Baked tempeh with creole sauce and sweetcorn relish

There are certain ingredients that my husband refuses to eat under any circumstances. No amount of disguises or careful spicing will help or get him to eat sweetcorn (or parsnips, or sprouts). So when he’s away I try and get my fill of those ingredients because I can’t cook with them otherwise.

I’d had this recipe bookmarked from Voluptuous Vegan for ages but didn’t have the right combination of both time alone and plenty of time to cook. This wasn’t a difficult dish to make but it had a few stages – making chile paste, marinading tempeh, making the sauce, the relish and the parsley lemon rice. It was a nice project for a Sunday alone and was well worth the results.

The sweet relish was a perfect foil to the spicy rich baked tempeh. Half of the corn is pureed which thickens it up wonderfully without any flour or cornstarch. The sauce for the tempeh is spicy with homemade chile paste, herbs and spices and would be a great vehicle for anyone who is unsure about tempeh.

I loved this dish and it’ll definitely be on the list for next time I’m left to my own devices.

Vine and Dine – Herbed ravioli with porcini pesto and tofu ricotta

I’ve made the pumpkin, sage and pecan ravioli from Voluptuous Vegan a few times before and loved it, so I was certainly happy to try this one for our next Vine and Dine adventure. Making ravioli isn’t something I recommend doing when you get in from work but it’s an excellent task for when you want a day pottering in the kitchen listening to the radio. The dough felt a bit tough at first but after resting it was fine. It was really easy to roll and didn’t crumble or stick the way pasta dough often can.

I’ve got a ravioi tray mould but actually I prefer to use my gadget that cuts out the shapes. The ravioli are a bit bigger but that’s fine as long as you make sure the air is squeezed out. I actually rolled the pasta too thin I think because a few of the ravioli split in the water. Not burst because I hadn’t sealed them properly, but the top of the parcel actually split. That’s what you get when dough is so easy to roll, next time I’ll take it down to the last but one setting on the machine.

I had a disaster with the walnuts for the pesto and it reminded me why I always toast my nuts on the stovetop and not in the oven! They were burnt black! I used all my walnuts too, so I made it with pecans instead.

This was a delicious meal and it’s so satisfying to make your own ravioli. It’s not something I’d do every day but it’s a great project for when you feel like cooking.

Here’s Matthew’s take on the wine:

Herby ravioli, tofu ricotta, porcini pesto; northern Italian wine was a no brainer. Her indoors doesn’t think much of the super-Tuscan style because all the intense tannins make her mouth hurt. But no Sangiovese,  no comment with this particular dish, so we chose a 2007 Chianti Classico, Gabriel Buondonno, yours for a mere £14.50 from Vintage Roots, Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot and Canaiolo blended in. I think there must be a large supplement for making vegan wine in Tuscany, where if you don’t eat wild boar or venison you are a new age freak. Anyway it’s a delicious wine: light tannins, redcurrant, raspberry and vanilla, and enough about it that it’s a bit more than just a pizza wine. The flavours worked well, but if you like your Italian wines built a bit more robustly than Chianti usually gives you, then something a bit bigger would also work well with the dish, as those porcini and walnuts do have a kick to them. If I chose again, I’d probably go for something like the San Polino Rosso di Montalcino, if you are feeling flush, or your favourite Montepulciano if you aren’t.

Don’t forget to see what Tami and Jim made of this dish and what wine they chose too.