Serendib Kitchen: Sri Lankan American Cooking – BY A PUBLIC AFFAIR


a feast of Serendib

Source: WORT FM 

With Thanksgiving on the horizon and feasting on our minds, today we spend the hour with professor and food blogger Mary Anne Mohanraj, who recently published A Feast of Serendib, one of the first Sri Lankan American cookbooks.

Mary Anne Mohanraj is a clinical assistant professor of literature at the University of Illinois at Chicago, a fiction writer, and a food blogger at Serendib Kitchen. She is the founder and executive director of Speculative Literature Foundation and DesiLit. She is the author of many books, including the short story collection Bodies in Motion and the novel The Stars Change. Her latest publication is the cookbook A Feast of Serendib: Recipes from Sri Lanka (Mascot Books, 2020).

Listen to the Interview below

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hilton First DoubleTree by Hilton Resort Opens in Weerawila, Sri Lanka






DTree Weerawila Hero Shot (WRZRJ)

78-room DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort opens to guests in the heart of the idyllic Bird Sanctuary of Weerawila

 WEERAWILA, SRI LANKA — NOVEMBER 24, 2020 — Hilton (NYSE: HLT) today announced the opening of DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort, a new three-story, 78-room modern resort in Weerawila, Sri Lanka. The newly-built resort is owned by KDU Adventures (Private) Limited and joins Hilton Colombo and Hilton Colombo Residences as the third hotel to be managed by Hilton in the country.

Located amongst lush bird sanctuaries and in the midst of three of Asia’s most visited wildlife parks, the resort is set apart by an exquisite ballroom, nature-inspired meeting spaces, stunning restaurants and bars, which makes DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort a natural choice for business and leisure travelers alike.

 “We are thrilled to launch our first DoubleTree by Hilton resort in Sri Lanka with the opening of this stunning property which joins our Hilton portfolio in the country. The unique features of the resort, coupled with its location in the heart of Weerawila, makes it a prime choice for domestic and international travelers alike. I am confident DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort will be top of mind for those who are looking for an idyllic getaway while seeking the comfort of a well-recognized hotel brand that consistently delivers service that is authentic, reliable and straight from the heart,” said Paul Hutton, Vice President Operations South East Asia for Hilton.

DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort is located 25 kilometers from Mattala Rajapakse International Airport – a convenient 28-minute drive away – and just over a half hour drive from Hambantota Port district, an up and coming commercial zone in the south of the country. The resort is also uniquely situated within the Weerawila Bird Sanctuary which is home to over 400 species of birds and just minutes away from popular tourist attractions such as Kataragama Sacred City, Bundala and Yala National Parks.

“DoubleTree by Hilton is one of our fastest growing brands with a presence of more than 600 upscale hotels across 47 countries. Over the past decade, the brand has experienced exponential growth, close to quadrupling in size to accommodate the world’s thriving economic and business centers and growing tourism industries,” said Shawn McAteer, global brand head, DoubleTree by Hilton. “We are delighted to welcome this great new addition to our portfolio which is ideal for travelers seeking an unrivaled retreat underscored by superior service and hospitality.”



DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort offers exceptional dining experiences through its two restaurants and three bars featuring panoramic views of the tranquil Lake Weerawila along with diverse menus.

Guests can savor a wide variety of cuisines made from local and seasonal produce at Spoonbill, the resort’s all-day dining restaurant, tea lounge and barbeque grill. The restaurant serves a creative blend of international and continental specialities and features an extensive list of international wines to complement the meal.

Guests can also dine at Redshank, located on the rooftop, overlooking the serene Lake Weerawila, which offers a wide selection of seafood, from Sri Lanka’s famed crabs, shrimps, and lobsters to the freshest “catch of the day”.

The resort also features three stunning bars to choose from. Guests can enjoy a round of eight ball pool at Turnstone, the resort’s main bar which offers plush, cosy indoor and outdoor seating; raise a glass after a long day of travel at Hornbill, the resort’s enchanting pool bar and lounge, or sip on a signature cocktail and enjoy the view from Nightjar, the resort’s rooftop bar.



DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort’s 78 Digital Key-enabled, spacious guest rooms are equipped with a 49” HDTV with entertainment hub, Wi-Fi, king or twin bedding, terrace or balcony, rain shower and Crabtree and Evelyn amenities. Guests seeking exercise or relaxation have a variety of options, including a 24-hour fitness center with 3600 views outfitted with the latest Precor® equipment and free weights, a spectacular 75-meter-long outdoor swimming pool, Yoga Terrace, rooftop Wellness Spa, Karaoke Lounge and Tea Jar by the Lake.



Featuring over 10,000 square feet of meeting space, DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort is an ideal venue for weddings, business meetings and other social gatherings. The stunning pillar-less Grand Ballroom, measuring 7,788 square feet, can accommodate up to 600 guests in a wedding setting. The ballroom and the Weaver Meeting room are equipped with state-of-the-art audio-visual equipment, as well as floor to ceiling windows that overlook tranquil Lake Weerawila.


In addition to the above highlights and as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort is participating in the Hilton CleanStay Program to help guests enjoy a clean and safe experience during their stay. The new standards under Hilton CleanStay include a Hilton CleanStay Room Seal to show that a room has not been accessed since being thoroughly cleaned and disinfected, additional cleaning of common areas and items, contactless check-in, innovative disinfection technology and flexible housekeeping options. A full list can be accessed at


DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort is also part of Hilton Honors, the award-winning guest-loyalty program for Hilton’s 18 world-class brands comprising more than 6,300 properties in 118 countries and territories. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits, including a flexible payment slider that allows members to choose nearly any combination of Points and money to book a stay, an exclusive member discount, and free Standard WiFi. Members also have access to contactless technology exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app where Hilton Honors members can check-in, choose their room and access their room using Digital Key. Hilton Honors offers its 118 million members hundreds of ways to earn and redeem Points. Members can redeem their Points for free nights, premium merchandise and items on Amazon Shop with Points, and make charitable contributions. The program is free to join, and travelers may enroll online by visiting Learn more about Hilton Honors at, and follow Hilton Honors on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. else. Members also enjoy popular digital tools available exclusively through the industry-leading Hilton Honors mobile app where Hilton Honors members can check-in, choose their room, and access their room using a Digital Key.

To celebrate the hotel’s opening, Hilton Honors members will earn an additional 1,000 Points per night – up to a maximum of 3,000 Hilton Honors Points – for bookings from December 15, 2020 March to 15, 2021, when booking directly with Hilton.

DoubleTree by Hilton Weerawila Rajawarna Resort is located at Weerawila Watta, Weerawila, 82632, Sri Lanka.

For more information, or to make a reservation, travelers may visit or call +94 47 2030 100.



About DoubleTree by Hilton

DoubleTree by Hilton is a fast-growing, global portfolio of more than 600 upscale hotels with more than 138,000 rooms across 47 countries. For more than 50 years, DoubleTree by Hilton has continued to be a symbol of comfort for business and leisure travelers around the world, from welcoming guests with its signature warm DoubleTree chocolate chip cookie, to serving the local community. DoubleTree by Hilton offers contemporary accommodations and amenities, including unique food and beverage experiences, state-of-the-art fitness offerings and meetings and events spaces. Hilton Honors members who book directly through preferred Hilton channels have access to instant benefits. To make reservations, travelers may visit Connect with DoubleTree by Hilton on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Learn about the latest brand news at

About Hilton

Hilton (NYSE: HLT) is a leading global hospitality company with a portfolio of 18 world-class brands comprising more than 6,300 properties with nearly one million rooms, in 118 countries and territories. Dedicated to fulfilling its mission to be the world’s most hospitable company, Hilton has welcomed more than 3 billion guests in its more than 100-year history, earned a top spot on the 2020 World’s Best Workplaces list, and was named the 2019 Global Industry Leader on the Dow Jones Sustainability Indices. In 2020, Hilton CleanStay was introduced, bringing an industry-defining standard of cleanliness and disinfection to hotels worldwide. Through the award-winning guest loyalty program Hilton Honors, the more than 110 million members who book directly with Hilton can earn Points for hotel stays and experiences money can’t buy, plus enjoy instant benefits, including contactless check-in with room selection, Digital Key, and Connected Room. Visit for more information, and connect with Hilton on Facebook, TwitterLinkedInInstagram and YouTube


About KDU Group

The KDU Group prides itself on being one of the most successful family owned conglomerates in Sri Lanka. Consisting of 15 thriving subsidiaries, including Tea Factories, Hospitality, Exports, Real Estate, Petroleum and a Hydro Power Plant, the tea industry lies at the core of our group. KDU Group are now a leading tea manufacturer and exporter, with some of the largest cutting-edge factories in Sri Lanka.

The KDU Group’s inherent commitment, dedication to quality and productivity, traditional wisdom and innovative thinking has placed KDU Group at the pinnacle of success, establishing as a forerunner in the market. The conglomerate’s strong values and firm beliefs that have enriched our past, continue to empower our future.


Cheryl Chan

Hilton – South East Asia

 Sanoj Perera

DoubleTree by Hilton

Weerawila Rajawarna Resort
+94 76 8174 531

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Sermon Preached by the Rev’d Marc Billimoria,
Warden of S. Thomas’ College, Mount Lavinia


the Episcopal Ordination and Installation


The Reverend Dushantha Lakshman Rodrigo
16th Bishop of Colombo


The Feast of St Simon &St Jude
28th October 2020

The Cathedral Church of Christ the Living Saviour

Fr Dushantha Rodrigo

May I speak in the name of God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.

I was deeply moved to have received Father Dushy’s invitation to preach on this occasion on the very evening of his appointment by Archbishop Justin exactly one month ago, and I am glad to be doing so for a couple of reasons.

When the Diocese of Colombo celebrated its centenary in 1945 the Rev. Lakdasa de Mel, an old boy of Royal College, became the first Sri Lankan to be consecrated an Anglican Bishop. This year, in its 175th year, in Fr Dushy our Diocese, at long last, receives its first Thomian Bishop and as the present Warden of S. Thomas’ College I am particularly honoured to preach on this historic occasion.

Founded by Bishop James Chapman to serve as the Divinity School for his new Diocese, over the years S. Thomas’ has produced many priests but no Bishop until now. I am also of course very glad to be here to support one who has been a friend and colleague in ministry for many years. So, thank you Father D for your gracious invitation to share the joy of this day with you and Shehara and the entire Diocese as you begin your journey as our 16th Bishop.

My text this afternoon is an excerpt from the Epistle chosen for this service (Ephesians 4: 11, 12) – “The gifts he gave were that some would be apostles… to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ…” 

According to Luke 6:13, Jesus chose twelve disciples, including St Simon and St Jude, who we remember today, and commissioned them to be Apostles, to go into the world to proclaim his Gospel, to serve people and to point the way to God. After Jesus’ Ascension the Apostles passed on the Apostolic Office and Ministry to their successors, the first Bishops according to some Church Fathers.

Anglicans believe that Bishops therefore are called to guard the apostolic “good deposit of faith” and to give visionary leadership to the Church to fulfill God’s Mission. Whether or not everyone agrees with this view of Episcopacy, all can agree with St Paul that apostolicity, among the other ministries, is a gift of the Spirit – “to equip the saints”, the whole baptized people of God, for “building up the Body of Christ”, the Church, for “the work of ministry”, the task of mission.

The nature of episcopal ministry has changed over time and today an Anglican Bishop is expected to multi task. I will not repeat what is stated in the Declarations of the Ordination Liturgy about the multifaceted role a Bishop is called to play. I want to however, share with you Father Dushy the words of the Lambeth Fathers of 1988 who expressed it well when they agreed that a Bishop is not just “A symbol of Unity…a teacher and defender of the faith, a pastor of the pastors and of the laity, an enabler in the preaching of the Word, and in the administration of the Sacraments, a leader in mission…a shepherd who nurtures and cares for the flock of God” but one who is also called to be,
“a physician to whom are brought the wounds of society;
a voice of conscience within the society in which the local Church is placed;
a prophet who proclaims the justice of God in the context of the Gospel of loving redemption;
a head of the family in its wholeness, its misery and its joys…the family’s centre of life and love.”

All this points to the fact that fundamentally a Bishop’s ministry is a very personal one in which he must foster a personal touch by walking alongside people– all who know you will agree that God has blessed you with the ability to do this.

This is the need of the hour, because you assume the mantle of Bishop of Colombo at a challenging time. We are not just in a world changed forever by Covid-19 but one in which many people are being dehumanized in a multitude of ways, as described for instance by Pope Francis in his recent Social Encyclical Fratelli tutti.

It is in the midst of some harsh realities that you are called to lead the Church in this Diocese to reflect God’s concerns and priorities as we engage in God’s Mission. Father Dushy, you share a name with one of our Church’s most courageous theologians, Bishop Lakshman Wickremesinghe. Addressing the CMS in 1979 on the subject Mission, Politics and Evangelism Bishop Lakshman said, “The kingdom of God comes on earth not only when individuals are converted to Christ but also when society lives more in accordance with the values of this kingdom.” Herein lies a challenge to us even today. Our message is not just about personal salvation, as vital as that is, but also one of hope in the renewal of Creation through the incarnation, life and work of Jesus: God’s way of perfecting a world which God always sees as ‘good’ however ‘bad’ we make it. This is why for Anglicans Mission is not just evangelism but is seen in the broader context of the Marks of Mission. But if the Church is to engage in this kind of holistic and integral Mission there is need for honest self-scrutiny and a radical change of direction in order that we may be a certain kind of Church:

❖ A Church that is a sacramental and eucharistic community that worships God for God’s sake, (not just to satisfy the individual and relative tastes of the worshippers), and allows all worship to be the springboard for Mission.

❖ A Church that proclaims the Reign of God as Jesus did; preaching and teaching the Gospel of wholeness and abundant life.

❖ A Church in which childlike faith will not be viewed as a threat to intellectual pursuits and vice versa, that through its processes of formation calls its members, both clergy and laity, to lives of integrity and simplicity, intentional discipleship and authentic spirituality.

❖ A Church that as an “extension of the Incarnation” celebrates diversity, and honours difference by being an inclusive community in which ALL will be welcome and no one will be excluded on the basis of any of the narrow distinctions that continue to divide human beings. So a Church that will “seek the lost”, “bring back the strayed’, “bind up the injured” and “strengthen the weak” as the Prophet Ezekiel said God would do.

❖ A Church that is a living organism rather than a religious system or organization. One that is not, what Bishop Lakshman called “a captive church” but one freed from the chains of hierarchy and bureaucracy, in which Mission is given the priority over the long term interests of “the ecclesiastical establishment”. A Church then that is truly a Movement of the Spirit than a Monument to past glory!

❖ A Church that promotes within itself and in society at large the radically Christian principles of liberty, fraternity, equality, and mutuality while upholding democratic values and working for truth and reconciliation, peace with justice.

While you will undoubtedly value the inheritance of the past, and build on foundations laid by your predecessors over 175 years, you will need to ensure our living faith continues to be relevant by taking the Gospel of generosity, love and grace directly to where the people are and where life happens.

All this is a pretty tall order Father Dushy. The task is demanding and will require of you, in words attributed in the context of episcopal ministry to Rowan Williams, “the constitution (or stamina) of an ox and the skin of a rhinoceros”!

But the task will also require you to adopt a leadership lifestyle that is in line with that of Jesus’, the Fount of all Ministry and the only authentic model of leadership for the Church. Lesslie Newbigin defined a Bishop as one who so follows “Jesus in the way of the cross that others find it possible to follow too…” So look unto Jesus and lead like Him.

❖ Lead like Jesus, who had absolutely no confusion about the true nature of his Mission – He came to serve, not to be served and was not afraid “to spend and be spent” in His work, which, as Bishop Chapman said, is the “greatest and best privilege.”

❖ Lead like Jesus, “the human face of God”, who reflected God’s radically inclusive love for all people, at all times and in all places and be a true People’s Bishop.

❖ Lead like Jesus, patient and faithful in your relationships, courageous and consistent in decision making, remembering to be “like the serpent keen and wise, harmless as a dove” when bringing change where change is needed, especially if you need “to uproot and tear down…to build and to plant.”
(Jeremiah 1: 10).

While exercising the episcopal ministry of oversight you will often feel lonely, BUT, you will not be alone. Remember that God will be with you and grant you all the grace necessary to fulfill the demands of God’s Call. You will have the ever faithful Shehara by your side, and you will also have the support, solidarity and prayers of all of us.

We Anglicans describe ourselves as “episcopally led and synodically governed.” The word “synod” is said to be derived from a Greek word meaning “walking together” and so we believe that while exercising your unique apostolic ministry you will walk together with us, your fellow workers, in consultation and collaboration, affirming and encouraging us to use the gifts and talents with which God has endowed us. This will not only enhance our unity and collegiality but also our credibility.

What the Church in this country needs now more than ever is this sort of radical leadership that will show people Jesus, when they ask you, as they did the first Apostles, “we wish to see Jesus.” (John 12: 21) By leading like this you will be “equipping the saints for the work of ministry, building up the body of Christ…” and the Church will fulfill its true calling of bringing the light of the unchanging Gospel to an ever changing world.

I want to end with some words from the old Prayer Book Ordinal my dear brother as you take up the pastoral staff of our Diocese today:
“Be to the flock of Christ a shepherd, not a wolf; feed them, devour them not. Hold up the weak, heal the sick, bind up the broken, bring again the outcasts, seek the lost. Be so merciful, that you be not too remiss; so minister discipline, that you forget not mercy; that when the Chief Shepherd shall appear, you may receive the never-fading crown of glory.”

May God who has called you to this ministry journey with you from this day and beyond.


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A Planter’s Dream or Folly
By George Braine

In tracing our family tree in Ceylon, my sister and I visited Yakwila Estate, near Pannala in the NWP, where my English grandfather Charles Stanley Braine served as manager in the early 1900s. There, we were told about a fascinating bungalow at nearby Andigama Estate.

The Yakwila managers did not have the vocabulary (in Sinhala) to describe the bungalow, nor did they have any photos to show us, even on a website. But they insisted it was a “must see”. We did not know what to expect.

At Andigama, up a winding drive, we came upon a sight that blew us away. Here, in all its splendor, was an English manor house, in a mix of Georgian and half-timber style, the latter seen all over Europe. The year of completion, carved over the front entrance, was 1922.
George Braine

Upon entering, we were amazed to see a huge fireplace, designed for wood burning, in English style. Carved on it was a Latin sentence, “Dominiva Aedificaverit Domvm Labor in Vanum Fvit”, which Google translated as “Unless the Lord has built the house, those building it have worked in vain” From Psalms 127:1.

The bungalow, large and two storied, was endowed with a narrow tower, a winding staircase, a shingled roof, and climbing ivy. A yellowed newspaper page, source unknown, had been framed and hung near the entrance. The print was not clear, but it stated that the bungalow was completed by D.F.C. Dyson, who had arrived in 1922, and stayed on for 26 years. Apparently, the Ceylon Tea Plantations Company, which owned Andigama Estate, ran out of patience with the cost of construction, and Mr. Dyson had to complete the bungalow at his own expense.
George Braine
The manager told us that, when a destructive cyclone blew through the area in 1967, Mr. Dyson had called from the UK inquiring if the bungalow was damaged.

English planters, nostalgic for home, built English style bungalows, picturesque chapels, and clubhouses, in the cool upcountry areas, where tea is grown. But, Andigama is stretching this nostalgia to the extreme, because it’s a coconut estate not far from the coast. On the day my sister and I visited, the outside temperature at Andigama was 36 centigrade.

George Braine

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Nige learned to cook in immigration detention – now he’s teaching Australians his recipes



Nige learned to cook in immigration detention – now he's teaching Australians his recipes


Launched in response to the pandemic, a national meal kit service shares the stories and cuisines from chefs of refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds

“My belly is laughing when I try some curry,” says Nigethan ‘Nige’ Sithirasegaram into one of the three cameras pointed at him. “Even the smell makes me happy.”

It’s a gloomy Melbourne morning but Sithirasegaram is positively beaming. Perched in front of a bright yellow backdrop at Free to Feed – a social enterprise and cooking school in Northcote – he’s telling stories for the suite of short films that will accompany a meal kit he’s releasing nationally on 17 November.

Before the pandemic, Free to Feed ran sell-out cooking classes that enabled customers to learn how to make dishes like Assyrian Mutabal Kousa (fried zucchini with a yoghurt tahini dressing) and Persian Zereshk Polo Ba Morgh (jewelled rice with saffron-braised chicken) under the supervision of chefs from refugee and asylum seeker backgrounds. Chefs like Sithirasegaram, a third-generation fisherman from Sri Lanka who taught himself how to cook in the six years he spent in Australian detention or, as he refers to it, “my bad time”.

In 2009, Sithirasegaram fled his home of Trincomalee and Sri Lanka’s civil war for his own safety, and to find a more peaceful life for his wife and son. At the time, Tamil men were at particular risk of being forcibly disappeared – according to Amnesty International, Sri Lanka has one of the highest rates of disappearances in the world.

After a harrowing stretch on Christmas Island, Sithirasegaram was transferred to Villawood Immigration Detention Centre in Sydney, then to Melbourne Immigration Transit Accommodation (Mita). “I had a very stressful time in detention,” he says. “I never thought I’d survive.”

Nige learned to cook in immigration detention – now he's teaching Australians his recipes

Permitted to one (supervised) grocery shop a week at Villawood and Mita, Sithirasegaram would call his wife and ask her to teach him the recipes she used to cook back home. “I would think about my wife’s food, my mum’s food,” he says. “Every day, I would cook and cook and cook, and keep learning. That would make me happy.”

Sithirasegaram was granted a bridging visa and released from detention in 2015. He honed his cooking skills at Tamil Feasts, a tri-weekly Sri Lankan pop-up food event that saw him making curries, sambal, chutney and dahl alongside three friends he met in detention.

Free to Feed co-founders Loretta and Daniel Bolotin began the enterprise in 2016 to help create meaningful employment opportunities for refugees, people seeking asylum and new migrants. But when Covid-19 made their in-person events impossible, they had to find other ways to support their 14 cooks, leaders and hosts.

As well as a meal delivery service and Zoom cooking classes, one of those other ways became ‘All Together Now’, a DIY meal kit and cultural exchange in a box. And the result, according to both the Bolotins, is a surprisingly vivid distillation of their mission statement.

Nige learned to cook in immigration detention – now he's teaching Australians his recipes

The first edition of All Together Now (the name itself a suggestion for how the meals ought to be prepared and enjoyed), was released in August and featured personal recipes and stories from Iranian chef and refugee Mahshid Babzartabi. “It gives me a feeling I’m invited all over Australia,” says Babzartabi of the success of her edition of All Together Now, “that despite years of living in limbo, we are welcomed by Australians”.

Sithirasegaram learned how to make curry powder by watching his mother and auntie when he was a child. In his kit, he demonstrates different variations of the blend, and talks about how the recipe varies slightly depending on how he’s feeling. “It’s like a hug,” he says.

Each of the 11 recipes on Sithirasegaram’s All Together Now menu has its own story, from his auntie’s chai butter cake to his wife’s coconut fried squid – one of the dishes he learned to cook in detention with her over-the-phone tutelage. “My wife had a big smile and I had a big smile,” he says of the first time he nailed the recipe (after a couple of botched attempts).

Sithirasegaram – who aspires to one day start his own food truck – now lives in Melbourne’s north, and has been separated from his family for over a decade. Just three-years-old when he left, his son has turned 14 – “a man now” says Sithirasegaram. It still remains unsafe for him to return to Sri Lanka, and Sithirasegaram must wait to be granted the appropriate visa class before he can bring his family to Australia.

Sithirasegaram’s wife, who he remains in touch with daily, can hardly believe what’s become of her husband. “She gets a little bit jealous because I’m cooking more than her,” he says with a chuckle. “She says, ‘How do you know so much about cooking now?’ I just smile: ‘This is my job’, I say. ‘I’m a professional now. And when you come to Australia, I’ll cook for you!’”

Nige’s beetroot sambal

Serves 4- 6

Nige learned to cook in immigration detention – now he's teaching Australians his recipes

2 medium-sized beetroots1.5cm dice
1 tomato
, roughly diced
1 red onion
 1.5cm dice
1 clove garlic
, peeled
1-2 dried red chilis
 (adjust amount to suit how hot you like your sambal)
1⁄4 cup cashew nuts
Juice of 1⁄2 lemon
1 tsp black mustard seeds
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 stalk fresh curry leaves
, removed from stalk
40ml coconut oil 
(can substitute with vegetable oil)

Special equipment
Food processor or stick blender

Heat oil in a pan, add chilis and cook for a minute then, add beetroot, onion, garlic, tomato and stir occasionally until onion has browned (about five minutes).

In the meantime soak the cashews in boiling water and set aside for five minutes, then drain.

Place the cashews and beetroot mixture into the bowl of the food processor and blend until very smooth. Add lemon juice and season with salt, place in serving dish.

Place a small frypan on the stove to heat, add mustard and fennel seeds and cook until the mustard seeds pop. Add the curry leaves, stir, then remove from heat. Garnish the beetroot sambal with the mustard and fennel seeds and curry leaves.

Nige’s yoghurt rice

Serves 4 -6

Nige learned to cook in immigration detention – now he's teaching Australians his recipes

2 cups basmati rice
1 tbsp black mustard seed
1 tbsp fennel seed
4 cardamon pods
2 stalks curry leaf, 
4 dried chilli
2 tbsp coconut oil
1⁄2 brown onion, 
finely chopped
1 cup yoghurt 
(use coconut yoghurt for a dairy alternative)

Wash the rice two to three times and drain.

Cook the rice in a rice cooker or a saucepan using the absorption method.*

Heat coconut oil until hot and fry mustard seed, fennel seed, cardamom pods, curry leaves, chilis and onion until the mustard seeds pop and the onion has browned.

Add 1⁄4 cup water, stir and reduce heat to the lowest point – the water stops the cooking process, so the spices don’t burn and the yoghurt doesn’t curdle.

Add the yoghurt and stir thoroughly, then add the cooked rice and mix to combine, place in a serving dish.

*Place rice in a saucepan, place your index finger into the saucepan so it touches the surface of the rice, then add enough cold water that it reaches the first line of your index finger. Place on stove and bring to the boil uncovered, when the water has evaporated (10 minutes), reduce the heat to the lowest point, cover and cook for further 10 minutes.

Nige Sithirasegaram’s edition of All Together Now is available now from Free to Feed.

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 There have been many versions of this song, recorded originally in Sri Lanka, the most popular being undoubtedly the Wally Bastiensz version which was sung in Sinhalese, as expected. The tempo in which the song was recorded was of course Wally’s favourite, being the “Baila”

          For those of you who do not know what Baila is, it was a type of party music first brought into what was then Ceylon, by the Portuguese who invaded the little Island, then being ruled by Sinhalese Kings, in 1630.

That was about 306 years before I was born, so let’s make that another story.

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 “MUSIC MUSIC MUSIC” – by Des Kelly


This is another special song that has just been recorded in America. After the 20th of January, 2021, it is sure to become a “Hit Parade” item around the World, but I am happy for all eLanka members to experience a preview of it. It amazed me, because I was unaware that either of these two gentlemen could sing, but then, as the other song says, “You never can tell”.


Desmond Kelly

Desmond Kelly.
(Editor-in-Chief)  eLanka.

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St. Sylvester’s, cradle of Hill Capital sportsmen-by Hafiz Marikar


Old Sylvestrian sport stars gathered to celebrate 80th anniversary of the St. Sylvester’s College, Kandy. This school was founded on November 1, 1940 by Rev. Fr. D. Robert Perera O.S.B.. He was also the founder principal. They are housed at the former premises of St. Anthony’s College. This is a school that has produced some of the top class sportsmen. The motto of the school is ‘Success through dedication’. Later during the Primership of late S.W.R.D. Bandaranaike the school was taken over by the Government. A big hand should go to former principal late D.J.N. Senavirthne who did yeoman service followed by K.S.Gunaratne, W.B.Goppallawa, late Bertie Nillagoda, Asoka B.Hearth, T.R. Meetiyagoda, the present principal P.G.S. Bandara and also not to forget one time vice principal old Royalist Roy Amarasinghe.

This school remains as the only school in the country if not in the world to have produced a sportsman who was selected to represent two different countries at two different Olympic games. That is none other than boxer Malcolm Bulner.He represented Ceylon at the Olympic Games in Tokyo and was later selected to represent Australia at the following Olympic Games. But he was deprived of achieving this rare feat owing to technical reasons. Malcolm has qualified as a world class boxing Judge. He also boxed for the country at the Empire Games in Perth and the Asian Games in Bangkok. The first Sylvestrian to win a national boxing title was Donald G. Labrooy who won the Bantham Weight title in early 1950’s.

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Ex-umpires call for institutional racism probe into ECB

John Holder

John Holder (left) and Ismail Dawood

London, Tuesday: Two former umpires have accused the England and Wales Cricket Board (ECB) of institutional racism and called for an independent investigation by the UK Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC).

John Holder, who stood in 11 Tests and 19 one-day internationals in nearly 30 years as a professional umpire, and Ismail Dawood, who stood on the ECB reserve list and umpired first-class matches, said it was vital to have an inquiry “to challenge organisations like the ECB”.

The last Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) umpire to be added to the ECB’s first-class list was Vanburn Holder 28 years ago. There have been none since his retirement in 2010.

An ECB spokesman told the BBC it wanted a more diverse ethnic make-up on their umpires panel but it was some way off from happening. “Today’s group of professional umpires don’t reflect the diverse ECB we are determined to be,” he said.

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Tea industry urges productivity-based wage model before it sinks- by Sanath Nanayakkare



The Planters Association yesterday assured that tea industry workers will be able to earn between Rs.40,000-50,000 monthly if a wage model linked to productivity is incorporated when the new collective agreement is signed in January 2021 determining worker wages

“We can even exceed the rhetorical demands made by trade unions and some politicians that tea industry workers should be paid a daily wage of Rs. 1,000. They made these demands without accounting the output, revenue and other facilities provided to the workers who are resident on the estates and are assured of continuous work. We can ensure that if this model is introduced their earnings would go up to Rs. 40,000-50,000 a month, while also guaranteeing them 300-days work during the year,” they said.

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