There’s something very refreshing about a new year – you feel a sense of accomplishment and hope as you look forward to new beginnings and fresh possibilities. It’s like climbing a mountain – you eagerly scramble to the top and peep over the edge of December, curiously staring beyond at January wondering what the next 12 months will unfold…
For us the old year ended with a bang and the new once started with this steaming hot plate of kiri bath also known as milk rice, a traditional Sri Lankan dish usually eaten for breakfast. It’s a sort of savoury rice pudding, prepared by cooking rice in coconut milk and served with a spicy onion relish called lunu-miris or pol sambol. This dish takes centre stage at any celebratory meal in Sri Lanka. Be it a birthday, a new year or even the beginning of a new month you will find a big plate piled high with diamond shaped pieces of snowy white kiri bath sitting proudly in the middle of the breakfast table.
Being a newbie in the food blogosphere I cannot help but spend all my spare time putting together new ideas for my blog. Many people compare a blog to one’s own child; you feed it, nurture it and watch it grow and you glow with pride when someone stops by to admire it and pay it a compliment. Now I have twelve long months stretching out ahead of me to nurture and grow my new baby.
So here’s a sneak peek into what’s in store for The Stove & I (literally) in 2014…
Bon Appetit! in 80 tongues
OK, 80 is a slight exaggeration…I will have themed months where tried and tested recipes from various cuisines will be featured in the blog. In addition to the obvious Italian, Mexican and French dishes, I will explore (virtually and hopefully physically) the far flung corners of the world for unique, authentic and never-before-heard or tasted recipes. Boy, aren’t we feeling adventurous this year?
You are what you eat and read
Here’s my entire repertoire of cookbooks and books related to food – most of them, gifts. Well, it’s time to hit the book stores or hit the order button on Amazon. A book I will definitely add to my collection will be the upcoming cookbook by food blogger Mimi Thorisson (it’s scheduled to be released this month). I also have a cupboard full of BBC GoodFood and Spinneys Food magazines, they are filled with amazing recipes and you will always find the latest copies lying on my bedside table (I have to read something before I sleep – it’s kind of an addiction).
Delve deeper into Sri Lankan food (dive in hook, line and sinker!)
I need to dig deeper and find out more about the origins of Sri Lankan cuisine. I have been eating Sri Lankan food all my life but have never gone beyond the process of cooking, devouring and enjoying the food. It’s a complex cuisine, heavily influenced by so many different cultures and it begs to be explored. Unfortunately there isn’t much literature available on Sri Lankan cooking so this one’s going to be a challenge!
Sugar and spice and all things nice
I’ve become a hoarder of all things starting with F and ending with D. This year I will be treating myself to gourmet foodie treats and quirky food stuff like the miniature Tabasco bottle you see in the pic below, whenever and wherever I happen to find them and review them (of course!).
I was rummaging through my pantry cupboards the other day and found this little treasure trove of treats…
These bottles of truffle oil and balsamic vinegar were winking at me from a stall selling salad oils and vinegars of all sorts at the Ripe farmers’ market. There were so many different oils to choose from but you can have a little taste before deciding which ones to buy. Remember the scene from Ratatouille where Remy finds out how different food combinations create wonderful flavours? He has a piece of cheese in one hand and a strawberry in the other – first he takes a bite of cheese and a couple of tiny stars pop around his head, then he takes a bite of the strawberry and a few more stars pop around, finally he takes a bite of both cheese and strawberry and fireworks explode around him. That’s exactly what happened to me when I tasted some of this truffle oil and then some balsamic vinegar and as suggested by the sweet gentleman behind the counter a combination of both… fireworks! The taste of earthy truffles combined with the rich flavour of concentrated grape juice was pure magic! I can’t wait to try it in one of my recipes, any suggestions?
Fooderati Arabia – hobnob with fellow foodies in Dubai
Fooderati Arabia is a group of bloggers based in the UAE. It’s the brainchild of two passionate foodies My Custard Pie and I Live in a Frying Pan and has been cooking up a storm in the UAE food bloggers scene since 2010. I was supposed to attend my first ever FIA coffee morning last weekend and missed it because I got my AM and PM mixed up in the alarm clock! Hence one of my foodie resolutions this year will be ‘Never miss another FIA coffee morning, even if it means having to wake up at 7am on a Saturday morning! (I’m so not a morning person).
Food as seen through someone else’s eyes… can be quite refreshing and entertaining. I’ve already got my first guest in mind – but it will require a considerable amount of convincing before I get him to agree.
Here’s to new beginnings and another new mountain to conquer – hope you join me in the climb to the top!
Happy New Year!
Kiri bath (milk rice)
2 cups Basmati
3 cups water
2 cups thick coconut milk
2 tsp salt
Soak the rice in cold water for 30 minutes. Drain the rice and put into a pan with the water and bring to the boil. Cover and cook for 15 minutes. Add coconut milk and salt, stir well with the handle of a wooden spoon, cover pan and cook on low heat for a further 10-15 minutes, till all the milk is absorbed and the rice is cooked to a porridge like consistency. Spoon the kiri bath on to a flat plate while still hot and shape it into a circle about 6cm thick. Using a blunt knife mark the circle into diamond shapes and serve with lunu-miris or pol sambol.
1 red onion, finely chopped
1 tsp chilli powder
½ tsp dried chilli flakes
2 tsp dried Maldive fish flakes (optional)
Juice of half a lime
Salt to taste
Put all the ingredients (except the lime juice) into a mortar and pestle and give it a good grind. Once all the ingredients are combined add a good squeeze of lime juice, mix well and serve.