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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Peace haven, Kandy Sri Lanka


Peace haven is my home. It is where I grew up, and it is where I have come back to, to find peace as its name implies!

It is also a guest-house run by my parents. Peace haven is a little away from the hustle and bustle of the town, but is within walking distance to the famous Temple of the Tooth Relic. 
view from our balcony, early in the morning
This is our balcony. Our visitors like to relax here with a cup of piping hot Sri Lankn tea. Some even have their breakfast here, enjoying the lush greenery with the chirping of the early morning birds and if they are early enough they will catch sight of the flocks and flocks of white egrets flying west.

We have 2 bed rooms with attached toilets with hotwater shower. The rooms have mosquito nets and a fan. My parents are happy to give you a huge breakfast with lots of tropical fruits and most guests say they can happily skip lunch after partaking of it!

Bed room 1

Bed room 2
We also have daily visits by a family of parrots who come to the balcony and holler for Marie biscuits.
One of our daily visitors
The monkeys. Although visitors are both thrilled and scared by these monkeys, the Sri Lankans find them a menace. I have blogged about it here
These are my lovely parents. They are good, friendly,  hospitable people and are ever willing to help guests with anything they may need. My mother is a good cook and my father is knowledgable about all the tourist destinations, train times etc.

Please visit us if you are planning on coming to Sri Lanka. It will be like coming home...

February 2014: I belatedly notify that we have been closed for some time and do not hope to re-open the guest house again. Thank you and sorry for the inconvenience.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A saucy post

Tomatoes are going cheap in Sri Lanka (Rs.20 a kilo. ) and I decided to make us some tomato sauce. I surfed the net and fund several, some using only tomatoes and vinegar and some using even carrots and onions. When I told my mother this, she said she had a tried and tested reipe given out by our local Agriculture Department in Gannoruwa. It had a lot of spices and even powdered red chillie, so I decided this will be more in keeping with our taste and decided to go for it. Here is the recipe:

Spicy Sri Lankan Tomato Sauce recipe

1 1/2 Kg ripe tomatoes
1 cup vinegar
50g Tamarind
4tsp dried red chillie powder
150g- 200g sugar
Celery chopped
grind the following on a grinding stone or wet grinder:
2 cloves garlic
1 inch piece ginger
Tie the following in a clean piece of cotton cloth :
2 inch piece cinnamon
10 peppercorns
10 cloves

1. Wash tomatoes well and blend in an electric blender (with skins on). Sieve into heavy bottomed pan.
2. Dissolve tamarind in some of the vinegar and pour into the tomato juice in te pan.
3. Add the ground ginger , garlic , chillie powder, the rest of the vinegar and the spices tied in te piece of cloth into the tomato mix.
4. Put on fire and bring to boil always stirring with a wooden spoon to avoid clumps.  (You can see my spice bag in the centre of the sauce.)

 5. Add the sugar and salt to taste. You may adjust the seasoning to your taste. (these quantities give a very rich, spicy and hot hot sauce-very much Sri Lankan)
6. Simmer for about 30-40mins till thick. Remember to stir frequently.
7. Add the celery when it is almost ready to be taken off the fire. You may remove the celery pieces once the sauce has cooled.

This is my bottle of sauce. Yields about 750ml of sauce. Can keep in the refrigerator for some time (I can't tell you exctly how long. Mine has been there for about a week and is still good) 

Enjoy your homemade, no preservative sauce with fried fish/ pizza, noodles, rice-with just anything you wish! This has a well balanced taste of tanginess, sweetness and chillie.

I also made a handkerchief dress for my 4 year old niece.

That's all for now. I also warmly welcome Helen and the 7of us to my blog. I am so happy you are here! Maybe that's a reason for my quite frequent posts!!!
Take care,

Thursday, February 2, 2012

A goody bag for little Neeni

Last week, my good friend Dr.Rumala, gifted me her two chilren's Lego set. It is a huge set and is being enjoyed by my son now (who is 2years and 8months ). I was so overcome by gratitude. It would have cost the earth if I had bought it. And it keeps my naughty son occupied and out of michief, even for a short time.  I told him it belonged to Nirmitha ayya and Neeni akka and they had given it to him and that they expected him to look after the peices and not throw them about and lose them. He has taken this to heart! After play, he meticulously picks each piece up and puts it into the big plastic container I gave him. I am so happy about this! Thank yo Dr.Ru, Nirmtha and Neeni!!!

As a way of showing my gratitude I made 6 year old Neeni a goody bag. I sewed a simple drawstring bag and filled it with:
1. hand crafted bottle top rubber stamps stored in a wooden box and a stamp pad.
2. A Hello kitty box with two hair clips

The bag:
 I hope she likes it!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Slow living 2012

I am linking up with Christine over at Slow living essentials to set myself some goals for this year. Here are my goals:

1. Declutter - I want to declutter one room in our house and use it as a play room for my son.
2. Make soap-I have been meaning to make soap since last year. I caught the bug after reading Rhonda's post on soap making.
3. Gradually introduce my 2yrs and 8month old son to preschool.
4. Get some crafting done. I have developed an intense liking of crochet and bag making. I must finish the crochet bolero I am working on, for my niece.
5. Make another quilt. I've only done the one and have wanted to do one since. But never created the time.
6. Get used to giving handmade gifts instead of convenient, expensive store bought ones.
7. Make some handmade gifts and give to some of my dear friends. (Charmalie, Wathsala)
8. Increase my saving.
9. Reduce my expenses. I have drastically cutdown on my expenses since last October and am keeping it up.
10. Somehow revive my interest in oil painting and do at least one painting this year.
11. Do some serious gardening.

In my work life:
1. I want towrap up my research on Leishmaniasis and get confirme in my post.
2. I want to find innovative ways of conducting small group discussions for undrgraduates. I think I came up with one suggestion today which was taken up by our staff enthusiastically! It was to give students teaching aids at the class. Our first discusion will be on transmission of helminths and we will give samples of clay soil, sand, etc and talk about helminths (worms) transmitted from such an environ. Also give them a slepper and ask them what type of helminth transmission can be prevented by the simple act of using footwear. etc.

I thought I would also list the things I have achieve in 2011 so that I read them and know that I have achieved quite a bit (and smile :-)

1. I have started to record every expense I make in a book.
2. I have started to follow the envelope method of money management.
3. I have cut down on my credit card buying.
4. Minimised on buying toys on impulse for my son and have started to make things like this:
Diver in a bottle
Shadow makers
Bottletop stamps

5. I am more into do with what you have and go without buying new.
6. I have also reduced my consumption of chicken. Its something I've always wanted to do. I eat more fish now and also make things with veggies and surprisingly find they are great!

That seems about it. Thanks Christine for your inspiration!