31 August 2013
29 August 2013
26 August 2013
This is a recipe for very quick and tasty vegetable patties made of basic ingredients. I added some soya to these as well for the extra healthy touch and these patties are almost vegan. I used eggs to bind the mixture, but feel free to substitute it.
1 small zucchini
1 red pepper
1dl soya crunch
1dl wheat flour
1tsp nettle salt
Ground black pepper
Vegetable oil for frying
This is how to make the patties: grate the carrots, pepper and zucchini and chop the onion small. Boil the soya crunch in water for 5 minutes and remove its excess water by pressing it through a sieve. Mix all these ingredients in a bowl and add the eggs and the flour. Add enough flour to make the mixture fairly firm but you might need more than one desiliter flour or not quite that much depending on the juiciness of the vegetables.
Season the mix with salt and pepper. I now have this nettle salt that I like to use all the time, so I added it here as well, but don't worry if you can't get such a thing. Season the mix also generously with some fresh parsley and chives.
Heat some vegetable oil in a pan to a moderate temperature. Put enough oil to the pan to enable shallow frying. Shape fairly small and thin patties of the mix directly to the pan and fry each side for a few minutes until the patties are firm and fried golden brown.
Place them on a piece of kitchen roll to tap off the excess oil.
These are best to be served as a side with potatoes, salad and maybe some light gravy.
24 August 2013
In my opinion one of the best alcoholic beverages in this world is the Finnish Gin Long Drink, Lonkero to its friends, the grey gold of the north. Nowadays several brands and flavours of the long drink exist, but the classic is the best: gin in a tin with a grapefruit lemonade type of drink, at strength of 4,7% or 5,5% alcohol.
This drink was the first ready made alcoholic mixed drink in the history when it was created to quench the thirst of visitors to the 1952 Helsinki summer olympics. These days it's still one of the most popular alcoholic drinks in Finland, and I miss it so much when I'm in England. It should be exported more widely as it beats gin and tonic 5-0. Lonkero's taste is smoother and finer due to the grapefruit and the gin is more subtle.
But anyway, please don't take this appraisal too seriously, it's only my opinion and I appreciate that people have different tastes!
What's your favourite drink, dear Hogger?
22 August 2013
There are so many different options for versatile vegetarian barbequing and this is only one of them. I just about managed to squeeze this post in during the summer, it's only August, right?
When I'm in Finland in the summer I always grill fresh vegetables in foil parcels, as wrapping everything in foil makes the grilling procedure easier and the vegetables char more gently. It's also nice garden fun for the family and can be done even in the autumn. There's always the possibility to eat indoors if it's too chilly outside.
New potatoes must never be missing from this sort of ensemble. They should be pre-boiled until almost done, then wrapped in foil and grilled until their bottom bits get brown grilling marks. This method brings out the new potato flavours in a marvellous way and adds some smokiness.
Onions and tomatoes are a great addition and they don't need any pre work other than chopping. Quarter them and wrap them into individual foil bags and grill gently. So simple!
This time I made a stuffed courgette and grilled it. Take a large courgette, cut it in half and scoop its insides out by leaving a thin courgette shell of about 1cm thickness. Stuff the courgette halves with chopped tomatoes, onions and grated cheese and their own insides. Season them with salt and pepper and grill wrapped in foil.
Another tasty, and more effortless, option is to chop the courgette into smallish pieces and grill it with some emmental cheese cubes.
Once I even grilled some pre-boiled purple cauliflower. It added some nice unusual colour to the plate.
One item that can't be missing from the grill either is rye bread. Once all your veg has grilled sufficiently, place pieces of rye bread on the grill and lightly grill them. They are so nice with a smoky flavour and a filling addition to your meal.
Enjoy your grilling moments!
20 August 2013
19 August 2013
Today's dish uses similar ingredients as yesterday's salad but is still quite different and whimsical. Please have a look at the previous post, where also the sea-buckthorn berry and the Finnish squeaky cheese are explained. I utilised these very typical western Finnish ingredients again, but tried to create a more modern approach.
This is how you can make this salad/starter:
Prepare the sea-buckthorn berry jelly. Dissolve a sachet (about 6g) of vege gel, vegetarian gelatine, into 2dl of cold water. Then heat the liquid up to the boiling point. Add one tablespoon of sugar and dissolve it into the liquid. Puree about 100g of sea-buckthorn berries with a hand mixer and press them through a sieve to the gelatine liquid. Whisk carefully so that there are no lumps. Pour it to a container or glass of your choice depending on how you want to present the jelly later. I poured mine on a plate with high edges in order to make fairly flat jelly.
Then dice some squeaky cheese. I diced both the cheese and the jelly to approximately same sized cubes and presented them as a chessboard, but the possibilities are limitless. I appreciate that you might not get any sea-buckthorn berries, but please also consider cloudberry or cranberry jelly with cheese!
18 August 2013
Us Finns are crazy about berries, mushrooms and all sorts of forest and natural produce. Visit our country for unforgettable culinary experiences. I mainly try to make nice fusion dishes with Finnish produce when I have the chance.
Sea-buckthorn grows wild and in people's gardens in western Finland where The VegHog comes from. Here we know it as tyrni. The sea-buckthorn berries contain loads of vitamin C and the flavour is very crisp and strong. It also makes brilliant juices and jams. As I'm on a holiday at home now, I have picked these berries and utilised them in my cooking. I really want to take some dried ones with me back to England.
Today's dish is a simple sea-bucktorn salad with some squeaky Finnish cheese, leipäjuusto.The squeaky cheese is a traditional mild homemade cheese from my region with distinctive charring marks and it's a great addition to salads. I used to be lucky enough to get the fresh homemade cheese charred at an open fire while following the cheese making process of my grandparents, but nowadays I get mine from the supermarket.
For this salad I combined the sea-buckthorn berries I had picked myself with squeaky cheese cubes and fresh local lettuce and enjoyed it as a colourful side dish to new potatoes.
17 August 2013
As you might know, I don't bake sweet stuff so often, but the hog mother's birthday definitely called for a cake. This however can hardly be called baking as it's a non-bake cake, which makes it just so appealing especially in the summertime when you don't want to use your oven too much. You can comfortably make it within one hour but you'll need the patience to let it set overnight.
Normally this sort of recipe would need some gelatine, but luckily good vegetarian alternatives exist. It can be difficult to get the cake set, especially with white chocolate that has a lower melting point and therefore might not set properly. As the filling is quite creamy, more vegetarian gelatine than usual is needed, about 12g of the vege gel should do the trick. Dissolve them according to the instructions on the packet.
180g oat biscuits
Crush the oat biscuits finely, melt the butter and mix the two together. Grease the base of a large detachable base cake tin with butter and press the biscuit base onto the bottom.
130g white chocolate
100g plain soft cheese
170g lemon soft cheese
12g vegetarian gelatine (2 sachets vege gel)
2dl whipping cream
Melt the white chocolate in a water bath. Prepare the vegetarian gelatine as described on your packet.
Separate the egg yolks from the egg whites. Beat the egg yolks and the sugar into a foam. Add the melted white chocolate, both soft cheeses and the vegetarian gelatine. Also whip the cream and carefully mix it to the main filling. Then whip the egg whites foamy and mix lightly. This is the chocolate and cheese filling done.
Pour half of the filling on the cake base and add the raspberries on it. Then cover the raspberries with the rest of the filling. Cover the cake tin and let the cake set in the fridge until the next day.
I decided to make some raspberry coulis, an intense raspberry sauce, to it and it's better to make this on day two just before serving.
The Raspberry coulis:
A handful of Raspberries
Dissolve the sugar in water by heating them gently. Puree the raspberries and press them through a sieve to the pan. Mix it and let cool.
Decorate the cake with the raspberry coulis, fresh raspberries and serve it with coffee. Enjoy!