Vine and Dine – Baked Madras-Glazed Tofu with Saffron Basmati Pilaf, Sauteed Vegetables and Peach Lime Chutney

I’ve made quite a few things from the Millennium book so it was quite a challenge to find something to make that I hadn’t done before, could get all the ingredients for and didn’t have anything in it that Matthew won’t eat. Luckily this one was already on my list of things to try and Vine and Dine gave me the impetus to make it.

Like most Eric Tucker recipes, it isn’t something you can start cooking when you get in from a busy day at work, but as long as you make a note of all the stages it isn’t too difficult and was a good project for a foggy Sunday.

I made the marinade first and let the tofu sit in it for a few hours. The marinade had silken tofu in and it did feel a bit odd to marinade tofu in tofu, but there were lots of toasted spices in it too! Next I made the chutney so it had chance to cool down. The final parts of the dish are the rice and the oniony vegetables (I chose broccoli and cauliflower). I cooked my tofu on my electric grill while the vegetables were heating through.

I liked this dish a lot in the end. I could taste the cardamom from the marinade and the lime from the chutney above other flavours, but I love both of those things so it didn’t worry me. I served more rice than the recipe suggested but just kept to a few teaspoons of chutney otherwise it would definitely have overpowered.

This wasn’t my favourite ever dish from Millennium but I enjoyed making it and eating it. To quote Matthew: “What kind of idiot picks peach lime chutney for a wine matching challenge?”. Erm, that’d be me and Tami….

Here’s what he has to say about the wine:

This food was a huge wine match challenge, because its character is based on strong hits of a really diverse set of strong flavours: lime, cardamom, saffron, peaches, madras curry. A wine big enough not to be distorted by all of these, but equally smooth enough to glug down with rice and tofu? It had to be new world, since the kind of burgundy that might have stood a chance is way out of our price range for an ordinary Sunday! Liz had the inspired idea of trying the Trentham Estate Pinot Noir, 2009 that had just arrived at the bargain price of £10 in our recent and deeply exciting order of vegan wines from Tanners, our favourite reasonably local wine supplier. While I doubt the wine exists that would set off all the flavours in your typical Millennium dish, this Aussie number from south west New South Wales is a lovely wine and certainly worked well enough with this. Although it’s not so full bodied, it is sufficiently oily and robust to avoid defeat against all bar the lime and vinegar in the chutney, and the sweetness of the pinot works beautifully with the curry spices. It’s a super wine with soft berry flavours and an oakiness that is slightly spicy in itself: I reckon it would do justice to a lot of Asian flavours.

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VeganMoFo – Red lentil, lemon and rosemary orecchiette

We both adore pasta and would eat it every day if I didn’t try very hard for us to eat a slightly more well balanced diet. Still, we’ve  probably eaten hundreds of vegan pasta dishes over recent years, but this one from the Millennium cookbook is our favourite. That’s a surprise to us because it’s got no fat at all and is one of the most healthy pasta dishes we eat. It’s so tasty and fits the bill whether you want something healthy and reviving or something classy with a nice glass of wine. Don’t be alarmed by the fact that it’s in the Millennium book because it’s not at all time consuming and is one of the quickest and easiest dishes in the book. I’ve tweaked it quite a lot over the years to fit with our greedy bellies and our preference for saucy dishes. It’s now quite different from the original recipe so I feel as if I can share it here.

Serves 2 extremely greedy people

1/2 onion, chopped not too finely
2 cloves garlic, crushed
2 large ripe tomatoes, roughly chopped, or 1/2  tin
3/4 cup red lentils
1 1/2 cups vegetable stock
2 tsps chopped fresh rosemary
1/4 – 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsps lemon juice
1 1/2 tsp salt

80z orecchiette
1 cup spinach or rocket
1 tbsp drained capers
Chopped parsley

To make the sauce:
Cook the onions, garlic and tomatoes  for 10 minutes until the onions are soft and the tomatoes are broken down. Add the lentils, stock , rosemary and chilli flakes and bring to the boil. Turn down heat, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes or until the lentils are soft. Stir occasionally in case it sticks- you may need up to 1/2 cup more stock. Meanwhile cook the pasta in plenty of boiling salted water.

Add the lemon zest and juice and salt to the lentils. Drain the pasta and toss with the lentils, and spinach or rocket. It should wilt slightly but not be fully cooked. Garnish with the capers and parsley and serve on warmed plates.