Monday, March 13, 2017

Spring Forward Sunday

Today is the first day of  daylight savings time.  I love the fact that it stays light a lot longer, now, but the time change is hard on my internal clock, which is out of whack to begin with!  Oh, well, I guess I'll adjust.  Probably just in time for the clocks to change again in the fall! 

For brunch, today, I had a type of flat bread known as "godamba roti"  with a spicy onion mixture known as "seeni sambol" (onions sliced thinly and sauted with chili powder, spices, salt, and sugar):

Godamba Roti and Seeni Sambol

When I was growing up in Sri Lanka, a man used to come by the houses on our street, always in the evening, once a week or so, pushing a cart and calling out to announce his presence.  He was the godamba roti man, making the flat breads on the spot.  His cart contained a drawer where the round balls of dough were kept, soaking in oil, and there was a stove built into the cart, which heated up the metal top where the flat bread would be cooked.  A kerosene oil lamp would be hung on the cart to illuminate his work space.  We used to gather around the cart and watch as he'd take a ball of dough and stretch it with his hands and spin it, like a pizza maker spins the pizza dough, to make it spread out, paper thin.  Then, it would be spread out on the hot cooking surface until it "baked" and flipped over to cook the other side.  If an egg godamba is requested, he would break open an egg and spread it over the top before cooking the dough.  Once he made the requested number of flat breads, he'd go on his way to the next house where the people were waiting his services.  And we would take the flat breads and go inside the house to eat them for dinner with curries that had already been prepared.

When I was growing up, we rarely made godamba roti at home.  It was almost always bought from the godamba roti man or, occasionally, from small restaurants that made and sold them.  These days, however, I've been told that one almost never sees a godamba roti man going door to door with his cart, and most people buy the godamba roti from restaurants.

However, they are easy to make at home.  My cousin's mother-in-law showed me how.  One makes a dough with flour, salt, a tablespoon or so of oil and warm water; the dough is kneaded for a bit and then, formed into small balls, about 2 inches in diameter.  The balls of dough are then put into a bowl with enough oil to cover them and kept for at least one hour (longer is better).  Afterwards, they are stretched out as thinly as possible.  Traditionally, they are stretched to a rectangle shape.  And then, cooked on a griddle or a frying pan. 

I have made godamba roti from scratch; however, the one I had for brunch today was not one that I made.  I cheated and bought a box of frozen godamba roti from the Sri Lankan store and reheated one!

I spent a relaxed afternoon, reading blogs, replying to comments on my blog, reading my library book, etc.  In between, I washed the dishes and tidied the kitchen and the dining table.  My neighbor called for our weekly chat and later in the afternoon, my sister called to check on me.  Still later, one of my aunts called and we had a long conversation. 

In the evening, I decided to do some gardening.  There is an empty planting bed near the corner of the garage, just behind the last lemon tree and to the left of the curry leaf tree shown in this photo from yesterday:

Empty Planting Bed to the Left of the Curry Leaf Tree

Here is a close up of the empty planting bed:

Empty Planting Bed

Once upon a time, I had some lavender growing there.  When it died, I planted a sugarcane bush.  That, too, died due to the drought.  It has been empty since then.  Today, I decided to dig it up to make a new planting bed for some vegetables.  It is not a very big area - perhaps 3' x 4', but I should be able to fit in a couple of tomato plants, some green beans, and maybe a few chili plants.   I made a good start on it this evening, but didn't quite finish edging it with the pavers.  Tomorrow, I want to go to the garden center to buy a bag or two of soil amendments to add to this bed, as the soil is very sandy and poor.  I also need to figure out a way to keep the stray cats away and discourage them from using this area as a litter box!  Last summer, I planted some tomato seedlings, and the cats dug up all my plants! 

Later in the evening, I watered the front garden for the first time this year!  We've had so much rain in January and February, I didn't need to water the garden, at all.  But it's been more than a week since our last rain shower and there is no rain in the forecast for next week.  Plus, with temperatures continuing to be in the 70s and 80s, the plants need some water!  The front garden gets the full brunt of the afternoon and evening sun, so it needs more frequent watering than the back garden.  I prefer to hand water the front garden; I water the back with the sprinklers. 

Today, I am grateful for:
- Phone calls from family and neighbor
- Starting to have longer daylight hours
- Being able to dig in the garden, again!  (I was told not to garden when I was undergoing chemo due to risk of infections)
- A warm, sunny day
- Water to water the garden!

Monday's To Do List:
- Grocery shop!
- Menu plan lunches for the week (to take to the office)
- Garden center for soil amendments and maybe chicken wire/mesh
- Finish the planting bed
- Water the back garden
- Clean out the fridge
- Empty waste baskets
- Take trash cans to curb
 - Daily tasks (put away dishes/wash dishes/clean litter box, etc.)

How was your Sunday?


  1. That bread looks delicious! Not sure if there are any Sri Lankan stores around me but now I am definitely going to check! =) Have a good week!

    1. Hi TrayceeBee, hope you are able to find a store near you and get to try some of the bread. Hope you have a good week, too.

  2. I loved hearing your story about the godamba cart. There's not much door to door service left for anything these days. At least in this country. Too bad.

    1. We still get some door to door vendors where I live now. They sell paletas, shaved ice flavored with syrups of your choice (vanilla is my favorite), corn on the cob served slathered with mayonnaise, chili powder and lime juice, tamales, and, at one time, someone who sold a type of tortilla dusted with sugar. They were puffy and wafer like and delicious! I was a regular customer! The woman who sold them was accompanied by her children - a little girl who was a couple of years younger than my daughter and a little boy, and when she asked me if I had any clothes that would fit her daughter, I have her several bags of my daughter's clothes and some books and toys. She must have left because she stopped coming by, shortly thereafter.

      There are ice cream vans, too, that drive by in the evenings. And sometimes, there's a fresh produce van that is parked in front of the nearby church.

  3. Lovely memory and the dish looks wonderful! Cold here today - so no outside. We did venture out yesterday before the snow came. Hopefully it won't be around long.

    1. Oh, no, not more snow! I'm sure you are getting tired of winter! Hope spring comes quickly, Sharon.

  4. How interesting to hear about eating "godamba roti" growing up in Sri Lanka and that things are different today.

    You might look into getting a couple of simple wire tomato cages and put these immediately on your tomato plants - cats will not dig them up. They are fairly inexpensive.

    Oh it sounds like you are going into the office. Take care and best of luck for a good day/commute.

    Sunday attended the 8:00 am worship service, coffee/visit with church friends following. Visited our daughter in the afternoon who was having a birthday dinner for our grandson who turns 14 on Tuesday. We played the board game "clue" in the afternoon, such fun.


    1. Thanks, Sandy. The wire cages sounds like the way to go. I might get them for all the veggie plants!

      Yes, I am planning to go back to the office, at least a few days, this week. I can always figure out something for dinner, but knowing what I am taking to the office for lunch the next day makes my evenings a lot easier.

      Happy birthday to your grandson! So glad you got to visit him and your daughter and enjoyed playing a board game with them.

      Hope you have a lovely week, Sandy.

  5. Wish we had a godamba roti man in our neighborhood. How cool is that? Thank you for sharing some of your Sri Lankan culture with us, Bless! It's very interesting and the food is quite different than the meat and potatoes (very bland food)culture I grew up with. Those onions sound tasty (love onions).

    That will be a nice little garden plot. I think there's some sort of spray you can spray n plants to keep the cats away. It can be found at garden and farm centers. Happy planting!


    1. Thank you, Jane. There are several empty planting beds in the garden, waiting to be dug up and replanted. But, not yet. Just not quite up to it, yet.

  6. What a lovely story about the godamba roti man - I was transported right to Sri Lanka and stood in that queue with you waiting for mine :) Such a shame these things fizzle out over time and never seem to take off again.

    British summer time starts on 26th March - the same day as Mother's Day. It's 6.30pm as I type this and it's only just going dark so the days are definitely getting longer.

    Regarding the cat problem. We gravelled our front garden and it was the biggest mistake we made. We were troubled for years with cats using it as their litter tray until we bought an ultra sonic cat repellent and we never had any trouble again. A couple of years later we lifted the gravel completely. Cats are a nuisance for that but I'd definitely look into something like the repellent.

    Have a lovely week. xx

    1. Mother's Day is in May, here! It's celebrated on the 2nd Sunday in May. Yes, I'll need to look into keeping the cats off my vegetable bed. My fault they are here in the first place because I feed them! :o

  7. Oh I love roti but have never attempted to make it. I am not even sure if I can find it frozen locally.

    1. Anne, the next time I make them from scratch, I'll take pictures and post them, along with directions, so you could try making them. There are recipes and directions on the internet, too, if you do a search.

  8. Your Godamba Roti looks delicious! I wonder if it is the same as roti here that we get in the supermarket yours looks thicker than ours, more like naan bread? A lovely memory, I am afraid my version of keeping cats away from youg veg plants is messy! I poke twigs in and lay prunnings on the earth, it seems to keep them away, along with citrus peelings they hate the smell of that too. usually when the plants are established I can "tidy" up, lol.
    Have a great day.

    1. The word roti simply means flat bread and there are many types of roti. But they are all quite delicious, in my opinion. I love naan, too. :) I need to try that trick with the citrus peelings! I don't know if it'll work with these particular cats, though. They spend hours under my lemon trees! :D

  9. I love when you share stories from your growing up years in Sri Lanka. One of the waiters at our favorite Chinese buffet places is from Sri Lanka and he is such a sweet man. He was telling us that he has not been home for about 6 years now. I hope he is able to return home soon to visit his family there.

    As for the dat problem, I have been told that is you sprinkle some cayenne pepper around the plants on the dirt the cats will leave it alone. Of course you would have to sprinkle more after it rains but that might be worth a try.

    1. Glad you like my stories, Debbie. Life as it was, over 50 years ago! I haven't been back for 27 years! I probably won't even recognize the place!

      Oh, cayenne pepper! Well, I shall try that, too! Between the lemon peels and the cayenne pepper, I shall probably end up with some interesting compost, if nothing else!


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