27 February 2014

Liquorice and lemon chocolate

I found this idea for white chocolate with salty liquorice and lemon on Fazer's recipe pages, and wanted to try it as a quick remedy for chocolate cravings. Please note that the original recipe is in Finnish. They used white lemon chocolate, but I decided to season regular white chocolate with lemon zest.

300g white chocolate (for baking)
½ lemon's zest
2tbsp Tyrkisk Peber crush (substitute with another liquorice crush)

Heat the chocolate in a water bath until liquid.

Grate the lemon zest and add it to the chocolate and whisk.

Pour the chocolate on a baking parchment and sprinkle the Tyrkisk Peber crush on the top.

Let it set in the fridge for a few hours.

Break off pieces and enjoy.

Your VegHog

25 February 2014

Green lentil soup


A while ago I posted a photo of this dish to Guardian Witness' recipe swap on the subject “Cheap”, because that's what this dish is. However it doesn't mean that it's bad in any way. It's quite nice to get a lovely meal for a low price, isn't it? 

So this is just a green lentil soup with some additional potatoes, and of course other soup basics. I always tend to have these ingredients in my kitchen.

1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1tbsp olive oil
250g potatoes
1tbsp vegetable stock powder + 1l water
1,5 cups green dried lentils
1tsp salt
½tsp black pepper
1tsp fresh thyme leaves

Chop the onion and garlic finely, and cut the peeled potatoes (no need to peel, if you use new potatoes) into cubes.

Heat the olive oil in a saucepan and lightly fry the onion and garlic. Then add the potatoes and fry and stir for a couple of minutes more.

Prepare a vegetable stock of vegetable stock powder and water and add about the half of it into the pan. The other half will be gradually added when the soup is simmering. You might not need the whole litre depending on the desired thickness of the soup.

Rinse the green dried lentils and also add them to the pan. Let the soup simmer under a lid. Stir occasionally and add little more stock. Make sure that the lentils are covered with stock at all times.

When the lentils and potatoes are cooked soft, season the soup with salt, black pepper and thyme.

Serve warm with nice bread slices and that's the soup done!

Your VegHog

23 February 2014

Craft Beer Rising 2014

Yesterday I had the pleasure to visit the most exciting beer festival I have ever been to: Craft Beer Rising in The Old Truman Brewery.  The brewery is conveniently located in East London on Brick Lane in a vibrant arts quarter. There is a vintage clothes market in the building, but this weekend in the upstairs halls 75 breweries presented their craft beers, over 400 sorts. The festival had a cosmopolitan atmosphere about it in an interesting setting, quite different to most beer festivals. It wasn't too crowded, and you were able to move around easily. Only minus point could be the lack of vegetarian food, luckily I wasn't hungry then.

So for a few hours I strolled through the stalls and had half pints here and there. Here are some of my new acquaintances and links to their homepages. A friend of mine, who accompanied me there, helped me with these tasting notes.

They passed their Cross Pacific Pale Ale (4.2%) through a canister of fresh, green hops on the way from the pump to the glass. This resulted in a mix of really forward hop aromas in a refreshing pale beer. It was a perfect start for the festival.

The Hibernation White IPA (5.6%) was a wheat beer brewed with a normal yeast, and lots of hops as you'd expect in an IPA, giving the rich mouth feel and cloudy character of a wheat beer without the fruity and spicy tastes; instead lots of bitterness and citrus character in the style of modern, North American IPA. Quite unique.

Friar Weisse (4.7%) was a classic wheat beer, with really fruity esters reminiscent of tropic fruits and pear drops.

The Black IPA (7.0%) had all the bitterness and hoppy character you'd expect from an IPA but with a body more like that of a dark porter.

Why kick a Moo Cow (5.5%) had an inventive name and a wonderful fresh, grassy hoppyness that was almost like drinking a sunny meadow.

This was the last beer I tried, the dancing barman lured me in with his vibrant sales technique; the Brigid Fire (6.3%) was brewed using smoked rye, which added a sour, rich and lightly smoky flavour.

All these beers were very delightful, but unfortunately there wasn't enough time or stamina to taste all the ones I wanted, the offer was so huge. I personally crowned the Bear Hug Brewing Company's Hibernation White IPA to my festival favourite.

Did you visit? What are your impressions? I'm sure I'll go next year as well!

A blue moment over the Thames on our jolly way back to Waterloo.

Your VegHog

21 February 2014

Cheese and shallot Spätzle bake

I have already shared one of my Spätzle recipes here, and here comes another one. To the first recipe I added some bell peppers, but today I'm just making my basic shallot Spätzle bake. Maybe I'll have to explain again what Spätzle is to those who aren't familiar with it. Spätzle is a German dish, Swabian egg noodles or small dumplings, mostly eaten as a side. I however feel that Spätzle can make wonderful stand-alone dishes and therefore use it as the main star of these recipes. It's great weekend food as well.

Spätzle dough:

400g wheat flour
4 eggs
1tsp salt
250ml water

Bake ingredients:

4 shallots
4 garlic cloves
1tbsp olive oil
150g emmental cheese

First caramelise the shallots in olive oil, and also fry the garlic.

Make the Spätzle dough by whisking the dough ingredients into an even batter. It should be fairly moist, yet elastic. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and press the Spätzle dough through the largest setting of a potato ricer straight into the heavily boiling water. Do this in small batches, but make sure that the water is always boiling, otherwise it could lead into dissolving of the dough structure into the water. After a couple of minutes the Spätzle start floating on the surface, and then they can be taken out.

Add the cooked Spätzle to the shallot and garlic pan and mix. Put the mixture into an oven dish, you can make one large dish or several smaller ones. Grate the cheese and place it on the top of the bakes.

Bake at 200C for about 20 minutes until the cheese topping is golden brown.

Enjoy with a lovely Riesling and a fresh side salad!

Your VegHog

20 February 2014

Tomato bruchetta

A tomato bruchetta is a nice classic, which makes a brilliant breakfast or lunch bread with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. Today I made my version, it's very fresh, simple and easy.


200g selected tomatoes (e.g. colourful small cherry tomatoes)
150g mozzarella balls
4 bread slices

Basil dressing

50ml olive oil
40g basil leaves
25g pine nuts
3 garlic cloves

First make the basil dressing by just puréeing all the ingredients. This dressing is very much like pesto, just without the cheese. Have a look at the frozen pesto cubes idea, since you may have more left than you can use.

Spread the basil dressing on the bread slices and place a few mozzarella balls on each one.

Bake the breads in the oven at 180C for about 10 minutes until the cheese has melted.

Slice the tomatoes, place them on the breads, put some extra basil dressing on them and serve.

Your VegHog

19 February 2014

Scottish tattie scones

Felicity Cloake has researched for The Guardian how to cook the perfect tattie scones, and after having read her article I couldn't resist cooking this traditional Scottish dish myself. 

These made such a tasty Saturday breakfast. I was out the previous night, and this was the perfect breakfast for my fairly weak condition.

This is all you need:

500 g floury potatoes
50 g butter
125 g flour
Sprinkle of salt (my own addition to the recipe)

Boil the potatoes with the peels on and then peel and mash them.

Mix the potato mash with the flour, butter and salt once it has cooled a little.

Shape round scones of the mixture.

Fry the scones in butter on each side until golden brown.

Serve warm, and add some extra butter to get some extra strength for the day.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

18 February 2014

BrewDog Shepherds Bush

Couple of weeks ago I had the pleasure to visit the BrewDog Shepherds Bush, a pub by the Scottish craft beer brewery BrewDog. 

They offer a very wide selection of craft beer in a great atmosphere with a cool interior. It's quite difficult to decide what to choose from all of those beers, strong, light, dark, pale, they have everything...

I tasted two wonderful beer sorts. Firstly I had the "Bohemian Pilsner", Fake Lager 4.7%, which is a rather German style Pilsner, the kind I like.  

My second choice was the Dead Pony Club 3.8%, a Californian Pale Ale described as “hoppy as hell”, and that it certainly delivered. I think I might have to buy that bottled as well.  

I was happy sitting in the pub enjoying my beers while it was a pouring rain outside. Go and visit them and see what all the fuss is about!

Your VegHog

In this previous post I reviewed BrewDog's Hoppy Christmas Christmas beer.

Frozen pesto cubes

When I make pesto, I tend to make a fairly large batch that I sometimes don't manage to eat in time. That's when this idea of frozen pesto cubes comes in handy: freeze the excess pesto and take it out to melt, or add to pasta sauces or pizzas whenever needed.

I prefer to make the cheeseless pesto version for freezing, just a clean basil dressing with basic ingredients. The following amounts are enough to fill a normal ice cube tray.


80g basil leaves
50g pine nuts
6 garlic cloves
1dl olive oil


Puree all the ingredients together and pour into the slots of an ice cube tray.


Use whenever convenient.


Your VegHog

17 February 2014

Mini pizzas

I missed to post this on the weekend when it would've been more suitable, but here it comes anyway. Veggie pizzas are so nice, especially for a lazy Saturday film night, or even for a kids' party. This time I made veggie mini pizzas with different toppings. I have listed below the ingredients I used, but you can get creative and put your own favourite toppings on.

Ingredients for about 12 mini pizzas

Pizza dough:

400g wheat flour
100g semolina + some for dusting
2tbsp dry yeast
1tsp salt
350ml warm water
2tbsp olive oil


250g grated mozzarella
1 orange pepper
1 onion
180g tomatoes
100g spinach
85g green olives
1 garlic clove
Basil leaves

Make the dough first. Mix the dry ingredients together, and then add the lukewarm water and olive oil. Knead a while into an even dough and let it rise under a tea towel for about one hour.

In the meanwhile you can prepare the toppings. Chop the veg into suitable slices and grate the mozzarella. I didn't make a tomato sauce this time, but just used tomato slices instead.

Once the dough has risen, roll chunks of it out into small and thin circles. Roll them out on semolina so that the crust will get a nice crispy semolina finish.

Place the toppings on the crusts and bake the pizzas at 220C for about 10 minutes until fully baked. Serve warm and enjoy!

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

14 February 2014

Warm pearled spelt, halloumi and kale salad

It's still winter since I last time checked, and I feel like hibernating. But since I'm wide awake, I might as well have a good time and eat nice food.

Today I made a warm salad with hearty ingredients halloumi, pearled spelt and kale. This is how it's made.

250 g halloumi cheese
1 tbsp vegetable oil (for halloumi frying)
2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 orange romano pepper
1 cup pearled spelt
200 g curly kale
2 tsp vegetable stock powder + 500 ml water
½ tsp pepper
1 tsp salt

Dice the halloumi and fry the dices in vegetable oil until golden brown. Set to side.

Chop the shallots, garlic and romano pepper. Heat olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic in the pan for a few minutes. Then add the pepper, the vegetable stock powder and water to the pan and also the pearled spelt. Cook for about 15 minutes until the spelt is tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Remove any large stalks of the kale and boil it in water for about 5 minutes and drain.

Add the kale and halloumi to the spelt pan. Serve warm and keep yourself warm!

Your VegHog

12 February 2014

Crown prince pies

I have mentioned before that crown prince squash is fast becoming my favourite squash. Therefore I just have to share this pie recipe with you, that mainly consists of a proud crown prince.

In British pubs I often see pies served with this high puff pastry lid, and that has made me curious enough to try to make my own recipe for a vegetarian pie of this sort. It's not difficult, just read my instructions below.

1 medium crown prince squash
3 tbsp olive oil (for roasting and frying)
4 shallots
4 garlic cloves
3 tbsp fresh sage leaves
150 g Red Leicester cheese
1 dl dry cider
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tsp salt
320 g puff pastry

Chop the shallots and garlic and peel and dice the crown prince squash. Place the squash dices in an oven dish and brush them with some olive oil. Roast the squash at 180C for about 20 minutes.

Heat some olive oil in a pan and sweat the shallots and garlic for about 5 minutes. Then add the roasted squash and the cider (I used once again Wyld Wood organic cider). 

Season with sage, vegetable stock powder, pepper and salt and let cook for a while so that the flavours can blend. Stir the grated cheese into the mixture.

Put the squash mixture into small ramekins and place round pieces (slightly larger than the ramekin's diameter) of thinly rolled puff pastry on the top and press it firmly along the edges.

Bake the pies at 180C for about 30 minutes until the puff pastry has risen and is golden brown.

Serve warm with a fresh salad and enjoy!

Stay hungry! ~ Your VegHog

10 February 2014

Grilled vegetable sandwich

I just realised that I haven't posted any sandwich ideas here, can it be true? I can only remember paninis, rolls, bagels, bruchettas... anyway, today I am indeed posting a sandwich recipe, and what could be better for a start of a new week.

I char-grilled some vegetables and halloumi slices and stacked them on bread – easy + I love the smoky flavour! These vegetable amounts should be enough to make four generous sandwiches.

1 aubergine
1 zucchini
1 halloumi
100g baby salad leaves
Bread slices
Vegetable oil for grilling

Slice the vegetables and halloumi into thin slices.

Heat vegetable oil in a griddle pan and char-grill the vegetables on both sides until they have distinctive grilling marks. Due to my pan's size I had to do several batches of grilling, so I placed the ones that were already done in a dish into the oven to stay warm.

When the grilling is done, half a large bread slice (or use two bread slices on top of each other) and stack the salad and vegetables on one slice and then place a lid on the sandwich. I decided not to grill the bread on this occasion, but feel free to do so.

Serve warm and enjoy!

Your VegHog

9 February 2014

British style vegetarian Sunday roast

There is a tradition in this country for an opulent Sunday meal, called the Sunday roast. Whether it's enjoyed at home with relatives, in pubs or restaurants, it's an important tradition for the British. Even though the concept has strong connotations with a meaty meal, vegetarians can make a fabulous roast dinner as well and that's what I'm trying to present to you here today.

Nut roast

A vegetarian roast dinner needs a centrepiece substituting the meat products, and I decided to make a nut roast again. This one differs slightly from my Christmas nut roast recipe as this time I used pearled spelt as one component. 

1dl pearled spelt
1tsp vegetable stock powder
240g peeled and cooked chestnuts
1-2 shallots
2 garlic cloves
1 carrot
25g dried porcini mushrooms
2tbsp olive oil
100g Red Leicester cheese
2tbsp breadcrumbs

Cook the spelt in water with added vegetable stock powder until tender. This takes about 15 minutes. In the meanwhile soak the crushed porcini mushrooms for about 10 minutes.

Chop the shallots, garlic and carrot finely and fry them lightly in olive oil. I grated the carrot to have it extra fine. Drain the porcini, but save the soaking water, and add the mushrooms to the pan.

When the spelt has cooked add it to the pan as well and some of the mushroom soaking water as well.

Once you are happy that all the components have cooked nicely, add the chestnuts. Press them little between your fingers and add to the mix. Then also add the grated cheese and the breadcrumbs and divide the mixture into small greased ramekins.

Bake them for about 40 minutes at 180C.

Onion gravy

Other important components to a roast dinner are steamed or roasted vegetables and potatoes, and I moistened them with my onion gravy, recipe is here. Reserve enough time for making the gravy as the shallots need to caramelise a while. You can always reheat the gravy, if you make it earlier.

Yorkshire puddings

For the first time I'm making Yorkshire puddings, and used this basic recipe for them. Finnish oven pancakes are very similar to the Yorkshire puddings, but normally bigger and they would only be served as a dessert.

140g flour
4 eggs
200ml milk
Vegetable oil for greasing

Whisk the ingredients together and bake in a greased muffin tin at 200C for about 25 minutes. They will nicely puff up, so only fill the holes of the tin half full.

On the side I served my cranberry jelly. I would recommend making this on the previous day as it needs several hours for setting. You'll find the full recipe through the link.



Choose any of your favourite vegetables to be served. These are my chosen ones for this meal.

230g purple sprouting broccoli spears
1 cup frozen peas
150g baby topped carrots
1 parsnip
4 garlic cloves
500g small potatoes
2tbsp vegetable oil
½tsp salt
1tsp thyme

I steamed the broccoli spears and heated the frozen peas in a pan, but the other vegetables were roasted.

Peel and chop the parsnip into thin sticks. If you are using baby carrots, they can be left as they are, otherwise chop them in the same fashion as the parsnips. Peel and crush the garlic. The potatoes just need a quick wash, leave the peels on.

Place the vegetables in a roasting tin and brush them with vegetable oil. Sprinkle salt and thyme on them and roast in the oven for about 40 minutes until all the vegetables are nicely done.

Timing is key when putting a Sunday roast together. You would want all the components to be ready at the same time, so think carefully about the timings when you have to cook which part. Some of them can be prepared on the previous day. Remember that you can get really creative with this and choose only your favourite vegetables, and as the main piece either a nut roast, vegetarian Schnitzel, veggie sausages or anything nice you can think of.

Have a tasty Sunday all!

Your VegHog