31 January 2016

Roasted cauliflower with Arabian nutty rice, tomato sauce and tahini sauce

It's time again for a vegan Lebanese feast! I know that many of you have been having Veganuary, so I thought that I would squeeze in one more vegan dish for this month. I have been eating mainly vegan this month, but unfortunately didn't commit fully to a vegan month. January has been so very long, so I'm quite happy to move on to February.

On this plate I combined Arabian nutty rice (recipe previously posted here) with roasted cauliflower and a couple of interesting sauces. The first one is a tomato sauce with chilli and the second one is a tahini sauce with lemon juice and garlic and they both complimented the cauliflower and rice very well.

All these recipes are from the book A Lebanese Feast of Vegetables, Pulses, Herbs and Spices by Mona Hamadeh. I would very much recommend that book, if you want to make simple, but very tasty, vegetarian and vegan dishes with Middle Eastern spices.

Your VegHog

30 January 2016

Blood orange and halloumi salad

Yeah, the blood orange season is finally here! You will probably be seeing quite a few of them on this blog. For the starters I made this blood orange and halloumi salad. I just sliced the blood oranges, fried halloumi slices in vegetable oil until golden brown and scattered some rocket leaves on the top. It was a very refreshing salad. First thing this morning I also pressed some blood orange juice and it was a wonderful booster to start the day.

Have you been buying blood oranges yet?

Enjoy your weekend!

Your VegHog

26 January 2016

Homemade vegetable stock

Vegetable stock is such an important part in vegetarian cooking, it can be used as a base of soups, risottos, stews etc. and it adds a hearty flavour. It's even good to be drank as a warming broth. Yet I'm mostly too lazy to make my own stock, although it's so much nicer and then you know what it contains. I normally use the vegetable stock powder, which I also find to be a good and convenient product.

Now I made a batch of homemade vegetable stock and froze the rest that I won't be using within a couple of days. You can use a whole variety of vegetables, but these below are the ingredients that I chose this time.


1 tsp olive oil
1 carrot
1 parsnip
1 small onion
2 garlic cloves
1 swiss chard
1 leek
2 plum tomatoes
Bunch of fresh parsley
2 bay leaves
15 black peppercorns
1-2 tsp salt
2,5 liters water


Cut the vegetables into generous chunks.

Heat olive oil in a saucepan and cook the vegetables there for a few minutes.

Add the water, parsley, bay leaves, salt and peppercorns.

Let simmer under lid for about one hour and the stock is done.

Your VegHog

24 January 2016

Vegan haggis and Burns Night

As Robert Burns Day is tomorrow, I thought that I would try to make somewhat of a Burns Supper. I have never before made vegetarian or vegan haggis, nor have I ever eaten one, but I thought that it might be a nice thing to try. It turned out to be quite nice and full of good proteins and fiber. I served my vegan haggis with neeps and tatties, brussels sprouts and onion gravy, not to forget the whisky and the poetry.

Here is my recipe, which makes 6 small haggis ramekins.


½ cup puy lentils
½ cup green lentils
½ cup pearled barley
Vegetable stock
4-6 dried porcini mushrooms
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 carrots
Olive oil
Ground black pepper to taste
Ground nutmeg to taste
Allspice to taste
Liquid aminos to taste
Handful of fresh sage leaves
½ cup ground oat flakes

Neeps and tatties, roasted and mashed
Onion gravy (similar recipe here
Steamed brussels sprouts


I'll only describe the making of the vegan haggis here. You may prepare the sides as you prefer.

Cook the lentils in water and the pearled barley in vegetable stock with the crumbled dried porcini mushrooms.

Chop the onion, garlic and carrot finely and start cooking them in olive oil.

Add the lentils and barley to the mix and season.

Lastly mix in the ground oat flakes.

Put the mix into small greased ramekins and bake in the oven at 180C for about 40 minutes.

Serve with the sides and recite some poetry. 

Happy Burns Night tomorrow!

Your VegHog

Cosmonauts – Birth of the Space Age

We visited the Cosmonauts exhibition yesterday at the Science Museum in London. I was hoping that I could share some photos with you here, and indeed it was possible to take photos, so here are some of them, even though this post is slightly off topic for a food blog. I enjoyed the exhibition very much. I find the race to space very interesting and it was fascinating to see those tin cans in which people actually travelled to space. It's incredible how they managed it.

I'm slightly obsessed with Laika's story, as it's so sad, and I basically have to cry every time I think of her. Laika (Лайка) was the first living being sent to the orbit in 1957 and she never returned to earth. Some of the designer's of Laika's mission are retrospectively regretting for having sent her without a chance of returning. On the other hand there were also successful space expeditions completed by dogs. Belka (Белка) and Strelka (Стрелка) spent a day in space in 1960 and returned safely to earth.

The exhibition was full of great stories from the space age. Who could ever forget Yuri Gagarin's space flight as the first human to orbit the earth, the greatest triumph of the Soviet space program. A more recent cosmonaut story of Sergei Krikalev is also fascinating. He was in Space while the Soviet Union dissolved.

I went a bit crazy at the gift shop and had to purchase quite a few memorabilia, one of them was a book about the Soviet Space Dogs.

23 January 2016

Cheese strings

Happy Saturday everyone! I'm just going to post this cheese string recipe quickly before I'm off to London. I will be visiting the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum. I would like to post some photos here afterwards, but I'm afraid that photos aren't permitted in the exhibition, we will see. Afterwards I want to visit a food market and maybe a pub.

I have been wanting to make cheese strings for a while and found the recipe for these cheese strings on this Finnish webpage. I have translated it below for you. I would add a little bit more cheese than in the original recipe. That's why I added some more on the top. 


200 g butter
400 g wheat flour
100 g Emmental cheese + some extra for the top (also vegetarian pasta cheese works well here)
100 ml cold water
1 egg
Sesame seeds or poppy seeds


Pinch the butter into the flour.

Add the grated cheese and then the water.

Knead into a firm dough, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Roll the dough out into about ½ cm thick rectangular shape.

Cut about 2 cm wide strings from it and turn them into spirals.

Place the strings on a baking paper and brush them with a beaten egg.

Sprinkle some extra cheese and the seeds on the top.

Bake at 200 C for about 15 minutes.


Your VegHog

21 January 2016

Harlequin squash and halloumi salad

How about a salad just before the weekend? In this salad I combined roasted harlequin squash wedges and pan-fried halloumi with heirloom tomato, gem lettuce and spinach. It was quite a nice and filling salad, just perfect for a weekday.


1 small harlequin squash
Olive oil for roasting
250 g halloumi
Vegetable oil for frying
1 large heirloom tomato
1 gem lettuce
50 g spinach

Olive oil + balsamic vinegar + salt + pepper for the dressing


Cut the harlequin squash into wedges, brush them with olive oil and roast in the oven.

Cut the halloumi into cubes and fry them in vegetable oil until golden brown.

Cut the heirloom tomato into slices and also cut the gem lettuce.

Mix the dressing ingredients well together.

Combine all the components on a plate and enjoy!

Your VegHog

20 January 2016

Recent cookings and products

Here is a quick summary of the food that I have eaten and the foodie things that I have bought recently.

I had been saving this bottle of Hattingley Valley English sparkling wine for quite a while, no occasion just seemed important enough to drink it. On New Year's Eve we thought that now is the time and shared the bottle. It was so wonderful! I tend to get headaches from Prosecco, but this dry drink was something else, and it's local, so what's not to like!

Let's stay with drinks for a moment. Recently I have been enjoying Candy Kaiser beer by Brewdog. It's brewed as the Düsseldorf style of Altbier and is quite pleasant dark beer.

I brought many foodie things with me again from Finland, like these dried mushroom powder soups, basically just add water, simmer and the soup or sauce is done. I may post more about these later. And again I couldn't resist such cute tea tins.

I can't even remember where I bought these Swedish crispbreads, as they have been a while already in my cupboard. During my recent dry cupboard inspection they came up, and I decided to eat them. They were very nice with cheese.

Earlier this month I celebrated my third blogiversary and baked this lime and white chocolate cake with green jellies. I forgot to post a slice picture in the actual post, so here is one now.

This season is perfect for sprouts, so I have been cooking quite a few flower sprout and brussels sprout dishes.

I have also been cooking Middle Eastern food again. I think it's nice in the winter. Here's roasted cauliflower with Arabian nutty rice, both recipes previously published on the blog.

This Posh cheese on toast product is a lovely addition to regular cheese on toasts adding some extra flavour and making them a bit more interesting.

What has been going on in your kitchen recently? Have you tried any nice new products?

Your VegHog