planted two kinds of basil, the one with small leaves and the one with larger leaves.
Both emanate a delicious basil flavor immediately upon touching them.
Their leaves are much appreciated in a tomato based salad or with pasta preparations.
A taste of Italy on your wall and then in your dish!
A Mediterranean herb used in Italian and other Mediterranean cuisines like the Lebanese. Oregano is similar to thyme in taste and can be either dried and used as a condiment or tasted as green leaves to replace thyme in a fresh Lebanese salad.
A main ingredient of the Lebanese cuisine tasted as is in a fresh salad with onions and tomatoes or dried as a condiment or soaked in olive oil and salted to create the famous "Zaatar" that flavors the also famous "mankouché" or thyme pizza if you prefer.
This herb aromate has many uses like macerating it in olive oil prior to seasoning a salmon steak with it!
Whatever herbs you chose, it remains quite fun to cultivate them at home and a added pleasure when using their leaves in your preferred recipes.
Alma El Chaab (Shaab)- South of Lebanon
We were driving back from Ain Ebel taking the road down to Naqoura at the southern border of Lebanon when we crossed this picturesque village which beauty was completely unknown to us. We immediately fell under the spell of this house, its magical garden and the astonishing natural stone fence that borders the street all the way inside the village of Alma El Chaab.
The tiny streets with traditional Lebanese houses invited us to continue driving inwards with a new charming discovery at each and every crossing.
Alma El Chaab is built with the same stones, of the same age, and with the same mortar!
It's homogeneity and uniformity are like it is coming out of a mold or a 3D print.
Many churches are there but we encountered two of them:
The National Evangelical Church (left)
The Mar Elias El Hay Church, initially built in 1880 and entirely renovated in 2000.
"Mar Elias" is Saint Elijah the Prophet whose story is told in the Old Testament and to whom hundreds of churches are dedicated in Lebanon.
Although most houses were closed during our passage by Alma El Chaab, we noticed they were maintained as attested by the flowers, plants and trees.
Other gardening leftovers like fertilizer bags and tools gave us the impression we just missed to meet the homeowners.
The few abandoned houses simply increase the overall charm of the village like this way beneath a wooden roofed arcade or this stair which is missing on purpose a few of its steps.
This was a safety trick not to let anyone climb to the roof while the homeowners use a wooden ladder to reach the first step.
The lower right image demonstrates the thickness of the stone walls.
Finally the last house to say goodbye simply rivals with the beauty of the first, confirming the outstanding beauty of Alma El Chaab or if you prefer "Alma The People" (Chaab means people in Arabic). We tried to search the exact meaning of "Alma" with no convincing interpretations found unfortunately.
It took us less than 15 minutes to reach Naqoura when continuing downwards on the Ain Ebel - Naqoura road. The superb blue and green colors of the crystal clear sea brought us to level zero down from the some 350m of alitude of Alma El Chaab.
Naqoura's cliff is of a white rock that reminds you with no doubt that Alma El Chaab's churches were built on that rock!