Like a tourist in my country: sri lanka

 

 

 

 

    a photo post

a bloggers addiction

travelling around colombo

photographing the kingsbury hotel in colombo while the CHOGM heat was flying around with posh cars and high security around the main areas in colombo.

loved the night breeze in colombo fort.

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mafaza
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A published writer

Okay now am relaxing over the thought that am now a published writer in the good magazine UAE. A life time wish has finally become a reality. Having dreamt of becoming a published writer or journalist in a magazine or newspaper I started my journey towards the quest of educating myself as a journalist, having applied and successfully being selected to purse my studies at the Sri Lanka college of journalism in Colombo, I was not granted permission to attend colleges by my parents I was really frustrated and annoyed. I joined the British council library in Colombo to keep myself accompanied by books and gain knowledge in writing which I believed can be achieved from reading. The first book I went for was the 100 most influential women in the world. I was given the self-confidence on following my goals to achieve my target through inspiring stories in the book. All the 100 women in the book had their own story and they all did work hard to achieve their goals and succeed.  I was encouraged to keep writing and sending articles to newspapers and magazines. I wrote poems and short stories while I also wrote about my travel story and lists. I faced many rejections while I was also offered a few part-time jobs in a leading magazine in Sri Lanka though I had to refuse it as no permission was granted from home. Every book I read afterwards was mostly about adventure, mystery and romance. Most books also were about journalists and writers.
Finally I decided to look for a job that I can work from home but never found any which is why I created a blogger account and a word press account in the years 2010. I used my blogger account to create posts and pictures on my newly opened éclair factory while the WordPress account remained blank for a couple of years.
I had no idea on how a blog works nor have I read any articles or books about a blogger. As time went by my blogger account also went inactive with only a post.
Two years passed on and I had my goal of getting published temporarily hidden within myself. The hunt never stopped nor did I try. It was summer in Dubai when my brother-in-law suggested I start working online. He was talking about the leading jobs that were available for online working and frankly mentioned WordPress developers.  The word WordPress reminded me that I’ve got a blog that has been isolated for all these years. I decided to login but was finding it difficult to remember the password.  Thumbs up to todays technology that we can click on help or forgot password. I got my password sorted and logged in while researching and learning on whats a blog briefly. My first post was some pictures taken in Dubai. I posted a picture and was waiting impatiently until I received a like or comment. A week passed by and the first notification reached my inbox. Then started my addiction to blogging and the hunger for more topics on blogging and photographing to share. Every place I went reminded me of one thing and that was can I post this on my blog? What can I write on this post? And what can the headline be? Finally I am so glad that this free online platform WordPress has given me the advantage of getting published, sharing and learning. It’s not just focused on one subject nor country and that the biggest advantage.
Now I think back to my start and realise how well I have developed my writing skills, starting off with posting photographs now am capable of writing nearly 1500 words in a day within a couple of hours. Blogging has helped me a lot in shaping my career. I am now a published writer and a blogger.  To add some honey over the éclair I just got my very first recipe published in a magazine in Dubai and it’s the good magazine. Is there anything greater than getting published in a magazine for myself? I would say yes. Are you Wondering what? That is getting 100 likes to post on my blog. It is my next target and am working on it. I will reach my target soon.
Well here is review on to my published recipe.
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The picture from the real magazine while below is a pdf sent to me from the magazine editor.
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mafaza

Zataar and cheddar pizza

Am nuts about zataar?
That’s what you might think if you have been following my posts for the past month. Of course I am excited to try new recipes and create them on my own as I have a large stock of zataar in my pantry. So when I heard of the carnival at British school in Colombo I was even more excited and reserved a table for myself to put up a game. My idea was to share the food made with zataar to the public and get their opinion while introducing the Arabian spice to the Sri lankan public. At the British school in Colombo Christmas fair there was a multi cultural society as most of the expats in Colombo sent their kids to the British school in Colombo. It’s a posh school and many students I cane across were from China, Japan, Australia, United Kingdom, Pakistan, Africa and many more countries.
I was so glad to hear their comments.
I wanted to have a guess the ingredient game and set up my table with a bowl of zataar and cheddar pizza and a lot of gifts.
There was a small kid who asked what’s on my table and I explained that it’s a game which they gave

My first customer was a Japanese from high school and when I asked her if she liked to try some zataar she was so curious to know more and inquired what it is and I started my introduction. All she said after my introduction was ok let me try some out.

My second customer was a Pakistani lady with a baby in a carrier. She was with a lankan lady and as I asked her if she liked to try some arabic pizza she asked me, what’s that? Whats inside it? I explained all over again to her the ingredients in zataar and when I mentioned cheddar was added to the topping she raised her eyebrows and was excited to try I guess she is a cheese lover. She tried it in front of me and told “mmm, its delicious 🙂 with a wide grin of satisfaction.

The next were three little elves.
Wondering if Sri Lanka has elves?
Well, please stop. I am talking about three little 5th graders I guess. They were half my size and yea they were on a budget. Parents do give money for them to spend on what they want at school fair and these kids were great at taking care of what they bought. I sold my arabic pizza to them and sighted another three pairs of satisfied eyes with a slight grin.

Another three musketeers were my next customers.
I told them about my pizza and they asked to have a look finally they bought it and they too tried it in front of me while buying some stuff from the table opposite mine. They were 8th or 9th graders who were free of responsibility and enjoying their teens. Teens are basically those who like to try new things and introducing zataar to them was fantastic. They gave a very cheerful expression with a bid grin and one gave a thumbs up.

Next was a 5.8 tall and slim lady with short hair who looked like a Korean but am not good at guessing the nationality by their looks. As I introduced my pizza she asked me the origin of the spice and I mentioned I got introduced to it from Dubai. Soon as I mentioned Dubai she started going back into a very formal conversation and was telling how hot is Dubai. I then realized how people think middle east means a very hot country that’s how I thought of middle East before I moved into Dubai. Only after I lived there until winter I was happy to experience the winter season. As a person who dreamt of living in a country like london which I imagine as always cold and beautiful. Now I prefer Dubai though I cannot stand the heat in summer and the cold winter but Dubai has given me a whole new experience.
Getting back to my customer number 8 she asked me if the zataar was spicy as she is a Japanese and don’t like eating spicy food.
So next was my 9th customer who was short and fat, looked a bit sad. As soon as I asked him if he like to try some pizzas and its arabic he said “let me see it” in a sad tone. As I opened my pizza box and showed him he said “no thank you”. He was standing there looking at me after he said so which made me ask him why he dint wanna try?
He replied “because am not in a mood to eat anything from this carnival”. I was controlling my laugh while thanking him for the time. I guess he has lost his appetite.

Next I met a couple elderly Sri lankan ladies who asked me what I had to offer. I introduced my arabic pizza and they were excited to taste the pizza. The first lady who tasted in front of me took a bit and replied “your pizza dough tastes different, I like it very much” with a grin and haste to take the next bite.

My last customers were two little sisters who looked like 3rd graders. I sold 4 pizzas to them by encouraging to take home and share with their mum for which they agreed nodding their head happily as if this idea was super and they carefully took the pizzas wrapped in a tissue.

A guess the ingredient game turned out into a pizza sale.
What I gained by this is not something I can describe by just plain words. As a blogger who always keeps taking pictures of food and travel to share and write about this carnival sale experience has been unique. While I earned some cash to pay for my space I also got the opportunity to hear the comments for my zataar and cheddar pizza from 5 different nationalities and I met 12 different people who all had different taste buds. All the comments and compliments made my day.

Finally it was time to pack up after shopping for some achcharu at the achcharu kadey stall and some marshmallows and a lollipop which was imported from Dubai. Finally I managed to have not lost anything but gained a whole new experience.
One main tip based on my experience is that you need to talk to sell what you have and unless you as people to try nobody will bother to ask.

So here is my recipe to the zataar pizza topping.

Ingredients
1 tablespoon zataar
4 tablespoon olive oil
Salt and pepper as required
A handful of grated cheddar

Method
Mix all together and spread over a pizza dough.
Need some extra cheese? Grate on top. Bake until the crust is cooked and cool before cutting.
Serve hot with a ketchup or choice of chicken soup.

Pizza dough from refer my zataar keema pizza recipe.

Alright how this pizza got its name as arabic pizza.
Okay this is how I named it arabic pizza.
I told one person it’s zataar pizza and they were not familiar with it so I had to mention the ingredients used in zataar. But if I say its arabic pizza I don’t have to list the ingredients but only have to mention the origin of the pizza. Another reason why I named it arabic pizza is when I say “arabic pizza” people are excited and eager to have a look or try it out.
So the name arabic pizza helped me sell more.
As this spice zataar is from the gulf I decided to call it arabic pizza.

Hope you enjoyed my story.
Let meet soon with another recipe using my mystery ingredient.

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mafaza

An international buffet: the Kingsbury, harbour lounge

A pending post almost a month old. It was the same week we went on for dinner at the mount lavinia hotel colombo.  This time it was a sending off dinner for the same arab client but the location was different.

We reached the hotel at 8:30 pm in a rush soon after shopping at the newly opened house of fashion.  The dinner was unscheduled and was called in at 8pm.
Visiting the Kingsbury hotel and chatting over a glass of fresh orange juice at the pool side cafe it was a very fine day with heavy wind from the sea across the hotel.
The hotel was busy with security and stuff as the CHOGM day was around the corner while the delegates started arriving and were provided accommodation at the Kingsbury hotel.

The long awaited buffet

When I was first taken into dine at the Kingsbury hotel we walked over to the harbour room where the had a large selection of international cuisine lined up for a reasonable price. Walking around the buffet table I was slightly disturbed by the pork display amongst all the meat and some at the salad section. Turning away without proceeding to dine in there we were directed towards the ocean. Although pleased and really happy for the food that was available my mind was so much into the large buffet table at the restaurant next door. The vivid colours of salad and desserts aroused my appetite and was always making me wish the meals were prepared seperate and clean while I also wished the pork dint exist everyday.
The advertisements on the paper during ramazan which indicated the ramazan ifthar buffet persuaded me to trust that good must be prepared clean and well to give all muslims a chance to experience fine food buffet.
The restaurant had many muslim customers. It was time for me to try my hands on this luscious spread of food.
I bet I dint taste everything available yet I did go for the unique and original.

The buffet in pictures

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The lovely display of baguettes and cheese made me capture them into my phone.

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I went in for some pies and the were of many varieties. I loved all I served.  The one to the left topped with dark chocolate sauce is a few pineapple pieces dipped in a batter and deep fried. Served with some chocolate fudge. Usually it is served in  a separate plate with a scoop of ice cream and some chocolate sauceon top. I was in a hurry so I served it on with all my desserts.
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Srilankan food is two words and when am abroad I can get a long list of srilankan food but if am srilanka there is none that I really enjoy than the crispy hoppers. An egg in the centre is egg hoppers while a few spoons of jaggery syrup makes it jaggery hoppers.
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the chef who made the hoppers looked a bit shy when I tried taking a few photographs yet he did a good hopper for me.
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The dessert table
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Sauces and jams
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A display of some srilankan sweets

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The cakes and puddings
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The pickles and salsa
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A few salads
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More desserts
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Oh yea they have some super delicious salads. The health conscious can now go on a buffet dinner. Pick thise salads and am sure those struggling like myself to create a healthy meal would get a lot of ideas. Now I can stop boring my husband with the same kind of vegetables in his salad bowl.
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My starter the red fruit which is called lovi in sl was so sour.
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My main course. Just a bit of a few things.

Oh yea the Arabic penne pasta section. They have many designs of pasta with a wide selection of sauces to accompany. I love that pasta jar.
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The mains section
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The traditional method in a modern equipment.  Loved those naans. The chef who prepared these naans was so helpful in taking these photos and made sure I got the naan in there on my camera which is why he took the picture. I couldn’t reach that far.
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So when a food blogger goes to a buffet this is what she ends up with. Loads of images on food, food and food only.
Eat what you can even though you pay for more than you eat. Usually people serve a lot on everything and waste the food. We all should follow one rule on a buffet which is to taste from everything on the buffet table but do not serve more than what you can taste. People stay hungry and there are many people who struggle and die of hunger.  We can never help everyone but we can stop wasting food.

Waste not, want not

Everything has a limit so does food.
According to me buffets are to help people taste everything but not eat everything.
We can never try out different types of food in a la carte restaurant unlike in a buffet where the price is same whatever you eat and you hardly will be able to eat anything as each order has its limits and own prices.  Buffet meals are for those looking for a different sort of dinning experience while enjoying the variety of food.
So I have developed a policy that I go to the right place that has a variety of options and serves international food. This way I get the chance if exploring food while travelling and discover the different flavors in food from around the world in one place.

So choose wise and enjoy the variety

Mafaza

mafaza