I try to find ways to tread more lightly on this planet, with an eye on the future inheritance of our children, and as a matter of justice for those who don’t have the option to consume as many of the earth’s resources as those of us who are wealthy. (And we are wealthy, check here to find out!) I have to say I achieve variable degrees of success, and making time is usually a significant factor. But I tried two of them today, which has led me to this post.
Firstly, although we’re not vegetarians, I try to cook meat-free for our family main meal at least once a week. Animal protein takes up much more energy and resources to produce than vegetable protein. Secondly, I try to buy vegetables from a greengrocer rather than a supermarket. I hope this means I am purchasing food closer to the supplier in terms of cutting out middle men and food miles. So today, I walked to my new local greengrocer on my way to collect my youngest from school to buy fresh veggies for dinner. But – shock horror! – they didn’t have any sprouts! And when I asked why they didn’t have any sprouts, I was told that no-one really buys them after Christmas!
So I am hereby starting a new campaign. Sprouts are for life, and not just for Christmas. Although, more correctly, sprouts are for Autumn and Winter when they are in season, and not just for Christmas. How can it be possible that most people only eat fairy cabbages once a year? They are much too nice to be restricted in this way.
And to help the campaign, here is my favourite sprout-containing meat-free meal, adapted from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Veg Everyday. There’s four of us, this filled us up nicely today:
- 1 onion, finely sliced
- chopped chilli to taste
- 2 carrots, chopped into thin batons
- 10 or 12 sprouts, finely sliced
- mushrooms, sliced
- 1 clove garlic
- bag of beansprouts
- (or you can use whatever vegetables you have lurking in your fridge or veg rack)
- enough noodles to feed your family
- 2 tbsp soy sauce
- 2 tbsp dry sherry (Hugh says rice wine but I never have any)
- ½ tsp chinese five spice
- salt and pepper
cook the noodles according to the instructions on the packet
stir fry the veg in oil, adding them in the order above (ie onions need a bit longer than the carrots and so on) – I use a wok for this
remove the veg from the wok and drain the noodles
put the soy sauce, sherry and five spice in the wok over a low heat, add the noodles and stir to coat
put the veg back in the wok over the heat, mix thoroughly together, season and serve