Tamarind and chili. Looks a little like the surface of an alien planet…
Valentine’s/Galentine’s Day Flash Sale
Valentine’s / Galentine’s Flash Sale: $10 off most books, plus sweets!
Place orders in comments here, will confirm, then PM to arrange payment details via PayPal or Venmo. Sale ends @ midnight tonight, though sweets may run out sooner. Shipping & handling will be calculated on receiving order — usually $5-$8 within the U.S.
(sets of four, $10 per set, 2 sets for $18, 3 sets for $25)
a) “I Plight Thee My Troth” Marshmallows
(rose, passionfruit, and vanilla / love, passion, and home)
– 14 sets left
b) passionfruit, ginger, and cashew-filled dark chocolates
– 1 set left
c) chili chocolates
– 1 set left (but if there’s a lot of interest, I can make another batch today)
d) rosewater cream chocolates
– 5 sets left
e) mango cream chocolates
– 5 sets left
f) tamarind-chili marshmallows
– 15 sets left
g) assorted (chef’s choice, four different sweets)
– 12 sets left
A Feast of Serendib hardcover: $30
A Feast of Serendib paperback: $15
Bodies in Motion hardcover: $15 — Sri Lankan American immigrant stories about love and family
Perennial paperback: $7 (regular $12) — a little garden romance
4 oz. bag: $8
Serendib Kitchen business cards
I don’t think I showed you the new Serendib Kitchen business cards! Look! They are v. pretty.
(And now I want to go to Sri Lanka again, sigh…)
Sunday dinner: pork with sweet orange sauce
Sunday dinner this week, both Kavi and I were busy with something, so it ended up being Anand and Kev doing the cooking, in a somewhat minimal way. Kevin apologizes for not taking photos of Anand pounding the pork with his new Thor’s hammer meat tenderizer. Apparently, it took a little persuading to keep Anand from pounding it until pulverized.
They were trying to recreate the meat in a sweet orange sauce that the kids get at school — the end result was tasty, though Kavi says the school version is notably sweeter. We liked this, though.
The broccoli part didn’t quite work, though — it soaked up too much sauce and got a little soggy with it. If we made this again, I think I’d just roast the broccoli separately and serve it on the side. And oh, we didn’t even make rice — that’s leftover rice reheated from a previous order of Thai food.
End result, though, we lit candles and sat down together and ate and it was good. We tried playing Two Truths and a Lie, which only sort of worked. Maybe we need more practice. 🙂
Sunday’s ice cream: chocolate with Nutella stirred in
Sunday’s ice cream was Anand’s choice — homemade chocolate with Nutella stirred in. Pretty good, though I used the chocolate ice cream recipe that came with the machine (just stirring cocoa into cold cream, essentially), and both Kev and I thought the end result was a little grainier than we would’ve liked. But it was fine, and the kids were delighted, so all was well. It’s almost gone now — even mediocre ice cream is still ice cream.
I am feeling a desire to immerse myself in sweetness
Planning to run a little Valentine’s / Galentine’s Day flash sale tomorrow (Thursday) of sweets, hand-roasted Sri Lankan curry powder, and Feast of Serendib cookbooks on sale ($30 for hardcover, $15 for paperbacks, $10 off, such a deal!)
I am feeling a desire to immerse myself in sweetness.
If you’d like to be tagged into that, comment below — I’d be planning to mail out by Saturday, February 8th, so should reach throughout the U.S. before the 14th, no problem. I can only ship food within the U.S., sorry, but cookbooks will also be on sale, and happy to ship those anywhere, and also to sign and/or personalize!
A little Feast at the SLF’s March Deep Dish
We might be sliding a little Feast book launch party (with treats!) into the SLF’s March Deep Dish.
Experimenting with decorative tops on Mas Paan
One reason I’m more of a recipe writer than a cook is that the experimenting is the most fun for me; this is what I was playing with on Thursday. I was curious whether I could do mas paan with a more decorative top than is typical. Answer — sort of kind of.
(The first two photos are mine — the four pretty ones that follow are inspiration images found online.)
Our standard curry filling is robust and moist enough that if you try to do the thing where you slice the buns on top to create a cross or star pattern, and actually slice through, it’ll have a very good chance of basically just bursting open at the cuts. Still tastes delicious, not so pretty. If you wanted that, I think you’d need to make more of a paste, like what I assume they used for the red bean filling buns (photo 3). So I wouldn’t recommend that.
If you’re very careful, you can slice just lightly enough to create a cross or star pattern of indentations, but that is a *lot* of finicky work for many little buns. Honestly, I would have to love you a whole lot to go to that much trouble, esp. since I’d expect some wastage along the way. (Some people are more skilled with delicate knife work than me, so they should feel free to go for it, though. The results are lovely, as in photo 4. Be sure to sprinkle seeds first, then slice, to get that effect.)
MAYBE I’d do scoring for a wedding or similar major occasion — I could make a triple batch, and plan to freeze the ones where I accidentally sliced through, and then eat those for my own snacks (happily) in months to come. But I wouldn’t really recommend the slicing approach either for our curry buns, unless you are quite persnickety. (If you watch the Great British Bake Show, you may remember the episodes where some contestants came to grief attempting their “artistically scored decorative loaves”…).
If you abandon scoring, though, you still have the option of sprinkling seeds. I don’t think that’s typical for mas paan in Sri Lanka — I googled, and only found one image with seeds sprinkled on top, and I don’t remember seeing it when visiting. But it works great.
After filling the bun, turning it over so the seam is on the bottom, and brushing with beaten egg (skip that last if allergic, but otherwise, it adds nice color and sheen to the bun), just sprinkle the seeds of your choice.
This was particular useful to me as I had three different kinds of buns, and I wanted to be sure I could tell them apart easily. (In Sri Lanka, fish buns are typically triangular, but I think most of the other buns I’ve seen are round?)
I ended up with:
– beef curry buns topped with black chia seeds
– spicy caramelized onion buns (seeni sambol) topped with sesame seeds
– jackfruit and chickpea curry topped with organic hemp seeds
The seeds add a lovely crunch element too, so unless I have someone seed-allergic at the table, I think I’ll be making all my curry buns topped with seeds from now on.
Rose bun photo added for inspiration — I may try that someday! And isn’t that last one, perfectly scored and seeded, just gorgeous? Mmm…
Production cooking for Bite Nite 2020
I might have to start admitting that I’m a *little* bit of an actual cook. Production cooking for Friday’s Bite Nite. My kitchen was full of trays of curry buns, and I was quite pleased with how the little serving boats came out, with buns nestled in kale sambol. This variety: jackfruit & chickpea curry buns, topped with a little organic hemp seed. Mmm….
Chili chocolates for Bite Nite. Straight up dark chocolate with cayenne blended in. They ended up quite spicy, and I kept warning people of that as they picked them up, but none of the ones who wanted to try spicy chocolate heeded my warnings. They just grinned and walked away, excitedly carrying their chocolate. Spice-heads!
One woman swung back later to tell me that she’d been nibbling on her piece all evening, and it was very good, but yes, very spicy.
For Bite Nite, I tried making milk toffee with sultanas (golden raisins) added in, along with the chopped cashews. I was thinking of it as Royal Milk Toffee, since doing that adds to the expense and it feels more luxurious…
Adding sultanas is a common traditional variation for milk toffee. It added just enough moisture to my recipe that it set differently — not quite firm enough to cut cleanly into squares per usual, so I ended up scooping irregular fudge-like chunks to put into little confectionery paper cups.
One man asked what was in it, and then sadly said, “I hate raisins,” before he walked away. So these are not for everyone! But I actually really like them.
I *think* I might even like them better than my regular milk toffee; the fruitiness contrasts beautifully with the fudge-like sweetness of the rest of the dessert.
(Stephanie agreed. 🙂 )
Serendib Press work meeting and Bite Nite
Odd start to the weekend — I slept until almost 10, which was not my plan — I must have needed it badly. When I got up, went pretty much straight into a Serendib Press work meeting with Stephanie and Heather. Coffee was helpful. Coffee and meds!
Heather took the train out from Ann Arbor this weekend, to help with Bite Nite, but also to get some work done with me, meet Stephanie in person (also hopefully Cee Gee and Karen for the SLF), and have a sort of annual meeting for Serendib Press, though I didn’t really realize that’s what we were doing until halfway through the meeting.
We worked for 1.5 hrs, mostly recapping where we are at this point (Heather’s been working with me for a year now; Stephanie started last fall, so close to six months?), sketching out rough plans for the next few years of the Press.
Immediate goals are getting Feast up and off the ground well, hopefully. Next goal (might not happen until summer) is getting my backlist back under my control and start producing it again, making it easier for people to buy my books (and hopefully setting up some nice passive income to sustain future anthology and other projects). It’s going to be challenging, but hopefully productive? We’ll see. The shoestring budget is more of a cobweb at the moment…
At 1, Kevin, Heather, and I are going to spend an hour on organizing Serendib Press stuff in the basement, which is utter chaos right now — it was so harried prepping for yesterday’s Bite Night after a full week of teaching work that I completely failed to keep things organized, so we’re literally tripping over boxes and such at the moment, can’t get to the freezer, etc. This can’t go on.
But first, a break. I’m going to put a load of laundry in, then play a video game and watch some dumb TV, rest a little. Heather and I were on our feet for about six straight hours last night (me after a day of teaching), so am a bit tired. I definitely am not in physical shape for doing food production work full-time.
Lots of people asked us last night where our restaurant was located (I should have put Serendib Press instead of Serendib Kitchen on the sign, which might have helped), and I admit, every time I said, “Oh, there’s no restaurant — I’m a writer, not a cook,” I felt a little relieved!
(All of which just gives me even more admiration for the delicious Filipino food produced by Chef Roel and his family for pig & fire — I think they have another event happening in the city today. They have a young kid, his wife is a resident; the food world is tough, people! It was great seeing them last night — their delectable pancit and lumpia sustained me through the long hours…)
Several people asked me if Serendib Kitchen did catering. After I got over my first impulse to laugh maniacally, I admitted that it was not outside the realm of possibility (I actually did a bit in college!), but there’s a set of food licensing, renting space in a commercial kitchen, etc. stuff that would need to happen first. Carnivore (only a block away) did offer to rent me space in their commercial kitchen…
It would be a VERY occasional thing if so. But, um, possible…? Esp. this year, while promoting the cookbook. Locals, talk to me if interested. We’re also planning on some pop-ups at Carnivore, The Beer Shop, etc. — calendar coming soon!