29 June 2015

Smoky halloumi and tomato ciabattas

Recently I bought these oak smoked slow roasted vine ripened tomatoes and also the variation of them with garlic by The Tomato Stall from the Isle of Wight. This product is incredibly tasty and the tomato taste is still so fresh in them, I have never tasted a similar product this good. These tomatoes are very versatile to use and I'm sure they will keep re-occuring here on the blog, but now I decided to have them in just very basic halloumi ciabattas. The result however wasn't so basic, as these were the tastiest sandwiches I've had for a long while, if I may say so myself. 


250 g halloumi
1 tsp vegetable oil
Oak smoked slow roasted vine ripened tomatoes
½ garlic clove
Ciabatta rolls


Slice the halloumi and fry the slices in a pan in hot vegetable oil until golden brown on both sides.

Bake the ciabatta rolls for a few minutes in the oven and then grill them on a grill pan on each side after cutting.

Rub a little garlic onto the cut side of the roll halves. And also if you have the opportunity to use these same oak smoked tomatoes, brush a little of their smoky oil onto the ciabattas.

Fill the ciabattas with the halloumi, tomatoes and rocket and enjoy!

Have a lovely new week everyone!

Your VegHog

28 June 2015

Onion squash quesadilla

Happy Sunday everyone! I've had a relaxing day so far and am just starting to cook basically for the rest of the day. Today's dishes will also be posted here soon, but while I'm still making them, I thought I'd post a dish that I made recently: roasted onion squash quasadilla with fresh coriander and Cheddar. I kept the ingredients quite simple, but these were really tasty. I will certainly be making them again! 

Here is my recipe.


1 onion squash
2 tbsp olive oil
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 red bell pepper
Chilli flakes
Ground black pepper
8 plain tortilla wraps
Fresh coriander
250 g grated Cheddar
Sour cream


Peel and chop the onion squash into cubes. Brush them with olive oil and roast in the oven until soft with roasting marks.

Chop the onion and garlic finely and cut the bell pepper into small cubes.

Heat olive oil in a pan and quickly blitz fry the onion, garlic and bell pepper in olive oil. I like to keep a little crunch to them. Season the mix with chilli flakes, salt and pepper to taste.

Layer the roasted squash, pepper mix, fresh coriander and cheese on a tortilla wrap and place a second one as a lid.

Put the quesadillas into the oven on a pre-heated baking sheet under the grill for a few minutes until the tortillas have received some colour and crispiness.

Cut into pieces and serve with sour cream on the side.


Your VegHog

25 June 2015

Rice and soya pasties

Lately I have been thinking more about my grandmother's tasty food again, or actually when wouldn't I think of her or her cooking. Now a sudden food memory from my childhood and youth came up, about small rice and mince pasties that were normally served as savoury canapées at parties and gatherings. It's possible that they were sometimes also made for just regular days. I of course wanted to create a vegetarian version of these pasties to briefly return back to the past. I started simple, but I hope that one day I can maybe get close to my grandmother's tasty creations. Here is one basic recipe how such vegetarian pasties can be made, but no doubt that I will be posting similar recipes again.


½ cup brown rice
1 vegetable stock cube
½ cup dried soya mince
1 shallot
1 garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
Ground black pepper
Smoked paprika
500 g puff pastry
1 egg


Cook the rice with the vegetable stock cube and prepare the dried soya mince according to the instructions on the packet.

Chop the shallot and garlic finely and start cooking them in olive oil. Add the soya mince to the pan and season.

Mix the rice into the soya mince mix and let it all cool down.

Roll out the puff pastry thinly and beat the egg. Cut small circles or triangles from the pastry and fill the other half of each with the soya and rice mix.

Brush the edges with the egg wash and close the parcels with a fork. Brush them with the egg wash on the outside as well.

Bake at 180C for about 15 minutes until the pasties are golden brown.

Enjoy warm, or they are good even cooled down later.

Your VegHog

23 June 2015

Quick pasta using local tomatoes

I'm continuing straight from Sunday's post from my local street fest, as I purchased the tomatoes there that I'm using for today's dinner, a fresh pasta with fried tomatoes, mozzarella and basil. Through the method I prepared this dish, it really contains the fresh flavour of the tomatoes and the garlic gets only slightly fried complementing the other ingredients. Using a fragrant olive oil improves the dish immensely.

These are the ingredients I used today: Fresh tagliatelle, selected local tomatoes, garlic cloves, good quality olive oil, buffalo mozzarella, fresh basil, ground black pepper and salt.

This is a very quick dish to prepare. First prepare the tomatoes by cutting them into smaller pieces, halving or quartering, depending on the size. Tear the mozzarella and get the basil leaves ready. Chop the garlic finely and add it to a bowl with the chopped tomatoes to wait for the frying. Then start cooking the pasta in a pan of lightly salted water and simultaneously heat up a frying pan on medium to high. Once the pasta is almost cooked, put some olive oil into the pan and add the tomatoes and garlic and let them fry for a couple of minutes, just so that they heat through.

Put the cooked pasta onto a plate, then put the tomatoes, mozzarella and fresh basil on the top, season with salt and ground black pepper and add some of your best olive oil onto the dish. Serve immediately and enjoy.

This dish is wonderful served with some white wine, which you however might not want to drink on a weekday, and even I skipped it on this occasion.

Have a nice week!

Your VegHog

21 June 2015

Bedford Place Vintage Family Festival 2015

Today I had the pleasure visiting a local street fest right in my quarter. I have never revealed my exact living area here on the blog, but haven't really tried to conceal it either. Possibly at least my regular readers appreciate a bit more personal info. So here it goes, I currently live in Southampton, Hampshire, England, and my local quarter is the Bedford Place. It's quite a nice area close to the city centre with loads of independent shops, pubs and night clubs. Today a lovely vintage family festival and food market took place there. It was really busy and I was thrilled to see so much buzz on my local street and having the chance of buying local produce at the same time. 

One of the best buys on the festival, were the fresh Isle of Wight tomatoes and oak smoked slow roasted tomatoes with garlic oil and oak smoked slow roasted vine ripened tomatoes from The Tomato Stall. I can't wait to use this produce in my cooking. I mostly prefer the tomatoes from the close by Isle of Wight anyway, and they were so extremely friendly at the stall, so I don't have any reason not to. 

I had lunch on the festival today and there would've been some veggie options to choose from. I absolutely loved my halloumi and roasted pepper wrap from Dapper Dan's Deli. There was a bit of a queue to wait for the food, but it was so worth it. 

Then of course I had to pay a visit to my local wine merchants, Cloud Wine, where I'm a regular anyway. They gave us some tasters of local English sparkling wines and we purchased the Hattingley Valley Classic Cuvée. 

I also tasted and bought some local cheese, the Winchester Mature, by the Lyburn Farmhouse Cheesemakers

During the festival I enjoyed drinks offered by one of my regular pubs The Cricketers, who had also opened an outdoor stand for the day and had a beer festival at their own premises just around the corner. 

Apart from all these lovely foodie purchases, I got some fresh local gooseberries and am currently considering some baking or cooking options with them. So that was pretty much my Sunday at a local happening. Mainly I just enjoyed the atmosphere and the good weather. I hope that you had a great day as well.

Your VegHog

20 June 2015

Asparagus and tomato tart

Summer is the best time for vegetable tarts. I love combining different vegetables with cheese and make tarts out of them. Now I made an asparagus and tomato tart with Cheddar. This recipe follows very much my basic tart recipe, which is very easy to make with ready made pastry.


320 g shortcrust pastry
230 g green asparagus
6-8 baby plum tomatoes
1 summer onion
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
Fresh basil
Ground black pepper
100 g grated Cheddar


Cut the asparagus into about 3 cm long pieces and slice or halve the tomatoes. Also cut the summer onion into thin slices.

Cut the onion into half rings and chop the garlic finely. Cook the onion and garlic in olive oil for a couple of minutes so that they soften a little. Add thyme, salt and black pepper to them and let cool.

Line a tart tin with baking paper and place the rolled out shortcrust pastry in there.

Spread the onion mix onto the pastry and then add the grated cheese, fresh basil, asparagus, tomatoes and summer onion. A little more thyme can be sprinkled on the top.

Bake the tart at 200C for about 20 minutes.


Your VegHog

19 June 2015

Pasta with pea shoot and baby leaf pesto and sundried tomatoes

The weather in England today is so nicely warm and sunny. People in the Nordic countries are celebrating Midsummer in not so warm conditions, but I wish you all a nice Midsummer nevertheless.

Pasta with pesto is pretty much perfect summer food for me. Throw a tomato and mozzarella salad on the side and it can be close to heaven. Pesto is so incredible as it can be made from so many different summer greens, and this time I chose to use pea shoots and baby leaves. I added some sundried tomatoes, fresh basil, hazelnuts and vegetarian pasta cheese to the dish and here's my recipe.

Pea shoot and baby leaf pesto:

90 g mixed baby leaves and pea shoots
1 garlic clove
4-6 tbsp olive oil
10 g pine nuts

Other ingredients:

10 sundried tomatoes
1 tsp olive oil
Fresh basil
Handful of hazelnuts
Vegetarian pasta cheese
Amori pasta


First make the pea shoot and baby leaf pesto by puréeing all the ingredients together. Then the pesto can wait in the fridge for the rest to be made.

Cut the sundried tomatoes into smaller pieces and soak them in water for about 10 minutes.

Cut the hazelnuts in halves and roast them in the oven until the flavour are released.

Briefly cook the sundried tomatoes in olive oil in a pan and add the basil and hazelnuts.

Make shavings from the vegetarian pasta cheese.

Cook the pasta until it's al dente and then mix it with the tomatoes, nuts and pesto. 

This is how my summerly pesto pasta dish is done and I want to share it with two cooking challenges. Firstly due to its greenness, I'm sharing this recipe with this month's Eat Your Greens challenge by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table

I also want to add this to this month's Pasta Please challenge, which is a cooking challenge by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes and hosted this month by BakingQueen74.

Have a nice weekend everyone!

Your VegHog

16 June 2015

Roasted new potatoes with shaven asparagus

This is a really simple seasonal dish. I had to try the shaven asparagus stripes, as I keep seeing them in so many current recipes. It wasn't bad at all, and it was curious not to cook the asparagus for a change. So basically I just combined here roasted new potatoes with lightly lemony asparagus. I could see this is a side dish in upcoming Midsummer celebrations. What do you think?

Here is what ingredients I used and how I made this dish:

500 g new potatoes
1 tsp olive oil
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp smoked paprika
250 g green asparagus
½ lemon's juice
1 tsp olive oil

Brush the new potatoes with olive oil and sprinkle salt and smoked paprika on the top. Roast in the oven until done.

Shave thin stripes from asparagus with a peeling knife and dress them with lemon juice and olive oil. Let infuse in the fridge while the potatoes roast.

Serve the potatoes and asparagus together.

Your VegHog

14 June 2015

Courgette Baba Ganoush

This Courgette Baba Ganoush dip is brilliant served as a starter with a crusty bread and it can suit any kind of summer gathering. It's also fairly quick to make, apart from the courgette grilling time, but they can grill while you prepare other dishes. I have adapted this recipe from Yotam Ottolenghi's Plenty more (p. 162-165). I skipped the goat's yogurt, Roquefort and egg in order to keep my dish more simple. I also scaled the recipe down a bit, as I only had three courgettes. My version is easy to veganise by replacing the butter with a vegan alternative. Otherwise I pretty much followed Ottolenghi's instructions and here is how the dish is done.


3 courgettes
10 g butter
15 g pine nuts
Pinch of chilli flakes
1 tsp lemon juice
1 small garlic clove
Pinch of za'atar
Salt & black pepper


Grill the courgettes in the oven under the highest grill setting for about 45 minutes. Turn them a few times during the grilling. The aim is to get them scorched outside and soft and smooth inside.

When taken out, let them cool a little bit and then scoop the flesh out from the skins. Mash the flesh into a smooth paste and drain the excess liquid off.

Melt the butter and cook the pine nuts in there until browned. Add the chilli flakes and lemon juice.

Add the finely chopped garlic, salt and pepper into the courgette mix.

Drizzle the chilli butter and za'atar on top.

Serve with a lovely crusty bread, like the sourdough baguette I had, and enjoy!

Your VegHog