Happy Herbivore’s Cheater Pad Thai

You get home from work late, you are very tired and very hungry. You’ve forgotten to take something out of the freezer. You can’t be bothered to cook and how many times can you resort to toast with a topping (marmite or avocado in my case)? Not so healthy if you haven’t eaten much all day and inevitably leads to very unhealthy snacking later, chocolate, crisps, bowl of cereal. I find I need a ‘proper’ meal to stop the late evening munchies creeping up. So I have been trying to build up a repertoire of healthy meals that I can knock up in minutes. This is where Lyndsay Nixon, aka The Happy Herbivore comes in. So many of her recipes are quick and easy and yet come under the ‘healthy’ tab as well as being absolutely delicious. This recipe is one if my favourites. I make it even quicker by using ‘straight to wok’ noodles, usually microwaved. Now I know that last sentence goes against all my green credentials, but there are just times when you just must! I am going to try cooking up some noodles and freezing in individual portions as I figure that they should cook from frozen very quickly. Has anyone tried this? In the meantime, have a go at this, it lends itself to chucking it whatever you have in the fridge or freezer. Don’t be afraid to change or substitute ingredients 🙂

Serves 2 | I call this “cheater” because it’s ridiculously easy and quick to make and also because this recipe uses 1 tbsp of peanut butter, so it’s not fat-free.

1/4 lb thick rice noodles
2 tbsp soy sauce
1 tbsp smooth peanut butter
1 tbsp sweet red chili
Asian sauce
1/4 tsp granulated garlic powder
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp hot sauce, or to taste
3 oz bean sprouts

Prepare rice noodles according to package directions.
In a small bowl, whisk 2 tbsp of warm water, soy sauce, peanut butter, chili sauce, garlic powder, ginger, and hot sauce together until combined. It may appear too runny at first, but it’s not.
Taste, adding more hot sauce if desired.
Using tongs, toss prepared noodles with your newly created pad Thai sauce until all noodles are evenly coated.
Plate and top with bean sprouts.
Garnish with chopped raw peanuts and a lime wedge if desired.

Chef’s Note: Letting this sauce rest for a few minutes is a great way to intensify the flavor.

VARIATIONS
Lower-Calorie Pad Thai: For a lower carbohydrate and lower-calorie pad Thai, substitute 2 cups of thinly sliced blanched cabbage for half of the rice noodles.

Vegetable Pad Thai: Double the sauce; Cook 1 15-oz package of frozen stir-fry veggies according to package instructions and toss with sauce and noodles.

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Alfie

I would like to introduce you to our canine companion, Alfie. Alfie loves life. He rarely wears a collar and when he does, he knows that it is usually because we are going somewhere special and interesting. When the collar comes out he gets sooo excited. Alfie adores the water and is obsessed with playing with his ball. Put the two together and he is in seventh heaven. As I write this, I am still in bed and Alfie is curled up next to me, sound asleep as he had a late night at the local pub and sailing club!

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Alfie out sailing on the yacht, enjoying the wind in his face.

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Pretending he’s the dory’s figure head.

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Will someone please play ball with me?

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Out walking on the sea wall with Megan, his playmate and fellow boat dog.

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It’s a tough life!

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What is veganism?

This sums up my reasons for being vegan perfectly.

There's an Elephant in the Room blog

Donald-Watson-vegan-founder

Veganism is an ethical stance, an all-encompassing view of the world. Veganism focuses on respect for the beings who share this planet with us, sentient individuals whose lives matter to them, who are not objects to be owned and destroyed as we see fit. They are not ours to use and enslave. To become vegan is to understand and accept this.

This acceptance has profound and far-reaching consequences: vegans stop wearing or using all substances derived from the bodies of others including their skin, feathers or fibres, we stop funding and promoting their suffering and misery through all our everyday consumer choices of toiletries, cleaning materials, entertainment and of course we stop consumption of all substances derived from nonhuman bodies – their flesh, their lactation, their eggs, everything. In short, our every choice attempts to examine whether we are causing harm to others and if we are, we take the…

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Stuffed Marrow

I am not feeling too clever and was in real need of some comfort food. I had a marrow sitting around in the veg basket and decided that it would fit the bill perfectly. When I was little, my grandfather used to write our names on the marrows when they were no more than a courgette. As the marrow grew, so did our names. There was such pride when we cooked ‘our’ marrows with our grandmother. Now she used to add mince to the stuffing, but obviously I have veganised the recipe.

Stuffed Marrow

One marrow
1 medium onion, diced
Garlic (2 cloves)
1 carrot, diced
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 can of green lentils
Handful of red lentils,
Handful of pearl barley
Splash of veggie Worcestershire sauce,
1 tbsp tomato ketchup
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1 vegetable stock cube
1 cup of water

To finish – breadcrumbs and vegan cheese.

Slice marrow in to thick rings, deseeded and peel. Place in a baking dish.
Gently fry onion & garlic until soft. Add the rest of the ingredients and bring to the boil. Turn down heat and simmer for about 40 mins, add more water if it begins to stick to bottom of pan.
When sauce is nice and thick and pearl barley is cooked, spoon into marrow rings, put any extra around rings. Cover with tin foil and cook for about 1 hour gas mark 6, until marrow is soft. Remove tin foil, cover rings with with breadcrumbs and cheese. Put back in oven for 15 mins. Serve with mashed potato for maximum comfort food.

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My Pantry

I have been wanting to show you my pantry for a while, but I was waiting until I tidied it up before taking the pictures. I do not have a proper kitchen at the moment, it is not built! I do have an American style fridge/freezer, an 8 ring, 3 oven and grill range cooker and a dishwasher, so I am not exactly slumming it, but I don’t have cupboards. Therefore most of the kitchen ‘stuff’ gets thrown in to the pantry and it is always a mess. So I have given up waiting for it to look all tidy and organised and decided to show you it in all its messy glory!

I have always wanted a proper walk in pantry, complete with butler sink. At the back of the barge is an area which doesn’t have a lot of head room and as soon as I saw it I knew exactly what this space was going to be used for! It was the first area to be built (my hubby knows the way to my heart!) and I love my pantry and my butler sink. It will eventually be fully tiled so that it will stay cool in the summer.

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A few of my vegan cookbooks. Believe me, I have hundreds of cookbooks on bookshelves elsewhere!

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Yes, you can see a few of my omnivore hubby’s stores hidden away here!

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My spice racks for smaller jars. I buy large packets of herbs and spices or dehydrate my own and store them in much larger jars on the pantry shelves.

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This picture gives you an idea of the space in the food storage area. But I have to confess this picture was taken when the pantry was very new, before we moved on to the barge, hence the reason it is so neat! And it will be again when I get my kitchen and more space.

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And here is last night’s dinner; Rice Island Casserole from Vegan on the Cheap by Robin Robertson. It was absolutely delicious.

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Cook Up Sunday

As I have said before, once a week I clear out the fridge and have a cook up, generally on a Sunday. Today I went through the veggie drawers and found 6 small Aubergines, 5 courgettes, 1 patty pan, four carrots, a small swede and a parsnip. All, except the parsnip, came from the allotment. There is something about nurturing a vegetable plant from seed and watching it grow that is so magical that it would be an absolute crime to then let the fruits of your labour go to waste.

So the Aubergines, patty pan and courgettes have been roasted with homegrown garlic and will be frozen in individual portions ready to use another time.

The swede, carrots and parsnip were sweated down for 10 mins in a little water, then I added two stock cubes and some pearl barley and made some lovely chunky vegetable soup. As the evenings draw in and there is a nip in the air, heartwarming soup is just the ticket.

Finally, I had quite a lot of sour bread left, so I made a bread pudding. At this point I am going to point out that this is a proper British bread pudding – thick and stodgy and more like a cake – just right for Autumn. What the Americans call bread pudding is known as bread and butter pudding in the UK. I used Nigel Slater’s recipe here and veganize it by using Orgran’s No Egg, soy milk and Vitalite spread. (There aren’t many things these days that can’t be made a bit kinder to animals and the earth!). Absolutely delicious and will be served warm today with good old (soy) custard and cold tomorrow in the lunch boxes.

And now I am off blackberry picking. I always freeze lots of blackberries as I use them instead of blueberries in almost everything. I can’t seem to get a decent crop of blueberries, but this year there are tons of blackberries everywhere, and best of all they’re free 🙂

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Poo Bin

Due to the really rubbish summers that we have in the UK, we found that the buckets of poo on deck were not decomposing quite as quickly as we wanted. Visitors were beginning to ask what the line of double stacked buckets along the side decks contained and their faces were a picture when told!!! So we needed a different tack. Research showed that a hot compost bin would decompose the matter very much quicker and that these were used in the Scandinavian countries which are even cooler than here but where compost toilets really have taken off. We let our neighbour Sue buy one first, just to see if they worked!! And it did, so here is our new Poo Bin. The heat is created by the decomposition process and the bin is insulated to keep the heat in. We have to be careful to get a good mix in to help with the decomposition. We put in vegetable peelings, shredded paper/cardboard, food remains, bread, toilet paper, floor sweepings etc and of course the contents of our compost toilet. The temperature has to be kept above 30 degrees; there is a thermometer on top of the bin, alongside the airflow outlet. It means that the toilet can be emptied on a regular (weekly) basis rather than wait until the bucket is full and can be emptied when visitors are expected, an empty loo is a bit more palatable to some squeamish guests! Other bonuses are that we have cut our carbon waste a bit more and that we can compost the loo paper rather than burn it AND we don’t have to spend £9.00 per bucket every time we needed a new one (we didn’t, we improvised!). Now we only need one bucket – anyone want to buy a used bucket with lid – only used in the compost toilet once!!!

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