DIANNE BUT­LER OUT OF THE BOX

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NOR­MALLY I’m op­posed to an­i­mals in out­fits, un­less they’re hu­man an­i­mals, or mon­keys in adorable one­sies, such as the mon­key at the start of My Sri Lanka tonight. It’s only a glimpse, a tan­ta­lis­ing glimpse, but I hope we’ll meet the mon­key again later.

I thought for a while that this was go­ing to be a van­ity show, heavy on nos­tal­gia, light on ac­tual cook­ing and lo­cal colour. Peter Ku­ru­vita has re­turned to the coun­try he lived in from age four to 12, and for the first six and a half min­utes tells us about his par­ents and his child­hood, and I kind of don’t care. Even though Peter could scarcely be nicer.

But he is a chef, not a travel pre­sen­ter or even just a TV per­son­al­ity, and so be­fore long he gets his pans out. He makes three dishes tonight. They’re all pretty easy, which they have to be for tele­vi­sion, and also be­cause he’s do­ing them just stand­ing there out in the open.

The first one is grilled banana prawns, with a black pep­per and curry leaf sauce. ‘‘ This is a sauce you have to cook down. It takes time,’’ Peter says. Uh-oh. No­body

Nos­tal­gic: Peter Ku­ru­vita. wants that. Do they? Or do they? Hard to know. It’s not very dif­fi­cult. The worst part’s all the chop­ping. Gee, Peter’s knife work is im­pres­sive.

And then he goes to see his nanny who looked af­ter him when he was lit­tle. I know, it’s prac­ti­cally Brideshead Re­vis­ited. He makes a bread­fruit curry with her – it looks fan­tas­tic.

And he makes a cashew curry at the end, for the full moon cel­e­bra­tion where ele­phants are draped with pretty fab­rics and so on. The curry is re­ally for the priest, be­cause cashews are ex­pen­sive. Like ev­ery cul­ture you can name, the per­son at the top of the re­li­gion gets the good stuff. My Sri Lanka with Peter Ku­ru­vita SBS ONE, 7.30pm

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