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Monday, 17 October 2011

Dine It Forward Launch Event

Hi Guys! You may have remember my post about the Dine It Forward campaign organised by the youth organisation Palmera a couple of weeks ago. Well just last week was their official launch event for the whole campaign which I was invited to attend (Thanks guys!).

I attended the event with my good friend Nadi, I didn't really know anyone else, but they seemed to know me!! Thanks to Nadi and her spreading the word about my blog (thank you Nadi, but it's still embarrassing =P). I got to meet members of the Palmera team and they are all so lovely and so friendly. It was held at City Hotel in Sydney CBD which is a really nice venue, having been there many times for a string of 21st's. It was really well organised and they had set up the room really nicely, just like a little dinner party =D.

There were various group members going around serving entrees to all the guests as they were arriving....and everything was soooo yummy!!

Muruku - Fried snacks made from mainly flour and spices

Cutlets - a mxiture of fish and spices, coated in breadcrumbs and fried

Wade - 'discs' of dhal and spices deep-fried (and served with the most
AMAZING mint sauce I have ever had!)

As you can tell, Sri Lankans have an affinity for fried foods =P. And sorry about these pictures! We were a bit too distracted by the food and the beautiful set up!

Up stairs from the main dining area was a little display set up showing pictures of worn torn areas and little caption cards just explaining each picture.

The site of the proposed Rice Mill

The night also involved a small sort of presentation by the one and only Paul Van Reyk! For those who don't know Paul van Reyk is a Sri Lankan/Austrian (Burgher) living in Australia and is well known for his passion for Sri Lankan food. Paul runs a small catering service offering up Sri Lankan food, teaches occasional cooking classes and is a restaurant reviewer. And, he has the most colourful personality!! His knowledge of Sri Lankan food and it's history is incredible!!! His explanation of the development of Sri Lankan cuisine and the influences that shaped it was both insightful and extremely entertaining =P hahaha.

Paul explaining some of the various cooking vessels used in Sri Lankan food preparation

Annnnnnd, on to the food!!
Yes, the main meal was incredibly authentic and tasty, all prepared by Paul and various Palmera members! Definitely what I would call typical Sri Lankan fare. Although, there was one thing I have never tried - I actually didn't catch what they were called either...but they were the little fried balls of something with a distinctive flavour.....if anyone knows what they are let me know!

The Palmera Team dishing up our lovely dinner

So from the top of the plate going clockwise we have yellow dhal, 'black' chicken (just above it are small dollops of coconut 'pol' sambal and a chilli-onion 'katta' sambal), mint sauce, onion 'seeni' sambal, those round things I have no idea what they are, 'mallung' (leafy greens, chopped up and 'stir-fried' with coconut), potato curry and in the middle, yellow rice =D.

Traditionally Sri Lankan's eat with their hands
, which may sound very primitive but it's probably the most ideal way to eat such a meal. Without sounding gross, it not only adds to the experience, but the flavour as well. The idea is to get a small amount of everything into each bite. However on this occasion, we opted for the more modern fork and spoon =P.

It's really interesting (and nice of course!) to taste familiar traditional foods prepared by other people. In terms of Sri Lankan food, I only get the chance to eat the things prepared by my mum, and occasionally by family friends. And it's so interesting to see the differences in taste and texture when they are prepared by other people. I love it because then it leaves rooms for re-creating and experimentation in your own kitchen!

And next was dessert! We were given a traditional Sri Lankan pudding called Wattallappam, which is made from jaggery (palm sugar), coconut cream and eggs. I'm not the biggest fan of this dessert but from experience I know this one tasted pretty good! It was served with ice cream, as it normally is.

The wattallappam is underneath =)

And to finish it off, there was plenty of Love Cake (crumbly butter cake prepared with rose water, tastes very much like Turkish delight) and Milk Toffee (made with condensed milk and spiced with cardamom and cloves) to go around! O.M.G. the Milk toffee was probably the best I have EVER had. I nearly ate the whole plate it was that good! I normally don't eat much of this but it was sooooo goood I took some home. Yes, I am the biggest fatty.

Love Cake
The most amazing Milk Toffee i've ever had

Needless to say the whole night was so nice and executed smoothly =D. I got my picture with Paul so I was happy =P.

And as a final gesture to top off the wonderful night, all the guests received little goodie bags, containing recipe cards, the cutest spice rack and a little information about Palmera and their various an extra slice of Love Cake and the life-changing Milk Toffee. The perfect gift to enable us all to host our own Dine It Forward events and share our wonderful Sri Lankan cuisine with our friends and family!

Me with my gorgeous little spice rack!!
Can't wait to get into the kitchen and whip up some authentic Sri Lankan fare!!

A special thanks to Nadi and Meenal (Woot woot MLC pride!!), who is a prominent member of the Palmera team and is involved with the organisation of the Dine It Forward campaign =D.

Remember guys you can get involved with Dine It Forward yourself by attending one of their public events on either the 25th or the 30th of October (click HERE for more details). And you can also host your own event at home throughout November (click HERE to officially register your event and to receive your own goodie bag). Seriously guys it's so much fun so get involved!! And remember it's for a really good cause!!

I can't wait to host my own Dine It Forward event next month!! xx


  1. I have totally visited your blog before because my browser recognises it =)

    So the blog I was telling you about yesterday is onceuponafoodie . I haven't done opium den yet. Let me know what you think! xx!

  2. ahahha well thats a good thing =D. But the link wont open! can you inbox the full url to me?


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