Posted 17th April 2016
The last few months have been dominated by a new cuisine in my house.
Since receiving a copy of The Local’s Cookbook, I’ve barely been able to put it down. Written by Bristol based Jon Lewin following his time in Sri Lanka. It’s a brilliant introduction to Sri Lankan food and cooking.
I knew that this would be a rave review after the first recipe I cooked. However I wanted to make sure that I tried a decent number of dishes before giving a full write up. A brilliant book to buy for yourself (a new cookbook is my favourite treat!) or as a gift. Here’s why I’ve enjoyed it so much.
Most of the curries are prepped and cooked within 30-40 minutes. Whilst you’re getting used to the recipes it takes a touch longer, but dinner is still ready within the hour which is perfect for mid-week meal.
Whilst some of the recipes require a bit more skill than others, on the whole they are extremely easy to make. This makes them ideal for anyone who wants to cook delicious food but isn’t that confident in the kitchen (or doesn’t enjoy cooking that much!)
Recipes generally go something like this: Chop, mix & cook with spices, add coconut milk, simmer, done. Some are more complicated, but on the whole it’s perfect for beginners and those looking for hassle free cooking.
This is what I’ve enjoyed most about Sri Lankan food. The dishes are just so vibrant and so tasty. Dishes like seer fish white curry (mackerel based) and the beetroot curry are beautifully balanced and make for an impressively tasty dish.
The highlight for me has been the vegetable curries. So packed with flavour, and just so interesting. They really are delicious. I tend to cook two or three at a time, as Jon says in the book, “one curry is never enough”.
Chilli is a key player in Sri Lankan cooking and lots of these recipes pack a punch when it comes to spice. If your tolerance for spice is fairly low (mine is) you can tone down some of the curry powder and added chillies. My personal tip is to cook one hot dish and one milder one so I can alternate between the two!
Bright pink beetroot, orange pumpkin or squash, pale yellow curries, white coconut, red and green chillies, purple onion. There’s something so enjoyable about cooking with such a rainbow of ingredients.
Even more enjoyable is serving up several dishes which all look wonderfully unique and equally vibrant.
More than just the recipes, the book itself is rich in colour and includes beautiful photographs of Sri Lanka and the locals who contributed to the book. Thumbing through the pages, I feel genuinely inspired to cook the recipes and to learn more about Sri Lankan food and culture.
Once your storecupboard is stocked the recipes in this book are pretty cheap – especially the veggie ones. Make sure you stock up on coconut milk. You’ll need it a lot!
So as you can tell, I’m a huge fan. Of Sri Lankan food and especially of this book. Better still 10% of profits are donated back to the locals who contributed to the recipes and it’s author, Jon, is based in Bristol. Find out more about Jon and where you can buy this wonderful book using the links below:
Like on Facebook
Follow on twitter @localscookbook
Check out some of Jon’s beautiful pictures on instagram