So what’s happening with food trends overseas? My foodie friends in the UK tend to agree on one thing — plant-based meals are certainly on the up. Vegetarian and vegan meals are becoming extremely popular choices on many restaurant menus. 

Sri Lankan cuisine is now, quite rightly, regarded as a cuisine in its own right rather than simply a variation of Indian dishes. 

Fermented drinks such as kefir and kombucha are still on the rise together with vegan wines — it’s all in the refining process. (Many wine makers use egg whites to refine or clear their wines.)

Hidden vegetables are the answer for mums trying to encourage their children to eat their veg. Cauliflower pizza crusts and grated vegetables in meatloaves and burger patties are the obvious. However, sweet treats that include vegetables such as pumpkin pie, beetroot cake and courgette brownies are also gaining in popularity.

Goat has long been popular in Indian restaurants but served as a slow-cooked roast, in tacos or as kebabs are new twists. In New Zealand, goat can be purchased from Halal butchers or online. It’s low-fat and tasty.

Rum, especially small batch craft rums are popular with the younger set. Both white and dark are on the rise enjoyed neat on the rocks but rum also adds a unique flavour to desserts and bakes.



Sri Lankan Dahl. Vegetarian/vegan and gluten-free.

3 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, very finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, sliced
1 large sprig curry leaves
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 whole red dried chillies
1 green chilli, sliced
1/2 teaspoon mustard seeds
Lentils: 1 cup red lentils (Dhal)
cold water
1/2 teaspoon ground turmeric
2 cloves garlic, crushed
3-4 curry leaves
1/2 cup coconut milk

Heat the oil in a large frying pan. Add the onion, garlic, curry leaves and turmeric. Cook on medium low until the onions are soft and light brown. Add the chillies and mustard seeds and cook for 2-3 minutes.

Meanwhile wash the lentils well. Place in a saucepan with 1 1/2 cups of cold water. (If you want softer lentils add water to just cover the lentils.) Cover and simmer for 5 minutes then stir in the turmeric, garlic and curry leaves. Cover and simmer for about 10 minutes until the lentils are cooked to your liking. Stir in the coconut milk and a little of the onion mixture and simmer for 5 minutes.

Serve in a bowl topped with the remining onion mixture. Can be served topped with chopped raw vegetables and chutney as a main with rice or as an accompaniment with a curry. Serves 4-6.


Gluten-free and dairy-free. No added sugar.

250g pitted dates
200ml boiling water
2 (150g) medium bananas
85g (2/3 cup) chopped walnuts
200g (1 1/3 cups) each: sultanas, craisins
100g (2/3 cup) fine polenta
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 eggs, beaten until fluffy
Topping: 8 each walnut halves, banana chips

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line a 24cm x 14cm loaf pan with baking paper.

Place the dates in a saucepan and add the boiling water. Simmer gently until softened, about 4 minutes. Cool a little then place the dates and liquid in a food processor. Add the bananas. Mix until smooth.

Combine the walnuts, sultanas, craisins, polenta, cinnamon and baking powder in a large bowl. Add the banana combo together with the rum. Stir in the eggs until well mixed.

Pour into the loaf pan. Top with the walnut halves and banana chips. Bake for 45 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Cool. Wrap in foil and store for 1 day before slicing.


Delicious! The meat can be cooked ahead and reheated if preferred.

1/2 cup each: white vinegar, olive oil 
3 cloves garlic, crushed 
salt and pepper to taste
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 tablespoon packed brown sugar
dash Tabasco sauce
400g can diced tomatoes
1 kg boned shoulder farmed or wild goat
Extras: 12-14 soft tacos
shredded crisp lettuce or cabbage, mashed avocado, crumbled low-salt feta cheese, chopped spring onions

Combine all ingredients — except the goat meat — in a mixing bowl or pan just large enough to fit the meat. Add the goat and cover tightly. Refrigerate for about 24 hours, turning over once or twice.

Place all the ingredients in a slow-cooker. Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or until the meat can be shredded with two forks.

Remove the meat to a bowl and shred. Add enough sauce to moisten well.

Warm the soft tacos through in the microwave. Top with lettuce, shredded goat and a little meat sauce, mashed avocado, crumble feta and chopped spring onions. Makes 12-14.


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