31 December 2016

My Legume Love Affair #102 Round Up

I was really honoured when Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen asked me earlier this year, if I would be interested in hosting the popular My Legume Love Affair cooking challenge. I was of course up for it, and today we can have a look at the recipes that were entered for the challenge in December for the 102th edition of the challenge. I would like to thank everyone so much for taking part, I really loved each and every entry, and know that this was a busy month of cooking for everyone, so I really appreciate your efforts!

So now let's have a look at the recipes.

Janet from The Taste Space submitted an Early Bird Scrambled Tofu that she cooked from a recipe in the book Protein Ninja by Terry Hope Romer. This dish combines chickpeas and tofu with mushrooms and loads of spices like mustard powder, turmeric and ground cumin. It sounds like a very nice comforting dish full of protein and legumes. I'm sure that this will keep you going for a while.

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe cooked Refried lentils with garlic scapes (and zucchini or pumpkin) for nachos. I truly am a sucker for vegetable nachos and this looks and sounds just wonderful. I think that the idea of making refried lentils instead of refried beans is really inspiring and I want to try it too. There are so many possibilities and different vegetable combinations to be had with nachos, it's just great.

Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen, who hosts MLLA, shared a filling South Indian Chickpea, Cauliflower and Potato Coconut Curry. The curry is made with chickpeas, cauliflower, potato, carrot and tomato and has a coconut milk base. It has been spiced with the nicest warming curry spices. I just love this kind of vegan curries and could tuck into this one right now.

Mrs TJ from Salt to Taste cooked a Sorakkai Kootu, which is one of her family favourites and also good as kids' lunch. This dish is made with a bottle gourd, onion, tomato, dhal and spices. This is an intriguing new recipe for me and I would be delighted to taste this dish that Mrs TJ served with a spicy gravy.

Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen shared a recipe for green vegan Welsh Savoury Pancakes - Christmas Crempog Las. First of all her Christmas tree presentation looks just marvellous, and the concept of vegan chickpea flour and spinach pancakes is great. It's always interesting giving local favourites a vegan or vegetarian twist.

My own MLLA recipe for this month was a Butterbean, red pea and lentil curry that I made with several legumes. I combined them with tomatoes and spices to a vegan curry and had some yellow turmeric rice on the side.

Thank you again very much for entering your recipes and reading the post, have a nice New Year's Eve and a happy 2017!

Your VegHog

30 December 2016

My 2016 in review

I wanted to collect in this post some of my 2016 favourites from my blog to mark the end of the year. This year has been quite productive in the end, even though I had some quieter times. I hope you like this post.

Cooking challenges

One of the clear highlights of the year were the several cooking challenges that I was able to host and also to take part in. I co-hosted Eat Your Greens with Shaheen for the first year and we will be continuing next year, so that's very exciting.

I got to host My Legume Love Affair for the first time in December kindly invited by Lisa, and the round up of the recipes should be up tomorrow.

Then I had two of my own cooking events: The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week in March and The VegHog's Tomato Festival in July. I fully intend to host these both again in 2017, so hopefully there will be many recipes from you as well alongside with comments.

I was also very lucky to take part in other lovely vegetarian and vegan cooking challenges, so many thanks to the hosts.

International cuisine

Throughout the year I very much enjoyed cooking and eating international foods from all over the world, which got me experimenting more with different vegetables and spices. I have to say that I really am getting better and better at eating spicier foods. Some of my international favourites were these recipes:




Sweet recipes

My regular readers will probably know that I'm not too keen on desserts or baking, but I still sometimes do it. I think that my partner occasionally appreciates some things for his sweet tooth. These sweet recipes were especially my favourites this year:


New ingredients

I also got to experiment with some ingredients that were new or less known to me, like jackfruit and the new Finnish protein product Pulled Oats. I first ate a jackfruit jalfrezi at a food market and then had to make it myself as well. I was very pleased with the results. I also made a couple of other dishes with jackfruit and they were all excellent, I really like it as an ingredient.

In Finland I tested the new very much hyped vegetable protein product called Pulled Oats. It was nice and easy to cook with, straight from the fridge, and there are so many possibilities where to use it. It's definitely one of my new favourites.

Another novelty for me were black badger peas and red fox maple peas, which are a really handy dry staple to have to make all sorts of protein-rich dishes.


Dish of the year

I had to choose my Hedgehog porcini ravioli that I cooked for the Hedgehog Awareness Week as the dish of the year. The looked cute, tasted good and created a bit of a twitter storm.

Party of the year

There were a few parties this year, but my own birthday Dino Party will have to be crowned to the best party of the year. There were nice snacks, drinks and excellent company, what do you need more.


I was lucky that I got to travel quite a bit this year, mainly to Nordic countries, where my heart is. I spent Easter and Christmas at home in Finland and a couple of weeks in August. I went to Copenhagen in April and to a railway journey to Norway in October. These were all such lovely trips, I wonder where to go in 2017...

This was my brief review of 2016. I'm glad you relived these moments with me. I hope you all had a good year and will have an even better 2017! See you soon!

Your VegHog

29 December 2016

Eat Your Greens December Round Up

December has probably been quite busy for most of us. However it's nice to stop for a moment and have a look at the recipes that my fellow bloggers shared with the Eat Your Greens cooking challenge in December. I am co-hosting the challenge with Shaheen from the Allotment 2 Kitchen blog and this is the last round up for 2016. Thank you so much everyone for taking part this month and whole year and I hope we'll be seeing you next year also. Now to the recipes.

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe cooked a Laverbread vegie soup that is made with laverbread, which is a Welsh seaweed paste, combined with loads of lovely vegetables and pulses like asparagus, spinach, carrots, purple cabbage and cannelini beans. I haven't tried laverbread yet, but it's a really intriguing ingredient and I would like to cook with it one day. I also think that a visit to Wales is long overdue again. Anyway, Johanna's soup looks marvellous and is very creative.

Shaheen my co-host of Eat Your Greens from Allotment 2 Kitchen shared a recipe for a Green Coconut Soup with Fennel. This soup just looks amazing, and is nicely green. It has a lush coconut milk base with warming spices and green beans, fennel and spinach. I haven't been cooking enough soups lately and this one certainly made my mouth water.

Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen made this amazingly green Creamy Green Pea and Collard Greens Soup, which is even easy to make. Its main ingredients are peas and collard greens, but Lisa says that also other greens like kale and spinach could be used in this soup. I especially like the warming kick of spices and the different textures of smooth and partially chunky.

Mrs TJ from Salt to Taste entered a delightful Capsicum and Corn Rice that contains corn kernels, capsicum and chilli, spiced with curry leaves. This is just my kind of weekday dish or a side that I could eat any day. Mrs TJ also points out that her child really likes this dish, and I agree that probably most children would like this, which is great for a veggie dish.

Laura from Touch Wood shared this beautiful looking green Freekeh Kale and Avo salad with freekeh, kale, avocado and seeds. She has been eating a lot of clean food lately and has made such lovely wholesome salads for her family. I am a really big fan of freekeh salads, so I find this to be a great recipe.

My own contribution was a Broad bean and brussels sprout spelt risotto. I really wanted to use brussels sprouts in my December entry, perhaps a bit of a cliché, but I love eating sprouts in the winter. Eaten in combination with spelt risotto, broad beans and fava beans, these seasonal greens were really nice when prepared in a slightly different way.

Shaheen and I will continue with Eat Your Greens in 2017, and Shaheen will be hosting the January challenge, so head over to her blog to take part.

Your VegHog

23 December 2016

Vegetarian Christmas dinner

I hope you are starting to be ready, if you will be celebrating Christmas. Christmas Eve is the main day for us, that's when the eating starts. Here are still some last minute ideas for a vegetarian Christmas meal. I kept it fairly simple this time in this “rehearsal” meal, just a nice nut roast, fondant potatoes, onion gravy, cranberry sauce, roasted parsnips and steamed brussels sprouts. Everything was quite basic, but tasty.

The nut roast and onion gravy recipes below feed a bigger crowd, but all the rest is basically just for two people, as we were only two eaters on this occasion. They can be easily scaled up for more eaters though. I only used butter in the fondant potatoes, otherwise the meal was vegan. The potatoes are easy to veganise as well, if you like.

Nut Roast

Recipe for 12 small nut roasts or one large one

2 parsnips
3 yellow carrots
240 g whole cooked and peeled chestnuts
2 onions
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp vegetable oil
½ cup pearled spelt
50 ml dry white wine
1 tbsp liquid aminos
1 tsp vegetable stock extract
1 tsp birch smoked salt
1 tbsp chopped fresh sage leaves
1 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

Peel and cut the parsnips and carrots into pieces. Cook them in water until done and mash. Save the cooking water as a vegetable stock base or for the gravy.

Crumble the chestnuts into the parsnip and carrot mash.

Chop the onions and garlic finely and cook them in vegetable oil until soft.

Add the pearled spelt and then the wine. Let it cook down a bit and then add the seasoning and some water to cook the spelt. Water can also always be added later, if needed. After the cooking, let the spelt mixture cool down.

Combine the ingredients into an even paste and put it into a loaf tin or small silicone muffin cases, like I used.

Bake in the oven at 180 C for about one hour.

Fondant potatoes

6 potatoes
250 ml vegetable stock
25 g butter
Fresh thyme sprigs

Peel the potatoes and cut even sized bits from them.

Place them on a frying pan with all the other ingredients and start cooking.

Cook until the potatoes are fully cooked and have a nice golden brown crust. Turn them once in the middle of the cooking.

Onion gravy

4 onions
4 garlic cloves
1 tbsp vegetable oil
100 ml dry white wine
1 tbsp spelt flour
250 ml vegetable stock
2 tbsp fresh thyme leaves

I used the parsnip and carrot cooking water from the nut roast recipe as the vegetable stock base for this gravy.

Cut thin slices from the onions and start cooking them in vegetable oil under lid. Cook for quite a long time until they get really soft and browned, almost liquid, and keep stirring throughout.

Add the wine and cook for a while.

Then mix in the spelt flour and vegetable stock and let simmer for at least 30 minutes.

Season with fresh thyme, and the gravy is done.

Cranberry sauce

1 cup fresh cranberries
50 ml water
2 tsp sugar

I only made a fairly small amount of this sauce for two people, as it's quite punchy. Feel free to make more, if you have more eaters.

Cook the ingredients in a sauce pan until a nice sticky sauce has formed.


Steamed brussels sprouts
Roasted parsnips

Serve all the components together and enjoy!

I would be really curious to hear what sort of veggie Christmas meals you will be having, so please share in the comment box. Mine will be yet slightly different from this one, it remains to be seen what exactly will be included.

Have a very happy Christmas everyone!

Your VegHog

22 December 2016

Christmas beers 2016

I tend to write a Christmas beer post every year, and this year is no different. I've been able to taste some excellent Christmas beers again this year before Christmas, and will hopefully have more good ones in Finland. Here is my this year's selection.

Mikkeller: Hoppy Lovin' Christmas 7,8 %

  • India pale ale brewed with ginger and pine needles
  • pale colour
  • note of booze, tangerine and toffee in the nose
  • fresh taste, citrus, tangerine, pine
  • very drinkable, with slight tastes of caramel, grass and bitterness in the end

Anchor Brewing Co.: Merry Christmas 2016 Happy New Year 6,5 %

  • dark with a light brown head
  • toffee, mild burnt notes, liquorice, caramel
  • dry spicy aftertaste
  • drinkable and Christmas beery

Lervig: Kringly Kris Norwegian Juleporter 4,7 %

  • deep brown with a light brown head
  • chestnut with a hint of coconut
  • toasty malty midtaste
  • almost floral notes of spices in the aftertaste
  • very refreshing for a porter

Flying Dog: K9 Winter Warmer 7,4 %

  • dark red
  • booze, fruit and vanilla in the nose
  • banana ester flavours
  • vanilla flavour throughout
  • cocoa aftertaste

Kinn Bryggeri: Julefred 7,0 %

  • dark red brown
  • slight nuttiness, bit of caramel, good malty taste throughout
  • bit or raisins
  • gentle hoppy bitterness in the aftertaste

Evil Twin Brewing: Christmas Eve at a New York City Hotel Room 10%

  • absolute black colour
  • imperial stout
  • smells of whisky and booze
  • more whisky in the taste, burnt caramel, smokiness, rich bitter fruits, raisins
  • sweet and smooth

Buxton Brewery Winter IPA 6,3 %

  • red IPA with deep red colour
  • well hopped
  • grassy undertones with some pine and citrus
  • assertive bitterness and darker malts

Enjoy the Christmas beers!

Your VegHog