30 November 2016


Here is another one of my lunchboxes for a change. I take a lunchbox to work daily and am keen keeping it variable. I normally just have the previous day's leftovers, but also keep adding different snacking things and veg to the box. The lunchbox is something that can definitely lift my spirits in the middle of a hectic work day.

This box included:
  • apple slices
  • giant corn
  • tomato and mozzarella arancini
  • pasta with tomato sauce, soft cheese and rocket

Simple, yet good! Have further a nice week!

Your VegHog

29 November 2016

Pickling vegetables

I have been pickling some vegetables lately, something that is quite new to me. I do enjoy the occasional pickle on the side, so I thought I'd experiment a bit more with the method. I also recently purchased this Fermenting Food book, which offers so many good tips and recipes for pickling and fermenting.

I already pickled kohlrabi and radishes with cabbage a while ago. I added half and half vinegar and water liquid, and mustard seeds as the seasoning. To the radish I also added small homegrown red chilli slices. The radish jar turned red very quickly after resting a little bit in the fridge.

I'm just clearing my balcony from the last plants and now have plenty of green tomatoes to use. I think I need some pickling ideas for them as well. I'm not sure what to make with them yet.

I would very much like to hear about your pickling experiences and tips!

Your VegHog

28 November 2016

Favourite eateries in my area – Lakaz Maman

I couldn't believe my ears when I heard that a previous Masterchef winner had opened a restaurant just in our quarter. It turned out that the rumour was true, as earlier this year Shelina Permalloo, the 2012 Masterchef winner, opened her restaurant Lakaz Maman in Bedford Place in Southampton.

Of course I had to check it out as soon as possible, and in the meanwhile I have visited several times. It's a very vegan and vegetarian friendly Mauritian restaurant serving traditional Mauritian street food. This means that the prices aren't bad at all and the food is served pretty quickly in a relaxed atmosphere. The restaurant is absolutely beautiful and upliftingly colourful.

I have some definite favourites on the menu, for example crunchy chilli balls Gateaux Piment are just inspired. They come in roti wraps, in a curry and also as a side, such good food! Then there's a really nice butterbean curry, which my partner can't get enough of. I also love the samosas and the refreshing mocktails (non-alcoholic cocktails). The portions are quite filling, a reason why I couldn't try the delicious sounding desserts yet.

Just look at the space and the colourful food!

27 November 2016

Black badger sausage rolls

How has your weekend been so far? Luckily there's still a bit of Sunday left to relax. We switched our Christmas lights on at the flat yesterday evening and drank some mulled wine outside looking at our lights. I will post some photos soon. Today I'm not going to do anything much, just some cooking.

I recently made these savoury black badger pea and freekeh sausage rolls, and I think that they would be nice vegetarian finger food for any pre-Christmas party. The filling is vegan, but to make them fully vegan, you would need to use vegan puff pastry. It was easier for me just to buy the readily rolled out puff pastry from the shop, which meant that this dish was quite easy and quick to make.

Black badger sausage rolls


1 cup cooked black badger peas
½ cup freekeh
1 onion
1 yellow carrot
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil for frying
1-2 tsp vegetable stock extract
½ tsp dried thyme
1 tbsp liquid smoke
320 g puff pastry sheet


Cook the peas and freekeh.

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

Cut the carrot into small cubes and add them to the onions. After a while also add the garlic.

Add the peas and freekeh to the pan and season the mix. Let it cool down.

Roll out the puff pastry and cut it into two long rectangles. Fill the pastry with the sausage mix, close by pressing with a fork and cut the sausages into bite sized chunks.

Bake the rolls at 200 C for about 10 minutes until they are fully baked golden brown.


Your VegHog

26 November 2016

Potato and leek bake

Potatoes, leeks and cheese, what else do you need in this season? Probably nothing, at least I'm pretty happy with these ingredients. I decided to make a potato and leek bake, but a slightly different kind than normally. I mashed the potatoes and mixed them with cheese and leeks cooked in cider. It was such a good combination!

We are probably going to switch the Christmas lights on in our flat tonight, so I'm now off to tidy the balcony up. Then I'll prepare some snacks for the evening and there will of course also be mulled wine. What plans do you have for the weekend?

Potato and leek bake


1 kg potatoes (I used the Apache variation)
1 onion
1 cloveless garlic
25 g butter
2 leeks
100 ml dry cider
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
200 g Gruyere cheese


Cook the potatoes and mash them.

Chop the onion and garlic finely and start cooking them in butter.

Slice the leeks and add them to the onion.

Let cook for a while until and then add the cider.

Cook until the leeks are soft and season with salt, pepper and vegetable stock powder.

Grate the cheese.

Mix the leeks with the potato mash and then add the grated cheese into them.

Stir into an even mixture and place in a oven dish.

Bake at 180 C for about 10 minutes.


Your VegHog

24 November 2016

Jackfruit jalfrezi

Only a few months back, perhaps in the spring of this year, I ate a jackfruit jalfrezi from a street food stall. It was my first time ever eating jackfruit. The dish was very spicy and I could hardly finish it for that reason, but at the same time it was so tasty and the jackfruit was brilliant in the curry. Ever since then I obviously wanted to cook such a dish myself, as I don't have a constant access to that street food stall.

I started planning the dish and decided to keep it simple and let the jackfruit be the star. I combined it with garam masala, chilli and ginger spices and tomatoes. My own vegan jackfruit jalfrezi was much less spicy than the street food one, but still packs a punch. I really loved the colours in this dish, could it even be something for a different Christmas meal? Have a look at my recipe below.

Jackfruit jalfrezi


280 g / 1 can jackfruit
Vegetable oil
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
3 onions
4 garlic cloves
2 cm fresh ginger
2 green chillies
2 carrots
1 tbsp garam masala
2 tsp turmeric
300 g tomatoes
5 tbsp tomato purée
Pomegranate seeds
Fresh coriander
1 cup brown basmati, red camargue and wild rice mix


Drain and rinse the canned jackfruit and start cooking it in oil in a pan. Cook until some of the liquid has evaporated and then add vegetable stock powder and some water. Keep simmering and adding water whenever needed until the jackfruit falls apart and is softened.

Chop the onions and cook them in a covered saucepan for about 30 minutes until soft and little bit browned.

Chop the garlic, ginger, chillies and carrots finely and add them to the onions.

After a while frying, add the garam masala and turmeric followed by the chopped tomatoes.

Let simmer under lid until the tomatoes have become a sauce. Add some tomato purée to the pan as well and also the jackfruit. Let simmer further.

Season to taste and let simmer until you are happy with the flavours and textures.

Serve with fresh pomegranate seeds, coriander and rice.


Your VegHog

22 November 2016

Spelt rolls

I made once again my regular spelt rolls, which I make in slight variations almost every week. This time I added some linseeds, oat flakes and sesame seeds to the rolls and even remembered to write the ingredient amounts down. Normally I just throw things in, as I know better by the feeling of the dough how much flour for example needs to be added.

Freshly baked rolls are always so nice to have, very tasty and also economical. These ones are also very easy and don't need any special attention. 

Spelt rolls – Recipe for about 8 rolls


3 cups spelt flour
2 tbsp dry yeast
2 tsp salt
2 tbsp linseeds
½ cup oat flakes
2 tbsp sesame seeds
300 ml lukewarm water
3 tbsp olive oil


Combine the spelt flour, dry yeast and salt ingredients.

Soak the linseeds, oat flakes and sesame seeds briefly in the lukewarm water and then pour the whole contents to the dry ingredients.

Also add the olive oil and knead.

Let the dough rise for about one hour.

Shape rolls from the dough.

Bake the rolls at 250 C for about 15 minutes until done.


Your VegHog

21 November 2016

Polenta Chips

The moment I heard about polenta chips, I was fascinated by the concept. I don't have many experiences cooking with polenta or even eating it, but I've always enjoyed it when it was around. The thought that it would be the ingredient for some slightly naughty chips was just too much to resist. So I had to cook some polenta chips.

Couple of weeks back Felicity Cloake's article How to make the perfect polenta chips was published on the Guardian and that was the definite sign for me to try to cook them. I was most nervous about getting the texture right, but it actually turned out very easy to handle. Felicity, as always, consulted several different recipes in order to find the best combinations, and I adapted my recipe from her version following it pretty closely. I made a tomato-chilli dip to go with the chips, which was a good combination.

Polenta Chips with a homemade Tomato-Chilli Dip

Polenta Chips

650 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp sea salt
125 g + 50 g polenta
50 g vegetarian pasta cheese (veggie parmesan)
Vegetable oil for frying

Cook 125 g of polenta in the vegetable stock until done and mix the grated cheese in.

Spread the mixture evenly into a lined roasting tray and let it cool. Chill it in the fridge.

Cut chips from the polenta and coat them with the rest of the uncooked polenta.

Shallow fry the chips in vegetable oil until the coating is crispy.

Tap any excess oil off with kitchen roll.

Tomato-chilli Dip

200 g vine tomatoes
1 garlic clove
1 red chilli
Olive oil
1 tsp smoked chilli paste

Cook chopped tomatoes in olive oil until most excess liquid has cooked off.

Add finely chopped chilli and garlic into the pan and let simmer.

Season the dip and purée.

Enjoy the chips with the dip!

Your VegHog

20 November 2016

Vegan sushi

Vegan sushi is such a great thing and fun to make. I'm not perfect at it, but I like to try. It's an opportunity to be really creative with the fillings, rice colourings and shapes. Some of mine unwillingly ended up looking a little bit like poke balls and angry birds characters.

I also think that vegan sushi is one of the best packed lunch options to have. The taste is very nice and most importantly they make the colleagues eating canteen sandwiches really jealous.

This time I used these ingredients in all sorts of combinations in the vegan sushi rolls:

  • white sushi rice
  • beetroot coloured sushi rice
  • fried tofu
  • yellow and orange carrots
  • samphire
  • marinated kabocha squash with mirin, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil
  • sea salad containing dried organic dulse, organic nori and organic sea lettuce
  • red homegrown chilli
  • umeboshi paste

What are your favourite combinations for vegan sushi?

Your VegHog

18 November 2016

Pappardelle with runner beans and roasted vine tomatoes

I've been really lazy at cooking lately. I think it's this time of the year that I start feeling pressure like I should be doing loads of things for Christmas, but am also very tired from work. Therefore the cooking has suffered a bit and there have been ready meals, eating out and easy solutions. I really want to shape up now, as I want to post more in November and not be all quiet. I also don't constantly want to come back here just for moaning. There is something positive as well: it's the weekend! I hope you'll all have a great time!

I made this weekday pasta surprisingly with runner beans, not really my standard vegetable. They were nice and earthy in this and tasted just great with the sweet roasted vine tomatoes and the garlic. I can really recommend this as an easy weekday pasta that's still something a bit more special and really comforting.

Pappardelle with runner beans and roasted vine tomatoes


300 g runner beans
270 g cherry vine tomatoes
2 garlic cloves
Olive oil
50 ml dry white wine
Fresh basil leaves
Sea salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
Pappardelle pasta
Grated vegetarian parmesan


Trim the runner beans and cut at an angle into small pieces. Steam the beans until they are almost tender. They will be finished later in the pan.

Put the tomatoes and sliced garlic into a baking dish, sprinkle with olive oil and roast them in the oven.

Combine the beans and tomatoes in a pan, followed by the wine. Cook for a while and season.

Cook the pasta until al dente, mix with the vegetables and serve with the grated cheese and maybe some lambs lettuce on the side.


I want to share this recipe with this month's Eat Your Greens event hosted by Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen.

Your VegHog