Monthly Archives: January 2014

Losing your Temper in Another Country

…..is never clever or productive.

TRUST ME – just been there.

I love Sri Lanka with the entirety of my heart, however sometimes things happen which wind me up beyond belief….and I’m a pretty chilled out person. Anybody can lose their temper. For me it takes a while but I’m a Taurus and when I lose it eventually it’s not pretty and can lead to crazy behaviour and violence (don’t be too worried – this is usually an arrack in your face (without glass) – unless you wave a red flag at me). In this case it was a tree cutter next door who cut through my rain drain around the roof (why he was even that close I do not want to know). I shouted, he shrugged. This made me more mad.

It’s over now so please don’t close the blog….just wanted to share the following…

Anger can be productive actually (just contradicted my first line but bugger off I’m on a roll)…it makes me write much better, think clearer and figure out where you want to be and what you want to do. Get rid of the anger inside, which may have been rotting for years. Against your parents (this is gladly not relevant in my case any more – we’ve made up – love them…..it took time but was worth it), old friends who let you down, others who did, just bad experiences, robberies, rape, domestic violence – the list is not endless but karma is. So I fully believe in what comes around goes around. Over the years I have relaxed considerably thanks to my experiences and views of others in worse places than myself.

So why do I still occasionally lose my temper – because I can. I am intelligent, not hugely ugly and I can probably win an argument 90% of the time. This means I am pretty cool, if not exceptional. End of rant.

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Toddy – What is it and Why is it So Damn Tasty?

Palm wine: also called kallu (Telugu: కల్లు,Tamil: கள்ளு, Malayalam: കള്ള്), palm toddy, or simply toddy (Hindi: ताड़ी), is an alcoholic beverage created from the sap of various species of palm tree such as the palmyradate palms and coconut palms (that paragraph was shamelessly stolen from Wikipedia (but that’s why it’s there hey?))

A toddy tapper

A toddy tapper

In Sri Lanka it is simply called Raa. You will not find it in a wine shop…this is part of the fun. You get it from toddy sellers (not to be confused with kassipu sellers, which is moonshine and horrid…not to mention deadly if you become addicted). Toddy is a cloudy palm wine (roughly about 7% or 8% alcohol content)….it’s quite pungent but tastes nice.

It is mostly drunk early morning when freshly made – like 5am or 6am…manual workers, agricultural workers etc. always pop in for a glass or two to get them set up for the day. Fresh is best. I have heard horror stories about rats in the vats etc. So if you really want to try it – go early and with somebody who knows what they are doing – oh and bring your own plastic bottle or plastic glass. Some of the clientele are not the healthiest lot. Alcoholics regularly frequent these places before the wine shops open. It’s dirt cheap. GO WITH SOMEBODY YOU TRUST.

But it’s a hell of a lot of fun and tasty. Like a plastic glass of warm Scrumpy at Glastonbury festival. It tastes like cider. For my Dutch and American friends I have no alternative – just try it (it’s like apple beer). Go easy though – it is also potent 😀

Toddy glass

Glass of toddy

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Filed under Drinks, Sri Lankan food & recipes, Sri Lankan life

Bit pissed off – need a FUN blog to cheer me up – BURGERS & BOOZE

I have had a hard few weeks (sorry I don’t normally start a blog with “I” but you will hopefully get it as you read on).

So, I’m going to get the moaning out of the way first and get onto the stuff that inspires me….food…yeppers and alcohol; double (shot) yeppers.

Ah it’s nothing drastic, it’s just frustration at living in a country where things are done however and whenever one pleases. An example, we were at a reputable Colombo lunch restaurant recently and ordered two beers which arrived promptly. My other half asked for an ashtray (I quit 6 months and 2 days ago 🙂 – funny how one remembers inane dates like that and then forgets your best mates birthday). The ashtray arrived when our drinks were finished….errrr kind of defeats the object. He was too shy to light up and put the cigarette out on the floor because it’s a rather posh place. We declined the lunch menu because of that and went to the Colombo City Hotel which has the best chicken sandwiches at around 70 rups. No booze but plenty of other establishments around.

Another point of irritation – you get a tuk tuk from the World Trade Centre to the Galle/Matara bus stand – most ask for 250 rups. Find a metered tuk tuk and it will cost you 100, and usually the drivers are much friendlier too.

ANYWAY – I was going to complain about the new banking regulations about receiving foreign currency into a rupee account but I feel better at having vented the above so I’ll give that a miss.

So let me lighten up and share with you one of the BESTESTS comfort foods ever:

Indian Chicken Burger

Indian Chicken Burger

This is quite possibly my favourite burger in the world (although I am partial to Burger King but don’t go spreading that around). McDonalds are bearable only when enormously hungover and KFC zingers used to be ok until they started under cooking the meat and it was actually still bloody – yuk. Don’t let that put you off. This is a stunner.

Makes 4:

Ingredients:

  • 400g chicken mince (breast can be difficult to manage when minced so ask for a mix)
  • 2 or 3 ginger pieces, very finely chopped
  • 3 or 4 garlic cloves, very finely chopped
  • 2 onions – one finely chopped for the burgers, one sliced into rings (for serving)
  • as much coriander as you can stomach 😉 I use one large handful finely chopped including the stalks
  • Big tbsp of salt
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • bread crumbs – fresh – about 1 slice
  • 1 or 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp cumin powder
  • 1 tsp lime or lemon juice
  • 1/2 green chilies (optional), chopped & de-seeded
  • vegetable oil

Method:

  • Mix everything together except onion rings, rest the mix for 10/15 minutes in the fridge.
  • Mould burgers into 4 patties
  • Fry slowly in vegetable oil until slightly browned and fully cooked.

To serve:

  • Mix some mayonnaise with fresh coriander leaves, lemon, salt and pepper.
  • Toast burger buns if wished
  • Spread with mayo mix, sliced tomatoes, onions and lettuce, top with hot burger and add more mayo mix or ketchup if preferred. Or even some cheese – nom nom.

DELISH!

Oh and as for the drink. Beer (lager works best for me). If you’re not a fan…a nice glass of white would do the trick too….but no Chardonnay please 🙂 – that would be an insult to the dish. A softer Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio would work much better. If you are a red drinker you can’t go wrong with a good Merlot or Cabernet (possibly better). May be a touch heavy but it will offset the coriander. If you’re into the harder stuff…I’m afraid only a Margerita or Caipirinha would be acceptable.

 

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Filed under Drinks, Food photography, Meat recipes, Sandwiches

Why I Will Never Understand REAL Sri Lankan Culture

The answer to the above title is simple. I am a Suddhi (a white women). In about 9 months I will have lived here for 10 years. I have had great, good, bad and horrid experiences, mostly thankfully good.

I think all expats go through a honeymoon stage at first – the newness, the beauty, the friendly people and beautiful smiles etc. But mostly ignorance of the the inherent culture makes people blind to how things really are.

It actually turns a bit sour about a year in when people start asking you what you are doing here. Firstly I was doing tsunami work so that was acceptable – the country needed help and the locals welcomed it.

After that I started dating a Sri Lankan guy which lasted a very long time but he wasn’t a good man and my reputation became tarnished as a result of that. That is all over now and I have met a new Sri Lankan partner, however I can still not kick the stigma of my previous man and many rumours continue to be spread – which are all untrue. Sri Lankans love to gossip so I hope that in time they will have other things to talk about. “Tomorrows roti paper.” 🙂

Anyway so after the honeymoon period comes the “trying to fit in”, or some extreme cases “trying to become Sri Lankan” – this entails learning Singhala, starting to dress a lot more conservatively, changing your natural behaviour to fit in more. I even lived in a poor families house for about a year (my in-laws at the time), living as a real Sri Lankan does. Fine, but for some that soon becomes prohibiting so then comes the reality. Depending on what kind of person you are this can last from months to years. The longer this phase lasts the more annoyed you can become and eventually everything about the country winds you up. I’ve been there (I tried for years so eventually I lost it).

Thankfully the final phase is acceptance – they are different to me. I am different to them. Inter-cultural relationships will remain challenging because of this. I still love the country and my new partner of one year and we have loads of fun. However for it to survive I think we both need some time in my country to balance things out…we’re working on it. For us to survive it will need a lot of work from both of us. We both know that, so watch this space.

Saying all this it is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and if you haven’t yet you must visit. It is truly magnificent for people on holiday, photographers, culture seekers, nature-lovers, surfers and beach bums. My views expressed above are my own and merely based on my experiences of being here so long.

No pics needed – google and you will find what you need…better images than I could ever produce.

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Happy New Year Folks – Short but Sweet Blog about Eggs

Hello all,

One of my New Years resolutions is to blog more so expect ramblings and recipes, some Dutch titbits and hopefully some useful information too.

I started the 31st of December very well, healthy dinner and in bed by 10 pm ignoring the party noises from everywhere in town. It went downhill on the 1st of January when I spent a whole day drinking with old and new friends culminating in the mother of all hangovers on the 2nd (and other embarrassing incidents which we will not go into here). Oh well….much fun was had.

Then yesterday, completely sober I broke a toe walking into a concrete table – pain….silly enormous tear-inducing pain for such a small bone so I’m trying to detox but failing somewhat (ibuprofen and beer does numb pain extremely well in case you are wondering).

The answer to a hangover in case you are not the ibuprofen & beer type is a perfect mix of carbs and protein and I have just the thing 🙂

Squidgy Cheesy Healthy Scrambled Eggs on Toast

There is no set ingredients list for this except for fresh slices of bread, eggs and cheese (preferably a medium or mature Cheddar or Gouda – cheeses like Mozzarella or Brie will not work…you need some bite). Not forgetting a lot of butter!

It’s very simple – toast your bread, spread butter on it (no margarine when hungover).

Cook your eggs in a frying pan with tons more butter, salt and pepper (milk is not needed…optional – just cook the eggs for less time if not using and keep stirring with a wooden spoon) and add grated cheese towards the end until you have a gorgeous mix of cheesy eggs and when ready, pile the very cheesy egg mixture onto the toasted bread slices and dig in.. Simplicity but effective.

You can of course become more adventurous and fry onions, tomatoes, chilis and all sorts of other ingredients first before adding the eggs but I couldn’t be bothered on the 2nd. Sometimes I can and add prawns too or tuna and it turns into a baked potato topping for dinner.

But simple is good and nutritious.

NOM

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

Cheesy Scrambled Eggs

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Filed under Cheese, Sandwiches, Vegetarian recipes