22 April 2018

Mexican rice tortillas


I haven't been cooking that much in the couple of last weeks, as we've had a weird unusual stretch of business dinners and trips at work, so I've been eating out quite a lot. It can be nice, but I also want to do my own cooking, and all this socialising can be quite draining too. It still feels like you are working, even when eating a meal with colleagues or customers. One meal was really excellent though, cheese ravioli with asparagus and sage butter sauce accompanied by a crispy dry white wine. That I could eat at anytime again! But anyway I hope that it will calm down now a bit after completing a few projects, and I can do more in my own kitchen again.

I managed to make this meal one night, and even though it's nothing spectacular, I enjoyed it very much. Mexican rice is one of my absolute favourites. It's easy, it's cheap and it's very tasty. I made the rice this time with sweetcorn, lentils, red pepper, onion, garlic and chilli, and I served it on a tortilla with lambs lettuce and vegan chipotle mayo. It was a very nice meal, and I will be cooking more this sort of meals towards the summer. Mexican food is also brialliant for a picnic, as the al fresco dining season has now started even in Copenhagen.




Enjoy your Sunday!

Your VegHog

15 April 2018

Thai curry with fennel and beetroot tofu


Remember that beetroot tofu I bought in Finland? Well, now dish number one has been made with it. I had two tofu steaks, so I can still cook something else with the other one. It was a really nice firm tofu with a subtle hint of beetroot, and it really added a nice splash of colour on top of that vegan Thai curry. There were some small chunks of beetroot inside of that tofu as well.

I made my pretty basic golden Thai curry with fennel and carrots. I used fresh turmeric for the first time, which was interesting. I think that I'll be buying it much more now. I didn't even manage to colour my whole kitchen yellow with it.

I'm looking forward to more colourful bowls of food towards the spring and summer. Yesterday I saw the first local asparagus appearing on the market. I can't wait to cook with it. 


Thai curry with fennel and beetroot tofu

Ingredients for the curry paste

1 red chilli
1 cloveless garlic
2 cm fresh turmeric
2 cm fresh ginger
1 tomato
1 lemongrass stalk
1 lime's juice
2 tbsp white miso
2 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground cinnamon
1 vegetable stock cube

Other ingredients

125 g beetroot tofu
1 onion
1 fennel bulb
2 carrots
Vegetable oil for frying
400 ml/1 can coconut milk
1 cup Jasmine rice

Method

Make the curry paste first by puréeing all paste ingredients into a smooth paste.

Chop the fennel, carrots and onion.

Cook the onion in vegetable oil until softened, then add the fennel and carrots to the pan.

After a while of cooking, also add the curry paste.

Cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the coconut milk.

Let simmer until the flavours have blended nicely.

Cook the jasmine rice.

Cut the tofu into generous chunks and fry them in vegetable oil.

Serve the curry with the tofu chunks on top and with the rice. Enjoy!


Your VegHog

14 April 2018

Spicy pitas


Happy weekend everyone! I hope that you have some nice plans for the weekend. Mine has started quite relaxed, and I'm trying to keep it that way. At least for now the sun is shining here in Copenhagen, and it's about +13C. It should be a good weather for a little stroll in town. There are already nice spring flowers everywhere, which is quite uplifting.

I made these spicy pitas just as a quick weekday dinner. They contained vegan “chicken” chunks, red cabbage, tomatoes, onion, garlic and vegan chipotle mayo, and they were wrapped in wholemeal pitas. Is there anything better than Mexican food on a weekday? It always feels like a feast. Alright, pita is not exactly Mexican, but it made a nice wrapping for this spicy filling anyway.

The whole dish was vegan, and quite tasty. I like these chunky vegan “chicken” pieces that are made from wheat gluten and soya protein. They are very versatile to use.

Have a nice weekend!

Your VegHog

7 April 2018

In My Kitchen in April

As you may know, I spent Easter in snowy Finland. See the photo below taken on a frozen river just behind my mum's house, and it tells quite a lot about the general atmosphere. The weather was perfect for walks in the snow, as it was so sunny the whole time. We also enjoyed some spectacular sunsets. It was a good break to relax, but a little bit too short. I cooked vegetarian Easter dinner for my family: stuffed sweet potatoes with lentils and pepper, stuffed courgettes with cheese, pulled oats balls, potato mash and salads, and a lot of chocolate eggs as dessert.


I did some shopping while I was there, my usual cheese and some chocolates, but I also got this birch tea towel and serviettes there. 
 

These food items are also from Finland: beetroot tofu steaks and two dry mixes to make a seitan roast and veggie burgers. I may not eat the tofu as steaks, but chop and fry and add them to some dish as an additional colour splash. I'm especially excited about the seitan roast, but will need to wait for some festive occasion to make it.



Here at home in Copenhagen my Easter flowers are still growing, but now I should be getting more spring flowers. This week it has actually started to be a bit warmer. I think I'll ditch my winter coats today and change to something lighter when going out!



I recently bought this vegan chipotle mayo, and now I've been adding it here and there. It's not too hot, but has just a nice warming heat. I ate it among others with these Mexican fried potatoes. They don't look so pretty, but it was a tasty dish.



I somehow got excited again by those really easy ready meals, where you just add some hot water and let them settle for a few minutes and they are ready to go. Do you know the type? I now have some extremely busy weekdays and I really appreciate this sort of dinners sometimes. I think that these products have also come a long way from my student days in the late 90s. I still remember that German cheese pasta that I had quite often. I'm not sure how I would like it today. I've already tasted the Pasta Napoli, and these are still waiting for me to try: Miso ramen noodles, Chili sin carne and Quinoa & Chickpea.




As usual I'm sharing this post with Sherry from Sherry's Pickings blog, who is hosting the In My Kitchen challenge.


Have a nice rest of April everyone!

Your VegHog

31 March 2018

Eat Your Greens March Round Up


It's quite unbelievable that March is already almost over, and it's still not very springlike! It's still fully winter in Finland, where I am at the moment to spend Easter. We just went for a walk on a frozen river in fairly deep snow as well.

Anyway, end of the month also means end of a cooking challenge, and I'm happy to share with you the lovely Eat Your Greens contributions for this month. As you can see, people have been busy cooking veggie food again, which is just great. I think that there was a good variety of things and different shades of green in this month's selection. So let's have a look at what has been shared with us.

Sadhna from Herbs, Spices and Tradition cooked Green Peas Paratha, which is Indian flat bread stuffed with peas. I agree with Sadhna that peas are very tasty and healthy, and really nice greens to eat. I also prefer the fresh ones, when they are in season. This is a lovely flatbread, which I would like to try making.


Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen, my lovely Eat Your Greens co-host, shared an Iranian Pearl Barley Soup - Ash-e Jo Jow with us.The dish looks very comforting for this colder spring time. It contains pearl barley, chickpeas and a lot of greens like spinach, dill, coriander and Shaheen's homegrown leek, together with warming spices. I would be ready to try this anytime.


Kari from Bite-sized thoughts made a Spiced carrot and red lentil soup. The soup is golden in colour, but contains nice greens in shape of leeks and celery. Remember that your dish doesn't have to be green all over in order to qualify for Eat Your Greens, it just needs to contain some greens! I just adore soups and this one sounds really wonderful.


Laura from Touch Wood cooked Kalettes with special rice.What makes the rice special is that it's from her home country Macedonia. It's always nice to have stuff from your home country, I know the feeling! Laura served the rice with kalettes, avocado and tomatoes. I like kalettes very much, as they look so cute and are versatile in cooking.


Emily from Cooking for Kishore made a Cucumber & Feta Salad. It's a refreshing salad that looks absolutely tempting. The greens are obviously cucumber, but also green onion and cilantro. These things all go very well with feta. I can't wait for warmer weather to eat this kind of stuff all the time!


Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe posted a Watermelon poke salad bowl with pickled radishes. This is a very colourful bowl indeed, featuring interesting watermelon "tuna", pickled radishes, other veggies, and edamame beans, snow peas and cucumber as the greens. This creative bowl would make such a good and uplifting lunch.


And finally, my own dish was a Speltotto with broad beans, spinach and purple sweet potatoes. I was chuffed to use those pretty purple sweet potatoes in a dish, and I combined them with greens like spinach, fresh onions with their stalks and fresh broad beans.


Thank you so much everyone for your wonderful contributions in the month of March! Now Shaheen will host the April challenge, and I hope to see your posts and many more also next month!

Your VegHog

25 March 2018

My ultimate comfort food cravings at the moment


I collected some of my current comfort food cravings to this post. I soon hope to move on to lighter and more spring like cooking, as hopefully also the weather will get a bit warmer, and there will be lovely spring vegetables on offer. This is just a collection of dishes that I've eaten quite often lately. They are all cheap eats and perfect for a chilled night in.

Mac'n'cheese

As the first recipe I will have to highlight mac'n'cheese, as it's always a good idea to make. I've made mine lately milk-free (but not vegan, still with cheese), and used the pasta cooking water in the roux instead. This method works rather well to make silky smooth roux as the base. I normally season it with smoked paprika, garlic granules, little bit of vegetable stock powder, salt and pepper. The base is almost tasty enough without any cheese.

I've used some chunkier pasta in my mac'n'cheeses lately, which also seems to work very well.


Lebanese rice

My faithful readers will probably know that I absolutely adore this vegan dish of Lebanese style rice, also called Lebanese dirty rice. I make it often, as it's convenient, tasty and affordable. It's a slow-cooked rice dish with lentils, vermicelli pasta, roasted onions and spices. You can read my first blog post about this rice here, and also get the full recipe there.

Sometimes in the past I've served this dish with halloumi, which fits in very well, and adds extra comfort. Halloumi seems to be less popular in Denmark. It's less available, and many brands tend to be too “goatish” or “sheepish” for me and especially for my partner, so we haven't had it much ever since we left the UK.


Thai curry

Thai curries have been a lot in my kitchen this winter and early spring. I've also posted a few of them, like this one here. I've mostly made a golden curry with tofu and variable veggies in a fragrant coconut milk based sauce. This dish is of course vegan, just like the Lebanese rice.


Homemade pizza

I've made a lot of pizzas lately, and I've also posted some of them. Here is one of them from last Friday with loads of cheese, tomato sauce, green olives and pineapple. These are basically my favourite toppings on a thin spelt crust (yes pineapple definitely belongs on a pizza!), but I also use other toppings.

I enjoy making the crust, waiting for it to raise and prepping the toppings in the meanwhile. It's a nice anticipation.


What are your current comfort food favourites?

Your VegHog

24 March 2018

Speltotto with broad beans, spinach and purple sweet potatoes


The weekend is here, and not one second too early. I'm so ready just to chill and cook nice veggie food this weekend. Easter is also around the corner, and I will be going to Finland then. It's still full winter at my mum's place, so it will be quite nice.

Long time no speltotto, I thought, and started planning this dish. I wanted to make it quite colourful with a lot of veggies. I roasted some lovely and super sweet purple sweet potatoes that I got from the local market, and wilted fresh spinach for the top. I also used fresh broad beans, fresh onions and carrots in the speltotto itself. It was a tasty and comforting dish.

Here is my speltotto recipe.


Speltotto with broad beans, spinach and purple sweet potatoes

Ingredients

2 purple sweet potatoes (other colours also allowed)
Vegetable oil for roasting
200 g broad beans
200 g fresh spinach leaves
2 carrots
2 fresh onions with stalks
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil for frying
20 g margarine
1 cup pearled spelt
1 l vegetable stock
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

Method

Prep the broad beans first, as the removing of the pods and skins can certainly take a while.

Heat the vegetable stock and also chop the carrots into small pieces.

Chop the onions and garlic finely. Set the green onion stalk to the side, and add them to the speltotto towards the end and also some fresh bits as a decoration on the top.

Start cooking the onion in olive oil until soft, and then add the garlic, soon followed by the carrot pieces.

Melt the margarine in the pan, add the pearled spelt. Then start making some vegetable stock additions, and let the dish simmer. Add also the broad beans to the pan at this stage.

Let the speltotto simmer, until everything has cooked nicely, and the flavours have blended. Season with salt and pepper.

Cut the sweet potatoes into generous cubes, brush them with oil, and roast in the oven until tender.

Also wilt the spinach in a separate pan with a little garlic, salt and pepper. Serve the spinach and sweet potatoes on the top of the speltotto.

Enjoy!



It's good to see more Eat Your Greens entries coming in for March, and there is still a bit more time! I will share this dish with Eat Your Greens as well, which I'm hosting this month, and the event is co-hosted by Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen blog.


Have a great weekend!

Your VegHog

18 March 2018

Veggie burgers


Somehow I don't eat as many veggie burgers these days, as I used to do. Perhaps it was the more typical vegetarian option in Britain when eating out, so I somehow also ended up making them more at home over there. Of course they are also quite an usual dish here, but I just haven't had many lately. Now I felt like it was the time again.

I made these veggie burgers with a ready made breaded seitan burger accompanied by grated turnip, wilted spinach with garlic and tomato salsa on seedy buns, served with potato wedges. They were juicy, crispy and tasty. I really need to make veggie burgers more often, as they also are such an easy weekday meal, when the patty is ready made.



Have a good start to the new week!

Your VegHog

17 March 2018

Thai curry with spinach and tofu


How has your week been? It's been quite busy over here, and the weather is still very variable. Last night we had -6 C again, and there is a fierce cold wind out there. It's not quite spring weather yet. I'm fine with this freshness as long as I remember to put enough clothes on. We are heading to town soon, just for a stroll and grocery shopping. Perhaps we will stop by a local brewery on the opposite island for a new beer release and then take the waterbus back home.

Now to this dish. I actually meant to make a golden Thai curry (like this one), but I added slightly too much tomato purée, so the result looked like this, it became a dark red curry. Nevertheless it was very tasty and filling, and this kind of curries are surprisingly easy to make. Have a look below how I made mine. It's all vegan of course.

Thai curry with spinach and tofu

Ingredients

Curry paste

2 cm fresh ginger
3 garlic cloves
2 red chillies
1 lemongrass stalk
1 lime's juice
2 tbsp white miso
2 tbsp tomato purée
2 tsp palm sugar
1 tsp white pepper
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp ground turmeric
½ tsp ground cinnamon
3 tbsp vegetable stock

Other ingredients

200 g tofu
2 carrots
1 large onion
Vegetable oil for frying
400 ml/1 can coconut milk
1 cup jasmine rice
200 g spinach
Thai basil

Method

Make the curry paste first by puréeing all paste ingredients together into a smooth paste.

Cut the tofu into generous chunks and fry them in vegetable oil until they are golden brown and firm on the outside. Set to side.

Chop the carrots and the onion.

Cook the onion in vegetable oil until softened, then add the carrots to the pan, and after a while the curry paste.

Cook for a couple of minutes, and then add the coconut milk.

Let simmer until the flavours have blended nicely.

Cook the jasmine rice.

Mix the coarsely chopped fresh spinach into the curry just before serving.

Serve the curry with the rice and enjoy!



Your VegHog

11 March 2018

Turkish bread with veggie pieces and cabbage


When I lived in Germany I used to get some fluffy Turkish bread everywhere, but now I haven't been seeing them around much. I started missing this type of bread so much that I decided to make my own. I consulted my cookbooks, but those recipes didn't quite feel right. Then I came across the Lazy Cat Kitchen blog and their No-Knead Turkish bread. The recipe seemed very straight forward, so I gave it a go, and it turned out to be very good indeed. I would advise you to follow that recipe, if you want a loaf of Turkish bread.

I thought that it would be nice to have some easy veggies with a tahini sauce with this bread, and of course I had to choose the protein. I used Astrid och Aporna's fake chicken pieces, which are so good. They are bouncy, as they are pre-fried, but also juicy. The veggie pieces are made of mixed seitan and soy. I marinated them with a blood orange marinade, as I've been having a lot of blood oranges lately. You can substitute them with any other nice veggie pieces.

This is otherwise a really quick dish, but of course the bread baking takes the most time and effort. However it's of course very much worth it. See here, how I made this dish, and have a good Sunday!

Turkish bread with veggie pieces and cabbage

Turkish bread



Marinade for the veggie pieces

½ blood orange's juice
1 tsp maple syrup
½ tsp sea salt
½ tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp ground cumin

Other ingredients

300 g veggie pieces
2 shallots
1 garlic clove
½ red cabbage
Fresh coriander leaves
Oil for frying
Optional hummus to be served on the side

Tahini sauce

4 tbsp tahini
1 lemon's juice
1 tbsp water
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp smoked paprika



Method

I marinated the veggie pieces in a blood orange marinade first. Mix the ingredients for the marinade together and roll the veggie pieces in the marinade. Cover the bowl and leave in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Make the bread.

Mix the ingredients for the tahini sauce and set it to side. This will be sprinkled on the veggie pieces later on.

Chop the cabbage into thin strips, and also chop the shallots and garlic finely. Fry them briefly in hot oil, and then also add the veggie pieces to the pan. My pieces were pre-fried, so they just needed heating up.

Sprinkle some fresh coriander leaves and the tahini sauce on the top of the mix, and serve it with the bread and some hummus.

Enjoy!



Your VegHog

10 March 2018

In My Kitchen in March

Spring should be slowly coming, but it has been still snowing this week in Copenhagen. I do like the snow, but it would also be nice to have some warm and sunny spring days. I love it how some spring flowers are already trying to grow in the parks. I have also bought some lovely flowers for our home, like these Freesia and Muscari armeniacum, or the 'pearl hyacinth' as we used to call it, which is one of my all time favourite flower. It just cheers me up having flowers around.




Easter is also approaching fast at the end of this month, so I've already bought some nice Easter chocolates and beers. We will be spending Easter in Finland, so I hope that you'll allow me the early start. The squirrel was actually a Christmas present, but now it will become an Easter squirrel. We were in Finland also the last weekend, so I bought some Easter goodies there, like the real hen egg shells filled with solid chocolate and just some spring editions of my favourite chocolates. I also bought Kinder surprise, just in case we'll get some of those nice animal characters from them. The beer is an organic Danish Easter beer, and it's very good. I've already sampled it. Tuborg's Easter beer is also quite significant for my partner and me, as we often came to Copenhagen at Easter and then drank this beer, and now we live here! I just love that happy chick on the can.








More cans... I've had quite a few of these organic soft drinks lately. I don't know, but I've felt thirsty a lot, and then this kind of drinks are the best. They come at least in the cola, lemon and apple-ginger variations, and they are really nice and refreshing with cool can artwork as well. Apple-ginger was quite unusual for a soft drink, but it was very refreshing and nice tasting.


I recently cooked this dish of braised fennel with kalettes and garlic. I just adore fennel, and I served it with veggie balls and skin-on potato mash. The plateful doesn't look the greatest, but boy was it tasty!



We often drink healthy shots in the morning, mostly apple-ginger ones, but I like to sample other flavours, and these ginger and aronia (aka chokeberry) shots were great. My mum has a chokeberry bush in her garden. Perhaps I should make some fresh shots in the summer.


I bought some dried Yin Yang beans. They look great. I'm sure they will add their goodness to many dishes. Has anyone tried them? How are they?


I just couldn't resist this cute wholegrain animal pasta. I made a simple tomato and lentil soup and added this pasta to it. 
 


Here is yet another Astrid och Aporna product, a festive veggie sausage, which my partner thinks very highly of, but I haven't been brave enough to taste it yet. Maybe soon...


This was a quick overview of what's been happening in my kitchen, and as always, I'm sharing this post with Sherry from Sherry's Pickings, as she is hosting the In My Kitchen event.


Have a lovely weekend everyone!

Your VegHog