29 September 2016

Favourite kind of work lunch

I get very excited at work when it's finally lunch time. I look for a quiet corner somewhere to have my packed lunch in peace. When it comes to lunching I'm not the most social, I just want to concentrate on my packed goodies and refresh my mind for the rest of the day. I often also go for a walk outside. Lunch time is almost as good as getting to leave work in the afternoon.

I take my homemade lunch with me every day. I'm not too keen on our cantine food, as it tends to be more on the unhealthier side, chips etc. I guess that's quite typical for the British canteens, or have you made different experiences? And don't even get me started about the office cake culture!

My lunches vary quite a bit from day to day. Most of the time part of it is previous night's dinner, which I then normally eat cold the next day. That usually takes the dish to a different level and it doesn't feel boring eating the same thing again. Then there can be sandwiches or homebaked rolls. Salads are also a popular choice, as I always prefer a lighter lunch. I often add fruit, berries, crackers or pieces of cheese to complete the lunch box.

This time my lunch box contains some fresh vegetables, hummus, croutons and nuts, and in my opinion it's just the perfect mix for the lunch time. What's your favourite work lunch like?

27 September 2016

Stuffed spaghetti squash

Spaghetti squash is quite a funny vegetable to cook. I would imagine that even kids would enjoy eating it very much due to the spaghetti like texture. So here is another squash dish that I cooked recently, stuffed spaghetti squash with spicy soya mince and tomato filling. I guess baking and stuffing are quite the standard choices for a spaghetti squash, but they're quite tasty and easy options to make as well. I tried to make these stuffed spaghetti squashes slightly spicy and smoky with smoked paprika, smoked chilli pasta and liquid aminos.

Here is my recipe of today:


1 spaghetti squash
½ cup dried soya mince
2 onions
1 carrot
3 garlic cloves
100 g tomatoes
Olive oil
Smoked paprika
Smoked chilli paste
Liquid aminos
100 g grated cheese


Cut the spaghetti squash in half, brush with olive oil and roast until done.

Prepare the mince filling in the meanwhile by cooking the dried soya mince in water and by chopping the onions, garlic and carrot finely. Start cooking these in olive oil, then add the drained mince and finally the tomatoes. Let simmer for a while and season.

Remove some strings of the spaghetti squash with a fork to mix with the mince and then fill the squash halves with the mince mix.

Cover with cheese and bake at 180 C for about 15 minutes.


Your VegHog

25 September 2016

T-Veg The story of a carrot-crunching dinosaur

One of my recent best buys has been this children's book: T-Veg The story of a carrot-crunching dinosaur by Smriti Prasadam-Halls, Illustrated by Katherina Manolessou. What a nice book with beautiful colourful illustrations, an adventure and a strong vegetarian and anti-bullying messages. Find more info about the book through this link.

My partner and I find the book quite endearing. Of course we are also big fans of dinosaurs so it just ticks all the boxes. I don't think there's anything wrong with adults reading children's books, but if you have kids, vegetarian or not, this would be a wonderful book to read to them.

My summary of the review: Vegetarian propaganda at its best! And this is meant in the nicest possible way.

24 September 2016

Harlequin squash risotto

Who is happy with me about the proper squash and pumpkin season starting? I can see many soups, stews and casseroles in my future and it makes me very happy indeed. I really love autumn, the colours, the food, the atmosphere. It's still warm here now, but I'm not sad that the summer will be ending soon. What are your feelings about the autumn (of course not all my readers are facing autumn at this time)?

I haven't made a proper real non-pearled-spelt risotto for ages it feels, but when I got a hold of some harlequin squashes, I thought it's time. I don't think that a vegetarian risotto ever gets boring, as there are so many possible variations. I added a little hint of chilli to this recipe.


1 l vegetable stock
Few dried porcini mushrooms
½ harlequin squash
1 yellow bell pepper
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
1 small chilli
Olive oil
15 g butter
1 cup arborio rice
1 cup dry white wine
Salt and pepper to taste
Grated vegetarian pasta cheese
Pine nuts and tomato slices for serving


Heat the vegetable stock in a separate saucepan and add the crushed porcini muchrooms to the stock.

Cut the squash into cubes and the bell pepper into slightly smaller cubes. Chop the onion, garlic and chilli finely and start cooking the onion in olive oil. Once it's lightly browned and soft, add the garlic and chilli and cook for a couple of minutes more.

Add the squash and bell pepper cubes into the mix and again let cook for a few minutes. Then add the butter to the pan followed by the arborio rice. Mix for a few minutes and then add the white wine. Let it mostly absorb.

Add a few ladles of the vegetable stock and let simmer under the lid by stirring often. Also keep making more stock additions before the risotto can dry out.

Season to taste. Once you are happy with the flavours and textures, serve with some sprinkled vegetarian pasta cheese on the top and enjoy.

I would like to share the recipe with this month's Credit Crunch Munch as a frugal recipe. The challenge is hosted this month by Michelle from Utterly Scrummy Food For Families and co-hosted by Helen from Fuss Free Flavours. The reason for this is mainly that I was able to use end of two risotto rice packets (no idea why both were open!) and also the vegetables had been around for a while waiting to be cooked. I didn't want them to go to waste. A risotto can be quite an economical dish, as you don't need too many things to make a very filling meal.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Your VegHog

22 September 2016

Spicy soya chunk tacos with char-grilled peppers and bean rice

If I didn't manage to post this for Taco Tuesday, perhaps we can have a Taco Thursday? The week is almost over and I hope to have more time to write, post, comment and edit photos over the weekend. I don't have anything special planned, so maybe I'll actually manage.

Quickly back to the taco subject, before I have to go to bed. I normally always add cheese to tacos, but now for a change I wanted to make well seasoned vegan tacos. I chose chilli and smoke marinated soya as the main protein and added some rice with black beans to the mix. Then in order to add some colour and more smokiness, I char-grilled bell peppers to be added to the tacos.


1 cup dried soya pieces
1 tsp vegetable stock extract
1 cup red camargue and wild rice
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
Vegetable oil
1 can black beans
Ground cumin
Ground coriander
2 bell peppers
Fresh coriander
Taco shells

For the soya marinade:

1 tbsp smoked chilli paste
1 tbsp maple syrup
1 tsp liquid smoke
1 tsp vegetable stock extract


Cook the dried soya pieces in water for a few minutes and add some vegetable stock extract to the cooking water. Then drain them. Prepare the marinade by mixing the ingredients and then mix it with the soya pieces. Cover and let marinade in the fridge for a couple of hours.

Chop the onion and garlic finely and start cooking the onion first in vegetable oil. After the onion is soft and browned, add the garlic and cook for a couple of more minutes. Then add the black beans to the pan. Cook the rice separately in water and once cooked, mix it into the bean mix. Season with salt, ground cumin and ground coriander.

Cut thin strings from the bell peppers and char-grill them on a grill pan until they have distinct grilling marks.

Put all the fillings into taco shells, season with fresh coriander and enjoy!

Your VegHog 

18 September 2016

English veggie breakfast

I haven't made a proper fry up at home for a while and I thought that it would a nice thing to have on a Sunday morning when there's a bit more time to make and eat a bigger breakfast. After a little bit of effort, the huge breakfast was ready and it was so filling again. It really keeps you going for quite a while.

This time I made a slightly different version, still containing beans, fried tomato and mushroom, but I also added fried halloumi instead of veggie sausages. Halloumi makes a very good addition to the English breakfast, as it's so nice fried and it's an extra protein there and a filling agent.

The bread was spelt sourdough bread and I made the hash browns myself. I tried a new recipe with them that doesn't contain eggs, just potato, onion, seasoning and butter. I had a bit of a mishap with them, as they quite fell apart and became deconstructed hash browns. I think that was due to the too large potato pieces and perhaps I didn't let the butter and potatoes cool enough so that they would've stuck better together. However, they tasted wonderful with the breakfast, so I didn't care too much.

Are you a fan of a veggie fry up? What are your favourite components of the English breakfast?

Have a relaxing Sunday!

Your VegHog

16 September 2016

Braised beans and tomatoes

My partner has been cooking this vegan dish for years now and I finally decided to steal the recipe from him. Luckily he didn't want to keep it a secret, so I can share it with you. His only condition was that I wouldn't call it a stew, fair enough, it's a dish with slow-cooked green beans in a tomato sauce. I made the addition of broad beans to the dish to add some additional greens. This is great use for the seasonal beans and tomatoes and a good dish for both summer and winter. I could only partly use homegrown tomatoes, as I didn't have enough ripe ones at hand. I served the bean dish with fondant potatoes and salad on the side. Here comes the recipe.


250 g green beans
450 g broad beans (weight with the pods)
1 onion
5 garlic cloves
1 small chilli
Olive oil
300 g tomatoes
Smoked paprika to taste
5 tbsp tomato purée


Chop the onion, garlic and chilli finely.

Add a generous splash of olive oil into a pan and start cooking the onion there. Once the onion is soft, add the garlic and chilli.

Prep the beans and tomatoes. Cut the green beans into about 2 cm long pieces and chop the tomatoes finely.

Add the green beans into the pan, cook for a few minutes and add the tomatoes.

Let simmer under the lid for a couple of hours.

Remove the broad beans from their pods and add them to the mix after a while, maybe about one hour in. Then also add the tomato purée and smoked paprika.

Serve once the beans are cooked and all flavours have blended nicely.

I'm sharing this recipe with this month's Eat Your Greens where it's Shaheen's turn to host. Have a look on her blog Allotment 2 Kitchen and take part with your green vegetable recipes.

I also want to share this dish with My Legume Love Affair challenge hosted this month by Nupur from The Veggie Indian.

Have a good weekend!

Your VegHog

15 September 2016

Rhubarb cupcakes

I rarely fancy cakes, but when there are nice seasonal berries, apples or rhubarb around, I always feel like baking, especially traditional cakes from my home country Finland. That seasonal produce always looks so tempting. So now I wanted to make rhubarb cupcakes when I got some beautiful seasonal rhubarb stalks. It's also getting late in the rhubarb season, so didn't want to miss out.

Unfortunately I wasn't concentrating very well when I cooked these cupcakes, and made them a bit too hastily. Therefore the result wasn't the prettiest, but actually they were quite tasty and especially my partner liked them a lot.

I followed this Finnish recipe by Valio, which is actually for a rhubarb pie. Maybe that's where the mistake lies trying to divide the dough into cupcake sizes. I have translated the recipe below, if you still fancy rhubarb cupcakes, or maybe better try it with the pie straight away. The picture in the original recipe looks just fine.


1 egg
1,5 dl sugar
¾ dl soft margarine
2 dl milk
4 dl wheat flour
2 tsp baking powder

6-7 dl rhubarb pieces / 4 rhubarb stalks
2 dl sugar


Cook the chopped rhubarb with the sugar until it's jam like texture. Add water, if needed. Let it cool.

Whisk the egg and sugar. Add the soft margarine, milk and flour with the baking powder by mixing fast.

Pour the dough into cupcake cases or cake tin.

Pour the rhubarb mix on the top.

Bake at 175 C for about 30-35 minutes.


Your VegHog

14 September 2016

Bowl of roasted potatoes and cauliflower with spicy chickpeas and tahini sauce

Sometimes I just love putting several things into a bowl and enjoying the variation of vegetables and legumes and whatever as one meal. Pretty bowls are also so nice to look at, as we know from the social media. This bowl may not be the greatest of all time, but it was definitely tasty. The combination of roasted potatoes and cauliflower with tahini can never go wrong for me anyway. Have some chickpeas as extra protein on the side and we're ready to go!

What are your favourite weekday bowls?

Here is one of mine:


New potatoes
Smoked paprika
Vegetable oil
Cooked chickpeas
Smoked chilli paste
Lambs lettuce
Tahini + juice of lemon


Roll the new potatoes in vegetable oil and sprinkle smoked paprika and salt on them. Then roast them in the oven until done.

Also brush the cauliflower florets with oil and roast them in the oven.

Fry the cooked chickpeas in a pan for a little while with smoked chilli paste until they are warm and nicely seasoned.

Mix some tahini with lemon juice to make a dip. Add some water, if needed.

Then serve all components together in a bowl with some lettuce on the side.


Your VegHog

13 September 2016

Rainbow root vegetable salad with red currant vinaigrette

Weather is hot again here and light salads are in high demand. I made this colourful salad with the amazing seasonal vegetables on offer. It's so nice to cook with the late summer's produce whilst still enjoying the warmth outside.This salad already has a promise of autumn about it, though.

By the way, I changed the appearance of my blog slightly trying to make the background less busy and such. The hedgehog artwork on the top is by my mum. It's so cute. I would've wanted to show it more, but this is all I managed to do yesterday. Might have to sit with the blog layout again a couple of hours more when I have time. But I hope that it's a bit better now for a change.

Here is my rainbow salad:


1 carrot
1 sweet beetroot
¼ kohlrabi
1 gem lettuce
Handful of pumpkin seeds
50 g fresh red currants
White wine vinegar to taste


The method is simple. First make the vinaigrette. Cook the red currants in a pan until they are softened. Press them through a sieve to remove the seeds. Then mix them with a little white wine vinegar to taste.

Spiralise the carrot, beetroot and kohlrabi and cut the lettuce. Mix these ingredients with the pumpkin seeds and serve with the red currant vinaigrette.

This salad is a perfectly good standalone dish, but also nice as a side salad with for example potato mash and a veggie Schnitzel like I had it.

I'm sharing this salad with No Croutons Required vegetarian soup and salad cooking challenge hosted this Month by Jacqueline from Tinned Tomatoes.

Your VegHog

12 September 2016

My favourite Finnish drinks at the moment

I wanted to write a separate post about the current drinks scene in Finland based on the impressions I had on my holiday. Or let's say, this is just about the drinks selection I made and the places I went to and therefore quite limited in that sense. The craft beer trend is very much happening in Finland at the moment and there are many good small breweries offering all sorts of beers. Also the ciders are moving more into the craft direction, which I can only salute. There's also a strong trend for quality whiskies and gins becoming more and more popular. I will introduce here a few fairly new products, which I find excellent, but remember that there is much more available.

Long Kyrö, a gin, cranberry and rosemary gin long drink by Kyrö Distillery Company is a fairly new drink launched this year. I'm a fan of their whiskies and gins anyway and this is just another great product added to their selection. The flavours of cranberry and rosemary with gin are just beautiful together. I visited the distillery's first ever music festival and had a great time there sampling their drinks and listening to the wonderful music acts. Currently my favourite cocktail is the brightly orange Sainio, which contains sea buckthorn juice, lemon and Napue gin. My partner prefers Perttilän Silta with Juuri whisky, lime and ginger beer.

Vaasa is a small town close to my home, so we went there for a daytrip. When the hot day started turning into a thunder storm, we went to the Little Pub to take shelter. Just like its name, it's a little pub beside the marketplace. I had Long Kyrö also there, but they had a really good drinks selection in general and knowledgeable bar staff.

There was a new bottle shop called Pien in Helsinki that had just opened the same week we were there. They are selling beers and ciders from Finnish craft brewers, and also some organic foods. We purchased few bottles there to sample later.

Hiisi brewery is an excellent small craft brewery producing lovely beers with nice artwork on the labels. Their philosophy is to produce non-boring tasty beers and I think they are doing pretty good job at it after having sampled a few of their beers.

Prykmestar's wild strawberry and rhubarb cider is one of my summer favourites. It's so refreshing and has delicate flavours. Who could ever resist wild strawberries.

In Helsinki we also visited Stadin Panimo, a craft brewery and bar. They had excellent beers, but also a refreshing and nicely coloured pink grapefruit long drink.

Crafty Craft cider by Saimaan Juomatehdas must be my current Finnish cider favourite. It comes in small cans and has been made purely from apples by fermenting them and it's vegan and gluten free. These ciders are fairly dry yet so refreshing and there's something about drinking cider from a can.

So this was my quick recap to the holiday. I think now I've run out of Finland themed posts for a while. I'll need to concentrate on some other countries next, at least until Christmas.