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Tavline

Tavline, which means “spices” in Hebrew, has just opened its doors in the heart of the Marais. The raw stone walls, the oriental embroidered cushions, and especially the sunny good mood of Karen Benichou form a warm cocoon. In the kitchen, the Israeli chef Kobi Malka – trained at Ducasse – prepares with subtlety delicacies from his country of origin and is also inspired by the recipes of his Moroccan mother. Having lived 4 years in Israel myself fifteen years ago, I was happy to catch on at Tavline these typical generous meals, a true explosion of flavors, spices, soft bread that can be eaten endlessly by dipping them in the chef’s homemade sauces. The sardines are of irreproachable freshness, marinated to perfection; the homemade houmous is a pure delight, just like this cauliflower seasoned with sesame sauce (tahiné) and tomato pulp, the fattouche salad fresh and slightly acidulated. My favorites: the burnt aubergine with smoked paprika melting in mouth, or these soft fish balls (ktsitaot) and their magical sauce, decorated with pomegranate seeds. No more place in my belly to taste desserts that looked irresistible (Lebanese flan with rose water, lemon cream and lavender crumble,…): we will come back without further delay!

Tavline
25 Rue du Roi de Sicile
75004 Paris

Starters: 6-8 €
Mains: 16-18 €
Desserts: 6-8 €



Cranberries gluten free cake

The Ingredients

– 150g fresh cranberries
– 1 egg
– 150g gluten free flour (I used Marks and Spencer’s, you can also mix rice and corn flour together)
– 50g melted butter
– 40g sugar (I don’t like sweet desserts, but you can put more if you like)
– 1 tbsp bag of baking powder
– 150g of Amazonia nuts, almonds, pecan nuts, nuts

The Recipe
1. In a bowl, mix the egg and 20g of sugar. Add the melted butter and then the flour. You have to obtain a very smooth paste without lumps.
2. Add the yeast and mix again, then pour the cranberries in.
3. In a buttered cake pan, pour the dough. Place the nuts on top and sprinkle with remaining 20g sugar. Put more sugar if you want to get well caramelized nuts.
4. Place in a preheated oven at 180 ° C for 35 minutes. Check if the cake is cooked with the tip of a knife.


Theva Residency – Kandy

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Here the second chapter of my trip in Sri Lanka, with a stop in Kandy, located in the center of the country at 500 meters above sea level. To have a look at my favorite spots of the city, you can read my article City Guide. Kandy is a very lively city, teeming with people and color, nuanced by the lush forests around.

I was lucky to discover the sublime Theva Residency, nestled in the heights of the city. Here only calm reigns, we can just hear the multitude of exotic birds converse, a few buffalos roar, monkeys agitate the leaves of palm trees, or wild dogs barking. The 360° view is breathtaking, especially when the sun goes down and the mountains stand out like prints; pinks blend into the blues of the sky and the green of the mountains. The hotel is built so that you can enjoy this incredible view everywhere: in the dark blue infinity pool, in the restaurant or on the terraces of each room. The team is very attentive, and their kindness promotes the feeling of floating in a wellness bubble.
Theva-About-Foood-3Avocado smoothie
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the amazing swimming pool
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rooms and bathrooms
Theva-Sri-Lanka-About-Foood-6The chef and his team, rewarded by several awards, offer the most refined and delicate Sri Lankan cuisine. I discovered all the specialties of the country, the rice and curry with its thousand spices, consisting of 28 dishes, local exotic fruit smoothies (papaya, passion fruit, pineapple, mango, banana, …); but what I preferred above all was the breakfast! Not only because it’s a full-fledged meal and it gives you energy for the whole day, but also because I’ve discovered the hoppers, these little crunchy crêpes shaped in half-sphere, based of coconut milk (or coconut water) and rice flour, a pure delight. The chef makes also hopper noodles, based on rice flour; rotis, a sort of little pancakes to die for with fresh grated coconut. You will have noticed, in Sri Lanka it is rather easy to eat without gluten, which is great for me! The coconut is at the heart of many dishes, Sri Lankans cook it as an oil, freshly grated in salads, in milk with some curry dishes,…
The chef also offers European cuisine at all meals, such as his pretty asparagus soup served in a homemade bread bowl.
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Prawn and chicken curry, red rice
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spicy coconut salad / vegetable curry
I slipped into the kitchens, and the chef and his sous-chef taught me some typical recipes like chicken curry, of which I reveal the secrets…
The chef’s Chicken Recipe1. In a saucepan, fry some mustard seeds, cardamom, 2 cloves and fenugreek seeds in oil.
2. Add fresh ginger, garlic and 1 chopped onion.
3. Sprinkle with curry powder, chili powder, saffron powder, then add the chicken into pieces.
4. Pour 1/2 glass of tomato juice and a little water.
5. Simmer for 15 minutes and serve with coriander.

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 the sous-chef HMCM Herath

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the Chef BHB Bogahalanda

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Theva Residency
11 / B5 / 10 – 1, 6th Lane | off Upper Tank Rd, off Circular 2 Rd, Hantanna
Kandy
Sri Lanka


Shakshuka in 5 minutes

Shakshuka is an Israeli dish made with eggs and tomatoes. The recipes vary a lot, you can add lemon, fresh herbs, peppers, harissa, labne… I have completely improvised this one, and I ate it with halloumi. It turned out really good!

The Ingredients
– 2 fresh or canned tomatoes
– 1 clove of garlic
– 1 teaspoon of cumin
– a pinch of thyme, rosemary
– a pinch of sumac
– some pine nuts
– 2 eggs (organic preferably)
– fresh parsley

The Recipe
1. In a pan, fry the chopped garlic in olive oil.
2. Add the diced tomatoes, and the spices. Salt and pepper.
3. Once the sauce has simmered well, break the eggs in the pan, and add the pine nuts.
4. Serve once the eggs are cooked but the yellow is still runny, add pinch of sumac to finish, with some fresh chopped parsley.

Shakshuka


Travel Guide – Sri Lanka

srilanka-about-fooodI have just returned from Sri Lanka, eyes full of stars, with a tan and a peaceful mind, and I decided to tell you about it as soon as possible so that my memories stay the freshest! I will avoid being too long, and I will especially tell you about my journey, which I drew on this map! Do you like my little map of Sri Lanka? :-) For the rest, you can find it in the travel guides… So, you will surely start by asking me… why go to Sri Lanka? Because this island with luxuriant vegetation is completely exotic, in terms of culture, rites, lifestyle ; for the cooking which is amazingly tasty (yes, it is spicy ), for the exotic fruits, for the kindness of the Sri Lankans, for the beach bordered of coconut trees, to be hot in winter, to surf, to walk in tea plantations, to see incredible animals,… and the list is long! I obviously could not see everything in 10 days, but I would love to go back to see more of the north and east. So, let’s start with some info:

Time of flight
From Paris, about 10h00

Jetlag
Only 4 or 5h! Practical!

When to go
The best period is from January to April. Avoid summer because it is the big monsoon (June to August). I was there just before Christmas in mid December and it was perfect as there were not too many tourists, and it was very hot (32°C)!

– West coast and the South: from December to April, it is the least rainy and the sunniest period.

– East Coast and North: February to September. Avoid leaving between October and the end of January, it’s the little monsoon!

How much does it cost

→ Hotels: There are hotels not very expensive (10-20 € per night) but it is generally quite spartan. If you prefer comfort (and a swimming pool), the rooms can quickly climb (60-100 € per night), or even explode for some luxury hotels (200-400 € per night).

Meals: if you eat on the street like the local, it is often cheap (5-7 € for a dish, or even a few cents for donuts or streetfood), but it can also quickly increase in more upscale restaurants (10-30 € a plate). Be careful to add tax and tip – a bit like in the US – everywhere, whether in restaurants, hotels, services …

Activities: most activities are rather expensive, and the prices charged for Sri Lanka are not the same for tourists. I detail the prices in my itinerary.

Transports

Tuk tuk : It is the easiest and most widespread way to get around, especially when you see that there is no sidewalk :-) Count from 2 to 5 € for short trips (a few kilometers max).

Car: Avoid renting a car or a scooter because the roads and especially the Sri Lankan way of driving is dangerous – for us who are not used to it! What is often done is to take a driver. This is what we did for a large part of our trip. Price between 50-80 € per day all inclusive.

Trains: Train trips are incredible (and very cheap), especially for some mountain trips (Colombo-Kandy). Try to arrive at the station a little before or even book in advance as some trains are full in high season.

What to bring back

→ spices

→ Ayurvedic balm

→ silk

→ tea

→ precious stones

_______________________________________

My Itinerary

As I stayed only 10 days, I chose a route that mixed beaches, nature and cultural visit, but I did not have time to do the cultural triangle.

COLOMBO

We stayed only one night in the very lively town of Colombo. For evening meals, you can stroll through the Dutch Hospital in the Fort district, a former hospital of the 17th century which houses several open-air restaurants in arcades.

KANDY

The train journey from Colombo is breathtaking! Seat on the right to see the most beautiful part of the landscape (price of the journey = 1,50 € / duration = 3h).

You can see the luxuriant vegetation of Sri Lanka, palm groves, rice fields, rivers, turquoise houses alongside the fushia, buddhas and sculptures of elephants, buffalo, herons and sometimes even herons posed on buffalos. Last hour of the journey, the train slows down climbing the mountains, we find ourselves suspended above the cliffs.

Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-0Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-Train

The town of Kandy is one of the places I liked most about the trip, but perhaps because it’s because was the first city I discovered. A teeming city, built around its lake, built in height, surrounded by dense and tropical forests. Here are some activities not to be missed:

Central Market: near the railway station, the market welcomes Sri Lankans who come to buy exotic fruits (mangoes, bananas, coconut, pineapple), dried fish, herbs… Upstairs you will find some more touristy shops with fabrics, bags,… I advise you to buy your spices rather in the markets or grocery stores, not at the Spice Market of Kandy which is really touristic and where prices are multiplied by 10 !

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Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-4Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-Kandy

→ Peradeniya Royal Botanical Garden :  from the center, take bus 654 (20 cents instead of a few euros for a tuk-tuk). You can spend half a day strolling in this 60-hectare park, between giant bamboos, palm trees, the orchid greenhouse, and trees of all kinds that shelter fierce monkeys or the biggest bats I’ve seen in my life! A moment out of time. Admission price about 20 € per person.

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→ Tooth Temple: The temple of the tooth houses one of Buddha’s teeth. One can see several ceremonies per day, and sellers of lotus flowers that serve as offerings. In July there is the Perahera, a big festival of several days during which processions, dances, and decorated elephants are seen. The prices are exploding and it is difficult to stay there as the city is taken by assault!Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-Kandy-4

NUWARA ELIYA

The road to Nuwara Eliya is crazy beautiful. The landscapes change every hour, the winding road sinks into the mountains, the weather darkens and the temperature drops drastically. Tea plantations stretch as far as the eye can see and are almost fluorescent green. You can even visit a tea factory: there are 300 in the neighborhood! The tour is free but tips are welcome, and you can buy tea on site (black, green, white tea). Even in the lost mountain roads you can still see vendors of colored plastic toys, exotic fruits, tuk-tuk car parks, hordes of wild dogs sunbathing in the middle of the road. And monkeys. Monkeys everywhere on the temples, on the road, in the trees, swinging on the electric wires.
Nuwara-Eliya-Sri-LankaNuwara-Eliya

Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-Tea-Factory

UDA WALAWE

Descending to the coast, the landscapes are always changing, tea plantations give way to vegetable fields, then to steep, rocky green hills, pine forests interspersed with waterfalls, then the plains, rice paddies and palm trees again. Near the park Uda Walawe, if you do not stop there, you can see some elephants on the side of the road. We hesitated before visiting the park because it is not cheap (about 40 € per person) and we were afraid of being disappointed, but it was really sublime, both in terms of the landscapes than in terms of animals. Being able to observe elephants in their natural habitat is magical! The park is 300m2, you can spend a good half day and observe hundreds of elephants, wild buffaloes, crocodiles, marabouts, pelicans, toucans, eagles, hundreds of colorful birds of all kinds… A friend who also made Yala Park which is much larger preferred this one, less prized by the hordes of tourists and more beautiful.

Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-Uda-Walawe-2Sri-Lanka-Travel-Guide-Uda-Walawe

TANGALLE

If you have not seen enough animals yet, it is in Rekuwa that the turtles can be seen laying on the beach at nightfall. Tangalle also has beautiful beaches.Tangalle-Sri-Lanka

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MIRISSA

Mirissa is a very small village and boils down to a single beach covered with bars and guesthouses, all filled with tourists. Not really the kind of atmosphere that I prefer, but you can go whale watching (and even swim with them) by boat. We ate extremely well at the Zephyr restaurant right at the end of the beach, where you can choose your fish on a stall that shows the day’s fishing. We ate incredible lobsters for 15 € per person!

GALLE

Galle-Sri-LankaI also loved Galle, the second largest city in Sri Lanka, and especially its old town surrounded by ramparts. You can spend a whole day wandering between the alleys and seeing the vestiges of civilizations that have passed through there: English, Dutch and Portuguese. This part of the city is registered in the patrimony of Unesco. Although it has become very touristy, one can taste very good dishes, buy precious stones (Sri Lanka still has some mines), or watch the sunset on the ramparts.

–> Mama’s

There is a delicious and typical Rice and Curry, homemade in the small kitchen of Namali, which also teaches cooking classes.
76 Leyn Baan StreetGalle

–> Fortaleza

We come to refresh ourselves during heavy heat in this pretty courtyard where you can sip a charming cold house tea. We also eat very well, the building is also a hotel.
Church Cross St, Galle

–> Elita

The chef has lived in Belgium and therefore serves delicious fries! They accompany especially good fresh fish and seafood. They are cooked grilled, in coconut milk sauce, or fried.
34 Middle St, Galle

From Galle, you can also stroll on the beautiful beaches (and very popular) of Unawatuna and Dalawella, about 15 minutes in tuk-tuk.

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I hope that I will have made you want to go there, do not hesitate to write me a little comment below if you need more info! I’m preparing other articles dedicated to Sri Lankan cuisine, as well as other great addresses!


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Red oignon pickles

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These pickles are very easy to make and will perfectly accompany your grilled meats, burgers or potato salads.

The Ingredients
– 1 red onion
– 1 teaspoon of mustard seeds
– 1 teaspoon of pepper seeds
– 80ml of vinegar
– 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon or 1 stick
– 1 teaspoon of honey
– 1 pinch of coarse salt

La Recette

1. Peel and slice the onion.
2. In a saucepan, boil some water and blanch the onion (cook it a few minutes and then pass it in cold water).
3. In another saucepan, heat the vinegar and honey.
4. In a jar, place the onions, then pour the vinegar. Add all the spices.
5. Fill with water until the jar is filled. Let macerate at least 1 night before serving.