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It all happened by chance. I was saying goodbye to a friend at my front door when Don & Yoko, my delightful neighbours, arrived with a friend of theirs, Noriko, who was staying in their flat. I didn’t know her but I loved her because she was so quiet. Don & Yoko introduced us saying that Noriko is an animation artist. I liked her even more — one of my heroes is Jan Svankmajer. We said hello and I went back in. But as I climbed the stairs up to my loft I thought it would be quite wonderful to have an animated cooking video instead of the more common filmed ones where the chef says and now you add this then stir that and so on. So, I asked Noriko if she would be interested in collaborating with me on doing a monthly animated cooking video, just like my belly dancer of the month! She liked the idea and here is the first one, of a recipe that I found on a postcard and which I love. I hope you will also like it, both the Berber hamburger and the animated video!

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villa necchi-sewing machine copy

Not so long ago, Villa Necchi was used as a setting for one of the most boring and pointless films I have ever watched with an equally stupid title: I am Love. The film may have been awful but the villa is fabulous, built by the two Necchi sisters (and the husband of one) whose fortune came from sewing machines (hence the incongruous photograph above) as well as other industries. The couple never had any children and they left the villa to FAI, the Italian equivalent of the National Trust, who restored and opened it to the public and I am lucky enough to be great friends with Ilaria Borletti, the chair of FAI, who very kindly arranged for me to visit when I was recently staying with her in Milan. The interior of the villa (and exterior too) is miraculously intact and made even more interesting by the addition of part of Claudia Gian Ferrari‘s art collection. So, I thought I would forget about food (or belly dancing for that matter) in this post to share with you a few pictures of the house. Unfortunately, I had left my fancy camera in London and had to take them with my iphone!

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mathaf-cai guo-qiang copy

I am straying from food and belly dancing in this post to give you a few pictures of a very interesting show I went to this morning at Mathaf in Doha. The show was of works by Cai Guo-Qiang, a Chinese artist who uses gun powder in his art although the first room in the show didn’t have much to do with gun powder but was a rather wonderful and mysterious installation of a fishing boat.

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