Sri Lankan rice and curry of (clockwise from bottom left) gotukola mallum (shredded Indian pennywort), curried pumpkin in coconut milk, fried leeks, jackfruit seeds with cabbage, stir-fried carrot, deep fried bitter gourd, date and lime jam, and (in the centre) kaluheeneti rice and chicken curry.

Breakfast in Pettah #7

Egg rottis are oiled, stretched, folded, and readied for the hot skillet. Wolfendhal Street, Kotahena. October 2022.

• 35mm • f/2.8 • 1/1000 • ISO400 • R6 & RF35/1.8 courtesy Canon/Metropolitan

Sustaining the Revolution

A street food vendor sells fresh rotti and vadai at Gotagogama, the ad hoc village of tents, shacks, and portable toilets that have sprung up on Galle Face Green, in downtown Colombo. Set up almost a month ago, the village is home to a core of protestors calling for the resignation of Sri Lankan President Gotabhaya Rajapakse and his government, who’s corruption and ineptitude have been blamed for creating the worst economic crisis in the country’s modern history. In addition to the resident dissidents, Gotagogama sees a constant ebb and flow of protestors from all over the city and its suburbs, driven by widespread shortages of electricity, fuel, cooking gas, and medicine, to join in the strident call for the government to step down. Sri Lanka, May 2022.

• 18mm • f/3.5 • 1/100 • ISO3200 •

Village Fare

A simple vegetarian Sri Lankan lunch of white suwandel rice and (clockwise from top) a mallung of manioc leaves and wild eggplant, pappadam, curried lady’s fingers, banana blossom (the highlight of the meal, in my opinion), and beans. Good enough that I had seconds, in spite of being a devoted meat eater. Thambiliwatte Farm, close to Maho. February 2022.

Special Feature: The Quality of Memory (or How I Discovered that Breudhers are Like Boobs)

There was in fact no such thing as the ‘best’ breudher.”

Traditional Dutch Burgher breudher, a round yeasty cake with the distinct shape it takes from the broodtulband, a fluted mould it is baked in (and from which it likely gets its name). Though believed to be Dutch or Flemish in origin, it does not exist in the Netherlands today, and can only be found in the former Dutch maritime territories of Colombo, Cochin, and Malacca.
Continue reading “Special Feature: The Quality of Memory (or How I Discovered that Breudhers are Like Boobs)”

Lunch in the Fields #2

A farmer and his wife eat lunch in the shade of a lean-to next to their paddy fields, close to Mawanella, in the foothills of Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines. My photo story, Eating like a Farmer, ran in the May 2017 issue.

Once upon a Time, Before Uber

A farmer’s wife carries her husband’s lunch out to the paddy fields where he is at work, close to Mawanella, in the foothills of Sri Lanka’s Central Highlands. Shot on assignment for Serendib, the inflight magazine of Sri Lankan Airlines. My story Eating Like a Farmer, appeared in the May 2017 issue.

Sour Sweet

One of my favourite fruit, soursop (Annona muricata), known locally as anodha or katu atha, is native to tropical parts of the Americas, but is widely cultivated in Indonesia, from where it was probably introduced to Sri Lanka by the Dutch. The name soursop is a derivative of the Dutch zuurzak, and has nothing to do with the fruit’s flavour, which is comparable to pineapple and mangosteen, but with a texture more like durian. It’s impossible to eat a good soursop without juice running down one’s chin, so the fruit also makes an excellent drink. Colombo, June 2021.

Slow Food

Sri Lankan beef curry cooked for an hour and a half over a low flame. June 2021.
Beef topside.