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Showing posts from March, 2014

Smoky Bacon and Watercress Noodles (Recipe)

There's a sudden chill in the Spring air, and I feel like I need warming up, but I don't want to indulge in something too stodgy. 

This noodle soup is sweet, smoky and slightly sharp - which makes for a satisfying, but light and refreshing dish. 

It takes no time at all to make and uses mainly store cupboard ingredients, so is perfect for a week-night meal. 

This dish is a recent invention, but it's already become a favourite at home. 

You can switch the leafy herbs according to what's available - try mizuna, peashoots, or a friend of mine made a lovely suggestion of using wild garlic which is in season right now.

Smoky Bacon and Watercress Noodles  (this also appeared in The Guardian's COOK supplement on 15 March 2014)
Serves 2 Ingredients 6 rashers of smoked streaky bacon500ml chicken or vegetable stock2 tbsp caster sugar300g fresh udon or rice noodles2 tbsp light soy sauce2 tbsp dark soy sauce2 tbsp wine vinegar1 spring onion, finely slicedLarge handful of trimmed waterc…

Burmese Meatball Curry Recipe - A-thar-lohn-hin

A-thar-lohn-hin aka meatball curry is eaten throughout Burma, but especially in Upper Burma.

It is usually made with goat (seit-thar), but beef (a-mair-thar) is also popular. Lamb makes an excellent substitute, although is uncommonly used in Burma, partly because the Burmese word for "lamb" is thoh which also sounds like our word for "rotten".

It's also good using 50:50 pork and beef mince, and the higher up you travel in Burma, the more likely pork will feature in the mix.

Traditionally served with steamed rice, you could also eat it with naan bread, or even serve on noodles for a Burmese take on spaghetti and meatballs.


Burmese Meatball Curry (A-thar-lohn hin) Serves 4-6
For the sauce
4 medium onions, diced 2 cloves garlic, chopped1 tsp turmeric 4 tbsp groundnut or other neutral oil 400g can chopped tomatoes 3 red finger chillies 1 tbsp sweet paprika 2 tbsp fish sauce - good quality - I like Three Crabs
For the meatballs (makes 20-25)
500g minced goat (substitute b…

Top Gear in Burma Special

As Jeremy Clarkson, James May and Richard Hammond have discovered in the Top Gear Burma Christmas (?) special which has just been shown on BBC2, transport in Burma (also known as Myanmar) is interesting

For instance, as a result of British colonial rule, we used to drive on the left-hand side and so all the cars are left-hand drive, but in 1970, Ne Win, the military ruler who was in charge of Burma for decades, decided out of superstition that he would make everyone switch to driving on the right as apparently we were sliding to the left politically (he also once shot at his own reflection in a mirror because he believed that would make him safe from assassination). This change made, and makes, driving in Burma slightly terrifying, as the driver can't really see the road properly. 

And until recently, only military and government officials were allowed to import cars, and so new cars were relatively scarce and so the cars remained right-hand drive. My own family's cars date f…