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  1. Thanks @KennethT, always great to see your food porn. I badgered our hotel in Seminyak to direct me to a local place for babi gulang. Eventually they relented and told me about a place a few blocks away after a heavily emphasised disclaimer that we might get sick (we didn’t). It was empty, but we ate anyway and enjoyed it immensely.
  2. sartoric

    Dinner 2018 (Part 1)

    Indian thali #326 Spiced rice with fenugreek chicken curry, stir fried broccolini, potatoes with dill, dal, cucumber & dill raita, plus homemade mango pickle.
  3. Thanks for that, I think I’ve borrowed Curry Easy Vegetarian from the library, err, several times
  4. Thanks for this @Chris Hennes, I cook Indian food every day, mostly vegetarian and I love Madhur Jaffreys recipes. It just so happens that the largest book fair in our city happens this weekend, I’ll be looking out for Vegetarian India.
  5. @Smithy, thanks for encouraging my education via Wikipedia on the various types of limes. Here they’re mostly Tahitian limes, which are what you know as Persian limes. I guess adjusting the sugar would be the way to compensate, although I never try a batch before maturing, we enjoy the surprise. Your pickle looks great.
  6. sartoric

    The Dish Towel

    Here in the antipodes they’re commonly known as tea towels. This one is a favourite, the kindergarten class of my brothers child, where each child draws a self portrait. First column, second row, how my niece sees her parents...nothing much has changed.
  7. sartoric

    Mortar and Pestle – The Topic

    Yep, that’s what I do.
  8. Correct, I sterilise the jar with hot rinse then low oven, that’s all. The lime pickle goes quickly around here. A kaffir lime pickle i experimented with using the same recipe is not so popular, it has kept well for several months.
  9. Thanks for taking care of this @blue_dolphin, I make a batch every month or so now. It stores well in the cupboard here
  10. sartoric

    Dinner 2017 (Part 6)

    A few recent meals. I’ve branched out (only slightly) from our all Indian diet, to include Sri Lankan food. Chicken wing curry, dal parripu, stir fried snow peas, potato curry with yellow rice and paratha. On the side, coconut sambal and homemade mango chutney. A different chicken curry, green beans curry, coconut sambal, potatoes with dill, dal, served with rice and pappads. Yet another chicken curry, mixed veggie curry, stir fried asparagus, dal, served with rice and homemade coconut roti, plus coconut sambal and mango chutney on the side. Here’s a shameless plug for my mini foodblog “Tasting Sri Lanka” which can be found on the Elsewhere in Asia/Pacific dining forum. This link might work.
  11. Tea and a banana would do for breakfast on our last day in Sri Lanka, as we had a big day of eating lined up. We grabbed a tuk tuk to the Pettah, a fascinating market district and bustling even on a Sunday. Determined to find another recommendation, (the hole in the wall Mayura), google maps did a sterling job of leading us here through the rainy chaotic laneways. M ordered chicken with white rice, I ordered crabs with red rice, each came with a mixed veggie curry, dal, pickle and an omelette. We clumsily ate with our fingers, under the amused stares of the other patrons. The chicken curry included all parts of the bird - liver, heart and unmentionables, thankfully no feathers. This meal was delicious, authentic and very cheap at 920 rupees. Mayura is popular and very busy with takeaways, see all the green bags lined up on the counter. We waddled to the train station and rode the rails to Mt Lavinia about 30 minutes away. There lies the historic Mt Lavinia Hotel, a gracious colonial building overlooking the ocean. So pleasant to relax on the veranda with a beer, while listening to a cool jazz band and people watching. I had made reservations (imperative) for dinner at the Ministry of Crab. Started by two Sri Lankan international cricket stars, and run on eco friendly principles, it’s located in the Old Dutch Hospital, yet another gorgeous colonial building tastefully renovated and filled with upmarket shops and restaurants. We shared a baked crab starter...not really necessary. Then, this jumbo chilli crab.... With mixed veggies and garlic rice, also not necessary. I could have easily skipped all of this to focus purely on the crab. A fantastic (if expensive) meal, and a fitting end to our trip tasting Sri Lanka.
  12. Colombo, steamy capital of Sri Lanka. Our homestay is a charming 170 year old house set in lush gardens with beautifully detailed fretwork above the doors, interesting art and comfy lounges on the porch. Breakfast was simple but tasty, milk rice, dal and coconut sambal. I got to help in the very basic kitchen, and so wish I could pop out to the shop at home for a bag of freshly grated coconut. We were fortune to become friends with the extended family of our homestay host from our first night in Negombo. Today we would spend the day together sight seeing and enjoying a fantastic lunch at Kaema Sutra. The restaurant is owned by a Bollywood star (idolised by the younger daughter of our family friends) is upmarket and inventive in it’s modern take on Sri Lankan cuisine. It’s located in Independence Square a huge colonnaded collection of buildings, and another example of thoughtful renovation. We shared a few godhambra roti crisps to start, then Australian mutton curry, steamed barramundi, kottu with roast chicken, baby potato curry, okra curry, dal and yellow rice. That’s a lime for squeezing on the kottu (in the muslin bag, foreground plate). I finally got a shot of the kottu cooking. We shared a dessert of “What the hopper” a honey hopper filled with whipped curd, fresh strawberries and drizzled with treacle. This restaurant was a great recommendation, delicious food, fabulous staff who made a fuss of younger daughters obsession, and not expensive, 10,000 rupees for six people including drinks.
  13. @Kerala, the cashews are delicious, we saw them growing too. It was a long drive to Galle, the arrival made even more sweet by the city itself. With a lively food scene,, buildings from the 16th century onwards, stunning sea views from high up on the ramparts, sun sinking into ocean, eclectic shops, and friendly people, this was our kinda town. We stayed in the old fort area, a collection of easy to navigate streets with an interesting something around every corner. Our front porch was across the road from Serendipity Arts Café, a great spot for dinner on our first night. The chef here is affectionately known as Babi. He accompanied the well know Australian chef and television personality Peter Kuruvita on his around island filming of the series My Sri Lanka (worth a watch). Babi also owns two other cafes, Spoon’s and The Stairway (Keep Calm and Climb the...), a busy guy, but not too busy to cook food for us. M ordered chicken kebabs with chips and salad. The chicken was spicy, moist and tender, the chips fried with curry leaves and garlic to be squeezed over, the salad a perfect foil. I had rice and curry and took the only blurry photo of the trip. My curries were pumpkin, okra, cucumber, pineapple and dal, all surrounding a mound of rice. Delicious meals. Breakfast at our guesthouse was the best of the trip both days. String hoppers made with millet flour, egg hoppers, roti, milk rice, and sweet filled coconut pancakes. To go with coconut sambal, chilli sambal, fish curry and dal. Plus fruit and good coffee. Interesting that avocado is seen here more often as a sweet rather than savoury food. It’s in many desserts and better known as butter fruit. This spice shop was also across the road, quaint with its large jars of spice displayed like an old fashioned lolly shop. It’s owned by a friendly man wearing traditional Muslim dress, happy to talk about spice and recommend his best roasted curry powder. The Dutch Hospital is beautifully renovated and repurposed with upmarket restaurants, bars, and shops. Partially obscured by the tree is A Minute by Tuk Tuk, another great dinner recommendation. So pleasant to sit on the balcony with a slight sea breeze and a gin & tonic. M ordered roast chicken with godhambra roti (paper thin stretchy bread), it came with dal and curry sauce. I ordered eggplant godhambra which came with dal, and we shared nutty prawns. This meal was delicious and not expensive at 4300 rupees including two drinks. The food would get even better for our last few days in Sri Lanka. Next up, Colombo !
  14. Yes @kayb, very fancy for Sri Lanka. The house belonged to D’s MIL, the FIL was a famous musician and artist, he passed away 15 years ago, but left an interesting legacy of artwork and old photographs in the bungalow that he designed. From Kandy we head further into hill country to Nuwara Eliya. Sitting at 2000 m above sea level it’s cooler and therefore was a favourite haunt of the British during colonial times wanting to escape the heat and humidity of the plains. There’s many fine examples of colonial architecture with stately hotels, a pink post office and one of the worlds oldest golf courses. Lunch was rice and curry at Milano’s, a local joint in town. I had vegetarian, the guys each had the same with a bright red piece of chicken on top, plus a bowl of coconut gravy to share. Here there was manioc (a tuber like sweet potato), okra, mallum of the day, dal, pappads and the ubiquitous rice. Our next destination was Ella, we had tickets for the 3 pm train to get there. D drove us to the station, but the train had other plans, and was delayed. Instead, D drove us to Ella through the misty mountain scenery complete with tea pickers carrying their harvest via a headband supporting the bundle on their backs. Hard work for what we would consider very little money, but with cheerful women making the best of it. Ella is gorgeous, with an easy to navigate small town surrounded by lush mountains. Chill cafe was our dinner venue, for a wood fired pizza ! The margherita pizza was good, a thin crust as we like it, plus a scattering of basil and mozzarella. There’s several hikes in the area. We huffed and puffed our way up to Little Adams peak. Three kms of wide, gently climbing trail through tea plantations, 350 odd steps and several sections of scrambling goat track later, we made it. The 360 degree views are a fitting reward. Chill cafe beckoned us for further reward - beer and snacks, fried cashews with chilli and garlic, plus pappads with homemade mango chutney. We made it back to our guesthouse just before the rain started, and then clouds rolled up the valley and turned our picture perfect view into a whiteout. A total rest afternoon ensued. Dinner down the road at Zion View guesthouse was more rice and curry (chicken) to share, plus homemade samosas with chips and salad. I like the way they mixed the chips into the salad. All very tasty. Two very large longhaired German shepherds roamed this open air restaurant. They were skin and bone underneath all that hair, though clearly loved and prized possessions. I’m convinced there is not one fat dog in Sri Lanka.
  15. Yes @KennethT, there’s many different types of roti. Some in Sri Lanka have an egg, green onion and chilli in the dough, others are flaky with layers of ghee - they’re my favourite. I made some at home on the weekend, rice flour, desiccated coconut, salt and water were the only ingredients. They turned out okay, but the dough was a bit too wet and therefore difficult to handle. Practise needed ! On to Kandy, the second largest city in Sri Lanka, placed amongst towering mountains with pretty lakes and large trees providing a green backdrop. Our accommodation is at a homestay high in the hills where we enjoyed magnificent views over lush slopes and a very good rice and curry dinner. Here’s chicken curry (hiding under slices of fresh tomato), potato curry, pappads, rice, stir fried kancun (water spinach), green beans curry, snake gourd curry and dal. Breakfast here was a masala omelette with toast and jam, fresh fruit and coffee. It was okay and hit the spot, but I missed string hoppers, no photos. There’s a well known restaurant in town Balaji Dosai, we sought it out for the famous dosa of southern India and weren’t disappointed. It’s a small high turnover place with queues waiting for seats, shared tables, wash basin in the corner and no cutlery. The masala dosa was delicious, served with coconut chutney and dal. This photo taken before the man opposite me motioned I should turn the plate around. Ok, that makes sense. D lives in Kandy and tonight was to be our last night with him. He invited us to share a meal at his home and sample his wife’s cooking, what a treat. Seen below, black pork curry, devilled chicken, string hopper kottu, salad like coleslaw but better and vegetable curry. Traditionally in Sri Lanka guests and older people eat first, so the table is set for three, being me, M and his mother in law. We goaded him into joining us which he eventually did, fingers balling up a tasty mix of kottu with some pork and veggies and then offering it to his wife. So sweet.