Memories and adventures of a Sri Lankan born vegan

Memories of my life and my subsequent journey as a vegan

August 15, 2014

I have returned to the world of blogging after an absence of over 2years as a Vegan

I've been absent from my blog for more than two years.Some changes have happened in my life during this time.Over the past year I have become a vegan.Prior to this I was mainly following a vegetarian/flexitarian diet.The reason I became a vegan is because I have come to realize that it is unjust for humans to enslave animals and kill them for food, clothing or other uses.My brother had been a vegetarian for many years and he has been promoting veganism,vegetarianism and awareness of animal rights through facebook.I think he has been the greatest influence on me deciding to become a vegan.In Sri Lanka vegans are still a rare bunch compared to the West.But it would be easy to be vegan in Sri Lanka as the Sri Lankan diet has many vegetarian options which also happen to be vegan.In a Western country such as the US or  countries in Europe there is really no excuse not to be vegan as it is becoming more mainstream to be vegan.

So many things to write about...

I haven't blogged in so long!I've got so many things to write about, I don't know even know where to start!All those things I could never write about on facebook for fear of judgement or being seen as a boring rambler.I am grateful for the anonymity of my blog as it really helps me to express myself more freely without worrying about what others think about me or what I write about.

June 15, 2014

Changed the name of my blog

I've just changed the name of my blog. I have been wanting to change it for the past couple of years but didn't know how to until tonight.Changing the name has been quite difficult also for another reason which was to come up with a catchy and witty sounding name.Finally decided on the new title, which may not be witty but it's descriptive of the content of my blog so it's good enough for now.

April 23, 2012

Tribute to English High Tea and Sri Lankan Teatime and Shorteats

British food has had a significant impact on everyday foods of Sri Lanka.This maybe why I have always been fascinated with British food. The Sri Lankan version of the British High Tea tradition is tea with short eats.My memories of short eats are from childhood birthday parties and when my parents took my brother and I for an occasional treat to Elephant House in Kandy town. I remember eating cutlets and rolls with tomato sauce at Elephant House and ice cream served with a wafer in an aluminium cup. At birthday parties we always ate patties, rolls, cutlets and sandwiches along with iced butter cake.It was always so delicious.

These childhood memories were the beginning of my fascination with English Teatime.After I moved to Los Angeles, I visited various tea houses where English high tea was served including Tudor House, Two a Tea, the Rose Garden Tea Room at Huntington Gardens and Chado Tea room.When in Sri Lanka the last time I visited, I had high tea at Mt.Lavinia Hotel.

This lead me to want to duplicate the flavors of those Sri Lankan birthday parties and the British tea time treats.I wanted to make those delicious sandwiches.I also wanted to make scones, which are not served in Sri Lanka but which I first tasted in Fiji where many Australian expatriates lived.I searched on the internet for recipes for sandwiches and scones.

There was always a fish sandwich along with beetroot and egg sandwiches at Sri Lankan birthday parties.I ended up making 3 varieties: egg sandwich, fish sandwich and cucumber sandwich.Cucumber sandwiches are not traditionally eaten in Sri Lanka but I wanted to include cucumber as they are synonymous with the English High tea tradition.

I came up with my own formula, that comes relatively close to what Sri Lankan sandwiches tasted like ,influenced by the various recipes I found on the internet.First, I made a paste for the fish and egg sandwiches consisting of mayonnaise, butter, ground mustard, black pepper, salt, diced onion and diced green chillis.To this base I added canned tuna for the fish sandwich and mashed hard boiled eggs for the egg sandwich.I used sandwich bread to make the sandwiches and cut off the edges of the sandwiches and cut each sandwich into 2 fingers.

The three links below influenced the final outcome of my fish and egg sandwiches with a Sri Lankan touch.
http://www.infolanka.com/recipes/mess5/88.html
http://curryandcomfort.blogspot.com/2011/08/tea-sandwich-series-tuna-sandwiches.html
http://curryandcomfort.blogspot.com/2011/07/tea-sandwich-series-egg-salad.html

For the cucumber sandwich I used an English cucumber sliced into 1/8 inch slices and used 8 slices per two slices of buttered bread and sprinkled with a little salt and pepper before cutting into 2 fingers, once again trimming the edges.I did not peel my cucumbers although the recipe recommends that they be peeled.
This is the link to the  recipe I used for the cucumber sandwiches:
http://thepauperedchef.com/2009/08/part-two-of-my-cucumber-sandwich-revenge-tea-time.html      

Pictured below are a plate of the sandwiches I made from left to right: Egg, Cucumber and Tuna (in front)
(Please excuse the crumbs on the plate :)) Please click on picture to enlarge


For the scones recipe, I really wanted to make Pumpkin Scones.Pumpkin scones which were made famous by Lady Flo Bjelke-Peterson who was a Senator and the wife of the former Governor of Australia's state of Queensland, Sir Joh Bjelke-Peterson. I had gone to Australia in the mid eighties as a teenager to Brisbane, Queensland for higher studies and Flo's husband, Joh was the controversial governor of Queensland at the time.I had never actually tasted Pumpkin scones before, although I had eaten currant scones.I wanted to find a recipe that was low in sugar and fat and I was able to find one on the internet.I actually used 1cup of pumpkin instead of 3/4 cup.
This is the link to the  recipe I used:
http://australian.food.com/recipe/pumpkin-scones-18101

Below is a picture of the Pumpkin scones I made, which I served with jam and Smart Balance spread.Traditionally, they would be served with butter or clotted cream and jam.(Please click on picture to enlarge)






February 7, 2012

What's been happening in my life since my last post

It's time to do another posting to my blog.I don't have any bright ideas to write about, so I'll just post about memorable happenings in my life since I posted last.

New Year's Day has come and gone. I didn't go to any parties this year as I was house sitting for my brother in Arizona. I had a nice quiet time there, cooking, watching t.v. and looking after my brother's dogs and cats.Some of the t.v. programs I watched were 'Lark Rise to Candleford', 'Ballykissangel', 'Monarch of the Glen', 'Jazzy Vegetarian', 'Two and a Half Men' and 'The Big Bang Theory'.

One of my favorite t.v. dramas started recently with the 2nd series, namely 'Downtown Abbey Series 2' on Masterpiece Classic on PBS.It's something to look forward to every Sunday night.

I went to Chinatown with one of my friends for the Chinese New Year celebrations. Missed the parade but saw several dragon dances.
 
I just had another birthday in February, became a year older and wiser.I didn't do anything special except eat cake with family.Also attended the Sri Lanka Independence Day celebrations in Los Angeles.Had fun dressed up in Kandyan sari ,felt very glamorous and enjoyed the concert. 

December 7, 2011

A Vegetarian Thanksgiving -November 24, 2011

I know this posting is late, but better late than never, as I am really eager to share how I spent my Thanksgiving Day. I have included many photos so please be sure to click on the photos to enlarge them further.

My Thanksgiving Day was centered around preparation of a Thanksgiving lunch for me myself and I. The rest of the family was visiting my brother in Arizona while I stayed back home to look after the cats and the house.

For the past few years I have prepared a meatless Thanksgiving without the ubiquitous turkey that Thanksgiving is known for, so far as to even be known as Turkey Day. This turkey less meal came about because my brother in Arizona is a complete vegetarian and he has succeeded in persuading me to save the life of a poor turkey by forgoing the traditional turkey on Thanksgiving. The choice to go without the turkey  has been an easy one for me since on a day to day basis the meals in my home are mostly vegetarian, although  I do eat non vegetarian meals sometimes when I eat outside the home. So, instead of the turkey the vegetarian/vegan alternative to turkey that I cooked was Tofurky. Tofurky is made of tofu and tasted really good, it had the texture of turkey and was stuffed like a real turkey with wild rice stuffing and served with vegetarian gravy. It is available in the United States in most health food stores in the refrigerated section and came in the box pictured below: I bought mine from Trader Joes but I found it to be available at Sprouts and Wholefoods as well.






My complete menu for Thanksgiving was Tofurky with Stuffing and Vegetarian Gravy, Roasted Brussel Sprouts and Roasted Winter Squash and Root vegetables followed by Pumpkin Pie for dessert.

Below are the fruits of my labor in pictures and words:

 Tofurkey roast with Stuffing and Root vegetables-Red Onions,sweet potatoes,carrots, potatoes, butternut squash, parsnips, rutabaga and turnip-all ready for the oven. I basted the tofurkey and vegetables with olive oil. Dried Rosemary and black pepper has been added to the olive oil baste of the vegetables.




The finished Roast after approximately one hour 15 minutes in the oven is below:
I also made Roasted Brussel Sprouts, below are the brussel sprouts washed with the outer leaves removed and stalks  trimmed.
Below are the brussel sprouts split in half and rubbed with olive oil and garlic and placed face down on a baking sheet lined with with greased aluminum foil all  ready to go in the oven:

Here are the brussel sprouts and garlic after roasting in the oven, they come out brown and crispy.

Now that all the cooking was done I was carved the Tofurky to expose the delicious wild rice stuffing shown below:

The final product plated just before I was ready to dig in :) is below:




Last but not least is the pumpkin pie (below) which I reheated in the oven for dessert.I used a pre baked frozen pie that I had sitting in the freezer. I would recommend a Sara Lee brand frozen pie if you have to have a frozen pie. But the one in my freezer happened to be a Mrs. Smith pie which was okay as I am not that fussy.




I served the pie sliced with a topping of non fat whipped cream out of a can.


I would just like to add some final thoughts on the meal. I did not add any salt to the vegetables or the baste of  the tofurky as the tofurky already had enough sodium in it. Hot buns/rolls could also be served as an accompaniment to the meal but I went without as the variety of root vegetables and vegetables was enough to fill me up.
The root vegetables turned out really great. I had never eaten roasted sweet potatoes, butternut squash ,parsnips, turnips or rutabaga but I wanted to use them as they are Winter vegetables and in season. They really turned out delicious roasted and are a good alternative to potatoes and have less carbs for those watching their diets.
I found that the brussel  sprouts according to the recipe I followed came out too crispy for my liking , so next time I would prepare them a different way or just have steamed or microwaved green beans or broccoli instead of the brussel sprouts.Sparkling apple cider or white or red wine would be good as the beverage to accompany this meal but I had plain old water as I am watching my calories :)





August 8, 2011

Gal Bangalawa -1971-Part 1

As you may recall from my blog posting in July 2009, I spent a year in 1971 with my parents at the famous Gal Bangalawa (Stone House) at Mahakande, Kandy. I was a small girl of only 4years at the time but I have many memories of the time we spent there. It was a carefree and happy period of my life. Overall most of the things I remember from that time are very pleasant. One unpleasant incident though that I still recall was when I fell down and hurt my knee on the gravel road leading back from a neighbor's house. I was wearing a red gingham dress and my knee was bleeding and I was crying.

I have put up a few pictures with this posting. Remember to double click on each picture to enlarge it.

Since we lived in the upstairs of this great big bungalow, my Father asked the University maintenance to add iron grills to all the windows for safety. I recall one day how our little black cat with the white nose, got stuck in the grills in the bedroom of my parents. Fortunately, my parents were able to get the cat freed. My Father was not keen on getting us a cat, as he thought that its fur might cause us allergies but after much pleadings he succumbed to our wishes.


The picture above shows me and my brother sitting on the steps of the front verandah of the bunglow.We are sitting with the two girls who were our household help. I am holding our black cat on my lap.



The picture above shows my brother on the verandah with a rattan basket full of vegetables.

For me and my brother who was three there were many things to explore in this house. The garden also was full of wonders. The immediate garden around the house had a lawn and on it there were certain weeds one of which had jagged leaves close to the ground and lavender flowers. I wish I knew what its name was. On the right side of the Bungalow, in the front garden I recall there was a little natural pond which was inhabited by tadpoles. Naturally, us kids found the tadpoles very fascinating and spent time observing them there and sometimes catching them in bottles when my cousins came to visit.

There were steps that led down from the garden onto the gravel road in front of the house which encircled a small hilly area of earth on which there were several anthills.We were told that cobra snakes inhabited the anthills where they probably went to eat the ants.

The pic below shows me  standing there on the steps leading to the gravel road as a 4 year old. That is my Father's old car which he sold soon after. I am standing on the steps next to my cousin who is taller than me.
















Beyond the gravel road was the main flower garden of the house which was quite large. At the time, there were many different varieties of flowers growing there and the garden was well maintained by the caretaker, Martin who lived in the separate caretakers quarters located adjacent to the bungalow. Some of the flowers I recall are pink antignon, barberton daisys and a small tree with white flowers with pinkish centers. There was also a working water fountain at the center of the garden. Sadly, on my last visit to the Bunglow in July 2009 I found that the plants in the garden had long since disappeared and it was neglected and overgrown with weeds.
In the photo on the left you can see my brother and I
having a shower from the tap (water faucet) in the flower garden next to a bed of barberton daisys. I am squatting on the ground.Indoris is the boy standing there in the sarong. Indoris who hailed from my Aunt's village was with our househeld to help out for a short period.

I have other incidents that I recall at Mahakande Bungalow that hold a special place in my memory and about which I will be writing in the future. The subjects will be:

Visits from Relatives:

We had several visitors while we lived at Mahakande.

Vesak

Cod liver oil and Food memories




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