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Self - Scented

It's May, it has been raining since the eleventeenth of January. I am struggling to keep my upper lip stiffened.  I am struggling to keep my pecker up. I am struggling not to stay in bed all day, gorging on lamb kofta wrapped in garlic naan dripping minted tzaziki on to the doona or snogging tonka bean ice-cream smothered in hot chocolate sauce topped with crackled pistachio praline and mini marshmallows. I have had more than enough of grey, miserable, end of days. The only thing that brings me solace is my compulsive purchase and embarrassingly overt sniffing both in public and private of highly scented, eye watering, soul quenching herbs and spices.
My holy trinity - my snap, crackle and pop - today - cinnamon, cardamom and chillies.
Cardamom, one of my favourite spices, see my recipe for West Pakistan Chicken recipe in my Zipless Munch post was also one of the most valued, along with saffron and vanilla beans.
Sri Lankan cuisine is aromatic, hot, and influence by it's proximity to southern India and the Arab, Moor, Dutch and British traders that passed through.
My brother recently moved to Sri Lanka to do an engineering job. He hasn't said much about the move other than to tell us he has put on 5kg in a month and the Sri Lankan's can't drive, no way no how . Kinda thinking he must be eating pretty well though.
This mix I love, this mix flexes big flavour. This mix is hot, punchy and fragrant. Use judiciously. For 2 kg of cubed lamb shoulder I use 2 tablespoons. Chicken, 1 tablespoon, dust over fish mixed with a little fine cornmeal. Add a teaspoon to your spinach/silverbeet when you make hunza pie.

Sri Lankan Curry Powder

2 tablespoons of coriander seeds
1 tablespoons of cumin seeds
half a teaspoon of fenugreek seeds
2 teaspoons of fennel seeds
2 sticks of cinnamon
5 cloves
2 black cardamom pods ( green fine  but doesn't have the smoky flavour of black)
15 dried bird's eye chillies
1 teaspoon of black pepper corns

Dry roast the spices over a gentle heat until lovely and aromatic and dark
but not burnt! Allow to cool and then grind to a fine powder using a  mortar and pestle or coffee grinder.

The Sri Lankan's love their sambals, I usually serve sliced bananas coated in coconut, a bowl of icy cold chopped cucumber mixed with mint, sweet mango chutney and this green mango pickle.

Green Mango Pickle

2 large green mangoes, washed well
2 fresh bird's eye chillies, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
100mls of fresh lime juice
60 grams of palm sugar, shaved ( substitute brown sugar)
20 mls coconut vinegar  ( substitute red wine vinegar )

Cut the cheeks from the mangoes and slice very finely into strips using a sharp knife or a mandolin if you have one. Mix with the rest of the ingredients and allow to stand for a least
2 hours in the fridge. Can be kept in sealed container in fridge for up to 2 weeks.

உணவு நேசிக்கிறேன்amo comida aiment la nourriture elsker mad

Love Food X


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There's always an avalanche of articles published in the new year with predictions of the food and drink that will be  "trending"  and what we should be adopting to remain cool .

Frankly, as much as I love to try new ingredients, the hunt for a bit of strange, in these "interesting times", I'm comforted by something familiar and that reeks of ol' Blighty .  And it's the old stuff, the classics, that await the younger generation to hunt down. Here's a few of my favourites from the 19th Century to get things started.

At first whiff, Gentleman's relish was an instant flashback to my school packed lunches, Peck's Anchovette paste on spongy white bread, served at school bag temperature of around 29 degrees celsius. Them were the days. Patum Peperium, the Gentleman's relish is another paste not for the faint hearted. It is made from salted anchovies, butter and some very punchy herbs and spices. A little goes a long way and as recommended, a …