30 October 2013

Honey glazed flying saucer squash with chipotle chili mash

This post is related to my #iwanttobelieve campaign and thereby also to yesterday's post. I'm using the other half of my funny flying saucer squash today. Please read more about it and have a look at the Flying saucer squash pies.

This dish is a great mix of sweet and spicy and smoky. I think that the honey glaze works very nicely with squash accentuating its natural sweetness, and chipotle and smoky cheese make a great extra flavour to a potato mash.

For the squash

½ flying saucer squash
2tbsp olive oil
2tbsp honey
About 10 fresh sage leaves
1tsp sea salt

For the mash

500g potatoes
1 dried chipotle chili
1 garlic clove
100g Applewood smoked Cheddar
1tsp sea salt / chipotle sea salt

Cut the squash into generous wedges along the star shapes of it. There's no need to peel it. Place the wedges into an oven dish and brush them lightly all over with olive oil. Roast them at 180-200C for about 30 minutes and sometimes turn them over.

Now also start the mash. Peel the potatoes and boil them in salted water until they are done, in approximately 30 minutes. Chop the chipotle and garlic finely and grate the cheese.

Prepare the glaze for the squash. Pour honey into a bowl and add about one tablespoon olive oil to it. Chop the sage finely and add it and and salt to the bowl.

When the squash is already mainly roasted, glaze it with the honey mix and put back into the oven for further 20 minutes or until you are happy with the glazing and the squash. Also now keep turning the wedges over occasionally and brush more glaze on them if needed.

Heat some butter in a pan and lightly fry the garlic and chipotle in there. When the potatoes are boiled, mash them and add the garlic, chili, salt and cheese to them. Mix to a smooth texture.

Serve the squash with the mash and enjoy! Happy Halloween everyone!

Your VegHog

29 October 2013

Flying saucer squash pies

Maybe some of you, dear readers, have already seen my mysterious #iwanttobelieve tweets predicting the arrival of a flying saucer squash recipe. I obtained a magnificent flying saucer squash at the Arundel food festival and wanted to feature it as my this year's spooky Halloween ingredient par excellence.

I thought hard about it how to use this wonderful vegetable and I decided to make two different dishes, as that huge squash easily made two full meals, and this is the first of them. I wanted to make a hearty autumn pie and I think it turned out to be very tasty. The pastry is also homemade and is partly made of spelt flour. This recipe can be made with any squash or pumpkin in case you can't get hold of a flying saucer.

The pastry

150g spelt flour
150g wheat flour
150g butter
4-8tbsp cold water

The filling

½ flying saucer squash
1 cup red lentils
1 cloveless garlic (or 2-3 cloves of regular garlic)
2 shallots
1 cup oak matured Somerset vintage cider (or other dry cider)
1tbsp vegetable stock powder
Vegetable oil (for roasting the squash)
Olive oil
A bunch of fresh thyme sprigs
A small chunk of Sussex Charmer cheese
Black pepper
1 egg (for brushing the pastry)


Make the pastry first. Mix the flours together and pinch soft butter cubes among the flour until the mixture reaches a similar texture to breadcrumbs. Add cold water for binding the dough and knead it even. Wrap the dough in cling film and let it rest in the fridge during the other preparations.

Cut the flying saucer in half and save the other half for later (another recipe is coming soon to this blog!). Peel it, remove the seeds and cut it into small cubes. Place the cubes into an oven dish and brush them with vegetable oil. Roast the squash at 180C for about 30 minutes until soft.

Parallel to this rinse the red lentils and boil them in water until soft. Add vegetable stock powder to the water for boiling.

In another large pan heat some olive oil and sweat the shallots and garlic. Then add the roasted squash and make a cider addition to the pan. Let it simmer and the cider evaporate. Then also add the lentils and season the pie filling with salt, pepper and generous amount of fresh thyme. Add some grated hard cheese and add more vegetable stock powder or cider if you want a heartier taste.

Then roll out the pastry and place it into one large baking tin or smaller tins or ramekins. Put the squash filling in and close the lid on them. Make some air holes on the lid, which can be decorative. Brush the pastry with a beaten egg and place also some more thyme leaves on the top. You can also brush the edges of the pie with the egg before placing the lid on. That way it will stick better to your main pie.

Bake the pie(s) at 200C for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy and let the lovely pie goodness warm your heart!

Your VegHog

28 October 2013

Chili and walnut pasta

I recently bought this lovely vegetarian cookbook Alice Hart's Vegetarian. As I bought my copy in Germany mine is called Gemüse satt! This book has so many inspirational and tempting recipes. I want to try so many of them. The first recipe I tried from this book was the rigatoni pasta with chili and walnuts (p. 166-167) as a quick weekday supper. I cut a couple of corners, such as using dried thyme, and that's why mine looks a bit pale. However I can assure you that it was absolutely delicious and very easy to make. I'm certain I will make this many times more in the future.

This is my way of making this dish.


250g rigatoni pasta
150g walnuts
1 garlic clove
1 red chili
1tsp thyme (use fresh thyme if possible)
5tbsp vegetarian pasta cheese
Olive oil
Ground black pepper


Roast the walnuts in a dry pan and chop them smaller after the roasting. Chop the chili and garlic finely and heat them in a pan with some olive oil at low heat. Grate some vegetarian pasta cheese and add it and thyme to the pan. Remove the pan from heat and add the walnuts, salt and pepper to it.

Boil the pasta until it's al dente. Add couple of tablespoons of the boiling water to the walnuts. Mix the walnut mix with the pasta and the dish is ready to be served.

Your VegHog

27 October 2013

Crusted munchkin pumpkin slices with potato mash and salad

And it's pumpkin time again! I liked this dish very much and I think I made quite a cute presentation out of it. I absolutely love potato mash, it just goes with anything and whenever, and it really goes well with pumpkin. These crusted pumpkins are similar to the Crusted Harlequin squash wedges, a recipe inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi.

This is how you can prepare this dish.

The salad

Purple gem lettuce
Small tomatoes
Bread for homemade croutons
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Nettle salt (or normal salt)
Black pepper

The pumpkins

1-2 munchkin pumpkins
Vegetable oil
1 lemon's zest
Black pepper

The potato mash

300g potatoes
25g butter
100ml milk
2tsp salt

You can make the salad first as it can wait in the fridge for the rest to be prepared. I made my croutons of walnut bread, but you can use any nice bread that you have. Dice the bread and place the dices in an oven dish. Sprinkle olive oil and salt on them, stir and bake until crispy. Stir couple of times during the baking. Cut the tomatoes in half and the gem lettuce in slightly smaller pieces. Make a simple dressing of balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper and mix it into the salad. Place the croutons on the salad just before serving.

For the crusted pumpkins I used again the cute small munchkin pumpkins. Prepare a crust mix for the pumpkins by mixing breadcrumbs with thyme, rosemary, parsley, lemon zest and black pepper. Use fresh herbs if you have some as the herbiness is then more intense. Slice the pumpkins into thin slices and place them into an oven dish. Brush them with vegetable oil and sprinkle the herb crust on them. Bake the crusted pumpkin slices at 180C for about 30 minutes until the pumpkins are fully cooked and the crust is crispy.

Make the potato mash parallel to the crusted pumpkins. I normally put butter, milk and salt into my mash. For presentation I sprinkled nettle salt on the top of the mash.

Place all the components nicely on a plate for serving. This can be an autumnal vegetarian Sunday roast or just a nice dinner.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

26 October 2013

Smoked pepper hummus with potato flatbreads

I want to write about a nice snack today that I thoroughly enjoy. It can be offered at parties or just enjoyed at home on dark autumn evenings.

I have already published my basic chickpea hummus recipe, but today's recipe is a different hummus with a lovely spicy and smoky flavour. The hummus is similar chickpea based hummus but with added char-grilled sweet red peppers. They add a great flavour and nice colour to this dip.

Today I combined the hummus with Finnish style potato flatbreads. Also about these I have already published an article. They are very easy but tasty breads and even a great way to use your left-over potato mash. There's not much kneading needed and the dough is easy to shape. This time I actually managed to get barley and granary flour, so getting closer to the authentic Finnish ones.

The hummus

150g sweet baby red peppers
Vegetable oil for char-grilling the peppers
150g dried chickpeas
2 garlic cloves
1 lemon's juice
1tsp cumin powder
4tbsp water
5tbsp olive oil
1tsp paprika
1tsp salt

The only downside of this is that if you use dried chickpeas, you'll have to remember to put them to soak on the previous evening or early in the morning if you make this in the evening. I like working with the dried ones and I also have truck loads of them, so it's good to make a lot of hummus.

So, soak the dried chickpeas first and then cook them. First heavily boil them for a couple of minutes and then let them boil slower for about one hour until they are soft. Stir occasionally.

In the meanwhile char-grill the peppers in a grill pan. I used small baby peppers, so they could just be cut in half before the grilling. If you use larger ones you can chop them a little bit smaller. First heat some vegetable oil and then grill and turn the peppers until they have black charring marks and are cooked softly.

After the chickpeas are cooked soft let them cool. Chop the garlic and squeeze the lemon juice into a bowl with the garlic and peppers. Add the chickpeas and season with paprika, cumin and salt. Add the olive oil and water and puree into an even paste. Taste again and add more seasoning or more fluid if needed.

The potato flatbreads

You can make these breads while the chickpeas are boiling. Then they should both be nice and fresh to be enjoyed together.

500g potatoes or potato mash
3dl barley flour
1 egg
1tsp salt

Peel the potatoes and boil them until soft. Then chase them through a potato ricer or just mash them as usual. You can of course skip these steps if you are using a left-over potato mash. Add the egg to the potatoes and stir. Then add the flour and salt and knead for a while until the dough is even.

Roll the dough out thinly and use a cookie cutter to cut out small flatbreads. Place them on a greased baking tray or baking paper. If you so will you can also make a larger bread. Typically this is a very easy dough to shape as the potatoes are good binding agents. Obviously it pays off using tasty waxy potatoes.

Bake the breads at 180-200C for about 20 minutes until they have received some brown spots.

And there you have today's snack dish. Enjoy!

Your VegHog

24 October 2013

Cheesy pretzel breads

I actually wanted to name these ones "pretzel sticks" as they are supposed to be longish cheesy pretzels, but somehow mine weren't slim enough to be called sticks. So there, let's go with the label bread.

I have posted my recipe for German style Swabian pretzel rolls before and I would advise you to read that post through as well before baking. I have explained there more the science behind this particular baking method and how I prepared the sodium carbonate needed in this recipe.


600g flour
25g dry yeast
2tsp salt
400ml water
3tbsp sodium carbonate (to be made from sodium hydrogen carbonate)
200g mature Cheddar grated


Mix the flour, salt and dry yeast together and add lukewarm water slowly. Depending on the consistency add less or more water or flour. Knead it all to an even bread dough and let it rise in a bowl covered with a tea towel for one hour.

When the dough is rising there's time to prepare the sodium carbonate that's needed for the distinct taste of the surface. This is how to make it: Place about 6 tablespoons of sodium hydrogen carbonate in an oven dish and heat it in the oven at 150-180C for about 30-40 minutes by occasionally stirring. Once the sodium carbonate comes out of the oven dissolve three tablespoons of it into one liter of hot water.

Shape lenghty sticks or baguette type shaped breads of the dough and roll them in the sodium carbonate water. Leave them in there for about one minute each. Make a lenghtwise cut over the breads with a knife and sprinkle grated cheese on them. Place them on a baking tray and bake at 220C for about 20-25 minutes.

These breads are good to be enjoyed as they are, but feel free to add any toppings of your choice.


Your VegHog

22 October 2013

Tofu & tomato pasta sauce

I made this pasta sauce a while ago when I was in Finland, but I didn't get around posting it yet. I haven't posted many other pasta dishes lately either, so that needs to be corrected. On that note may I present you a simple recipe for a tomato pasta sauce with a bit more substance, and that substance is tofu. This sauce is very easy to make as I even cheated a bit and used a ready made tomato sauce this time instead of fresh tomatoes.


150g tofu
400g tomato sauce/pureed tomatoes
1 red pepper
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
Fresh chives
Fresh parsley
Ground black pepper
Vegetable oil
Oltermanni cheese (That's my favourite Finnish cheese that I used on that occasion, you can take your preferred pasta cheese)
Tagliatelle pasta (any other pasta will also do)


Chop the onion and garlic finely. Also chop the pepper. Dice the tofu into very small dices and start the sauce by frying the tofu dices in a pan in vegetable oil. The tofu needs quite a while to fry with frequent stirring and turning. Once the tofu has reached a bouncy consistency and is golden brown, the chopped onion can be added to the pan.

Fry until the onion is glassy and then add the red pepper to the mix. Fry for further 10 minutes, then add the garlic and continue frying for a few minutes more. Finally pour the tomato sauce over the tofu and vegetables. Season the sauce with black pepper, salt, chives and parsley. Let it simmer for a few minutes and cook your pasta in the meanwhile.

Serve the pasta and sauce with some grated cheese and enjoy the pasta goodness!

Your VegHog

21 October 2013

Ricotta stuffed munchkin pumpkin with vegetable crisps

Munchkin pumpkins, those sweet mini sized pumpkins, are so cute and versatile in side or main dishes especially in this season. They simply make the perfect Halloween food and something that kids also enjoy. And as you can see, I bought a pile of them.

Today's recipe is an effortless ricotta stuffed munchkin pumpkin served with some vegetable crisps from the shop – easy! This recipe can be easily expanded for several pumpkins and this is how it's done.

Munchkin pumpkins
Ricotta cheese (about 30g per pumpkin)
1 garlic clove
Applewood smoky cheddar (optional)
Lemon & Pepper breadcrumbs

1 small bag of vegetable crisps (mine were parsnip, beetroot and sweet potato crisps)
Smoked pepper hummus (my recipe for this special hummus will be posted here soon)

Cut a small lid off the pumpkin and remove the seeds. Chop the garlic finely and grate the smoky cheese. Mix the stuffing ingredients (ricotta, garlic, cheddar and breadcrumbs) together and fill the pumpkin with it. Place the lid back on.

Bake the pumpkin at 180C for about one hour until fully baked. Serve it on a bed of rocket with the vegetable crisps and hummus.

Enjoy the cosy autumn evenings!

Your VegHog