30 November 2015

Fondant potatoes with romanesco bake and roasted carrots

Fondant potatoes are so lovely, but oh so difficult to get just right. Mine were just fine this time, although a bit more browning would've been nice. I will have to keep trying to get the perfect fondants one day.

With interest I read Felicity Cloake's recent article How to make the perfect fondant potatoes and everyone can decide based on that what combinations to use. I didn't make my fondant potatoes the same way as Felicity, maybe next time. I first fried the potatoes in butter, which had a small addition of oil in it and then cooked the potatoes in vegetable stock with thyme and garlic. I always think that the stock is the best part in this dish and I always save it either for just some drinking broth or some other recipe, it's so good! Am I the only one who drinks fondant potato broth? 

I served my fondants with roasted carrots and a romanesco bake. Finally I bought my first romanesco! It was quite good, a bit of a mix between cauliflower and broccoli, and I really like the weird look of it with its pointy florets. I steamed the florest first and then baked with cheese. I also added a little bit of pre-fried onion and garlic in there and salt and pepper.

This was quite a pleasing dish.

Your VegHog

29 November 2015

Arabian nutty rice

This recipe has recently become one of my favourites. It's a spicy Arabian nutty rice, a Saudi Arabian national dish, and I found the recipe in A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices by Mona Hamadeh (p. 196-197). It's quite a simple yet very tasty recipe. 

I altered the recipe in the book slightly, so here's my version of it. Actually when I made this for the first time I accidentally doubled the amount of the spices, but even that didn't seem to hurt.


350 g rice
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 carrots
1 red bell pepper
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tbsp Lebanese spice mix
1 tsp ground cardamom
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
100 g almond flakes
50 g cashew nuts
30 g pine nuts


First of all some of this Lebanese spice mix is needed that I have previously posted.

Soak the rice in water for at least 30 minutes.

Chop the onion, garlic, carrots and bell pepper.

Heat the oil in a saucepan and start cooking the chopped onion and garlic. Cook for a few minutes and add the carrots and pepper. Then also add the spices.

Drain the rice and add it to the pan, cover with water and simmer under the lid.

In the meanwhile toast the nuts and almonds in a frying pan with a little oil.

Once the rice has cooked, add the nuts to the dish and enjoy!

Your VegHog

26 November 2015

Falafel with char-grilled vegetables and halloumi

I bought a new grill pan, a second one, which is a bit smaller than my first one. It's a neat little pan and it obviously inspired me to char-grill some vegetables. Then I was considering what to have with them and thought of homemade falafel, which are always nice. That's how this dish came to life, simple but oh so tasty!

As the making method for the falafel I chose baking in the oven in order to avoid an additional oil addition. They should be put into the oven only briefly under high heat so that they get some colour, but not too long that they dry out. All components are already cooked before, so they don't need any extra cooking. Have a look at my recipe below, which should make about 10 falafel.


1 cup dried chickpeas
1 can broad beans
3-4 garlic cloves
1 small onion
1 tsp vegetable oil
15 g fresh parsley
15 g fresh coriander
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ tsp chilli flakes
1 tsp salt


Baby bell peppers
Munchkin pumpkin


Soak the chickpeas overnight and then cook until done.

Chop the garlic and onion and pre-cook them a little in oil in a pan.

Mix the chickpeas, broad beans, garlic onion and the spices and mash them into a mixture that sticks well together. I like to leave some of the chickpeas whole in this process.

Shape falafel from the mixture and place them on a baking tray.

Bake them in the oven at 250 C for a few minutes until the falafel have received some colour. Don't bake them too long, as they can then dry up.

I served my falafel with some homemade hummus and char-grilled vegetables and halloumi. I wanted to try my new grill pan, and indeed it was very nice to use.

I'm entering this recipe to this month's Eat Your Greens, a vegetarian cooking and blogging challenge hosted by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table. The greens here are the broad beans and the lovely fresh herbs parsley and coriander.

Your VegHog

23 November 2015

Turnip and lentil salad

Turnips, the unsung heroes of the root vegetable family, the less appreciated vegetable. However this hasn't always been the case, already Pliny the Elder (c. AD 23 – AD 79) considered the turnip as one of the most important vegetables of his day, rating it "directly after cereals or at all events after the bean, since its utility surpasses that of any other plant". Very high praise for the turnip there.

Like Pliny the Elder, I love turnips, they are so nice fresh for example with a dip like hummus. They also made a great addition to this vegan salad, where I combined them with carrot, pistachios, mixed leaves, warm lentils and an onion dressing. I decided to add them as thin shavings to the salad. This was a very nice salad in the end and I'm happy to eat the rest of it at work tomorrow.

I'll share this recipe with Vegetable Palette, a vegetarian cooking challenge hosted by Shaheen from A2K - A Seasonal Veg Table and am excited to see whether anyone else has chosen the humble turnip as their white vegetable. 

I'm entering this salad also to this month's No Croutons Required, a vegetarian soup and salad cooking challenge hosted this month by Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen and co-hosted by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes.  

Here's the recipe for my turnip and lentil salad.


60 g mixed salad leaves
3 turnips
1 carrot
½ cup puy lentils
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
Handful of pistachios


¼ onion
4 tbsp olive oil
4 tbsp white wine vinegar
2 tsp black treacle
½ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp thyme


Chop the quarter onion very finely and mix it with the rest of the dressing ingredients.

Cook the lentils in water with some added vegetable stock powder.

Toast the pistachios in the oven a little.

Make thin shavings from the peeled turnips and carrot. For example a peeling knife is perfectly fine for making these shavings.

Serve the components together and sprinkle the dressing on the top.

Your VegHog

21 November 2015

Vegetarian Fish & Chips

It's time to transform a classic British dish into a vegetarian version. Vegetarian fish and chips, what an earth, you may think! Well, my version doesn't have much at all to do with fish, but I still wanted to keep the name of the traditional dish. I used Halloumi cheese as fake fish in this recipe and it actually worked out rather nicely for the taste, texture and looks. It was rolled in my special cider batter before deep frying. I served my fake fish with very chunky hand-cut oven-baked skin-on chips (wow that's many hyphens, not sure, if they are all really needed!), peas and spicy chilli mayo.

Here's how this dish came together.

The chips:

2 large baking potatoes
Vegetable oil
Smoked paprika

Cut the baking potatoes into chunky chips, brush them with vegetable oil, sprinkle with smoked paprika and salt and bake in the oven until done.

The veggie fish:

250 g halloumi
Vegetable oil
Wheat flour
Smoked paprika
White papper
Bicarbonate of soda
Dry cider

Cut the halloumi into thin slices and cook them in vegetable oil on both sides until golden brown. I really wanted to add this step, as I don't fancy undercooked halloumi, it always needs to be properly cooked for me.

Make the batter by whisking flour, smoked paprika, white pepper, bicarbonate of soda and dry cider together into a smooth, but not too runny, batter. I can't really give the amounts here, as I just mixed it all together and it seemed to be the perfect texture. You can add more flour or cider, if the texture isn't quite right. The bottomline is that it should easily coat the halloumi for deep frying.

Heat enough vegetable oil in a deep pan so that it will cover the halloumi slices. Coat the halloumi slices with the batter and put them into the hot oil. They should get golden brown and crispy fairly quickly. Then transport them onto a kitchen roll to tap off any excess oil.

The sides:

Gran Luchito Chilli Mayo (this added a nice spicy kick to the dish)
As many frozen peas as you want to eat, cooked with a little butter, marjoram and salt.

And this was it, very tasty, a very good option for the traditional fish and chips! Have a great weekend everyone!

Your VegHog

17 November 2015

Stuffed peppers

Stuffed peppers are perfect for this season, so comforting and warm straight from the oven. Even though they aren't the most innovative vegetarian dish, I really enjoy them with the right filling. I stuffed my huge Lamuyo pepper halves with a pearled spelt, carrot, tomato and pea mix and some cheese of course. I like my stuffed peppers well done with a succulent filling. I didn't need any sides for this, as the peppers were so huge.


2 Lamuyo peppers
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 carrot
100 g cherry tomatoes
1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup pearled spelt
500 ml vegetable stock
1 cup frozen peas
50 g vegetarian pasta cheese
Ground black pepper


Cut the peppers into halves and chop the onion, garlic, carrot and tomatoes finely.

Heat the olive oil in a pan and start cooking the onion, garlic and carrot there. Once these are softened, also add the tomatoes and cook for a while longer.

Add the pearled spelt and a third of the vegetable stock and simmer under the lid. Add more vegetable stock once it has absorbed and cook until the spelt is done.

Stir in the frozen peas and the grated cheese in the end.

Fill the pepper halves with the spelt mix and bake at 200 C until the peppers are roasted. Add more cheese on the top, if you prefer.


Your VegHog

16 November 2015

Mexican style rice

I have been wanting to make a Mexican style rice for a while now and finally got around to it. I added a bit more vegetables to it than normally necessary, but I thought that it was very nice and perfectly good as a standalone dish. This dish is made a lot like a rice pilaf, so that the rice cooks with the vegetables and spices and absorbs all the lovely flavours. I added a subtle spiciness to the dish.


1 onion
3 garlic cloves
300 g tomatoes
2 romano peppers
1 can black beans
1 can sweetcorn
Olive oil
Vegetable stock powder
Chilli flakes
Ground coriander
Ground cumin
1,5 cup brown rice
Tomato purée
Fresh coriander
Sourcream (optional)


Chop the onion, garlic, tomatoes and romano peppers finely and start cooking them in olive oil.

Add the black beans and sweetcorn to the pan followed by the spices and mix for a couple of minutes.

Then also add the rice and cover the mix with water and let simmer until the rice is cooked.

Towards the end add the tomato purée and fresh coriander. Taste the seasoning and add anything that's needed more.

Serve warm with some sourcream on the side or keep it vegan.


Your VegHog

15 November 2015

Lately in my kitchen

Here is a little post about my recent cookings, new food and cooking utensils in my kitchen. I try to make such posts more often, as I enjoy reading similar posts to hear about nice products.

I didn't buy much foodie stuff on my recent trip to Germany, as I was only travelling with a hand luggage, but here are some of the items that I brought with me. I just had to get this cute hedgehog cookie cutter as an addition to my wide selection of hedgehog themed kitchen items. I can't wait to use it for some gingerbread cookies soon.

I really like Spätzle, traditional southern German egg noodles, very much and often make my own ones, but since it was now available I bought a packet of the ready made ones. They'll be very handy for some weekday meals.

My partner insisted on this mustard from Düsseldorf that is flavoured with the local dark beer Altbier. I doubt that I'll be using that myself, but then there'll be more left for him.

Halloween was a while ago, but I even still have some of these chocolates left. They are extremely tasty and that's why I only want to eat one every now and again as a special treat.

I also still have some pumpkin ales left, but I don't think that those are strictly for Halloween either. This Pumpkin IPA by Flying Dog is just an exquisite drink, perfect for this season.

Recently I bought this tasting and distilling logbook for whiskey tasting notes. I haven't started filling it yet, but it's a neat little book.

These food labels from Ikea are really nice. They could be used for some foodie gifts for Christmas.

My partner makes a great spinach pasta with sun-dried tomatoes and olives. It's one of his regular dishes and I'm always more than happy to eat it.

So, that was a little overview of some of my new acquaintances and purchases. Have a nice week everyone!

Your VegHog

12 November 2015

From dinner to lunch

I'm always happy when I can use absolutely everything in the cupboard and nothing goes to waste. This can be very challenging with a varying appetite like mine and fondness to fresh produce. Sometimes really creative and even odd dishes are created through this method. This one wasn't quite as adventurous, I just happened to have a couple of tortilla wraps in an open packet that had to come away, so I decided to wrap Monday's dinner, Harlequin squash spelt risotto with halloumi, into it and bake in the oven until the tortilla was crispy. This was indeed a nice tasting lunch for the next day. Otherwise I packed into my lunchbox for that day a few apple slices, salty potato rings and a Leicester cheese stick. I was very happy eating these things.

How do you like recycling food and creating new dishes from left-overs?

Have a nice Friday everyone!

Your VegHog

9 November 2015

Harlequin squash spelt risotto with halloumi

I was happy to obtain some harlequin squashes again, and decided to make a spelt risotto with one of them. A spelt risotto is a wonderful weekday dish even though it takes slightly longer to make. I'm always so happy to have some of it left to take with me to work. This is a very filling and tasty dish and I can only recommend pearled spelt. However I just noticed how many spelt dishes I have posted again recently and should use some other main ingredients soon. I promise that it will be the case! First, here's today's recipe.


1 harlequin squash
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
1 bell pepper
1 tbsp olive oil
20 g butter
1 cup pearled spelt
1 glass white wine
1 l vegetable stock
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
40 g vegetarian pasta cheese
250 g halloumi + 1 tsp vegetable oil (optional)


The method to this dish is my basic risotto method, nothing complicated about it, just some patience is needed.

Heat the vegetable stock in a separate pot.

Chop the harlequin squash into cubes. Also chop the onion, garlic and bell pepper.

Heat olive oil in a pan and start cooking the onion there for a few minutes. Then add the bell pepper and garlic and cook for further couple of minutes followed by the harlequin squash.

Add the butter and pearled spelt into the pan and mix for a few moments. Then add the wine and let it absorb.

Add a few ladles of the hot vegetable stock and let simmer under the lid. Stir often and keep making stock additions.

When all the components are cooked nicely and the flavours have blended, season the dish and add some grated vegetarian pasta cheese to it.

Serve with pan-fried halloumi slices like I did, if you feel like it. In that case no salt addition is needed to the risotto, or just a little bit.


Your VegHog

7 November 2015

Spelt tattie scones

Oh what a week this has been! It was so busy and tiring, but now it's finally weekend and time to relax and enjoy good food. I think that today I want to eat out, but haven't decided on the restaurant/café/pub yet. What are your plans for the weekend?

I have already once posted a recipe for this Scottish breakfast classic, tattie scones that can easily be made from left-over potato mash. Tattie scones are such a nice breakfast, even if you'll have to boil the potatoes extra for them like I did (I never have left-over mash, as I always eat all of it). This time I made the tattie scones with spelt flour, so they became a bit nuttier and more wholesome. I also left the potato skins in the mash. 


500 g floury potatoes
50 g butter
125 g spelt flour
Sprinkle of salt


Boil the potatoes with the peels on and then mash them.

Mix the potato mash with the flour, butter and salt once it has cooled a little.

Shape round scones of the mixture.

Fry the scones in butter on each side until golden brown.

Serve warm, and add some extra butter on the top.


Your VegHog