30 September 2014

Spicy beanballs

I make veggie Schnitzel and fritters quite often, but now I thought I'd make vegetable balls. Veggie burgers are everywhere these days (luckily!), but vegetable balls aren't so easy to get in shops or when eating out. So why not make some myself.

I thought of a quite simple recipe for these. Believe me, they are not so much work, as they are oven baked. Black beans seemed like a natural choice as the main ingredient, and then I went a bit frantic and added all kinds of vegetables and spices that I could find in my cupboards, not to forget about cheese. I think these could be made with many different veggies. I really want to make a bean and sweetcorn ones as well. I could also imagine that a potato mash base would be lovely here. This is a dish where you can get really creative!


3 shallots
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 red bell pepper
1 carrot
2 cans black beans
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
½ tsp chilli flakes
½ tsp ground black pepper
150 g emmental
1 egg
1 cup breadcrumbs


Chop the shallots and garlic finely and grate the bell pepper and carrot. The pepper can also be chopped finely.

Cook the shallots in vegetable oil until soft. Then add the garlic and bell pepper. Cook a while until you add the ground cumin, ground coriander and paprika.

Add the black beans and the grated carrot to the pan and let simmer slowly.

Once everything is cooked nicely, season with salt, chilli flakes and ground black pepper. And if needed, add more cumin, coriander or paprika. Let the mix cool.

Grate the emmental and add it to the bean mix with the egg and breadcrumbs. Mix it all into an even dough and slightly mash so that the beans break a little. That will help the balls to stick better together. Add more breadcrumbs if the mix isn't firm enough.

Shape balls from the dough and place them on a baking tray lined with baking paper.

Bake at 200C for about 30-40 minutes until the surface is crispy.

Enjoy with a nice dip and maybe a salad. I had an olive and roasted pepper salad and my Redcurrant and chilli jam with these, and it was quite a nice combination. 

Your VegHog

29 September 2014

Mixed fruit and berry smoothie

A fresh smoothie is always a great way to start the day and the possibilities are limitless. Lately I've made more of them, and always feel energetic and light all day after such a breakfast. I like making them in this season, because many fresh berries are still available. I've frozen some berries for later use, but the fresh and local ones are always the best.

Today I had these fruits and berries available for a smoothie:

1 passion fruit

1 apricot

6 strawberries

1 tsp sea-buckthorn powder

150 g Greek yogurt

Blend the ingredients together and enjoy the freshness of the smoothie.

Have a great week!

Your VegHog

28 September 2014

Fig salad

It's Sunday again and in case you are looking for lunch salad ideas for the upcoming week, here is one.

I think I will never get tired of the combination of halloumi cheese and fruit, they make such a great pair in salad. This time I also added some figs to my salad. I wanted to have a new type of a salad dressing, so I found this recipe on the BBC food pages (original here). I finally got to use my pomegranate molasses that I bought out of interest a while ago. It turned out to be rather nice. 


1 tbsp pomegranate molasses
1 tbsp vinegar
6 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper


3 figs
100 g strawberries
100 g babyleaf and rocket salad
250 g halloumi
Vegetable oil for frying

The making of this salad is easy of course. Just chop the figs and strawberries and combine them with the salad leaves.

Fry the halloumi in vegetable oil until golden brown and add to the salad.

It's all ready to be enjoyed!

26 September 2014

Nutella crêpes

It's incredible how we combine memories with food, or at least I do. When eating certain foods, I often remember certain situations. I've already told you my childhood memories about crêpes in general, but it's quite improbable that I even have a story about having Nutella, a well-known hazelnut chocolate spread, for the first time!

My first encounters with Nutella were as a young school girl spending a summer in northern Germany taking care of horses. It was the first time that I was far away from home for months in a fully new culture among previously unknown people. Luckily as a country girl, I was based in the countryside, and that probably made it a bit easier. It was such an adventure and I made so many friends that I decided to return the next year. 

Anyway, over there Nutella was frequently eaten on breakfast toasts or on snack breads in between. Tasting it the first time was a revelation, because I hadn't had anything like that before. In Finland we are more the rye bread type and I'm not sure how Nutella would combine with that. Then I went a bit Nutella crazy for a while, but these days I eat it only maybe once a year, if at all.

Nutella is very nice combined with some crêpes, so I thought I should make some myself. This is a very sweet dish, and I only rarely crave something like this. It's quite wicked to have it as breakfast like I sometimes have, but also as a dessert it's quite filling.


2 eggs
4 dl milk
2 dl wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt
Butter for frying


Whisk the ingredients for the batter together and let the dough rest for 30 minutes before frying.

Then heat a notch of butter in a frying pan and add a ladle or two of the batter. The amount depends on the size of your pan and also on the thickness of your desired crêpes.

Fry the crêpes golden brown on each side.

Spread soft Nutella on the warm crêpe while it's still in the pan, and fold it into a triangle or rectangular shape.

Serve instantly and enjoy.

Have a wonderful weekend everyone, with or without Nutella crêpes!

Your VegHog

24 September 2014

Veggie burgers with char-grilled vegetables and halloumi

A couple of weeks ago I posted my recipe for Lentil and pea burgers, and today's post is basically just a serving suggestion for those burgers. I don't know many things that are better than homemade veggie burgers with char-grilled vegetables and halloumi. I normally make a large burger batch and freeze the rest to have some homemade burgers always quickly available. It might be slightly naughty, but a veggie burger is also a great thing to have as breakfast after a long night out.

For these burgers I chose the following toppings and served them with a side salad:

- courgette
- pepper
- onion
- halloumi

Then you just need vegetable oil for grilling and a grill pan. Char-grill the vegetables and cheese on the hot pan until they have distinct grilling marks.

The burger Schnitzel itself can even be char-grilled. At least these lentil and pea burgers are very firm and hold their shape anywhere.

Also grill the cut sides of the buns. My buns were this time just granary buns from the shop.

Then just enjoy your burger!

What are your favourite veggie burger toppings?

Your VegHog

23 September 2014

Onion squash tart

Today's recipe came about as a very spontaneous thing. I'd had that onion squash for a while, and I wanted to try something new with it. After a short consideration, I really started craving a pasty, pie or tart, so a tart it became. I used ready made pastry, which made it a really easy one. It would make quite a nice seasonal treat for your informal guests.

About this tart I love the sweet squash taste combined with earthy emmental cheese and toasted pine nuts. Savoury tarts are definitely among my favourite veggie foods of all time.

Here are the ingredients I used and instructions for making this tart. I know that the pre-roasting can be a pain, but taste wise it really gets results!


1 small onion squash
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
3 tbsp olive oil
320 g puff pastry sheet
2 tsp Herbes de Provence
30 g toasted pine nuts
100 g emmental cheese
1 egg for brushing


Peel the squash, remove the seeds and cut it into wedges. Roast the squash wedges brushed with olive oil at 200C for about 30 minutes.

Chop the shallots and garlic finely and cook them in olive oil until soft. Add one teaspoon of Herbes de Provence into the mix.

Line a large tart tin with baking paper and place the pastry in there. Brush it with the beaten egg. Pre-bake the pastry at 200C for about 5 minutes until it puffs up a bit.

Then layer the ingredients on the pastry, shallots and garlic mix first, then the grated cheese, the roasted squash wedges and finally the pine nuts and a final addition of Herbes de Provence.

Bake the tart at 200C for about 20 minutes until nicely baked.


Your VegHog

22 September 2014

5 breakfast bowls

For the start of a new week I want to introduce to you five different breakfast bowls that I've had recently. They are not all from last week as I also really like to have salty spelt, oat or barley porridge in the mornings. Also my weekend breakfasts tend to be more unhealthy than these.

So anyway, a nice bowl of yogurt with fresh berries and fruit, maybe granola or muesli is a very fine thing. At the moment I try to go for a fast paced walk in the park every morning, and when such a healthy breakfast awaits, it's just a wonderful feeling. Alone the looks of such bowls will make you feel cheerful.

Here are five different breakfast bowls that I assembled, but you can get really creative with this and use all your favourite ingredients. I find the berry powders a really good addition, as they are super healthy and add loads of taste.

I. Raspberries, sea-buckthorn powder, granola, yogurt

II. Mango, fig, yogurt

III. Blueberries, dried apple crisps, sea-buckthorn powder, yogurt

IV. Apricots, blueberries, granola, yogurt 

V. Pomegranate seeds, strawberries, yogurt

Good start to the week to everyone!

Your VegHog

21 September 2014

Kew Gardens – Royal Botanic Gardens in London

Earlier this month I visited the Kew Gardens during the Plantasia festival. It was my first visit there and what a great way it was to spend a relaxing Saturday afternoon. There is so much to see that it is basically impossible to see everything in one day. I made some compromises and instead of frantically walking between attractions, decided to stroll around leisurely and let the things come to me. I also decided to return here one day, maybe in the springtime. 

The gardens were still in bloom in an extraordinary way, considering that it is September. However there was also a little bit autumn in the air already, mushrooms were popping out here and there.

The area was full of spectacular glasshouses, beautiful gardens, interesting plants, huge trees, a Pagoda for great views over the gardens and London, and finally for relaxing after the walk Gin & Tonics Garden in the Secluded garden. I'm afraid the Gin & Tonics Garden was there only for the duration of the Plantasia festival, but they served some very nice botanical drinks.

Here are some photos I took there. In the morning it was quite overcast, but the sky cleared during the day and the weather became really sunny and hot.