30 August 2015


Teerenpeli is a Finnish restaurant chain with their own brewery and distillery. In their bars and restaurants they offer a wide range of their own beers, ciders and whiskies. On my recent holiday in Finland I visited their establishments in two cities, Helsinki and Tampere, and I am collecting my experiences in each of the bars into this one post. Of course each and every one of them has an individual character and flair, but as it's a chain with the same drinks and food, it's perhaps clearer and easier this way. 

This summer I particularly became a fan of their ciders. I mainly drank the lingonberry and blueberry flavoured ciders, which in my opinion can't be compared to any other fruity ciders that I have tasted. They are more on the dry side and the berry taste and the colouring are very intense. 

The beer selection is very good and they should have all the styles that anyone could desire. Some of their bottled beers can be also obtained in Finnish supermarkets.

Their whiskies are so amazing, and I never thought that I could enjoy whisky straight this much, as I have done lately! I am soon going to write a separate tasting post of one Teerenpeli whisky.

The atmosphere in these bars and restaurants is relaxed and the staff is always putting an extra effort in in friendliness and service. This chain and their products are highly recommended by me, so if you'll ever get the chance, pay them a visit or try some of their products!

29 August 2015

Red kidney bean and tomato salad

Let's start this weekend by posting a healthy recipe, as I probably will cook and bake something naughty later today. This vegan salad could be an idea for your lunch box next week. It's quite filling thanks to the beans and it tastes just as vibrant as it looks. This is quite a good type of salad I find and should make these more often.


1 can red kidney beans
200 g tomatoes
1 red romano pepper
1 small salad onion
Gem lettuce
Pumpkin seeds
Olive oil
Ground black pepper


Chop the tomatoes and peppers into smallish cubes.

Slice the salad onion finely and cut the gem lettuce into slices.

Mix all the ingredients in a bowl and dress with olive oil. You can also add vinegar of your choice.

Season with salt and ground black pepper.


Your VegHog

25 August 2015

Balcony garden in August

It was nice to come back from holiday and see all the progress my plants had been making and that they were alive and well. So big thanks to the watering help!

It's starting to look increasingly red over there and I have been able to harvest many tomatoes already. Some will stay very tiny in the size, but they are still very tasty, a perfect addition to be eaten fresh with any meal. And if there are too many, I can always make a sauce. The bell peppers are turning red as well and so are the chillies. What a jolly redness! Here are some photos to show the situation of my balcony garden in August.

24 August 2015

Broccoli cheese with creamy mushroom sauce and roasted potatoes

Sometimes I just need to have this sort of a meal, a cheesy vegetable bake, a creamy sauce and roasted potatoes. It's such comfort food for me, and surely for many others, but I don't make these kind of meals that often anymore. Normally I prefer lighter meals, but isn't it just nice to be a little naughty sometimes? Especially now when the weather is so rainy and gloomy.

I made quite basic versions of all components, so this is also a quite effortless meal and can be easily made fairly quickly when you're feeling blue.

Roasted potatoes:

400 g potatoes
1 tsp vegetable oil
Smoked paprika

Brush the potatoes with vegetable oil and sprinkle smoked paprika on the top. Roast in the oven until soft with a nice roasted skin.

Broccoli cheese:

1 broccoli
1 onions
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp olive oil
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
Ground black pepper
100 g grated Cheddar and Mozzarella mix

Cut the broccoli into florets and steam them until they are almost done. Chop the onions and garlic cloves finely and cook them in olive oil until soft. Add the seasoning and combine with the steamed florets. Put into an oven dish, cover with cheese and bake until the cheese has melted and the top is golden brown.

Mushroom sauce:

250 g baby button mushrooms
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 tsp olive oil
150 ml single cream
Ground black pepper
Fresh thyme

Slice the mushrooms and chop the onion and garlic finely. Cook them in olive oil for a few minutes and then add the cream. Season and let simmer until the cream has been infused with the flavours.

Serve the components together, a little salad on the side and enjoy!

Your VegHog

23 August 2015


Koshari is an Egyptian dish made with rice, lentils, macaroni, vermicelli and chickpeas and topped with a tomato sauce and fried onions. I've had it quite a few times as street food and have totally fallen in love with the dish. What scared me off making it myself previously, was the amount of components. I was basically fearing I wouldn't have enough pots to cook everything separately. Now I felt brave enough and started making Koshari. It turned out that it wasn't such a horrible multi-tasking exercise, but quite straight forward instead, as most of the processes are simple. I used for example ready made fried onions to save that stage. There can be several variations of Koshari and the below recipe is my version of the dish.

Tomato sauce:

300 g tomatoes
1 small onion
3 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp tomato purée
Chilli flakes
Ground cumin
Ground nutmeg
Ground black pepper

Other ingredients:

1 cup brown rice
1 cup puy lentils
1 cup macaroni
1 cup vermicelli pasta
1 can chickpeas
2 vegetable stock cubes
½ tsp smoked paprika
Fried onions


First make the tomato sauce. Chop the onion and garlic cloves finely, cook them in olive oil, add the tomatoes and cook slowly under lid. Season to taste. Add more chilli flakes and other seasoning, if you prefer a very spicy sauce. When the sauce is almost done, start with the other preparations.

Cook the rice and the lentils with a vegetable stock cube each in separate pots. Basically everything is cooked separately and layered into a bowl in the end.

Cook the macaroni and vermicelli (break the vermicelli into about 1 cm long pieces first).

Warm the chickpeas up and season them with smoked paprika. Normally I would use dried chickpeas, but this time I chose the canned ones in order to save some additional cooking time.

Layer the components, top with tomato sauce and fried onions and enjoy.

This dish is also my contribution to this month's My Legume Love Affair (MLLA) #86 cooking challenge. It's hosted this month by Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen. MLLA was started by Susan from The Well Seasoned Cook and now administered by Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen. I thought that koshari would be a suitable dish to this challenge, as it's quite rich on lentils and puy lentils.

Have a good week everyone!

Your VegHog

22 August 2015

Puy lentil, tofu and roasted courgette salad

I'm so sorry that I haven't been posting many recipes lately. The holiday threw me out of the normal routine a little bit and it was hard getting back during the first normal week. Luckily I didn't find work too bad and managed to cook a couple of times in the week. I have been eating a lot comfort food in order to get used to the routines again. Now I made a salad for a change where warm and cold bits are combined and it's quite filling with its lentils and tofu. Today was a really hot day again, so a salad is quite a suitable meal.


3 baby gem lettuce
200 g smoked tofu
1 tsp vegetable oil
200 g cherry tomatoes
6 mini courgettes
½ cup puy lentils
1 vegetable stock cube
Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Ground black pepper


Cut the tofu into small cubes and fry them in vegetable oil until firm.

Cut the courgettes into smaller pieces and brush them with olive oil. Roast them in the oven until soft with some roasting marks.

Cook the lentils in water with added vegetable stock cube until done. Then remove the cooking water.

Cut the gem lettuce and tomatoes into smaller bits.

Combine the ingredients. I prefer eating the warm components warm, but they are perfectly good cooled down as well.

Season with olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper and enjoy!

Your VegHog

19 August 2015

Foodie shopping

As I already wrote in a previous post that I would write separately about my holiday shopping not to clutter the holiday photo post too much. So I'll introduce here some of the food and kitchen products that I brought with me from Finland to the UK. I didn't have the time to use any of them much yet, but they will surely become handy, tasty or amusing in no time.

My absolute favourites were the hedgehog tea towels by Lapun Kankurit that I got in Helsinki. I already have some other tea towels from the same makers, but these must be the best ones ever. I'm not revealing them fully in the photos, as they will be making many appearances on the blog in the future.

Then I purchased also from the Lapuan Kankurit shop an interesting tea in a retro tin. It's called Kyläkaupan Teesekoitus (tea blend of the village shop) made by Metkatuote, and it's a blend of green and white tea flavoured with lingonberries, vanilla and lotus flowers. I'm sure the tea will be tasty, but don't you just have to love the tin!

My mum gave me this lovely coffee tin with cute animal artwork on it. There is also good Finnish coffee and a wooden measuring spoon within. This makes a great addition to my coffee shelf.

I love using healthy berry powders in breakfast bowls and baking. The dried powders are a convenient way of storing some of the berry goodness of the Finnish forests. Now I filled in my dry cupboard with new ones and am going to taste the lingonberry one soon. Lingonberry was somewhat a theme here, as I also bought sugar with added lingonberry flakes. That should be good for baking too. I'm not quite sure yet where I will use the sea buckthorn syrup, but I'm sure I'll think of something. Dried chanterelles were also a mandatory item on my shopping list as usual. In the background there's a dried nettle bag hiding.

I can't get enough of mentioning my local Napue Gin by Kyrö Distillery Company and of course had to bring a bottle with me, so good times are ahead.

Herra Hakkaraisen Täysksylitolipastilli are tooth friendly dragees in strawberry and pear flavours. They are good for after meals and in between.

This Kasviskeittokirja is a Finnish translation of the German original Vegetarianisches Kochbuch für Freunde der natürlichen Lebensweise by Eduard Baltzer, the founder of the first German vegetarian society. The original was published in 1869, if the info that I found was correct. It's from around that time anyway and contains old vegetarian recipes and nourishment info flavoured with the attitudes of the time. It's quite funny to read at times, but many nutritional facts haven't changed from those days. Maybe I'll cook something from this book soon and then I'll make sure that I'll post it here.

I always buy lovely napkins where ever I go and this time I took with me Kirsikkapuisto (cherry park) by the Finnish fashion designer Jukka Rintala and a white horse napkin Nøkken som hvit hest by the Norwegian artist Theodor Kittelsen from Ateneum's The Magic North exhibition, which by the way was truly magical.

I also bought my favourite cheese Oltermanni, rye nachos and crisps, some dried soya and pea protein products, chocolates and rye bread. It seems that I only bought food! Well isn't that quite important anyway? Have you done some interesting food shopping lately, on your holiday or at home?

Your VegHog

17 August 2015

Back to work

Every nice holiday goes to an end at some point, so did also mine. Today was my first day back at work, and I actually found it alright. However yesterday, when I planned my packed breakfast/lunch, I wanted to make sure that I have nice and comforting food with me to make the transition to the normal rhythm easier.

For breakfast I took some fresh raspberries and blueberries and a pretzel roll with my favourite cheese Oltermanni with me. I absolutely adore pretzel rolls and it's about time to make some myself again! I enjoyed the breakfast with pineapple juice with a hint of lime (that stuff can wake up/refresh anyone) and of course a mandatory cup of coffee.

As lunch I had the left-overs from my Sunday lunch, a vegetarian pasta bolognese. A similar recipe can be found here, only this time I used dried soya mince to make the sauce. Then of course I had my water bottle with me to be re-filled throughout the day. 

This food gave me quite a nice boost for the day, but I'm afraid that I'll have to go with lighter meals soon. We'll see. Would you be interested in occasionally seeing my packed lunches here on the blog, as I tend to take one with me every day?

Have a great week, and there will be a couple Finland themed posts yet to come, once I get them written.

Your VegHog

16 August 2015

My summer holiday in Finland

I have returned back home, so my summer holiday to Finland is over. I have collected some of my activities, places visited, landscapes etc. to this post. My Instagram followers might already have a better idea what I've been up to, but here are some more photos for you to see. It was of course a lovely break and I was able to relax and spend time with my family. I'm also happy to be back home.

In the beginning of the holiday I visited the city of Tampere. It's a nice town between two lakes and I was also taken on a lovely boat trip on Näsijärvi (I already posted about it here). In the centre of Tampere there is an impressive work of art by Kaarina Kaikkonen with jackets in different shades hanging over Satakunnankatu. 

I spent most of the time relaxing in the countryside with my family just picking berries, watching crops grow, cooking and eating. Once again I visited the old animals' home in Ylistaro, the 18th Century Market and Kyrö Distillery Company in Isokyrö (post here), and of course went to nearby forests for walks and foraging. Blueberries are in season and still a few wild strawberries could be found in the edges of forests. Lingonberries are now starting to ripen. I very much grew up picking berries in the forest and it's still a nice activity. However it's hard work, if you want to pick serious amounts.

I also picked some white currants in my granddad's garden. They are as tasty as red currants, only a bit paler. I couldn't think of anything to cook with them in this limited time, but they were nice to eat as vitamin bombs in between.

By the way, the bridge below is on my old way to the primary school and I walked those couple of kilometres again. The bridge is accessible only for pedestrians and cyclists these days.

Before I returned to the UK, I spent a few days in the capital Helsinki and made some incredibly cute shopping and visited food markets and bars. The food offering on the Helsinki Market Square is amazing in the summer, every stall bursting of local produce. I would've loved to buy new potatoes straight from a boat, but unfortunately couldn't have transported them back home. There was also an international food market on Narinkkatori, a very interesting event. In Helsinki I also got to taste a mouthwatering wild strawberry and rhubarb cider.

I decided to make a separate post of my foodie shopping, as I didn't want to make this one too long. There are quite many photos here anyway, but I hope you'll enjoy them, as I wanted to share these different impressions with you.

Your VegHog