Sunday, 19 April 2015

Crinoline Robot's not vintage weekend

Comfort food, Burmese style
I should have been going to the Frome Vintage Weekend - some of the day events, at least - this weekend with my friend Andrea, but I have been ill. Some sort of nasty virus that has, weirdly, also made my neck seize up. I got through Friday at work, but have been rubbish all weekend, and certainly haven't been up to doing anything like knitting. Wah. I'm a bit miffed at having missed out on what would probably have been a lovely day, though my bank balance is probably a tad healthier than it would have been.


As a result of the lurgy, the closest I've come to vintage this weekend has been watching lots of episodes of classic Doctor Who, which has made me realise that the Third Doctor (Pertwee) definitely IS my favourite. This is probably because he works alongside UNIT and I love the Brigadier (admittedly because Nicholas Courtney also played Inspector Lionheart in The Scarifyers, one of my favourite radio shows), and he drives a vintage car. Jo is one of my least favourite Companions, however.

Earlier in the week I had a real craving for Asian food, and one of the things I made was Mi Mi Aye's recipe for Gaw-yay khao swe, photo at the top of this post. The name translates roughly to 'glue water noodles', so she gave it the more appealing English name of saucy chicken noodles. Some Burmese food is incredibly subtle, and this dish falls into this category, being a fairly simple chicken sauce on wheat noodles. It's the garnishes that help make it really special, in this case a cabbage and cucumber salad (dressed with chili, lime juice and fish sauce), fried peanuts, chili sauce and a scattering of fresh coriander and spring onion, plus a separate bowl of chicken broth. One thing you learn early on when making Burmese food is to keep things like fried peanuts and fried shallots in the house because you'll always need a garnish.

I heartily recommend Mi Mi's cookbook, Noodle!, (we like it so much, we've bought one signed copy and one splattered copy for kitchen use) and she's starting up a lunch/supper club if you're in the London area and fancy authentic Burmese food.

Anyway, I hope your weekend is being much more fun than mine. Normal service should resume soon...

16 comments :

  1. Oh dear, that does sound nasty and so disappointing when you're looking forward to something, too. Hope you feel loads better soon.
    Burmese food is fish and meat based, isn't it? Any recipe I find seems to include one or the other. I think that's another reason why I return to India year in and year out. A vegetarian's paradise after years of making do with painfully bland boiled veg or pasta on trips abroad. xxx

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    1. Yes, although the (ethnic group) Burmese are mainly Buddhist, one of our guides reckoned they were allowed to eat meat, they just couldn't kill to get it. That said, the Intha and other ethnic groups round Inle Lake were all Buddhist and seemed to have no problems with fishing, so I doubt all the meat production is done by non-Buddhists. I suspect fish is a bigger problem than meat; they use fish sauce the way Chinese cooks use soy or European ones use salt. We ate foods cooked by at least four different groups (Burmese, Intha, Shan and Pa-O) and I don't think any were fully veggie, even the salads and vegetable side dishes.

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  2. Oh boo, sorry to hear you have been ill too, there are some horrible bugs going round. Himself has been ill and I have kept myself dosed up to the eyeballs this week which seems to have worked (touch wood).

    I hope you are feeling tip top again very soon. x

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    1. Getting there now, which is good, because our page count goes up this issue and there's a monstrous pile of work to be done. I'll be working late tomorrow night...

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  3. Oh dear, sorry to hear you've been ill and missed out on the vintage weekend.
    I've never eaten Burmese food but it sounds and looks delicious. xxx

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    1. Ta!

      If you're in the Manchester area again, check out Nila's stall at Levy market. (Assuming you're not veggie.) Burmese food gets an unfair rap; it's got influences from Chinese, Indian and Thai but generally is less spicy, so it often gets labelled boring or greasy, but it isn't. The salads are fantastic.

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  4. Sorry to hear you are not well Mim, but pleased that you are getting lots of UNIT stories in though! Get Well soon! x

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    1. Have you heard any Scarifyers? I think you'd like it. I switched from Who to Sapphire and Steel for a change of pace.

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  5. I do hope you're feeling better soon. Anything causing neck pain is horrible. Thank you for reminding me that I have a Burmese cook book I've yet to look through.

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    1. Look at it! Looooook!

      One of the great things about Burmese food is that aside from a few ingredients, most of them are things you're likely to have kicking around anyhow. Easy to make at home.

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  6. How rubbish to have missed the event and to have to be ill at a weekend. Hope you are recovering. Burmese food sounds very tasty.

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    1. Getting there! My husband also made me ohn-no khao swe one day, the chicken and coconut noodles, as that's good comfort food when you're poorly.

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  7. I'm sorry you've been poorly and had to miss your event xxx

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    1. Better last weekend than next, when I'm on me holibobs!

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  8. Hope you're feeling better? Anything like that with a stiff neck always makes my nursey senses twitch...

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    1. Yeah. One of my friends was a bit OMG MENINGITIS but I reckon if it had been that, I'd be very ill indeed now, instead of a bit grizzly with a cough. It's going away now.

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