31 December 2015

Highlights of my 2015

Before the New Year it's always nice to remember the past year and reflect. So how was actually my 2015? I think all in all quite busy and it went by very quickly, but when looking back on the blog, it seems that I managed to post a decent amount of posts as well, some more innovative than the others. Here are some of my favourite recipes, travels and happenings from this year and I have linked back to the old posts. I hope that you'll like this post.

This year I found a passion for Lebanese cooking and it started directly in January with a Lebanese dirty rice recipe. That dish has become a standard in my cooking, but I also tried other Lebanese recipes throughout the year. I really like the Roasted cauliflower in tahini sauce as well. This meant that I also cooked quite a lot vegan this year without even necessarily noticing it.

In February I cooked Sesame-roasted tofu with satay sauce and broccoli and Lentil pancakes with chilli butter and really enjoyed both interesting dishes. We also travelled to Bruges and what a lovely town it was with excellent bars and veggie food. We took the Eurostar, which is always a great experience. I'm only wondering when can I go back!? 

In March I shared such recipes as Glamorgan sausages with potato mash and salad, Blood orange, courgette and mozzarella salad and Irish Colcannon. I can't wait for the blood orange season again, what will I cook with them now?

April was a busy month of travelling for me, as I went for a couple of trips, first to Copenhagen and Malmö with my partner over Easter and then on my own to Finland to visit my family. Cauliflower nuggets, Potato pizza and Minestrone are among my favourite recipes from this month.


May was quite hedgehog themed. I drank Old Prickly beer, made Hedgehog shaped ravioli, baked Potato and rosemary focaccias and did several local trips to New Forest, Oxford and Isle of Purbeck. I also spent the last days of this year in Oxford. It's always a pleasure visiting the pubs and botanic gardens there and I'm going to write another Oxford post as soon as I have time.

I had a tomato themed cooking week in July, The VegHog's Tomato Festival with many vegetarian tomato recipes posted during that week, and that was a lot of fun. I might repeat the event next year, but we'll see when the season comes. In July I also cooked some Spicy veggie dogs and Sea vegetable paella and Mushroom and pearled spelt cabbage roulades.

I had a longer summer holiday in August and headed to Finland again, where else. I had a great time visiting family and different places. Holiday also means Back to work at some point, and I started sharing some of my work packed lunches with you, a post series that I'm keen to continue in the New Year. I was really happy that I finally managed to make Koshari, a very tasty Egyptian dish.

September and October dishes included a Pattypan squash spelt risotto, Vegetarian sausage rolls, Onion squash and lentil soup and Spicy pumpkin soup. You can notice on the dishes that the chillier season had arrived. Soups are perfect to be enjoyed around that time. In October I got to visit Germany again and went to Köln, Bremen and Düsseldorf.

December was full of Christmas preparations and I spent yet another family Christmas in Finland.
These posts are very recent, so I'm only going to mention one interesting one: Chestnut and shallot tarte tatin, which makes a very good vegetarian Christmas centrepiece. Feel free to look back at the other December posts, if you want.

Now my friends, I would like to wish you a very happy New Year, may all your wishes come true in 2016! I will now withdraw myself to my English sparkling wine from Hattingley Valley, cheers! See you next year!

Your VegHog

28 December 2015

Christmas in Finland

Yesterday I already returned to England, but it's nice to go back to the holiday feeling in Finland for a little while. I collected some photos from my Christmas celebrations for you to see. The weather was extraordinarily warm and there was only a little snow on a few days, but it was nice not having to freeze the whole time. There were some nice sunsets every day, which happened around 3pm, the wonderful supermoon also appeared in the sky.

I felled a Christmas tree with my partner from Granddad's sustainable forest. It was stuck between three aspen and birches that can now grow more freely after removing that spruce. It's always exciting to search for a tree in the forest and we managed to find quite a good one again. My nephew mainly decorated the tree and the lovely tontut made by my mum were placed in the house again.

Obviously there was a lot of eating and drinking involved. I made a halloumi, pomegranate and cashew salad, small parsnip, carrot and chestnut nut roasts, a sweet potato casserole and mini pepper, onion and cheese tarts for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. I also detected some new drinks, a really lovely Christmas cider that I came to regret for only having bought one bottle, great quality mulled wine and a festive variation of the Kekkonen beer.

There is a tradition bringing candles to graves of loved ones on Christmas Eve, and we do this every year. The graveyard looks so nice all lit up by hundreds of candles in the evening, a very serene scene.

I spent a little time in Helsinki on the way back from home. On Boxing Day Helsinki got its first cover of snow for this winter and people seemed quite happy about it. The city was nicely decorated for the festive period.

So this was my small break in Finland, now I'm luckily off to Oxford for a few days and can relax further. Did you all have a lovely Christmas time?

Your VegHog