This time some drawings from the studio. I seem to be very into drawing what’s in front of me at the moment. It takes no thought and is quite relaxing. I’ve taken to drawing peoples houses as I travel around leaving little drawings as I […]
Last week was a bit of a week for various reasons so this weekend I decided to play around in the kitchen and make something comforting with notes of my asian trip. I am a big fan of pancakes any day of the week or any time of the day so I played around with them. These pancakes have a subtle coconut flavour and are gluten free. I was inspired by tiny coconut pancakes eaten in Thailand, Laos and more recently discovered in Borough Market, London. I love coconut so thought what wouldn’t be enhanced by this addition!
First of all measure out some rice flour. I used half white and half brown just because that is what I had in it doesn’t matter which one you use. Sieve the flour in a bowl with the baking powder (making sure its gluten free) and mix well.
Put the coconut milk and palm sugar in a saucepan and gently melt them together, don’t let it boil and when melted let it cool a little before using.
Note: Palm sugar is an authentic taste of Asia but I was wondering where this product stood in terms of the palm oil debate and whether it contributed to the same ethical and environmental problems. After a little research I was pleased to discover that it doesn’t and palm sugar is a sustainable product. In fact it helps the palm trees as often old trees that don’t produce coconuts any more are used to harvest the sugar. Palm sugar is unrefined and packed with nutrients and vitamins as opposed to regular sugar which has basically nothing good in it. As an aside if you don’t have palm sugar ordinary sugar is fine but you will need less as it is sweeter.
Make a well in the centre of the flour and crack the egg into there. Begin to whisk adding a spoon of the coconut milk mixture at a time making sure the mixture is smooth and creamy, especially keep an eye out for any clumps of baking powder as that will not taste very nice if not mixed well.
Finally add in the black sesame seeds. If you don’t have them you could leave them out but I think they add a nice bite to the finished thing. As an aside the mixture reminds me of the inside of dragon fruit more asian comparisons…
Heat a little coconut oil in a heavy bottomed frying pan over a medium to low heat. Drop spoonfuls of mixture in the pan and wait until bubbles appear on the surface then flip over for a minute or two to finish off cooking. Pile up on a warm plate and eat immediately with a large cup of tea obviously! Green tea would be good. If you do have any pancakes left (very unlikely!) they will keep overnight and can be popped in a toaster to warm through the next day.
For a luxurious alternative if you deserve a treat (who doesn’t!) why not layer up with slices of strawberries and pour cream over the top.
The longest teakwood bridge in the world is the U Bein Bridge about half an hours drive away from Mandalay and is also thought to be the oldest to. It spans around three quarters of a mile across lake Taungthaman and has so far lasted over one hundred and sixty years. It was made from reclaimed wood that came from a former palace. The bridge is shaped in a big curve which apparently was to help prevent damage from adverse weather conditions and excessive water from the lake. It is quite impressive that it has lasted this long but also quite clearly needs quite a bit of maintenance to stop it completely disintegrating in places. It has removable sections to that allow boats to sail underneath.
There are four wooden structures evenly spread along the bridge if you need to rest out of the sun for a while but they are accompanied by souvenir sellers although I didn’t find them to be pushy at all. They also allow you to take in the beautiful scenery for a while on your journey. The bridge is an important thoroughfare for local people to get from one side of the lake to the other so it is quite interesting sitting watching people go buy to.
You can also hire a boat to cross the lake if you aren’t keen on all the walking.
The bridge has become quite a big tourist attraction in recent years so quite a bustling village has grown up at the start of the bridge. There are food and drink stalls and lots of souvenir stalls selling everything from sarongs to parasols and puppets at reasonable prices.
There are quite clearly many people who make their livelihoods from the lake. There are fishermen who are fascinating to watch waist deep in water stealthily stalking the fish and a group of women shoulder high in the water collecting something and storing their finds in large baskets that were floating next to them or at least thats what it looked like from the bridge if anyone can enlighten me I’d be grateful!
The area is very beautiful and well worth a visit maybe reserve half a day for the trip and enjoy.
Yesterday my housemate went off on an adventure to Iran (not at all jealous, much!) She cleared out the fridge of stuff that wouldn’t last which included an orange puree and some almond milk, these two things screamed ‘bake a cake’ to me so I […]
Our next destination was to be Mandalay. We had investigated over night buses and worked out it would take us about sixteen hours to get there. So instead we looked at flying. There was an airport about an hour away from where we were staying and as we discovered it took about thirty-five minutes to fly to Mandalay. It was a no brainer which option we should choose. It was wonderful to see the area from the sky and observe the gentle patchwork fields and fluffy clouds. We literally took of were given a boiled sweet and landed!
We arrived in Mandalay and found our lodgings for the next couple of nights. Next was a wander around town and a search for food. We seem to have settled in the Indian quarter as there were lots of curry related places. This bit of Myanmar history was something I hadn’t known about. A generation or two ago many Indian families moved here for work and settled and made this country their home. There subsequent generation are interested in their roots in India but are unable to visit due to cost and red tape. It is such a foreign concept to me as a westerner that someones never going to be able to visit family they have never met and places that shaped their history today. We take so much for granted.
After an good wander we came back to one of the first places we passed quite near to our lodgings. Karaweik is a street cafe that takes up two sections of pavement meeting at the corner. The chefs are outside to so you can watch your food being made. It is mostly a kind of high bred Indian food with the odd bit of Southeast Asia thrown in.
This was simply delicious! Lots of little bowls of tastiness so you could assemble your plate the way you like it. Green tea in endless amounts was provided and I was a very happy lady. The lovely owner of this place came and sat with us to ask where we were from and we asked lots about him. He kept filling up the little bowls as soon as we had emptied them. This food was very fresh and full of flavour. I know my Indian food and this was excellent! If you ever find yourself in Mandalay make sure you visit and say hi to Abdul from me.
Once we arrived at our new temporary home at Inley Lake we were delighted to discover how lovely it was, up until this point we had experienced a mixed bag of cheap accommodation. Having been on the go for over a week we collectively felt […]