28 February 2017

Eat Your Greens February Round Up

First I thought that Eat Your Greens would be very quiet in February, as it's only a short month, but to my delight suddenly the posts started coming, and we have once again a very vibrant round up of green vegetarian and vegan dishes. Thank you so much everyone for taking part!

Johanna from Green Gourmet Giraffe shared a Chickpea tofu and pea curry. I haven't tried chickpea tofu myself yet, but I'm really interested, as it seems to be a nice cooking ingredient. I just haven't seen it anywhere in my local shops. This curry looks so tasty served from adorable bowls. And what's not to like about any pea curries, I absolutely love them!

Laura from Touch Wood posted 3 post workout protein fix: an egg, avocado, tomato and spinach bowl (depicted below); a protein bowl of mixed whole grains, kale, butter beans and sweet potato chips; and power smoothie starters including a great idea of frozen smoothie ingredients. These are all great ideas to add some protein to your diet and they all look very good and use a variety of veggies.

Corina from Searching for Spice wrote a very seasonal recipe, perfect for today as it's Shrove Tuesday, Leek Pancakes with Spinach, Kale & Ricotta. I'm a great appreciator of savoury pancakes and could tuck into these straight away. These pancakes look really lovely, especially with the semi-hidden leeks in the batter, and adding some more greens as a topping is a great idea.

Shaheen, my Eat Your Greens co-host, from Allotment 2 Kitchen shared a local delicacy from Wales Welsh Laverbread Cakes and a Piece of Toast. Laverbread is cooked and puréed seaweed that can be added to whole range of veggie meals. The cakes are made from laverbread and oats and can be served as a part of a vegetarian breakfast. I like the usage of local ingredients very much and the innovation is great in the recipe.

Sadhna from Herbs, Spices and Tradition posted a recipe for a Minty veg yoghurt salad (Raita). This salad looks so refreshing, not just due to the mint. It also contains cucumber, tomato and potato along with spices. She also shares in her post a lot of valuable information about mint. I don't use enough mint in my cooking, so I might have to experiment more.

We also received an entry from Mastering the Art of French Cooking, The Vegan Version blog, a Vegan choux de Bruxelles à la crème. These are blanched brussels sprouts, which are then cooked in almond cream. This would make quite a nice winter side dish

My own Eat Your Greens post was Kalette and leek cakes made from the left-overs of the previous day. These small potato cakes made quite a nice small dish, and so economical. 

Now it's over to Shaheen again for Eat Your Greens March edition, keep sharing your wonderful recipes with us!

Your VegHog

27 February 2017

Strawberry and cream buns

It's Shrove Tuesday tomorrow, so I made these traditional Finnish Shrove Tuesday buns. I try to make them every year for this occasion, even though I don't bake much otherwise.

Ground green cardamom seeds give the buns their distinctive flavour and the buns are filled with lovely whipped cream and strawberry jam. Ever since my childhood I have loved these buns, they are just so tasty. This year my buns fell a bit flat. I might have put too little yeast or maybe the milk wasn't warm enough, so they became a bit more dense. They were still good, but didn't maybe look quite as appetising.

I have posted my standard recipe for the buns before, so please just have a look here, if you are interested in baking them.

Have a nice week!

Your VegHog

26 February 2017

Thai rice with fennel, carrots and cashews

Light vegan Thai dishes are my favourites at the moment, and I can imagine cooking more this type of dishes towards the spring. I made once again a similar rice dish with Thai flavours, as I have done a few times before. You can use whatever vegetables you have, but as I have been also so fond of fennel lately, I chose to use fennel paired with the basic and economical carrots that go well in so many dishes. This was a very tasty and flavoursome dish.

Thai rice with fennel, carrot and cashews


1 fennel
2 carrots
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
3 cm fresh ginger
1 small chilli
1 tbsp vegetable oil
160 ml coconut cream
Bunch fresh Thai basil
Bunch fresh coriander
2 dried lemongrass stalks
1 lime's juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
150 g cashew nuts
1 cup jasmine rice


Cook the jasmine rice in water.

Chop the cashew nuts coarsely and toast them on a dry pan.

Chop the fennel into slices and the carrots into slices. Also chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli finely.

Start cooking the onion in vegetable oil, and once it's soft and slightly browned, add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan.

After a while also add the carrots, soon followed by the fennel. Cook for a little while and then add the coconut cream and spices.

Let the mix simmer, and shortly before serving, mix in the rice and cashews.


Your VegHog

23 February 2017

One-pot spaghetti

I can't believe that I avoided making a one-pot pasta for this long, but now I have finally made it, I have joined the club of the one-pot cooks! This recipe by Anna Jones: Kale, Tomato and lemon zest one-pot spaghetti was the one that ultimately persuaded me. It turned out to be a really tasty pasta dish.

This dish was so convenient to make and such a revelation. My partner often makes remarks about how many pots and pans and bowls I usually use to make one dish, but now he was really surprised.

You can find the original recipe through the link, but I also made some small amendments of my own. I used kalettes instead of kale and only zest of one lemon, which I found to be enough lemony taste. Kalettes are pretty much my favourite greens of the season, they can go just anywhere. I also added some garlic to the recipe, as I simply don't seem to be able to cook without garlic. I chose spaghetti as my preferred pasta and it worked out very nicely. What a nice sauce the pasta cooking water shaped with the olive oil, tomatoes and other seasoning. It was really amazing and makes my other weekday pastas look quite lame.

What are your experiences with one-pot pasta dishes?

Your VegHog 

21 February 2017

Vegan Flemish inspired stew

My partner loves eating stews, especially the ones that contain beer. So I had to give in and make such a dish again, and I wasn't disappointed myself either, as this was a really nice and warming vegan winter dish. It may look a bit rustic, but it was full of flavour.

A rich and malty dark Belgian beer is the best for this dish. Hoppy beers or wheat beer wouldn't work in this dish, so I decided to use Gouden Carolus Classic, which was pretty much the perfect choice. This is a vegan stew with otherwise basic ingredients so it's perfect for economical eating as well. My cheap eats week is over, but it doesn't harm to make more economical cooking choices.

Vegan Flemish inspired stew


Vegetable oil
3 medium onions
Pinch of salt
400 g small potatoes
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic
150 ml dark Belgian beer
1 tbsp vegetable stock extract or to taste
1 large bay leaf
Couple of grinds of black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
½ cup dried broad bean crunch


Chop the onions into half moons and caramelise them in the vegetable oil with the pinch of salt. Let them caramelise under the lid until they are very soft and brown. Stir every 5-10 minutes.

Chop the potatoes into chunks. I leave the peels on, but you can peel if you prefer.

Chop the carrot into fine slices and the garlic finely.

Add the carrots and the garlic and fry for a minute or two, and then add the beer.

Stir and cook off the alcohol for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes.

Cover the potatoes with water or vegetable stock. I added water and then the vegetable stock extract.

Add the bay leaf, black pepper and thyme.

Let it lightly boil under the lid until the potatoes cooked and melting in the mouth. Stir occasionally while it's cooking.

Add the broad bean crunch to the stew and let it cook until done. Alternatively soy mince or beans can be used.

Once all the flavours have blended nicely after the slow cooking, serve the dish.


Your VegHog

19 February 2017

Rice and soya pasties

Here is a quick veggie pasty post before I start preparing tonight's dinner. I love slow cooking on a Sunday and spend quite a few hours in the kitchen. I stream either a TV programme or listen to music while I'm at it. I often also have a few sips of refreshing cider and try not to think of the approaching Monday. So today I'm going to make the same dish again that I posted a few weeks back, Braised cauliflower, roast potatoes and beurre blanc. I liked it so much, it's rich and comforting, which makes it perfect for a winter Sunday dinner.

But now to the pasties. Veggie pasties are very tasty and perfect snacks for any occasion. This time I chose a rice, soya mince and carrot mix as the filling. I used a purple carrot, an orange carrot and red camargue rice, which made the filling quite vibrant and interesting looking. These pasties were tasty too and I will soon make some more. 

4 large rice and soya pasties


1/3 cup red camargue rice
1/3 cup dried soya mince
1 onion
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp liquid smoke
320 g puff pastry


Cook the rice and soya mince separately in water.

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

Season the mix after the rice and soya mince have also been mixed in.

Wrap the filling in puff pastry pockets and bake at 200 C for about 20 minutes.


Your VegHog

18 February 2017

Mexican dirty potatoes

Are you also seeing dirty fries on so many menus? I have only a few times seen a vegetarian version of these loaded fries and find them quite tasty and a nice change from the usual. I guess vegetarian dirty fries can be loaded with cheese, chilli, different vegetables and dips, anything basically that would go in that combo.

I was somewhat inspired by the “dirtiness” of the fries for this vegan roast potato dish. I stole the name from the fries, even though these weren't fries, but potatoes anyway. So I made roast potatoes with a Mexican twist by adding some pepper, black beans, sweetcorn and the typical Mexican spices. 

Mexican dirty potatoes


400 g potatoes
Olive oil for roasting
1 large red romano pepper
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1 small chilli
1 can black beans
1 small can sweetcorn
2 tsp smoked chilli paste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sprinkle of salt
Fresh coriander (optional)


Cut the potatoes into quarters or smaller pieces and cook them in water for about 15 minutes. Then place them into a baking tray with olive oil. Roast at 200 C for about 40 minutes.

Prep the rest of the ingredients in the meanwhile: chop the pepper, onion, garlic and chilli. Add the pepper first to the potatoes and roast for about 10 minutes. After that time also add the beans, sweetcorn, chilli, garlic and onion.

Roast for about 40 minutes more. I covered the dish for the first 20 minutes with foil, but that's optional. I just thought that without a foil the dish may dry out too much.

Mix the smoked chilli paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika and salt with a dash of olive oil and water to make a liquid paste. Season the contents of the oven dish with the seasoning paste and return to the oven for a few minutes until the flavours have blended in nicely.

You can serve this with some nice fragrant fresh coriander, or even a bit of grated cheese, if you want to have a non-vegan version.


Your VegHog

14 February 2017

Vegan Valentine

Will you be my vegan Valentine? Haha, I'm just having a bit of fun, I'm not really one for Valentine's Day. In Finland it's known as friends' day, Ystävänpäivä, which I find somewhat better. So I want to wish all my readers a very happy friends' day!

Somehow the season gripped me anyway, and I made some “romantic” lunchboxes for my partner and me containing beetroot coloured onigiri hearts made from sushi rice and some fresh vegetables and a spicy chilli-soy-sesameoil-dip. It was all presented in the style of a bento box. I cooked the sushi rice with a few beetroot bits in the pot in order to colour it red. I also added a umeboshi paste centre to the hearts, just a little bit, in order to have a spicy zing inside.

How are you spending Valentine's Day? Do you have any food traditions for it?

Your VegHog

12 February 2017

The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017 Round Up

This week was The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017, which has now finally come to its end. I've been following my money spending more closely and trying to cook in a more economical way. I've been trying to utilise many things from my dry cupboard and using seasonal vegetables for cooking. I think that planning is key when you want to save money. I made a weekly cooking plan and stuck to it, used what I already had, used left-overs whenever possible etc. It wasn't difficult to do, so I'm wondering why I'm sometimes so lazy to plan properly, which often leads to food waste. I will try to be better now in any case, as I have a big project to save for, but I still don't want to blog less or let the quality slip. We will see how it goes, thankfully vegetarian cooking isn't too expensive in any case.

This week I also called for my fellow food bloggers to take part and share their money saving recipes, and here are the lovely entries I received.

Laura posted a recipe for Chickpeas & veggies soup with rainbow salad. She also told how her taste buds have changed with the time, as as a child she couldn't stand a vinegar addition to her soup, which her parents used to do, but now she really likes it. This soup contains a lot of veggies, carrots, parsnip, broccoli with chickpeas and pasta. Sounds like a really wholesome veggie soup and I wouldn't mind trying that vinegar addition either. The salad is also wonderfully colourful and healthy. Those root vegetables and cabbage are really economical and so versatile.

Shaheen shared a Cinnamon Spice Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry. This dish is great for cheap eats, as you can make a bigger bowl and heat it up on several days and stretch by adding some rice on the side. That's always a very clever money and time saving way of cooking. Also the ingredients are on the economical side. I like to cook a lot with chickpeas and seasonal squashes, as that tends to be quite cheap. This is a mild curry with lots of warming spices, and I really like the look of that cinnamon quill in the bowl. A chickpea curry of some sort is already on my planner for next week.

Thank you so much for these entries Laura and Shaheen, I'm so happy about both of them. I currently have so many bags of dried chickpeas in the cupboard and needed a bit of inspiration for them, so these dishes are just perfect to try.

I hope you have enjoyed the Cheap Eats Week, which will probably return next year. Have a pleasant Sunday!

Your VegHog

Tomato alphabet soup

The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017 ends today and I will be posting a round up later today. I just wanted to quickly squeeze this tomato alphabet soup recipe in, as it's cheap to make and very filling. I always like the look of the alphabet pasta and should be using it more. It's kind of a gloomy Sunday over here, as this weekend has been quite chilly. It's just the right weather for soups and stews, so that's very suitable for cheap eats. You can make this soup by adding alphabet pasta to any tomato soup, but I wrote the recipe down below, how I made my tomato soup this time. I used a bit more tomato purée than usual in order to be saving on the fresh tomatoes.

Tomato alphabet soup


1 cup alphabet pasta
300 g vine tomatoes
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
100 ml tomato purée
2 tbsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
Fresh basil leaves


Cook the alphabet pasta separately in water until done.

Chop the tomatoes coarsely and the garlic finely. Cook the garlic in olive oil for a couple of minutes and add the tomatoes. Then also add the tomato purée, vegetable stock powder, the seasoning and some water and let the soup simmer under lid for at least 30 minutes.

Add the pasta to the soup and cook for a few minutes more. Mix the fresh basil in just before serving.


Your VegHog

11 February 2017

Rice and bean tacos

Here is a Mexican inspired recipe for The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017. Mexican style veggie dishes don't have to be expensive, as long as you keep a certain staple of spices in your kitchen. Then it's easy to get creative with the vegetables that you have available and create tasty and affordable dishes.

This frugal recipe is easy to customise depending what canned beans and fresh vegetables you have available to use. I combined here some black beans, sweetcorn, onions, cheese and rice. It was an excellent filling for soft tacos and so nutritious. These also make a great work lunch, you'll really look forward to your break even more, if these are waiting for you.

Rice and bean tacos


1 cup brown and red camargue rice mix
2 onions
4 garlic cloves
1 small chilli
1 tbsp vegetable oil
1 large can black beans
1 small can sweetcorn
Ground cumin to taste
Ground coriander to taste
Smoked paprika to taste
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
1 tsp smoked chilli paste
150 g grated Cheddar
8 soft tortillas
Fresh cherry tomatoes (optional)
Lime (optional)


Cook the rice separately until done.

Chop the onions, garlic and chilli finely and first start cooking the onion in the oil until soft and slightly browned. Then add the garlic and chilli.

After a while also add the beans and sweetcorn followed by the seasoning. Mix in also the cooked rice.

Let simmer and mix in the cheese just before filling the tortillas with the rice and bean mix.


Your VegHog

9 February 2017

Large homemade pizza

Saving money is the theme of the week. We're on The VegHog's CheapEats Week 2017 and I'm keen to cook for little money. There is still time also for you to share your economical recipe until midnight on Saturday. Click on the link to find more info.

By occasionally making your own pizza, instead of ordering a pizza or eating out, you can save a lot of money. I am a sucker for a good pizza and am too often tempted to eat pizza out, but actually a homemade pizza is so much a tastier that I should make one more often. A pizza doesn't even take that long to make. When the dough is rising, there's time to prepare the filling.

The beauty of a vegetarian pizza is also that you can put any vegetables that you fancy as a filling. This time I just thought that a plain tomato pizza would be nice. I made it with a semi spelt-wheat crust, which was also slightly thicker than usually. I very much enjoyed it as a dinner and the rest of the slices as a work lunch.

I used a variation of tomatoes in this pizza and slow-baked some of the halved cherry tomatoes in order to make them a little bit like sundried tomatoes (kind of like in this Oven Tomatoes recipe, but I didn't quite bake them as long as in that recipe).

Tomato pizza


200 g spelt flour
200 g wheat flour
1 tbsp dry yeast
1 tsp salt
300 ml lukewarm water
2 tbsp olive oil

Mix the dry ingredients. Then add the water and knead. Then also add the olive oil and knead a little more. Let rise under a teatowel for about an hour.


200 g selected tomatoes
½ cup tomato sauce
200 g mozzarella

Slice the tomatoes thinly. Make the tomato sauce or use a ready made sauce. Grate the mozzarella.

Roll out the pizza dough and put the fillings on the top. Bake at 220 C for about 10 minutes.


Your VegHog

8 February 2017

Red pea soup

And we're still on The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017. Hopefully you are enjoying it and getting tips for cheaper eating. Actually homecooked vegetarian meals are always quite economical, if you have a basic larder of spices and a couple of sauces. Anyhow, I feel good if I can save a bit money sometimes.

Today's recipe is a Finnish style pea soup that requires quite a bit of patience. This particular soup I cooked for about seven hours before serving, so make sure you have a minimum of about four hours to spare. These red fox peas seemed to be a bit more sturdy than regular dried green peas. Many of these red peas stayed intact even after such a long cooking time. The target is to get many peas turn into full mash and become one with the vegetable stock forming a very thick soup. You don't need much of this soup to be full and this definitely is a very cheap soup to make.

Pea soup is traditionally eaten in Finland on Thursdays and on Shrove Tuesday, and it's also often served to the soldiers in the Finnish army.

Red pea soup


300 g dried red fox maple peas
2 large onions
3 garlic cloves
1 tsp vegetable stock extract
1 tbsp ground mustard seeds
Salt to taste
Ground white pepper to taste
Dash of liquid smoke
Sprinkle of smoked paprika
2 tbsp tomato purée


Soak the dried peas overnight. Fill a large saucepan with water and boil the peas there heavily for the first 15 minutes.

Chop the onions and garlic and add the onions and the vegetable stock extract to the saucepan and let simmer under the lid for several hours.

Stir occasionally and add the seasoning towards the end.


Your VegHog