Udon Noodle Stir-fry

This is an exercise in making do. I really wanted chow mein noodles but only had udon - I made do. I fancied some pak choy yet the only leafy green in my fridge was spinach - I made do. I desperately wanted one of those ready made packet sauces that you tear open and slather over a stir fry when you haven't the energy or wherewithal to make your own - I made my own and I made do. I'm pretty glad I did make do because sometimes when this happens the stars align and Buddha grants you a splendid lunch perhaps knowing that you need some comfort food in your life right at that moment. I definitely did need that comfort and nothing soothes like a noodle. I've bigged up the noodle before, many times over and maybe some of you have had enough of my noodle exaltations to last you a lifetime. But seriously, has there ever been a more perfect food? Slurp, chew, gulp.

To put you in the picture I've managed to secure an acting job - yay and whoop! I'm mega excited because 'resting' damn near killed me these past few months and I was in desperate need of some performing as well as in need of some bucks. Touring comes with the territory when you're an actor and if you take the decision not to you leave yourself in a very precarious position - one that has a distinct lack of jobs! If you're not prepared to tour then, unless you are very lucky and/or live in London, you're life as a performer will most probably be very shortlived.

I've moved to the bottom of the country so there aren't as many acting opportunities meaning I need to make certain sacrifices or compromises to maintain my career. That compromise will see me traipsing up to Scotland this Monday - yes, THIS MONDAY - to begin rehearsals on Beauty and the Beast. It's fantastic and I'm very happy but the thought of leaving my Husband is very difficult. If you've read my blog for long enough you'll know that we are virtually attached at the hip and I am just stir crazy about the boy - it's going to be a long few months.

The good news is I'm in work from now until February. I get paid every week. I get ten whole days off at Christmas and......you lucky lot get to see what being a vegan actor on the road is like. Should be quite a trip!

I'm getting myself in gear with this post because there's going to be very little time methinks for complicated, lengthy, recipes and I foresee a lot of 'making do'. It might be a bit slap dash but here's hoping it ain't slapstick!

By the way, in case you are wondering I'll be playing the role of Mrs. Pott's - I fear my ingenue days are over at the tender age of 29 (did they ever begin?).

udon noodle stir-fry

1 portion udon noodles

1 small onion or 2 shallots

handful green beans

1/2 pack (1 cup) marinated tofu

handful of baby leaf spinach

for the sauce

1 heaped tsp Sambal Oelek (Indonesian chilli sauce)

juice of 1 lime

1 tsp sweet freedom or agave nectar

1 tsp white wine or rice wine vinegar

2 tbsp soy sauce

1 tbsp ground nut oil

Bring a large pan of water to the boil. Make the sauce by combining all the ingredients in a bowl and whisking or stirring thoroughly with a spoon. Set aside.

Heat a little groundnut oil in a wok or skillet/frying pan. Finely slice the onion or shallots and add to pan. You want them to crisp up a little.

Slice the green beans diagonally and into small pieces. Add to pan with a little soy sauce.

Toss in the marinated tofu - I use the Cauldron Brand. Stir fry for several minutes. At this stage I add a tablespoon or so of the sauce just so the flavours infuse before combining the noodles.

Cook the udon noodles in the boiling water for 6-8 minutes, I personally don't like to it to be too al dente because it's quite a dense noodle anyway. Drain, return to pot and cover to keep warm.

Add the spinach and stir fry for a few short minutes until it begins to wilt. Then add the noodles and mix through before adding the remainder of the sauce. Allow to heat through for about a minute.

Sprinkle some sesame seeds (toasted would be even better!) on top to serve.

Slurp, chew, gulp.