Friday, August 15, 2008

Wailing at a Welsh graveyard + Perky Glass Noodle Salad

There's no place as peaceful, quiet and mysterious as a cemetery. You wonder about the lives represented by every gravestone. You ruminate on the adventures and misadventures of those who died young. You think about the meaning of those lives that had gone on before you came traipsing about. So many of us -- how much meaning can we each create?

On a recent trip to Wales, my other half and I chanced upon the remains of a church with a graveyard around it. The church tower had ivy growing on two sides of its rough-hewn walls. It seemed to be in disuse; there was no signboard proffering its name.

Creeper plants partially shrouded the gravestones of Celtic design and leaves entombed some. The dead were safe from the worry and hassle of everyday life. They were no longer concerned by the whys and wherefores of the living. You wonder if they have indeed gone on to a better place.

You ponder on the possibility that life is a mere dream from which you awake when you pass on.

You wonder if death is only a gateway to an infinite cosmos.

After all that morbidity, how about some nudity? (Hah, awake now?!) Here's a pic of a furry friend I met at Bute Park in Cardiff. Squirrels are said to be only rats with couture and great public relations skills.

And now I tickle your tastebuds, dear reader, with a Perky Glass Noodle Salad recipe:

a handful of dried glass noodles, soaked 10 mins in freshly boiled water, then drained and rinsed with cold water
2/3 cup thinly julienned carrots
1/2 cup thinly julienned celery head (or cucumber or raw papaya)
2 spring onions, sliced thinly
1 red chilli, deseeded and sliced
a small handful of coriander leaves
1 cup of small or medium-sized shelled shrimp, salted lightly and panfried for 3-5 minutes in a bit of oil till just cooked
2 tsp lime juice (more if you like it tangier)
1 tsp castor sugar
1 tsp fish sauce
salt to taste

Mix it all together in a glass salad bowl. Adjust taste accordingly. Serves 2 right.


wonda said...

It's hard to find coriander leaves here. So I took back some coriander seeds to plant them. When one tiny shoot came out, my son thought it was a weed and pull it out! Fortunately, he told me and I planted it back again. I hope it's not a weed. Must wait till it grows bigger to tell and smell if it's coriander plant! Like your post - it always come with food!

Argus Lou said...

Dear Wonda, thanks for being the first to see the post-fresh-from-the-oven.
Hope you get your coriander plant soon. It's not cheap here to buy a small bag of it -- around RM6.50.

Cynthia said...

I often wonder at the things you mentioned about the graveyard.

Argus Lou said...

Dear Cynthia, I'm glad we connect on that level, too.

Kak Teh said...

argus, i was salivating reading this. This glass noodle salad is going to be in my ramadan menu. I will also try adding julienned mango.

Argus Lou said...

Dear Kak Teh, adding raw or sour mango is a great idea. 'Julien' will be very busy. ;-) Here's wishing you and your family a thoughtful and meaningful Ramadan.

Life for Beginners said...

Mmm... Your Perky Glass Noodle Salad might be just what I need right now, with me being slightly under the weather and the almost-sore-throat. Perk me right up it would.

A vacation might do wonders too, though perhaps not at a Welsh graveyard, or any other cemetery for that matter. :P

P.S. Completely in agreement with wonda: Love how your posts always come with food! :D

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Kenny. You need some lukewarm chamomile tea for your throat (add honey if you don't like the flavour).
As for the posts mostly containing some mention of food, yeah, I guess we need to eat every day - unless we're some fasting yogi or hibernating Yogi bear.

Is it hard to see the connection between the subject and the food?
Like: "Cemeteries are to remember the dead and now you need a perky salad (since you're pretty much alive)." Obscure? Sure.

Tunku Halim said...

I love it. I love it. I LOVE IT! What a beautiful graveyard. So green. So overgrown. So peaceful. So full of mysteries. I can almost smell the fresh unblemished Gothic air. I'd love to visit sometime!

Argus Lou said...

TH, it just appeared out of nowhere while we were driving somewhere in Pembrokeshire. So Other Half made a sudden left turn into the lane next to it. Not sure if we know how to find it again; must Google-map it and see.

A bit more Celtic than Gothic perhaps? ;-)

My Food Safari said...

So green and lushes. I like salad and this sound yummy. I just started working to I won't see u in Sept.

Hillary said...

Love your pasta salad contribution to PPN! I need to try glass noodles asap...

Argus Lou said...

Hi, MFS. This Asian salad is really appetizing. Hope you'll still have time for Daring Bakers now that you're working outside again.

Hi, Hillary. Thanks for coming by and leaving a comment. Do drop in any time.

Lee Ping said...

Such a beautiful write-up. You wrote: The dead were safe from the worry and hassle of everyday life. They were no longer concerned by the whys and wherefores of the living. You wonder if they have indeed gone on to a better place. ... You wonder if death is only a gateway to an infinite cosmos.

I used to be afraid of death. Although I am still afraid of a long and painful death, I am no longer afraid of the "infinite cosmos".

I just bought some fragrant Rau Ram (Laksa Leaves). I will adapt your salad with the herb that I bought.

Life for Beginners said...

Wow. That is obscure. LOL!!

So glad to have met up again! We should make this a yearly affair, no? :D

Argus Lou said...

Hi, Mrs HBT. Thank you very much.

Dear Kenny. Ditto here. ^_^

My old living-room

My old living-room
In Petaling Jaya, Malaysia

A cherished dream

A cherished dream
To live on a pale beach by a crystal clear sea. (This was taken on the east coast of Johor state, Malaysia.)