I was so excited to move to Bryanna Clark Grogan’s World Vegan Feast for Vine and Dine. I love her books and her recipes and I’ve made a few recipes from this one but nowhere near enough. (For the record, I’ve made the sticky toffee pudding and the Lebanese potato kibbeh with potato stuffing). Like most of my books, I’ve got plenty marked to make but V+D has pushed me into trying more. I find with Bryanna sometimes that she has so much information on various possible substitutions that I get overwhelmed, but that’s not really a fair criticism and I just need to crack on and get on with using the books.
First up I chose the lentil and rapini stew with spicy vegan sausage. It’s been very cold here and I wanted something nice and filling but without too much messing around in the kitchen. We don’t get rapini here but I used Tenderstem broccoli instead. I would love to try the real thing though as I think I’d enjoy its bitter edge. Kale would probably have been a good substitution too.
For the sausage I used some spicy pinto sausages that I always have available in the freezer, and as they weren’t all that spicy I added a pinch of chilli flakes too.
The stew came together really easily though I found I needed a lot more broth than the recipe suggested. I served it with some garlic bread, and it really was perfect for a cold dark Sunday evening. Hearty, tasty and a big depth of flavour that I didn’t really expect from the short ingredient list. I didn’t manage to get a presentable picture, but here’s Matthew on the wine:
With a rustic Italian sausage casserole, it was an obvious move to go for the rustic Italian red. What joys, now that Tanners of Shrewsbury after several attempts to nudge them to have finally let us know which of their stock is vegan, we can order some of their amazing northern Italy collection. This one was the 2008 Il Bacialé, Monferrato DOC “Braida” di Giacomo Bologna. It’s a good blend, mostly Barbera, but a bit of Pinot Nero (Noir outside Italy), Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, producing a serious food wine, and currently on offer at £13.20. In actual fact, this food was so serious that it could have managed an even more stern and well-structured strictly not for quaffing number such as Tanners’ Sesti Rosso di Montalcino, at £20 about £7 more than the Il Bacialé. But this was a treat: dark, dense fruit flavours, a bit chocolatey, and matched so well with the spicy vegan fakey meat and herbs. If you are having this dish, don’t wimp around with a supermarket Tuscan: it’s so superb it’s worth the extra.