29 November 2014

Vegetarian Spaghetti Bolognese

Bolognese sauce is a tasty classic and I have tried to create a vegetarian version of it. This sauce can be enjoyed with pasta or even used as the basic sauce for a lasagne. The popular dish Spaghetti Bolognese was invented outside of Italy, as the original Italian Bolognese sauce is never served with spaghetti.

Mince meat in tomato sauce is the essence of this dish and carrots normally also belong to the traditional sauce, but I'm not sure how traditional my addition of baby button mushrooms is. Obviously a vegetarian version of a meat sauce can never be so authentic. Anyhow, I liked the sauce so much that I will keep adding the mushrooms in the future as well. What vegetables do you normally add to these kinds of sauces?

2 onions
3 garlic cloves
300 g meat-free mince
400 g tomatoes
200 g baby button mushrooms
1 carrot
2 tbsp olive oil
A few squirts of tomato purée
Ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves

Vegetarian pasta cheese


Chop the vegetables finely (slice the mushrooms) and start cooking the onions in olive oil. Once they are little soft, add gradually the mince, carrots, mushrooms and tomatoes. Let simmer until the flavours have blended nicely and the liquid has reduced.

Season with tomato purée, salt, black pepper, oregano and basil to taste. Cook the spaghetti and serve with the sauce and grated vegetarian pasta cheese.


Your VegHog

27 November 2014

Stuffed marrow

I have been very busy lately and haven't really been able to cook any nice dishes. Nevertheless I thought I could share this stuffed marrow recipe with you, as I didn't want to leave you hanging for too long. I promise to improve my ways for the Christmas season, which is soon enough upon us!

I do admit that on the photos this dish does not look appealing at all, but I can assure you that these stuffed marrow halves were very succulent and tasty. It was a very filling dish as well due to the pearled spelt addition.

Here's my stuffed marrow recipe, if you would like to give it a go.


1 marrow
1 bell pepper
1 red onion
2 garlic cloves
4 tomatoes
3 spring onions
1 tbsp olive oil
½ cup pearled spelt
½ cup vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Herbes de Provence
½ tsp ground black pepper
250 g halloumi
1 tbsp vegetable oil


Cut the marrow in half and remove the insides by shaping two boats, but also save the insides. Cook the marrow halves in hot olive oil, just that they get a small glaze around the surface. You can leave them in the oven at 150 C while you make the other preparations.

Chop the bell pepper, onion, garlic, tomatoes and spring onions finely. Start cooking the onion and pepper in the olive oil, and then add the tomatoes, garlic, marrow insides and spring onions. After these have been cooked for a few minutes, add the spelt and the vegetable stock.

Let simmer until the liquid has mostly absorbed and the spelt is cooked. Leave the filling a little bit moist so that it doesn't dry out in the oven. You can add little water before the baking if needed.

Stuff the marrow halves with the filling and bake covered in foil at 180C for about 40 minutes. You can remove the foil for 5-10 minutes before the end, if you think that the top needs some colour.

Fry the halloumi slices in the vegetable oil and place the fried slices on top of the marrows.

All done and ready to be enjoyed!

Your VegHog

24 November 2014

Roasted cauliflower slices

For a long time now I've kept seeing lovely images of roasted cauliflower slices, and really wanted to try such a dish. Then I detected a recipe for Cauliflower cheese steaks in Erin Gleeson's The Forest Feast (p. 148-149) and was finally convinced to try. Last week I noticed that my favourite pasta cheese had returned to stock in my local supermarket after a long absence, and this was a great dish to use it on. Obviously I'll now be making loads of pasta again as well.

At some point in the future I will follow the recipe in The Forest Feast, as that looked absolutely amazing. Here is how I made my roasted cauliflower slices in the end, a bit more basic version.

1 cauliflower
2 tbsp olive oil
½ tsp sea salt
10 g vegetarian pasta cheese

Cut the cauliflower into thin slices and grate the cheese.

Roast the cauliflower slices at 180C for about 20 minutes.

Sprinkle the grated cheese on top of them and roast for further 5 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Serve as a side dish to roast dinners etc. These are so tasty that I would sometimes just have them as a snack on their own.

Your VegHog

21 November 2014

My Cookbooks Part I – Modern Art Desserts by Caitlin Freeman

Today I'm starting a new series introducing my cookbooks. I love books and reading in general, so it's no surprise that I have also collected a few cookbooks. One day I will have a flat or house big enough for a library room.

The first one I want to write about is one of the more quirky ones, it's Caitlin Freeman's Modern Art Desserts. Unless I'm mistaken, it's my only dessert cookbook, but it's a very special one indeed. It's more like an ode to creativity in the kitchen. I am an art lover and visit galleries and exhibitions frequently. That was also a reason to buy this book, and I purchased it at Tate Modern's gift shop. I think that everyone who likes art or cooking or both, should read this book. It makes such a wonderful read, there is a fascinating story behind each of these creations.

Caitlin Freeman is an American art student turned pastry chef, business woman and author, and her journey is told in the book as well. She has created these art dessert recipes for her husband's company the Blue Bottle Coffee and their coffee shops, some of which are in large art galleries. 

So far I have been too intimidated to cook anything from the book, but I'm always dreaming of one day making the Mondrian cake. I'm not the best pastry cook, I do like my savoury stuff, but maybe one day I will give it a go. The recipes are written very clearly and even the equipment and ingredients are introduced in detail, but most of the desserts are really time consuming so you need to be really committed.

If I was to create my own art work influenced dish, I think I would choose something made by my favourite artist, the Belgian surrealist, René Magritte. By the way I had a Magritte moment the other day when a pigeon flew past me just in front of my face! What about you, has art inspired you in creating recipes? Any masterpieces you would want to share here?

19 November 2014

Taras Boulba

Smeirlap! An insult that you probably wouldn't want to make or get, but this Belgian beer has a rather dramatic label with this insult being shouted at a person. You can look the word up, if you want to know what it means. I'm however concentrating on the drink, which is a very pleasant beer by the Brasserie de la Senne in Brussels. Here is a small review of it.

Brasserie de la Senne – Taras Boulba 4,5%

  • Extra hoppy ale
  • Clean nose of citrus and malts
  • Freshness
  • Full hoppy bitterness
  • Complex, almost chalky mouthfeel

This beer is definitely worth a try, if you can get it!

Your VegHog

18 November 2014

Cooking video - Purple sprouting broccoli and potato soup

I tried something new and made a cooking video. It's not the most brilliant edit and not even my best recipe, but I thought it would be nice to introduce in a different visual way how I usually make my vegan soups. What do you think, should I make more of these in the future? That wouldn't be too often anyway as it's quite time consuming, but it is a great fun and I wish I could chop that quickly!

I have listed the ingredient amounts here in writing as well, but haven't written any further instructions. I hope that the video explains it mostly. You can variate the vegetable stock amount depending on how thick you want the soup to be. I initially added 500 ml, but added a little extra water later. Then just simmer until everything is cooked and the flavours blended nicely. This soup making method can be used for pretty much any vegetable combinations.


250 g purple sprouting broccoli
250 g small potatoes
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
500-700 ml vegetable stock
Salt, ground black pepper and sage to taste

Enjoy the video!

Music: Mozart Eine Kleine Nachtmusik

Your VegHog

17 November 2014

Root vegetable pancake

This is one great pancake for this season, and this is a good trick to get your kids eating root vegetables. And this can also be how to get your kids cooking, as the recipe is so easy. Then of course the contents hiding wouldn't work anymore, but the magic word “pancake” might just save you? Well, I'm sure that some kids like root vegetables anyway. I have tested this on bigger kids and they really liked it.

I found the recipe on Valio's pages, but made my own version of it. Have a look below. 


1 parsnip
1 carrot
1 shallot
2 eggs
300 ml milk
2 dl spelt flour
½ tsp salt
1 tbsp sugar
150 g Greek yogurt


Grate the root vegetables and chop the shallot finely.

Whisk the eggs and then add the milk, spelt flour, salt and sugar.

Add the grated root vegetables and chopped shallot to the batter. Then add the Greek yogurt.

Pour the batter on a baking tray lined with baking paper and bake it at 225C for about 35 minutes.

Let the pancake cool slightly before serving and then cut it into suitable sized squares.

Your VegHog

16 November 2014

Green tomato chutney

“A Tigerella never loses its stripes”, I said when I had finished this chutney. With mixed feelings I have now officially ended my tomato growing season and next week I will cut the remaining vines down. Couple of weeks ago I harvested the green tomatoes that weren't able to ripen anymore in this lack of light and cold nights. Some I was able to ripen in a vase indoors, but there was still a fair amount left that I didn't want to go to waste. So I explored the possibilities what to make of them and went with the chutney idea. I just made a basic chutney like I normally would, and it got actually very nice. Now I can still enjoy my tomatoes during the winter.


400 g green tomatoes
1 onion
100 ml Aspall cyder vinegar
200 g sugar
1 tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp ginger powder


Chop the onion and the tomatoes.

Cook the onion with the vinegar, sugar, chilli flakes and ginger powder for 5 minutes.

Then add the tomatoes to the pan.

Let the pan contents simmer for about 40-50 minutes or until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the mixture has reached a sticky texture.

Pour the chutney into sterilised preservation glasses and store. I got a large jar and a small one out of this.

Chutney has many uses, have it for example with cheeses, veggie nuggets, sandwiches or roasted vegetables.

Your VegHog

15 November 2014

Fried heirloom tomato pizza

Fried pizza is my new passion. You can read my first post on the subject here, with all the drama around my scorched hand. Now I made a simple basic tomato and mozzarella pizza that was pan-fried first and then grilled quickly in the oven. This method gives the pizza an incredibly crispy crust and a slightly smoky taste.

I can only dream about the lovely tomatoes I purchased in France in the summer (*see the dreamy picture below), but luckily farmers' markets have some nice ones over here as well.

Here's how I made these small pizzas.

Spelt pizza dough

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


Tomato sauce (Tomatoes, shallot, garlic, olive oil, basil, salt and pepper)
Heirloom tomatoes
Buffalo mozzarella


First make the dough by combining the dry ingredients, then by adding the water and olive oil and kneading. Let the dough rise for about one hour in room temperature.

Then make a basic tomato sauce, although you can skip this step completely and just put fresh tomatoes onto the pizza. That's also a very good alternative. This time however, I also added a tomato sauce.

Once the dough and the sauce are done, slice the heirloom tomatoes and tear the mozzarella, and you are ready for the frying bit.

Heat a non-stick and oven-proof frying pan very hot on the hob, and also heat the grill setting of the oven as hot as possible. Then place the stretched pizza dough and the toppings into the pan. You can also add the mozzarella onto the pizza after the frying and grilling, then it's nice and fresh.

Leave the pizza in the pan until the crust gets slightly brown below and then pop the whole thing into the oven under the grill for a further couple of minutes. My grill doesn't get that hot, so I had to leave the pizza for about five minutes to get nice colour. The first frying bit is also only a few minutes, so it's a very quick way to make a tasty pizza.

Then repeat the frying procedure to make a few more pizzas, unless you used a large pan that could accommodate the whole dough. This is the bit to be very careful at, as the pan and its handle will be extremely hot.

Drizzle some basil, chilli or garlic infused olive oil onto the pizzas just before serving. These always give a nice edge and extra flavour.

So how about making such pizzas on the weekend?

Your VegHog

14 November 2014

Queen squash nut roast

Are you already planning for the centrepiece of your vegetarian Christmas dinner? This year I want to go with some sort of a nut roast again as the main attraction, of course the usual potatoes, casseroles and salads on the side. So, the other day I was practising nut roast cooking for Christmas and made this tasty queen squash nut roast. I'm not sure yet, whether this one will make it to my family's Christmas table, but it's a good contender. Here is another nut roast recipe of mine, and I will post one more before Christmas, if I have the time. 


1 queen squash
1 large carrot
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp thyme
1 tsp rosemary
1 tsp sage
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
240 g peeled and cooked chestnuts
1 dl breadcrumbs


Peel the squash and carrot. Remove the squash seeds, but save them. They can be toasted in the oven in a small ramekin and used as decoration for this dish or added to salads.

Cut the squash and carrot into slices/cubes and roast them in olive oil in the oven until they are soft and have roasting marks. Then mash them.

Chop the onion and garlic finely and cook them soft in a pan and mix with the spices and chestnuts. Slightly crush the chestnuts, and then also add the squash mash and the breadcrumbs to the mix.

Line a bread tin with baking paper and put the nut roast mix in there. Press it down fairly firmly. Cover the tin with foil and pierce it a few times.

Bake at 180C for about one hour. The foil can be removed halfway through to get a firmer texture.

Serve the ready nut roast with a vegetarian gravy, roasted vegetables, berry jellies (cranberry, sea buckthorn, redcurrant etc.), salad and any other Christmas or roast dinner sides.

Have a great weekend everyone!

Your VegHog

13 November 2014

Schupfnudeln mit Schnitzel

This dish is basically just something I assembled for a Sunday dinner. Only the sauce is my own creamy vegan mushroom sauce, but the other components are ready made. This is a perfect dinner for a Sunday when you don't want to spend a lot of time in the kitchen.

The main part of this dish are Schupfnudeln, which are southern German and Austrian potato dumplings or thick noodles that are just being pan-fried to get a nice and crispy coating. I'm determined to make my own some day, just like Schnitzel of this style, so watch this space! Schupfnudel can be purchased in various online shops and German shops even outside of Germany, so you should be able to get the ready made ones as well.

Here's a list of the components for this German inspired dish, and how I prepared each one of them.

300 g chestnut mushrooms
250 ml oat cream
1 tbsp olive oil
4 spring onions
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp parsley
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper

4 vegetarian breaded Schnitzel

160 g flower sprouts

500 g Schupfnudeln
Butter for frying (oil is also fine for a lighter meal)

The mushroom sauce takes the longest to make, so start with prepping that. Slice the mushrooms and chop the spring onions, onion and garlic. Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the onion and garlic soft. Add the mushrooms and spring onions, and let it cook for a few minutes so that the mushrooms turn a bit darker. Add the oat cream and seasoning. Let the sauce cook until the cream has absorbed the mushroom flavour nicely.

I baked the Schnitzel in the oven to avoid extra oil usage. They just needed about 15 minutes in the oven.

At the same time I steamed the flower sprouts, which are a hybrid vegetable between kale and brussels sprouts. They make a really nice side to many autumn and winter dishes.

Cook the Schupfnudeln in hot butter in a frying pan until they get golden brown and little crispy.

And that's all! Enjoy your meal!

Your VegHog

12 November 2014

Garlic knots

It has been raining and raining and raining... A severe weather warning is a good excuse to stay in and bake and cook! I'm lucky enough to do just that this week, only going to the grocery store is the unpleasant bit. Today I'm sticking to the basics, but very tasty basics at that matter!

These garlic knots are a great side to pasta dishes, soups, stews and salads. I got the idea for them in the beautiful cookbook The Forest Feast (p. 28-29) by Erin Gleeson. I think that this book is a great purchase because of the photos and artwork alone, but the recipes are mouth watering as well. All the ones I've tried so far, have also been quite simple, which is nice.

Here is how I made the garlic knots:

Spelt pizza dough (recipe here)
2 tbsp butter
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp parsley

Roll the pizza dough into a long thin rod and tie knots from the pieces of the rod.

Bake the knots in the oven at 200C for about 15-20 minutes.

Heat the butter and finely chopped garlic in a frying pan.

Turn the knots in the pan for a couple of minutes, sprinkle some parsley on them and serve.

Your VegHog

11 November 2014

Vegetarian sushi cubes with crispy tofu and glazed pumpkins

My newest small kitchen gadget, the Rice Cube, inspired me to make this dish. It turnes vegetarian sushi making into pure enjoyment! I have the feeling that you will be seeing many food cubes in my presentations in the future. My partner is more the sushi cooking type, but he has shown me his methods, and now I'm ready to publish a vegetarian sushi post.

I have been wanting to try more crispy tofu methods for a long time and have been contemplating what to combine with it. I thought that it would be good with a sushi style dish.

I also wanted to include a vegetable on the side, and pumpkins and squash suit well this combination. I had two munchkin pumpkins that I glazed with a teriyaki style glaze.

Crispy tofu

400 g tofu
1 tsp groundnut oil (for roasting)
1 tbsp mirin
½ cup semolina
3 tbsp groundnut oil (for frying)

Remove the excess liquid from the tofu and cut it into cubes. Brush an oven dish with groundnut oil and place the tofu cubes there. Bake them at 150C for one hour or more until you are happy with the firmness of the tofu cubes. The intention is to make them nice and dehydrated with a crispy surface, but still a soft middle.

After the baking, roll the tofu cubes in mirin and then semolina and fry them briefly in hot groundnut oil.

Glazed pumpkins

2 munchkin pumpkins or one medium sized pumpkin
1 tbsp groundnut oil
50 ml mirin
50 ml soy sauce
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil
3 tbsp maple syrup
1 tbsp miso

Cut the pumpkins into small wedges and remove the seeds. Brush them with groundnut oil and roast for about 30 minutes at 150C.

Make the glaze by carefully mixing mirin, soy sauce, toasted sesame oil, maple syrup and miso. Pour the glaze onto the pumpkins and roast them until the glaze has thickened and coated the pumpkin wedges. Stir them occasionally during the roasting.

Sushi cubes

1 cup sushi rice
1 ¼ cup water
1 tbsp brown rice vinegar
1 tsp sugary water
¼ tsp salt
1-2 tbsp green nori sprinkle
A few strips of sushi nori

Soak the rice in the water for 30 minutes and then simmer it for about 10 minutes until the water has absorbed. Drizzle some brown rice vinegar to it to taste and also add little water with dissolved sugar in it and a sprinkle of salt. Let it cool.

Shape cubes from the rice. I added green nori sprinkle to one half of the rice and wrapped nori strips around the plain ones.

Serve all components together. They all taste cold as well, but it's also nice when the tofu and glazed pumpkins are warm. This is also a great lunch for the next day.

Your VegHog

10 November 2014

Spelt crêpes with a cheesy mushroom filling

Now I'm on the spelt crêpe trip and just can't get enough of them! When I was planning for a further savoury vegetarian crêpe recipe, it became apparent that mushrooms would be the right choice for the filling. The nuttiness of the spelt is just divine with earthy mushrooms. I used chestnut mushrooms, but I can't see why not many other variations couldn't be used. If only could I get fresh chanterelles at the moment! I chose basil as the herb for this dish, but why not try sage or thyme as well.

This recipe will make about four large crêpes.

Batter ingredients:

2 eggs
4 dl milk
2 dl spelt flour
1 tsp sugar
½ tsp salt

Other ingredients:

Butter for frying
5-6 chestnut mushrooms
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
Salt and ground black pepper
Handful of fresh basil leaves
100 g mature cheddar


Whisk the crêpe ingredients into a smooth batter and let it rest for about 30 minutes in the fridge.

Chop the crêpe fillings: slice the mushrooms, chop the shallot and garlic finely and grate the cheese.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and cook the shallot and garlic until soft. Add the mushroom slices and cook until the mushroom liquid has evaporated. Season the mix with salt and pepper.

Heat some butter in a pan and fry the crêpes golden brown on both sides. Place the filling into the middle of the flat crêpe while it's still in the pan. Turn the crêpe corners over the filling in order to cover it. Let it in the pan for few moments so that the cheese can melt a little and the flavours blend.

Have you ever made savoury crêpes? What are your favourite fillings?

Your VegHog

9 November 2014

Spinach hedgehogs and hoglets

I think that November has progressed far enough to publish the first possible Christmas recipe! I got the idea for these puff pastry and spinach canapés in a recipe by Valio, but I added my own hog twist to it, and also changed the filling recipe slightly. These small snacks are a lovely item for example for your autumn and Christmas celebrations. Here is my version of the easy recipe. 


150 g spinach
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp garlic infused olive oil
Ground nutmeg
Ground black pepper
Sea salt
50 g emmental
40 g pine nuts
2 eggs
500 g puff pastry


Chop the garlic finely and cook it soft in the olive oil. Add the spinach to the pan and wilt them.

Season the mix with nutmeg, black pepper and salt to taste.

Purée the spinach with the grated cheese and toasted pine nuts. Add one egg to the mix.

Cut hedgehog shapes from puff pastry with a cookie cutter. Obviously any other shapes can also be made.

Brush them with beaten egg and place some of the spinach mix on the top.

Bake at 200C for about 15 minutes.


With this post I will also take part for the first time in Shaheen's Eat Your Greens Challenge from the A2K - A seasonal veg table blog - very exciting! I'm so happy that she pointed out that possibility to me.

Your VegHog