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JUST A HOLIDAY ROMANCE?

If you’ve never thought of having egg curry for breakfast, now could be the time. As it gets jumper-chilly at home and the first frosts bite, what better than to plan an escape to Sri Lanka, island of beauty, frolicking monkeys, sublime tea and very fine food indeed. But beware – it might spoil your taste buds for a while

hungry traveller.

Tea pickers in Sri Lanka’s lofty tea country

The food in Sri Lanka is too good. Back in England after our journey through this continent-inminiature, I suffered withdrawal symptoms. All the food I’d known before seemed bland and boring in comparison. Although the teardrop shaped island, just off the coast of India, packs in an array of eye-popping natural wonders, we soon discovered that Sri Lankan cuisine – fresh, spicy and colourful – is a spectacle in itself.

RICE, KANDY & SHORT EATS

Our more-than-a-holiday-romance with Sri Lanka’s national dish, ‘rice and curry’, began on our first night in the country’s capital, Colombo, in Maniumpathy hotel (see p134). The rice, as its billing would suggest, gets pride of place in the centre of the table. What’s in the curries depends on what’s in season. That first night we had snake gourd, okra and star fruit, plus pork for the meat dish, along with a spiced side dish called a sambol (this was a fresh coconut version but other sambols include my favourite, bitter gourd).

Our ardour hadn’t cooled by morning. As well as breakfast curries of fish and creamy, coconutty potato, we had our first taste of hoppers. These are light, fermented rice pancakes, curved from the pan they’re made in and served with a fried egg on top for breakfast. Come in, egg on toast: your time is up…

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Have you ever wanted to make your own Christmas pudding or cake for the big feast? Now you can with the new issue of delicious. It’s got the best recipes for Stir-up Sunday (26 November). Plus you can start planning for the festivities with our freeze-ahead casseroles, food lovers’ gift guide and cook book roundup. If that’s not enough to gladden the heart, Nigel Slater’s autumn classics, Paul Hollywood’s best bakes and a foolproof molten chocolate pud will definitely bring plenty of comfort and joy. Buy your copy today!
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