So... I moved Sri Lanka! The pearl of the Indian Ocean. Island of gems. And leopards. And lots and lots of jungle. I'm kicking off this big adventure with a trip around the country (with Mr. Jungle Shakti, my best friend, soul mate, business partner, photographer and finisher of leftover food!) to experience as much of this amazing culture and natural beauty as I can before settling down for a few months in Kandy, City of Kings, while we build our dream home – we're calling it 'The Jungalow', of course!
I'd love to build a beautiful kitchen with views of the jungle (I'm dreaming of stone benchtops and plenty of cupboard space for all my appliances!). I'd also like to start filming some recipes for you AND begin work on a cookbook... so yeah, it's going to be a big year!
Over the next few months, I'll be exploring the food of Sri Lanka from Jaffna to Matara – end to end! I can tell you one thing already, and that is, the vegan options here are incredible! And it's not just because of the seemingly endless supply of tropical fruit (heaven for raw vegans). Here in Sri Lanka, vegetables are a big part of the national diet. There's dozens of varieties of curries for every type of vegetable you can imagine. There's some familiar favourites, like beetroot, pumpkin, lentils, eggplant and tomatoes, and then some more exotic things like jackfruit, kohila, tapioca and bitter gourd. And don't get me started on the spices!
There's also an untapped resource of superfoods that the rest of the world are scrambling for, yet here, they are just 'everyday'. Turmeric, coconut, cacao, soursop and jackfruit are all found in abundance here. I really can't wait to get into the kitchen and start experimenting with these magical ingredients. So far, I've really only had the equipment to whip up a few fruit bowls.
The street stalls are overflowing with melons and pineapples and bananas, and I'm really only limited by what I can squeeze into a 3-wheeler, and the fact that I don't actually have a refrigerator yet. Who would have thought real, organic fruit spoils so quickly huh?! Just goes to show what kind of crazy pesticides and genetic engineering go into our fruit that lasts for months, right?
In the meantime, while I'm waiting to build that perfect Jungle Shakti kitchen to start doing what I love most, I'll be popping into cafes, restaurants and street stalls in search of plant-based recipes to share with you. First stop, Cafe Kumbuk in Colombo! I hope you'll follow my journey an Instagram and Facebook and drop me a line if you have any questions or requests. See you in the jungle real soon!