Seasonally inspired things to Learn, Make and Do

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Myanmar salad recipe for flowering salad leaves.

market shopping myanmar

In February I went to visit my youngest daughter who is teaching in Myanmar for a year.

Before we went I was told by foodie friends that the stars of Burmese cookery were perfect for people wanting to eat in a more plant based way (though not vegetarian/vegan as you will see from the recipe below)

The thing that struck me most is that many of the salads were made from things that I would have regarded as either 'past it' or 'not edible'. The flowering stems - the 'gone to seed' stage - of mustards and kale were regarded as the best bit, the leaves and trailing vines of courgettes and pumpkins harvested as much as the fruit.

These are all things which I have plenty of in the garden, too much at times, but which I have never used for cooking.

Tourist travel within Myanmar is restricted but we visited Shan state, to the beautiful area around Inle Lake. We were able to visit markets and then to cook our produce at the wonderful Bamboo Delight Cookery School in Nyaung Shwe. The top photo shows a market stand - one of dozens selling the same home grown produce - here a flowering mustard green.

market shopping myanmar

This photo is of a very similar bunch from my garden - one which I would have composted or fed to the rabbits. Now I make the following recipe.

 

Myanmar Greens Salad with crispy fried shallots.

This can be made with any tender greens - purple sprouting broccoli, kale, pumpkin leaves or any cabbagey green that has started flowering (mizuna, mustard, pack choi etc)

Burmese recipes use a few ingredients which we do not tend to have to hand - but which are easy to make and store.

1. Toasted chickpea flour - heat up a frying pan, add 8 table spoons of chickpea flour, reduce the heat and stir continuously until it begins to change colour. Make sure all the flour begins to toast. Do not let it burn. Leave to cool and put in a jar.

2. Crispy shallots/shallot oil - these are basically the same recipe separated out. Slice 5 or 6 shallots very finely and fry in 1 cup of peanut oil (or another flavourless vegetable oil) - you want them to gradually go brown and crispy, but not burn.

Take the shallots out of the oil and drain, store in a jar or storage box, then cool the oil and put into a different jar.

Ingredients.

1 lb greens cut into manageable pieces that will fit in pan.

2 tbsp chopped peanuts (blitz in a food processor or chop very very finely)

1 tbsp toasted chickpea flour

1 tbsp shallot oil

1 tbsp sliced shallots soaked in water and drained

2 tbsp lime juice

1 tbsp fish sauce

1 tsp shrimp paste/1 tbsp shrimp powder - (powder more authentic but I had paste for Thai curries in the house already and it worked fine)

Fried crispy shallots

Bring a pan of water to a fierce boil - add the greens and cook very briefly - 3 minutes should be fine for most things, and fine stems take only a minute.

Drain, then when cool enough to handle, cut greens into 5 cm pieces and arrange in a shallow bowl.

Add the raw sliced shallots to greens.

Sprinkle on the shallot oil, lime juice, the chopped peanuts, the shrimp powder/paste and the chickpea flour and use your hands to massage them evenly and lightly into the greens.

Add fish sauce to taste then sprinkle with some crispy shallots to serve.

This can be served as a side dish or with rice as a light meal.

If I was going to alter this to make it vegetarian/vegan I would replace the fish sauce and shrimp with a mix of shiitake mushrooms, fermented beans and miso using this recipe from Alice Hart (it is in her New Vegetarian cookery book)

Tags: recipe

Comments: 3 (Add)

Vanessa Dennett on April 12 2019 at 11:31

Thanks so much for sharing this recipe Jane, I'm going to have a go as soon as our onion allergic daughter has returned to uni! Next week is designated for preparing our veg beds...... so fingers crossed for reasonable weather!

Alyson Brenchley on April 12 2019 at 20:54

Must try this although will avoid the fish sauce ( allergic). X

Linda (@ocasionalscotland) on April 15 2019 at 21:35

You've inspired me to use the shooting and flowering kale in my garden - it's delicious!

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When I was at University it was the time of the Poll Tax, an unpopular tax made even more unpopular by being implemented in Scotland a year before the rest of the UK - 'Thatcher's guinea pigs'.⁠⠀
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It was a time of demonstration and violence with 50,000 marching in Glasgow, 1 million Scots refusing to pay. ⁠⠀
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It was a time Sheriff's Officers and poind sales of possessions. ⁠⠀
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Coalition student groups were formed - Socialist and Feminist and Anarchist and so on - there were big meetings in the Union, debates about a name and a logo and a manifesto. I remember lots of young, middle class, white men talked at length.  I remember that very, very little got done - a bus was organised to take students to Glasgow for the protests. ⁠⠀
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In the meantime, up the hill from the campus, three women (I thought of them as old at the time but I'm sure they were the age I am now) simply stood outside the auctions and asked nobody to attend.  They stood by the front doors, they explained their reasons, they prevailed.  They possibly looked randomly menacing in that way middle aged women can.⁠⠀
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People calmly bought back their possessions for 50p and their debts were squared. Action, meaningful results, a recognition that the personal is political - all while the student groups still debated their slogans.⁠⠀
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I've been thinking about those women a lot recently. If they were the age I think they were, they will be queuing up for their vaccines this month.
In my happy place.⁠⠀
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In the winter months The Studio is the centre of my working life. ⁠⠀
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This was yesterday.  Trimming pieces of vintage velvet fabric for the Studio Club shop; alpaca socks drying in the dispatch room behind me (we now have size 8-10 in stock too); a roll @scottishlinen seconds to experiment with hogging the cutting table.⁠⠀
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Bright and light and inspiring.
Starting the week with a photo from last year (simply because I lost a lot of this weekend to fatigue, so didn't take a new photo.)⁠⠀
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Budgie, my beautiful and psychotic cat, with a windowsill of white amaryllis. ⁠⠀
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Worth a second outing.
The proposed airstream conversion is in for planning permission approval at the moment, so that we change change its use from (neglected) artist's workshop into beautiful holiday accommodation.⁠⠀
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In my vision for this we get to use the paid holidaymaking element to subsidise some artist's residencies - painters, writers, musicians, makers coming here to soak up the landscape and be inspired.⁠⠀
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At the moment though I'm still at the stage of answering environmental health questions about quite how loud I am in my Studio and how we will light the path to the compost loo.
Yesterday my elder daughter, who lives in London, messaged me to say that our local DPD driver Slav was being given an award by @official.dpd.uk for his outstanding service. 

It was because of the hundreds of messages that they had been sent commenting on his helpfulness, incredible good cheer, and parcel based problem solving.⁠⠀

Slav has been an important part of my lockdown life here. ⁠⠀
When roads look like this, good delivery drivers are a vital (and hopefully appreciated) part of life.⁠⠀
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As my younger daughter chimed in “Go Slav!
This photo is from last week - but I see through the gloom that it has snowed overnight .⁠⠀
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This part of the garden is outside our bedroom, the beech hedge borders the road, it used to be a drive when our bedroom was a garage.⁠⠀
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Now it has a birch tree (symbolic for me of my miscarried babies, as I had to leave their actual birch trees behind when we moved here) surrounded by lots of box grown from small plants and cuttings.⁠⠀
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We buried Jasmine, my scruffy miniature schnauzer, here in the summer, so in some ways it is becoming a garden for sitting on the bench and remembering and watching the birds.  I shall ask my ever generous  friend Nadja for some snowdrops to plant in the grass.⁠⠀
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In my mind, eventually, the box balls will become like the ones on the front of @arnemaynardgardendesign book Garden Design Details - but this year they remain unclipped. ⁠⠀
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I suspect box blight in the back garden and @jekkamcvicar points out that unclipped box does not get blight.⁠⠀
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I love old gates - particularly old gates that stand in the middle of old unused spaces, leading to nowhere, keeping nothing in.⁠⠀
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A memory of another time.
Last year - while I was dyeing socks out on my Studio deck, I was also dyeing wool yarn. ⁠⠀
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Wool dyed with docks and nettle, gorse and meadowsweet, onions and plum bark all from the garden and lane.⁠⠀
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Over the winter I gathered the wool skeins together - all the soft bright colours - and knitted myself an oversized stripy jumper. ⁠⠀
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@rhiannonconnelly described it as wearing 'a hug from my garden' and I think she was spot on. ⁠⠀
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The pattern is the 'After the Rain' sweater by @heidikdesigns but with random stripes as I wasn't sure how much of each colour I had. #aftertherainsweater
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About Snapdragon Life

At Snapdragon Life I gently guide you through bringing the changing seasons into your daily life, helping you slow down, so that you can experience increased well being, calm and creativity.

 

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