Then there’s your foodie friend, the one who’s hard to buy for, and has maybe had a hard year. I promise you, there’s nowhere else on the planet where you can get a Sri Lankan cookbook, homemade curry powder, AND a Sri Lankan pumpkin curry tea towel, all in one glorious package. $65.
Sometimes you just want the big beautiful coffee table book, full of photos — my friend, the Feast hardcover is for you. And with your choice of tea towels; wouldn’t it be nice to browse this cookbook and simultaneously dream of building a writing shed? You can do both, at the same time, with this holiday package — $60 for a hardcover of Feast + tea towel of your choice.
I mean, you COULD make your own curry powder. But life is busy, so feel free to have a little shipped to you, along with a tea towel AND a copy of Feast. (No photos in the paperback, to keep cost down as much as possible, but you’ll get a link to an online archive of lovely pics.) This lovely package will run you $55.
Maybe you don’t need curry powder, because you’re happy to make your own? (There’s a recipe on my website, and in the cookbook.)
But you’d really like a tea towel (maybe the 2021 calendar towel, marking what will hopefully become a better year) with your paperback copy of Feast? Can do. An even $50 + shipping will make that happen.
(Coming soon in the Serendib Kitchen shop.)
Made it home, Thai takeout for dinner, because between me being sick and Kevin covering for me at home, plus the first week of classes, we’re both wiped, and the kids are tired too. But I *was* feeling well enough to go down just now and make myself a cup of tea to soothe my cough.
Wild Sweet Orange tea, with fresh ginger, honey, cloves, and a slice of clementine. Sipping it now while I watch the super-dramatic Master Chef TV show. (First season in America, so from some years back.) I swear half the show is dramatic pauses. But I did love watching Sheetal Bhagat compete.
She made it most of the way, and I just googled and found that she now has a spiced tequila line: Spice Note — the article I read said that her tequilas come in Cinnamon and Cumin. Cool — I’m still a novice cocktail person, but I want to try it out for Serendib Kitchen. Once I’m over this cold!
Let us boldly go onward into a restful & restorative weekend!
Rich passionfruit flavor and a hint of rose scent. This delicate cake is lovely with a very light tea. Passionfruit puree can be ordered online, or is often found in Mexican grocers, sometimes frozen. If you have are lucky enough to have actual passionfruit on hand, you can, of course, pulp and puree them yourself; strain out the hard seeds if you do.
2 c. flour
3/4 t. salt
1/4 t. baking powder
1/2 c. passionfruit puree
1 c. yogurt
1 t. vanilla extract
2 T rosewater
12 T butter (room temperature)
2 c. sugar
5 large eggs (room temperature)
2 egg yolks (room temperature)
1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour a cake pan (spraying with Baker’s Joy makes this easy). You can use a bundt pan, cakelet pans, or mini cake pans.
2. In a bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder.
3. In a second bowl, combine the passionfruit puree, yogurt, vanilla extract, and rosewater if using; set aside.
4. In the bowl of a standing mixer (paddle attachment), cream the butter and sugar; add the egg yolks and eggs one at a time, pausing to scrape bowl as needed with a rubber spatula.
5. Add the flour mixture and passionfruit mixture alternately in a few additions, starting with the dry. Scrape sides and bottom again to make sure all ingredients are fully incorporated.
6. Fill the pan and bake on the middle rack for (50-55 for bundt, 25-30 minutes for cakelets, 15-20 minutes for mini cakes), or until a toothpick comes out dry when inserted in the center of a cake. (If you want them darker, which shows off the contrast and the detail more, bake a few minutes longer.)
(two servings, 10 minutes)
Traditionally, you wouldn’t use ‘good’ tea for this. If you have a fancy high-grade tea, large leaves from a new flush, you don’t usually make chai with it. Typically, tea stalls would use fannings / dust to make chai, and would brew it nice and strong, to give you strength for your labors. Lipton will work just fine for this, if you don’t have access to other teas; I tend to use PG Tips, though Typhoo is also good.
4 T looseleaf black tea or 4 tea bags
1 c. whole milk
1 c. water
1 T ginger juice (or 1 t. ground ginger)
1 stick cinnamon (or 1 t. ground cinnamon)
1 T black peppercorns (or 1/2 t. ground pepper)
3 green cardamom pods (or 1/2 t. ground cardamom)
3 cloves (or 1/4 t. ground cloves)
1/4 t. fresh grated nutmeg
1-2 T jaggery (or dark brown sugar)
1. Combine ingredients in a small pot, and heat on medium until small bubbles form around the edges.
2. Start stirring and bring to a boil.
3. Turn off heat, stir well, turn heat back on to medium, and bring to a boil again. (This will be thoroughly stewed, with flavor infused intensely in the chai. Note that you need the fat in the milk for full distribution of flavor, so I recommend not using skim milk or just water.)
4. Strain chai into a measuring cup and discard whole spices and tea leaves. Enjoy.
NOTE: If your jaggery is too hard to carve safely, you can microwave it at half power in 10 second increments, checking in between each one. If you heat it too much, it’ll melt, which you don’t want.
And we have a winner — seeni sambol & egg patties. They are so, so good. I took our standard Sri Lankan patty dough, rolled it thin, cut circles, all the way you would for typical chicken patties.
I did some extra small, to see how they’d come out, and they were very cute when fried, and a nice little snack — I ate some on the flight today, and they were lovely with tea at room temperature. (I also tried baking one, and it was, I’m afraid, pretty eh. They want frying.)
But when they’re that small, there isn’t room for egg, and I wanted the unctuousness of the egg balancing the intensity of the seeni sambol. So I went back up to typical patty size (which is just fine for a tea or cocktail party anyway), filled it with seeni sambol and a sixteenth of a boiled egg (you could do an eighth, but I wouldn’t recommend anything bigger), folded it and crimped it up. (I tried making one that was round, which was a fun experiment, but I didn’t like it as well as the classic patty shape.)
Then, for a little added color and zing, I brushed it all with an egg wash, and then deep-fried it. It. was. perfect. I’ll write the recipe up properly the next time I make it; all the experimenting meant that I wasn’t up for measuring everything until I knew which was the winning approach. Maybe for New Year’s!
But in the meantime, if you know how to make patties already, it’s very easy to adapt for seeni sambol. Leave out the Maldive fish if you like, and your vegetarian friends will thank you for this delectable little snack.