27 March 2017

Spaghetti Bolognese Bake

Suddenly I remembered a 1980s school dinner from Finnish schools, Spaghettipaistos, which is in essence a baked spaghetti bolognese. Of course the school version was quite stripped down version of mince meat in a tomato sauce baked with some spaghetti. However it wasn't bad and it got us filled. Finnish school dinners tend to be of good quality and quite versatile. We were always served a warm meal with salads and bread on the side. I'm not fond of everything that we were served, and will surely never again taste some of those dishes in my life, especially because many of them contained meat.

I was somewhat of an oddball as a teenager when I became a vegetarian in a quite meat-centric eating culture in a small town, but most people showed respect to my new eating habits. In the beginning I was mainly leaving off the meat, and didn't necessarily eat versatile enough, but I slowly read more about vegetarianism and got acquainted with lentils and other vegetarian essentials. Even at school I could get through fairly well with my new vegetarian diet.

Now back to today's recipe. As I remembered this Finnish classic, I wanted to make a vegetarian version of it, and also make it a bit more posh by making a proper vegetarian bolognese containing carrots and mushrooms as well. This dish turned out to be really nice, and it was also quite a huge portion. It would be good, if you have many eaters, or want to eat this on several days. I froze a part of this so that I can enjoy it later on a day when I'm too lazy to cook.

Do you have any special memories of school dinners, or have you cooked some at home for nostalgic reasons?

Spaghetti Bolognese Bake - Spaghettipaistos


½ cup dried soya mince
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
3 carrots
1 tbsp olive oil
100 g closed cup button mushrooms
500 g tomato passata
Fresh basil
Salt to taste
Ground black pepper to taste
300 g spaghetti
150 g grated cheddar


Cook the dried soya mince as per the packet instructions, or use fresh soya or quorn mince.

Chop the onion, garlic and carrots finely, and start cooking the onion in olive oil. Cook until soft and browned, and then add the carrots and after a while the garlic.

Slice the button mushrooms and also add them to the pan.

Then cover the veggies with tomato passata ans let simmer, until the flavours have blended nicely and the vegetables still have a nice texture.

In the meanwhile cook the spaghetti separately until al dente.

Season the sauce with basil, oregano, salt and black pepper.

Combine the sauce with the spaghetti and place them in an oven dish.

Cover with grated cheese and bake for about 20 minutes at 180 C until the cheese has melted and is golden brown.


Your VegHog

26 March 2017

Cheese, onion and potato pie

Today is another sunny day, and I'm sharing another potato recipe. Not that this dish has anything to do with the sunny day, quite the contrary... I can't wait to cook some lighter spring dishes, but in the meanwhile I have still been enjoying many lovely comforting cheese and potato dishes.

Cheese and onion pies are such classics, and I can't get enough of this combination. This pie is very easy and quick to make, as I used ready made pastry. You could even use left-over potato mash in this recipe, as not particularly many ingredients are needed for this pie. I decorated it with a couple of ponies, just for the sake of it.

Cheese, onion and potato pie


4 potatoes
2 onions
3 garlic cloves
2 spring onions
1 tbsp butter
1 tsp sea salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dried oregano
50 ml dry cider
100 g red leicester cheese
100 g cheddar cheese
300 g shortcrust pastry


Cook the potatoes and mash them.

Chop the onions, garlic and spring onion finely, and cook them in butter until soft.

Season with salt, pepper and oregano and pour the cider in. Let simmer for a few minutes, and then mix with the potato mash and cheese.

Roll out the pastry and place it into a pie tin.

Bake in the oven at 200 C for about 30 minutes until nicely golden brown.


Your VegHog

25 March 2017

Tattie scones for breakfast

Happy weekend everyone! I'm so happy that today has started sunny and energetic after a long, busy and somewhat annoying week at work. I've been too busy to post anything, but let's hope that I can catch up a bit during the weekend.

First thing this morning I went for a walk in the local park. It was nice and quiet there early in the morning, apart from a few joggers and dog walkers, and I felt so good afterwards for having exercised a bit. Here are a couple of photos from my walk as well. It's starting to be properly spring over here, even though couple of days this week were fairly chilly. I'm heading to town soon to the health food shop, but before that I wanted to share my breakfast with you.

I didn't have the healthiest breakfast today, as I had already planned yesterday to make some tattie scones. I've shared a tattie scone recipe a few times before (at least here and here). They are Scottish potato cakes fried in butter, quite naughty, but oh so tasty. Now I made them with a 50/50 spelt and rye flour mix to make them even more wholesome. I left the skins on the potatoes for a more rustic finish. It saves a lot of time, if you cook the potatoes the previous night, and this time I was well prepared. I made a fairly large batch, so have some left for tomorrow, perfect!

Enjoy your weekend!

Your VegHog

19 March 2017

Potato and leek pierogi

I have been meaning to make vegetarian pierogi for ages, but only managed to make them now. Pierogi are basically Eastern European filled dumplings, and I always find the veggie versions so tasty. When I was a student a long time ago, my Russian friends showed me the method, and we cooked some lovely vegetarian potato pierogi together. I'm not sure, if I kept a lot of knowledge of their method, but I still remember that night very vividly.

Quite a while ago I found a recipe for vegan Potato Pierogi With Caramelized Onions by Isa Chandra, and saved it for future reference, as I knew that I would like to make pierogi again, and her recipe sounded like there wouldn't be too much fuss. So now I amended the recipe slightly, especially the filling, as I added leeks seasoned with cider, but followed her lead otherwise. Her tips especially for the dough are very valuable.

I served my pierogi with some fried onions and mushrooms and homemade kale crisps. It was a simple dish, but so good. Have a look at my recipe below.

Potato and leek pierogi

Adapted from Potato Pierogi With Caramelized Onions by Isa Chandra


For the filling:

500 g new potatoes
1 onion
1 garlic clove
1 leek
1 tbsp vegetable oil
Sprinkle of salt
Sprinkle of ground black pepper
Dash of dry cider (optional)

For the dough:

3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup warm water
3 cups wheat flour
Sprinkle of salt


Isa makes her dough last, because it's messy, but I like to get rid of this phase in the beginning. Mix the dough ingredients together, but leave one cup of flour on the side. Add it later, once the dough starts shaping. Knead for a while, wrap in cling film and let rest in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

Then off to the filling making: Cook the potatoes, mash and set to side. Chop the onion and garlic finely and slice the leek. Start frying the onion in vegetable oil until it's softened and slightly browned. Then add the garlic, soon followed by the leeks. Pour a dash of cider to the pot, if you like, and season. Let simmer under lid until the leeks are soft and all flavours have blended nicely.

Roll out a part of the dough and cut evenly sized circles from it. You can use a cookie cutter, or even a glass. Put about one tablespoon of the filling onto the dough circles, close by pinching and set to side on a floured surface. I even have a small pierogi maker that presses the sides together, so that was quite handy.

Bring a large pot of water to the boil, and cook the pierogi there in batches of about six. They are done when they float on the surface. I additionally fried them in some margarine, but this is optional, however it does add something nice to them.

Serve the pierogi with the sides of your choice and enjoy!

Have a relaxing Sunday!

Your VegHog

16 March 2017

Couscous with chilli-honey glazed halloumi

I've mentioned a few times before that I'm a fan of Gran Luchito, and their chilli sauces, and I can just keep repeating myself. They have a versatile range of smoked chilli paste, chilli ketchup, chilli mayo, chilli honey etc., all products that I've tried have been of excellent quality.

I sometimes also browse through their recipes on their webpage to find Mexican style cooking inspiration, and one time I stumbled upon this Chilli Honey Halloumi Couscous Salad Recipe.

I made the salad according the instructions and pretty much even stuck to the ingredient amounts (I used a slightly bigger halloumi...), and it was a complete revelation. I loved this dish so much and want to eat it every day. All the flavours complimented each other so well, the walnuts, spring onions, the glazed halloumi, all mixed in the mild fluffy couscous, simply so good! I have the feeling that this will become one of my standard dishes.

I'm not going to repeat the recipe here, as I didn't really change it. Head to the Gran Luchito page, if you want to see how this is made. They also have quite a nice YouTube channel, if you prefer watching recipe videos.

The chilli-honey can be a bit hard to find in shops, but I order it online, so it's fairly convenient. The product is totally worth it.

Your VegHog

14 March 2017

Favourite eateries in my area – Brewhouse and Kitchen / Sadler's Brewhouse and Barbeque

Today I want to write about two nice brewhouses in my area.

This is a very nice place to spend an afternoon with friends at. The atmosphere is great, the drinks are qualitative and the food is very tasty. Their nachos are a very nice to have to accompany the drinks. On their old menu they had a spectacular bread board and deep-fried mac'n'cheese bites. I really miss those dishes, but maybe they will return some day. It's still nice to go there for small get-togethers.

Sadler's is one of my favourite hangouts and you are likely to find me here on most weekends. Their menu is quite concentrated on the meaty dishes, but they also have excellent veggie options. The portions are huge, I mostly can't finish a main. They have a very good selection of drinks, obviously beers from the Sadler's brewery, and many other craft beers and ciders.

I like their burrito very much, but my favourite was a dish with deep fried Brie wedges, mac 'n' cheese bites, jalapeño poppers and chargrilled vegetables topped with hummus and pitta bread, which has now unfortunately been removed from the menu. At least I still have my archive photo to drool over.

My partner quite often has a double veggie burger topped with grated Emmental, served in a bun with fries and cornbread. It looks so good, but is a bit too large for me.

12 March 2017

Kale gnocchi with crispy sage butter

I got the idea for this wonderfully green dish from Mat Follas' cookbook Vegetable Perfection. Mat writes about Kale gnocchi with kale crisps (p. 38-39), and I was very much inspired by this recipe, but made my gnocchi slightly differently, so I'm sharing my own version below. I thought that it was a great idea using the nutty kale in gnocchi, instead of the usual spinach.

I served my portion with crispy sage butter, which is one of my all time favourite gnocchi sauces. Additionally I made a tomato-garlic sauce and a baked cheese twirl from vegetarian pasta cheese. Like Mat, I also made some kale crisps to be served on the side. I just tossed mine in little olive oil, smoked paprika and sea salt, and baked them crispy. All components went so well together, and my gnocchi held nicely their shape, so I was very pleased with this dish.

Kale gnocchi
Adapted from Kale gnocchi with kale crisps by Mat Follas, serves 4

700 g baking potatoes
100 g kale
2 egg yolks
1 cup wheat flour
½ tsp salt


Bake the potatoes in the oven until soft. Once they are cooled down, remove the potatoes from the skins and mash.

Purée the kale into a smooth paste.

Combine the ingredients for the dough and knead. Add more flour of needed.

Wrap the dough in cling film and let rest in the fridge for about an hour.

Shape long sticks from the dough, cut into about 2 cm long pieces and press lightly with a fork. Repeat this for the whole dough until all gnocchi have been shaped.

Bring water to boil in a large pot and add the gnocchi. They are done after a few minutes when they float on the surface.

Before serving I fried the gnocchi a little bit in the sage butter. This is optional, but it does give them a nice flavour and a slightly chewier texture.

Serve the gnocchi with the sides and enjoy!

I want to share this green recipe with this month's Eat Your Greens, which Shaheen is hosting.

Have a nice Sunday!

Your VegHog