30 June 2014

Mango and pineapple smoothie

It's summer, warm (especially after a quick-paced morning walk in the park) and I have a huge appetite just for fresh fruits. That simply is how this smoothie idea came along, and the contents of my fridge had also a little bit to do with it.

I find that a smoothie easily replaces breakfast or lunch in the summer, especially when there are some nuts, cereal or flaxseed added (although I didn't add any of those this time). This is my simple combination for this morning.

2 mangoes
1 small pineapple
200 ml grapefruit juice

Peel the mangoes and the pineapple and remove the cores. Chop them into generous cubes.

Then just blend these together with the grapefruit juice and your power smoothie is ready to be enjoyed.

What is your favourite summer smoothie?

Your VegHog

29 June 2014

Cheese and onion pie

I have already posted a previous attempt on this pie (have a look here), but as it's such a brilliant one, I've made it again. Back then I made the pastry myself, but this time I cheated with a ready made pastry in order to get a quicker pie. And quick it was indeed, amazingly so thinking of the great end result. Here you can find the original recipe by Simon Hopkinson My mother's cheese and onion pie, and below is my alteration.


3 large onions
25 g butter
150 g Cheddar cheese
150 g Red Leicester cheese
150 ml water
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp salt
400 g shortcrust pastry sheet
2 tbsp milk


Chop the onions coarsely and grate the cheese. Heat the butter in a saucepan and cook the onions for about 10 minutes at moderate heat. Add the water and cook the onions until the water has evaporated almost entirely. Then let the onions cool.

Place the thinly rolled out pastry into a baking tin (I used my Ø 20 cm cake tin) and then layer the onions and cheese into the tin, first a little onion mix, then cheese and so forth. Place a pastry lid on the pie, seal the corners with milk and press them firmly together. Brush a little milk on the top as well and make a few breathing holes on the top. You can make some whimsical decoration from leftover pastry like I made the ponies for the top with a cookie cutter.

Bake at 180C for about 40-50 minutes. Let the pie rest for 30 minutes after the baking and then enjoy the goodness!

Your VegHog

27 June 2014

Carrot bagels

I'm back home and to my own kitchen. It's a bit easier cooking here as I know where everything is and know about the oven temperatures etc. It was very good being on a small holiday back in Finland though and I returned with a suitcase full of Finnish food and drinks, some of which you will surely see here in my blog. And people outside of Finland, remember that most of these classics can be purchased online, if something catches your eye. So, now to today's  easy breakfast recipe.

Quite often I bake carrot rolls, but this was my first time making carrot bagels. To be fair, the middle holes closed during the baking almost fully, so are these rolls after all? Anyway, it's the thought that counts, and smaller holes make the bagels easier to fill, right? If you've never tried carrot rolls or carrot bread, I would really encourage you to do so. Carrot adds a lovely little flavour and colour to baked goods.

I found this recipe on the good pages of Valio rated as easy to make and a good baking idea to make with kids (only in Finnish again). They made 20 small bagels with this recipe, but I got 14 somewhat larger ones as the end result.

Here are the ingredients and instructions.

250 ml milk
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
2 tbsp dry yeast
1 carrot
550 ml wheat flour
50 ml melted butter

Grate the carrot finely with a cheese grater. Warm the milk lukewarm and mix in the salt, sugar and dry yeast.

Add the grated carrot to the dough. Then also add the flour and butter. Mix into a soft dough. Let it rise for about 40 minutes.

Divide the dough into small sections and shape rolls from it. Let the round rolls rise on a baking tray under a teatowel for further 15 minutes.

Make a 3cm wide hole in the middle of the rolls by stretching the dough.

Bake at 225C for about 12 minutes and serve with butter, cheese, tomato, cucumber or whatever you may desire.

Your VegHog

25 June 2014

Pearled spelt with broccoli

Here's my last holiday dish for now, but do not worry, the next holiday is already booked. Tomorrow I'll have to leave the beautiful banks of Kyrönjoki and return to England, so today I made this pearled spelt dish with carrot and broccoli and I also visited the lovage bush again. Here are the instructions for making this dish.


1 broccoli

2 onions

1 cloveless garlic

1 carrot

2 dl pearled spelt

4-6 large lovage leaves

1 litre water

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tbsp rapeseed oil


Chop the onions and garlic finely. Cut small dices of the carrot. Cook the onions and garlic in a pan in rapeseed oil until soft and then add the carrots and cook for further 5 minutes. Heat the water in a separate pot with coarsely chopped lovage leaves.

Add the spelt to the pan and then about a third of the lovage water. Let cook for about 15 minutes and keep adding more water. Finally add the broccoli florets and the seasoning and let simmer until everything is cooked nicely.


Your VegHog


24 June 2014

Mushroom and halloumi lasagne

I'm still in Finland for a couple of days. It's not very warm and it's quite windy, so I felt like a vegetarian lasagne would be a suitable dinner in this weather. Don't let my sunny pictures fool you, it hasn't been like that the whole time in the past week. In any case I've had a great time here with my family.

Here's my mushroom and halloumi lasagne recipe.


400 g closed cup mushrooms

2 large onion

1 cloveless garlic

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

800 g tomato puree

1 tsp salt

1 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp basil

1 halloumi

100 g emmental

Spinach lasagne sheets


Chop the onions and garlic finely. Heat the oil in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until soft. Add the tomato puree and seasoning and let simmer for about 10 minutes.

In the meanwhile slice the mushrooms and halloumi. If you pre-grill the halloumi, you'll get a lovely added smokiness to the lasagne. In the summer halloumi tastes so great straight from a coal barbeque.

Layer the sauce, mushrooms, halloumi and lasagne sheets into a large oven dish in the typical lasagne fashion. Top the dish with some emmental cheese and bake at 180C for about 50 minutes or until fully cooked.


Your VegHog


23 June 2014

Summer quiche

I made a really easy but tasty summer quiche with courgette, pepper and tomato. It's a nice savoury addition to the coffee table or a filling lunch and I really like it as holiday food. Have a look how simple it is to make.


300 g shortcrust pastry

1/2 courgette or one small one

1 small pepper

6-8 cherry tomatoes

1 onion

1 egg

1 dl cream

100 g emmental

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp ground black pepper

1 tsp basil


Roll out the pastry thinly and place it into a pie dish. Pre-bake the pastry at 180C for about 10 minutes.

Slice the vegetables and lightly cook the onions, courgettes and peppers for about 5 minutes in a pan in rapeseed oil.

Whisk the egg with the cream and add the spices to the mix. Grate the cheese and cut the cherry tomatoes in half.

Place the vegetables on the pastry and pour the egg mix on them. Sprinkle the cheese on the top and bake at 180C for about 20 minutes.

Let the quiche rest for about 10 minutes before enjoying.

Your VegHog


22 June 2014

Roasted garlic courgettes

As I already told you a few posts back how I'm inspired by the vegetarian cookbook The Forest Feast by Erin Gleeson, and so is today's dish (p. 140-141 in The Forest Feast “Accordion zucchini”). This dish is quite easy to make, but so full of flavour, and a good tip for those who are growing courgettes as you always need new ideas how to cook them. This dish also looks cool in a summer party for example.

Amounts below are per one courgette, make as many as you need. I calculated about ½ courgette per person as I served these with other small dishes. Here's how I made the dish.

1 courgette
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
Sea salt
Ground black pepper
Grated vegetarian hard cheese

Make cuts to the courgette, but don't cut it quite through the bottom.

Make thin slices of garlic and push them into the slots of the courgette.

Brush the courgettes with olive oil, sprinkle salt and pepper on the top and roast at 150C for about one hour.

Sprinkle the grated vegetarian hard cheese on top of the courgettes 10 minutes before the baking time ending. I had once again the good old Sussex Charmer handy. Then just enjoy!

Your VegHog

20 June 2014

Midsummer (Juhannus) in Finland

Happy Midsummer my dear readers! Hyvää juhannusta!

Today is Midsummer's eve, a big festivity in Finland, and I'm lucky enough to be able to celebrate it here this year. You can read more about the exciting Finnish Midsummer traditions here.

I'm just going to have a relaxing time. What I'm going to do next is a daytime sauna visit where I'll beat myself with birch branches and after that there will be a garden vegetable barbeque. Maybe I'll enjoy a couple of local drinks like lonkero or cider while I'm at it. It's not particularly warm here, but we'll be stubborn and barbeque in my mum's garden anyway. Here are some photos from her blooming garden.

Have fun!

Your VegHog




18 June 2014

Lovage broth

I'm in Finland and what a sudden food trend I detected here: the use of the herb lovage, also known as the love parsley. The herb has already been used by ancient Greeks and Romans for medicinal purposes and has been a popular herb especially in the southern European cuisine. I have heard the name before, but couldn't have been able to say anything about it.

The other day lovage was mentioned in the local newspaper and today the newest edition of the magazine Kotiliesi came in the post, and there was a lovage soup recipe for the approaching midsummer fest. My mother started talking about her huge lovage bush in the garden, and I wanted to see it. Indeed our light lunch today was presented by that proud bush. I loosely based my recipe on the one in the magazine, but mine became a bit more liquid, so I decided to call it a broth instead of a soup. Add some wheat flour before the water, if you want a thicker soup. The dish turned out to be very tasty and I'm really excited about this herb. The broth tasted very savoury, a little bit like mushrooms and had a slight air of celery around it.


2 onions

3 potatoes

1 tbsp rapeseed oil

1 dl fresh lovage

8 dl water

1/2 tsp black pepper

1 tsp salt

1 dl cream


Chop the onions finely and peel and cube the potatoes.

Heat rapeseed oil in a saucepan and cook the onions until soft and glaze the potato cubes there for a few minutes.

Then add the roughly chopped lovage into the pot and stir.

Add the water and let simmer for about 30 minutes.

Season with salt and black pepper and then add the cream.

Let the broth simmer for a few minutes more and then puree it.

Serve warm with some rye bread.

I'm sure I will be utilising this intriguing bush in the future as well!

Your VegHog



17 June 2014

Spelt flake and cider rolls

I don't know, if anybody else is as crazy about spelt as I am, because I don't see that many recipes made with spelt products. However, you can trust that I will continue posting spelt recipes and this one is just full of spelt! These rolls are high in fibre and iron and have a cider twist to the flavour. I recently purchased organic spelt porridge flakes in bulk, which I used for this recipe. At the moment they ensure most of my breakfasts in porridge form, but they are also very suitable for baking.

This recipe makes about 10 small hearty spelt rolls with added cider power.

300 ml dry cider
50 g butter
2 tbsp dry yeast
2 dl spelt flakes
5 dl spelt flour
1 tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt

Warm the cider lukewarm and add the yeast and the spelt flakes in there.

Mix the dry ingredients and melt the butter.

Combine all the ingredients and knead to a dough and let it rise for one hour.

Then shape rolls from the dough and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle some more spelt flakes on the top and let rise for further 30 minutes under a teatowel.

Bake the rolls at 200C for about 15 minutes until fully baked. Serve when they are still slightly warm.

Your VegHog

15 June 2014

Asparagus, cheese and onion tart

I notice that I have been a little bit lazy with asparagus posts this spring and early summer. I have been cooking quite many asparagus dishes, but somehow they haven't made it to the blog. Okay, there have been at least these asparagus recipes: Spring Risotto, Asparagus Pasta and Very Green Salad, but still there's room for more.

Today I made an asparagus, cheese and onion tart, as I have been planning to make such a tart or pie for a while. I wanted to make it quite rich and cheesy, but still have asparagus proudly presented. This is it folks!


4 shallots
2 garlic cloves
10 g butter
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
½ tsp Herbes de Provence
400 g shortcrust pastry
1 egg
100 ml milk
150 g Red Leicester and Cheddar cheese mix
230 g bunch of green asparagus


Cook the chopped shallot rings and finely chopped garlic in butter until soft. Season with white pepper, salt and Provençal herbs. Allow to cool again.

Roll out the pastry thinly and place it into a Ø 25cm pie tin that has been lined with baking parchment.

Clean and cut the asparagus into halves and beat the egg with the milk. Mix the shallots with the grated cheese and spread on the pastry base.

Pour the milk and egg mix on the top of the cheese and shallots and place the asparagus on the top. The asparagus will then cook in the oven, no other preparation needed. I know they look slightly dehydrated on the photos, but they were still fully succulent and full of flavour.

Bake at 180C for about 40 minutes. Then let cool a little bit and serve when still warm. Enjoy!

Your VegHog

14 June 2014

Mushroom and rocket spelt crust pizza

Saturday night and it's pizza time again! A vegetarian pizza is always a good option and I claim that homemade pizzas are actually quite healthy, as there's only fresh produce added and the finest ingredients used. The fresh rocket on the top of this one contributes even more to the healthy aspect.

I made once again a spelt crust for this pizza and I think it went very well with the earthy mushrooms and peppery rocket. I tend to make either a spelt-wheat or a rye-wheat pizza base each time.

This is a recipe for two medium pizzas.

Spelt crust:

2 tbsp dry yeast
200 g wheat flour
200 g spelt flour
2 tsp salt
350 ml lukewarm water
3 tbsp olive oil


200 g closed cup mushrooms
1 shallot
250 g mozzarella
100 g baby plum tomatoes
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp nettle salt / sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
70 g wild rocket


First make the dough by mixing dry yeast, wheat flour, spelt flour and salt and then adding lukewarm water and olive oil. Knead to a pizza dough and let rise under a teatowel for about one hour.

Prepare the toppings by slicing the mushrooms, shallot, tomatoes and mozzarella.

Divide the dough in two and roll it out thinly to round pizza bases. Place the toppings and the seasoning (oregano, salt and pepper) on the bases and bake at 200C for about 15-20 minutes.

Place the fresh rocket on the pizzas before serving and it's all done.

Your VegHog

13 June 2014

Garden update for June

I'm off to Finland next week to visit my family, so I thought to give a garden update before I go. This is also supposed to help me remember what was going on before I left, as I'm sure in the ten days I'm gone, plenty will have happened in my small balcony garden. Now the growing circumstances are at their best. Luckily I have a watering helper, who will take care of the plants in my absence.

Many small yellow courgettes are growing very well.

Tomatoes have grown tall and are about to flourish.

Some creative looking purple carrots (a couple of them are almost purple) have also emerged. I basically knew straight away that the planter I put them into was too shallow, but these are quite amusing examples. They tasted good and I was able to use them in some vegetable burgers, so all good!

I've already been able to harvest several radishes and new ones are growing. Some of these are the next generation of last year's crops, as I let some of them grow to seed and dried the pods to be used this year.

This is pretty much what's going on at the moment. I will miss following the growth for a while, but of course it will also be nice to be on holiday.

Your VegHog