24 April 2017

Holiday mood


Good morning everyone! You probably already guessed it from the title and the too cheerful Monday morning greeting that I'm about to go on a holiday! Well I'm only going home to Finland, but it will be so good to see my family. It seems that it's still occasionally snowing over there, so that will be interesting for this time of year. I hope that you won't be having too much toil either, even if having just a regular working week.

So this was my breakfast bowl this morning, gathering strength and vitamins for the holiday. It's so nice to eat such colourful bowls of food, especially in the spring and summer. This bowl contained Greek yogurt, pineapple and strawberries.

I will be sharing some things from my Finland trip later. Remember still to take part in Eat Your Greens in April! I will be posting the round up from Finland, there's still one week to go!

Have a wonderful week!


Your VegHog

23 April 2017

Braised fennel


I hope you are all having a relaxing Sunday! My day has started very chilled, the sun is shining, I'm slowly making coffee and some pretzel rolls are waiting to be eaten. I will head out soon, as the weather really seems to be lovely, but first I wanted to share a dish with you that I made yesterday.

This braised fennel that I pretty much improvised made such a lovely side to our Saturday night dinner. We had buttery potato mash and a veggie Schnitzel with it. It was basically comfort food, but kind of with a touch of spring. The liquid of the fennel made a perfect sauce to moisten the dish a bit, and actually the liquid is probably my favourite bit. I think that this braised fennel would go with many kind of dishes, even just with a salad. The cooking only needs some patience, as I think I cooked it for a couple of hours, just slow baking in the oven. The preparation itself is not much work, though.


Braised fennel

Ingredients

1 fennel bulb
100 ml vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
Sprinkle of ground black pepper
100 ml white wine
3 garlic cloves
100 g grated cheese (I used a Cheddar and Red Leicester mix)

Method

Cut the fennel into four slices and remove the hard stalk. Cut the green bits on the top into finer slices. Put the thin slices on the bottom of an oven dish and then the larger fennel bits on the top.

Pour the vegetable stock in and season with salt and pepper. Cover the dish with a foil and slow bake at about 180 C for one hour. Have a look sometimes, how the fennel is doing and turn the pieces around midway of the cooking.

Chop the garlic finely. Once the fennel is already fairly soft, pour the wine in, and cook some more. At this stage I removed the foil, and also added the garlic.

After a while, add the cheese and bake until it has melted.

Enjoy!



Your VegHog

17 April 2017

Spinach and cheese roulade



"One day my log will have something to say about this. My log saw something that night." Log Lady, Twin Peaks

I was looking for cooking inspiration in my cookbooks, not so much in Twin Peaks, and found an interesting roulade idea. This recipe is from Yotam Ottolenghi's vegetarian cookbook Plenty More: Taleggio and spinach roulade (p. 290-291). I changed some things in my recipe, and have written down my version below, but you can find the original Ottolenghi recipe also here. I really think that you should try this recipe, and just maybe the log will have something to say to you.


I made some minor adjustments to the dough by using slightly different type of ingredients, but didn't change anything else about it. It was very easy to work on and made a nice smooth ball after the kneading. For the filling I made the semi-dried tomatoes myself, as I love that sort of tomatoes. They are just so fragrant when made in the own oven. The most major change was using havarti and mozzarella instead of pecorino and taleggio, as those were just easier to come by. I think they worked well too.

I initially thought that my roulade was a bit dry, but my partner assured me it wasn't. Of course I left out the crème fraiche, so that would have made it more moist anyway. The roulade was quite tasty in the end, and it held very well together in the oven. I'm tempted to make a similar roulade with different kind of filling. Don't you think that the cut pieces look a little bit like hedgehogs?


Spinach and cheese roulade

Ingredients

Dough

160 ml milk
2 tsp dry yeast
350 g wheat flour
1 tsp sugar
50 ml vegetable oil
1 egg
1 egg yolk

Filling

150 g spinach
20 g basil
100 g havarti cheese
250 g mozzarella
200 g semi-dried tomatoes

1 egg
2 tsp poppy seeds

Method

If you are making the semi-dried tomatoes, better start with them, as they can be in the oven for a few hours. Cut the tomatoes in halves, sprinkle with a little salt and possibly oregano, and bake at about 50 C for a few hours until they start drying slightly. The temperature can be increased at times, if necessary.

Mix all dough ingredients together apart from the milk. Warm the milk up slightly and mix it into the other ingredients and knead for a good while. I probably kneaded the dough for about 10 minutes. Once the dough is a smooth ball, it's good. Let it rise in a bowl for about 45 minutes. Then roll it out thinly on a baking tray that has been lined with baking paper. Let rise for another 30 minutes under a tea towel.

Put the filling onto the dough and shape a large log from it. Let rest once again 30 minutes under a tea towel.

Pre-heat the oven to 200 C. Brush the roulade with a beaten egg, and sprinkle the poppy seeds on top. Bake for 10 minutes, and then reduce the temperature to 160 C and bake for another 25 minutes.

Let it cool down a bit before slicing.

Enjoy!






Your VegHog

16 April 2017

Hazelnut and kale pesto


It's nice to finally make some lighter spring dishes with all the new seasonal produce. I've already had some local asparagus, and it was so nice. I can't wait to spot more nice local produce in the shops and markets.

Kale has been used quite a lot in our kitchen lately. It's such a versatile green, and easy to cook with. I made this simple vegan nutty hazelnut and kale pesto, and enjoyed it very much. I tried it with pasta and with some rye crackers, and it was very flavoursome and fragrant in both dishes. Here's my recipe, if you want to try it too.


Hazelnut and kale pesto

Ingredients

2 cups kale
1 garlic clove
100 g hazelnuts
100 ml olive oil
Sprinkle of salt

Method

Purée all pesto ingredients together, but remember that you can vary the ingredient amounts to get a nice and creamy pesto. 

I left some of the hazelnuts a bit larger chunks in the pesto, as I like the extra crunch.

Serve the pesto with pasta, breads, crackers, anything you like, and enjoy!




This pesto is my Eat Your Greens contribution for this month. I'm hosting the challenge this month myself, and the event is co-hosted by Shaheen from Allotment 2 Kitchen blog. Remember that there's still plenty of time to take part with your green recipes!


Your VegHog

15 April 2017

Mexican cauliflower cheese with sweetcorn and pepper


Happy Easter to everyone! I hope that you are having a relaxing weekend with nice food! I'm soon heading for a small day trip and intend to have a good time. It could be sunnier today, but at least it's not raining.

Before I go, I wanted to share this Mexican style cauliflower cheese recipe with you. I've been Mexicanising quite a lot of dishes lately, and it's already a running joke with my partner. He now knows to expect all things Mexican.

This cauliflower cheese with a little bit of heat of chilli and some warming spices, and with the addition of sweetcorn and pepper, was so nice. I just served some refried beans and tortilla chips on the side, and it was a really lovely meal.


Mexican cauliflower cheese with sweetcorn and pepper

Ingredients

1 cauliflower
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
2 small chillies
1 romano pepper
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 small can sweetcorn
2 tbsp smoked chilli paste
1 tsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
½ smoked paprika
100 g grated Cheddar

Sides:
Tortilla chips
Refried black beans with tomatoes

Method

Cut the cauliflower into florets and steam them for a couple of minutes.

Chop the onion, garlic, chilli and pepper finely and cook them in a pan until soft.

Add the sweetcorn and the seasoning to the pan with some water (about 100-150 ml) and let simmer for a while.

Put the cauliflower florets in an oven dish and coat with the spicy veggie mix.

Cover the dish with grated cheese and bake at 180 C for about 40 minutes, and finish at 200 C for about 10 minutes, until everything is cooked nicely and the surface is golden brown.

Enjoy!





Your VegHog

9 April 2017

Koshari


The weather this weekend has been absolutely gorgeous. I can't believe that it has been so warm and sunny throughout. However I read that the temperatures will be going down drastically for tomorrow. Oh well, it's Monday anyway, so it doesn't really matter. Anyway I will be heading out soon to enjoy the good spring weather a bit more.

First to today's recipe. I really like Koshari, especially as street food, but it's sometimes nice to make it at home as well. It's a traditional Egyptian dish made with rice, lentils, macaroni, vermicelli and chickpeas and topped with a tomato sauce and fried onions. Koshari is very comforting and filling, perfect veggie food when you need a lot of energy.

Below is the recipe, how I made my Koshari this time. Remember that timing is key to get everything ready at the same time, as there is a lot of separate cooking going on. Luckily the processes aren't complicated, so this can be well managed without stress.


Koshari

Ingredients

Homemade tomato sauce with garlic and chilli
1 cup green lentils
½ brown rice
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
2 cups cooked chickpeas
1 tsp smoked chilli powder
1 tsp ground cumin
2 vermicelli pasta nests
200 g wholewheat cavatappi pasta
1 tsp za'atar for sprinkling on the top
A few fresh coriander leaves for sprinkling on the top
Fried onions

Method

Make the tomato sauce first or use a ready made one. A rich tomato sauce with loads of garlic and chilli is perfect for this dish.

Cook the lentils and the rice together to avoid using loads of pots. If the lentils need a shorter cooking time, add them later to the saucepan. Add also a little salt and vegetable stock powder.

Warm the cooked chickpeas up in a pan and add some smoked chilli powder and ground cumin to season.

Break the vermicelli into about 2 cm long pieces and briefly cook them in hot oil so that they turn brown. This really happens quite quickly, so keep an eye on them. Add the vermicelli to the rice and lentils for the last few minutes of cooking, so that they'll also get soft.

Cook the pasta separately. I chose a larger pasta shape instead of the smaller macaroni. These worked very well in this dish.

Layer the components into a bowl and serve with the tomato sauce and fried onions. I didn't make my fried onions myself this time, so you can either buy some or make your own.

Enjoy!


I want to share this recipe with My Legume Love Affair #106 hosted by Ali from Fix Me a Little Lunch, and co-hosted by Lisa from Lisa's Kitchen.


Your VegHog

8 April 2017

Colin cupcakes


These Colin cupcakes could be a fun Easter baking. I'm sure that kids would love these. They are lemony cupcakes decorated with M&S vegetarian Colin the Caterpillar sweets. These sweets are gelatine free, but unfortunately not suitable for vegans. I really like them and buy them quite often. Now I thought that they would make nice cupcake decorations. I tried to decorate some with the long caterpillar sweets, but the butterflies were definitely better suited for these small cupcakes. I used pink tiger lemons for the dough an icing. I just had to buy them, because they looked so cute. I think that another batch will have to come for Easter.



Ingredients
For about 12 cupcakes

For the dough:
125 g self-raising flour
125 g caster sugar
125 g butter
2 eggs
2 tbsp hazelnut milk
1 lemon's zest

For the decoration:
Icing sugar + lemon juice
Colin the Caterpillar sweets

Method

Pre-heat the oven to 180 C. Mix the flour and sugar with the soft butter. Add the eggs, hazelnut milk and one lemon's zest and whisk them all into an even dough.

Divide the dough into cupcake cases and bake for about 20 minutes until fully baked. I usually place the paper cases into a silicone muffin baking tray with slots, so they keep their shape better. Let the cupcakes cool down after the baking.

Make the icing by mixing some icing sugar with a little lemon juice. Spread it on the cupcakes, and place a Colin on the top.

Enjoy!





Your VegHog