Sri Lanka…A beautiful country :)

Who would have thought that a ‘small’ country like Sri Lanka would have so much to offer? My husband and I recently visited this beautiful island and immediately fell in love with it. The hustle and bustle of the busy roads, with street vendors on the side selling anything from fresh fruit and veg to swim floats and wood carvings, kept us very entertained.

The people were so friendly that each and every person we met asked us where we were from, as they were so intrigued by us! They were very kind and friendly and wanted to learn about new people. Nobody bothered us or tried to convince us that we need to buy a lucky necklace that will cure any illnesses. The children smiled at us and waved like we were A-list celebrities.

The one thing I have to talk about is the food! The food was so memorable that I am convinced my carnivore husband could live as a vegetarian out there. From fresh exotic fruit such as papaya, rambutan and king coconuts, to pumpkin curry, lentil curry, mango curry and any other curry you can think of!

As a British Asian, I have eaten my fair share of curries, but never have I tasted curries such as these. The contrast between sweet and spicy wakes up your taste buds and makes you yearn for more. A traditional Sri Lankan lunch consists of a number of curries served with red or white rice, accompanied with roti, poppadoms and fried lake fish. Most importantly, it was served with a side of spicy ‘sambol’, which is a combination of ground coconut, chillies, onions and lime, which absolutely makes the meal kick! Delicious.

They utilise so much of what they can grow themselves. For example, no part of a coconut is wasted; the water and flesh is used in cooking, the shells are used for carvings and the husks used as brooms; the oil is used for cooking as well as beauty products and the leaves  are woven together and used for shelter – you name it they make it!

I could go on and on about all the different experiences we had in Sri Lanka, such as releasing baby turtles in the sea or climbing Sigiriya rock, but I will be here all night. There was so much to explore in Sri Lanka that I would most likely visit again one day. And when I do, I’m going straight for a traditional lunch!

A beautiful country filled with warmth, vibrancy and excitement. A must see!

Check out my website www.jbimagery.co.uk Thanks for reading!

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A Christmas treat…Gingerbread!

Merry Christmas everyone! It’s the best time of the year, a time when you can bake as much as you want and not feel guilty about it. So this year I decided to make gingerbread and oh my gosh they are so delicious and dangerously easy to keep eating.

Now please don’t laugh at my attempt at decorating. I am fully aware that one of my gingerbread men looks like he has had a bit too much sherry. I have no skills in decorating because whatever I make doesn’t seem to last long enough in my house.

I got this recipe from BBC Good Food and it is definitely one that I will keep. The gingerbread is not too sweet and has the right amount of spice. It is also slightly soft and chewy on the inside (if you don’t over bake it) and crisp on the outside, which I love.

They are great fun to make, especially if you have kids. I am a big kid myself so I was quite content making them for myself. So why not give them a go this Christmas?

Get cosy with a nice hot chocolate topped with marshmallows, perfect for dipping your gingerbread man in. All you need now is a classic Christmas movie, some warm socks and someone else to do the dishes. After all, this is the time to relax and treat yourself. But don’t eat too many!

Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas! Thanks for reading and have a lovely holiday!

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Gingerbread man 1 w

 

Diwali…The Festival of Light

Its Diwali! The time of lights, food and family!

Diwali is a great festival that is celebrated all over the world, wherever you might find Indians! Of course it is a lot more grand in India, but us British Asians give it a good go! I was born and raised in England so I consider myself quite British, however I have always been in touch with my culture thanks to my family. As part of a large community in the UK, we celebrate all the festivals all over England.

Diwali is a time where everyone would spend the weeks before cooking all sorts of sweet and savoury snacks for the big day. I remember my Mum and I creating a huge mess in the kitchen making Indian sweets, Chukri (savoury swirls), Karkaria (sweet discs), Bombay mix, biscuits and more! Our kitchen would be covered in flour and empty packets of butter, and we would be exhausted by the end of the day.

The best part was the unofficial exchange system we created from this. Our relatives would make the same snacks and we would all go to each others house and exchange food! It was a custom that brought us all together. We would offer sweets to anyone who would come to see us and vice versa. Let’s just say Diwali is not a time to be on a diet.

We would end the day with a big meal of masala fish and prawn or daal curry and all the trimmings. Chapatis, rice and poppadoms all finished with something sweet at the end, such as Gulab Jamun or Ras Malai (heaven)! And with our belly’s full to the brim, we would all stand outside in the cold and watch the fireworks.

Although I am emphasising how much Diwali is about food, it is nothing without family. The best part of Diwali is going to see all of your relatives that you don’t get to see often, or call those who are too far to visit. It is about welcoming people into your home and offering them food that you have made from scratch. It is about paying respects to your elders and remembering those who are not with you anymore.

This post is dedicated to my dear Mum who is no longer with us. Happy Diwali Mum x

www.jbimagery.co.uk

Diwali

Unusual ingredients…Okra?!

It may be unusual to you, but to me I grew up eating Okra. I actually went through a mad phase of demanding my Mum to cook it once a week for me (is that weird?). My brother however is not a fan! I like to discover new ingredients whenever I can, otherwise I would just get stuck eating the same old thing.

Okra is a great vegetable, slightly weird and wonderful! Some people get put off by its texture or they don’t how to cook it. I grew up eating it chopped up with onions, potatoes, garlic, ginger, chilli and some indian spices. Served with some fresh chapatis, its delicious! There are loads of recipes out there with different variations, but this is how I have always eaten it. If you can’t make chapatis, it will taste just as good with some basmati rice or naan bread.

It’s good to mix it up in the kitchen. I get incredibly bored and don’t like to have the same old food week in week out. Unless its a classic, I will always try and adapt a recipe or try something different. That’s not to say it works every time though! Do you like to try different dishes each week? Let me know!

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Okra

The Comforts of Baking

I have to admit it, I have the baking bug. If everything I wanted to make wasn’t made from butter, cream or sugar, I would most likely bake everyday. But then again if I did this, baking wouldn’t be such a treat.

The nation has gone baking mad, with the rising popularity of The Great British Bake off (something I am obsessed about) and celebrity chefs. There is something very soothing about combining a bunch of ingredients, placing it in the oven and seeing it transform into something comforting and delicious.

Breads, cakes, pastries and more, baking has become an art form and a science. There are an endless amount of recipes out there, all so tempting to try! So why not get in the kitchen one Sunday afternoon and whip up something that will make the whole family happy. No need for any experience, everyone has to start somewhere! The feeling of seeing the finished result of something you made from scratch beats buying a factory made cake any day.

This was a coconut and lime tray bake that I adapted from Mary Berry’s lemon drizzle tray bake, and although I know I am not supposed to alter recipes, it was delicious! A great combination and a delicious afternoon treat. Happy baking!

Thanks for reading! Check out my website www.jbimagery.co.uk and subscribe to read more!

Coconut cake

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