29 March 2013

Olive, pineapple and mushroom pizza

I love pizza! If you do too, please take a moment and read about my take on a good homemade pizza. This time I'm making pizza with one of my favourite topping combinations: olive, pineapple and mushroom. For me pineapple is a really important pizza topping but not so commonly used everywhere.

I'm very sorry that I can't reveal the proportions to my secret pizza dough. No, it's just that I have to make it with fingertip feel to get it right and I think it's something that everybody should learn. The secret is also partly in wheat rye flower mix for the dough. By the way I prefer a thin crust pizza with double cheese any day. I normally make a large batch of dough and then directly make several pizzas while I'm at it.

You'll need for the dough:

Wheat flour
Rye flour
Dry yeast
Olive oil

You'll need for the topping:

Black olives
Closed cup mushrooms
Pineapple slices
Olive oil

Make it so:

First make the dough, which can then rise when you're doing other preparations. Mix the dry ingrerients, then add some warm water at room temperature, that'll start the yeast working, and knead until the dough is nice and even. Then add a little olive oil and knead some more. Add more flour or water if your dough doesn't have the right texture. Now the dough shouldn't stick to the bowl. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm room for about an hour.

Then make the tomato sauce. Bring water to boil, make x-cuts on the tomatoes and dip them into boiling water for about 30 seconds. They should now easily peel. Chop the onion and garlic cloves and start frying them in olive oil. When they are translucent add the peeled tomatoes and crush them. Let it simmer under cover for about 20 minutes while occasionally stirring. Towards the end add fresh basil leaves to the sauce and season with salt and pepper. Puree the sauce with a hand mixed and set to side.

Chop the mushrooms for the topping. I leave the olives whole and use pineapple slices from the tin and slice them into smaller pieces. When your dough is done, roll it out on a baking tray. If you prefer a fluffier crust you can let it rise again under a tea towel. Then spoon the sauce on the dough and put the toppings and cheese on it and bake at 220C for about 15 minutes.

If you're not used to making your own pizza, I really recommend you to try it. It's surprisingly easy and you can make it exactly to your own liking. I will be posting many other pizza recipes as I'm an pizza addict.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

26 March 2013


It's the best thing ever if you have your own garden and are able to grow your own vegetables but there's something rewarding in just growing herbs on your window sill. The VegHog is a flat dweller but that doesn't stop it from having fresh herbs and chili around. Its humble chili plantage has given it many chilies to use either fresh or dried.

Fresh herbs are so nice and flavoursome for seasoning different dishes and so easy to grow. You can either buy them in a grown state or buy the seeds. Sometimes however the ready grown supermarket herbs won't last that long.

Spring is coming sooner or later, so I have planted something new indoors and have plans for moving them to the balcony when it gets warmer. I will be growing wild strawberries, herbs, chili, cherry tomatoes and beans. Hopefully I'll be able to harvest some of them later in the year. Watch this space!

Happy planting moments!

Your VegHog

24 March 2013

Char-grilled pineapple and balsamic glazed tofu salad

I'm so enthusiastic about my new Le Creuset griddle pan and now pretty much everything I eat is char-grilled, all vegetables are marked! What a lovely smoky taste it gives to vegetables and also a great stripy look. It's certain that this won't be the last grilled dish in this blog.

Today I'm making a salad with char-grilled pineapple slices and balsamic glazed tofu bits and playing with the juxtaposition of warm and cold and savoury and fresh.


Pineapple slices
Wild rocket
Pine nuts
Chili flakes
Balsamic vinegar
Soy sauce


First marinate the tofu and pineapple slices. Press the excess fluid out of the tofu, then slice it and put the slices into a sealable container. Make the marinade by mixing balsamic vinegar, soy sauce and chopped garlic and pour the marinade to the tofu. Seal the container and shake it a little bit to make sure that the marinade gets everywhere around the tofu. Let it marinate for at least one hour in the fridge, but the longer the better. You could marinate the tofu overnight if you're planning this salad ahead. Take another container where to place the pineapples. Pour soy sauce in and let them marinate in the fridge as well.

When tofu and pineapple have marinated long enough heat a griddle pan. When the pan is hot brush groundnut or vegetable oil on it with a heat resistant silicone brush. Grill the tofu first as it needs longer time to grill and quite a patient grill user. You would want it to be tough on the outside and soft in the inside. While turning the tofu pieces over you can brush more marinade on them. Once the tofu pieces are almost done add the pineapple slices to the pan. If they don't fit onto the pan at the same time put the tofu into the oven to keep warm. Pineapple is a more rewarding grilling fruit as it should get the stripes quite quickly.

While grilling you can prepare the rest of the salad: Wash the wild rocket and place it on a plate. Sprinkle chili flakes and pine nuts onto the plate. When tofu and pineapple are done, place them on the top when they're still warm and garnish the salad with balsamic vinegar.


The VegHog

23 March 2013

Broccoli and potato cream soup

Winter doesn't seem to be over yet, so let us eat soup! A soup with broccoli and potato is something fine and I occasionally like to enjoy it. This soup is not just tasty but I also believe broccoli to be fairly healthy but convince yourself based on facts


1 Broccoli
200g Potatoes
4 Cloves of garlic
1-2 Shallotts
Vegetable stock
1dl Cream
Olive oil


Peel the potatoes and dice them into smaller pieces and chop the shallots and garlic. Prepare the vegetable stock and add some rosemary to it. Cut the broccoli into smaller pieces.

Heat some olive oil in a pan. Slightly fry the potatoes in the oil, then add the onions and after a while the garlic. When all of these are nicely glazed put in the broccoli and the vegetable stock. Bring to simmer under lid by occasionally stirring. It will take around 30 minutes until everything is nicely cooked. Add some of the cream into the pan and then puree the soup with a hand mixer.

Season the soup with salt and pepper and let it simmer further. Season with additional rosemary if needed. You can add some more cream if you like but you don't necessarily have to add all of the cream depending on your personal taste. Cream can also be left out completely, even naturally the soup becomes quite creamy and then you would have a vegan soup.

Once the taste has developed enough serve the soup piping hot. 

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

21 March 2013

Tomato and chili macaroni bake

This is a quick pasta bake for a weekday dinner, which doesn't require loads of ingredients, time or effort. It tastes good nevertheless. I usually find pasta bakes almost better than pasta dishes as the bakes are covered in melted cheese!
You'll need:

1 Onion
1 Chili
4-6 Tomatoes
2 Garlic cloves
Emmentaler grated
Fresh basil leaves
Olive oil

Do so:

Pre-boil the macaroni until slightly tougher than al dente. They will cook further in the oven at a later stage.

Chop the tomatoes, onion, garlic and chili and grate the cheese.

Heat a little oil in a pan and fry the chopped onion first. When it is translucent add the tomatoes, and after a while frying and stirring, the garlic and chili. 

Season with salt, pepper and basil.

Add the macaroni to the sauce, stir through and put it all into an oven dish. Place grated cheese on the top and bake at 175C for about 20-30 minutes.


Your VegHog

20 March 2013

Courgette Schnitzel with mashed potatoes and steamed mini cauliflowers


This entry is basically only a serving suggestion for my own speciality Schnitzel, which I previously shared here: The VegHog's special courgette Schnitzel but I combined it with a really nice meal so I thought I'd tell you about it. I decided not to eat them in burger format as usual but to serve with potato mash and steamed mini cauliflowers. The mini cauliflowers looked so cute in the shop so I simply had to buy them.

I tend to make a large Schnitzel batch every time and therefore already had them in the freezer. My Schnitzel are easy to make so by all means you can make this whole meal from scratch on one day. If you don't have the Schnitzel ready start by making them first while referring to these instructions.

Apart from that you won't need many things for a dinner for two: a few potatoes, an onion, couple of mini cauliflowers and some butter and oil. Start by peeling the potatoes and boiling them for about 30 minutes until they are ready to be mashed. In the meanwhile cut the onion into rings and fry them in oil.

When the potatoes are almost boiled place the whole cauliflowers into a steamer. They will steam pretty quickly since they are so small. Mash the potatoes and stir butter into the mash. Then warm up the Schnitzel in a pan.

Place everything on a plate, put butter on the mash and cauliflowers and enjoy a hearty but pale veggie meal. Pair it with a fresh side salad and you'll have a feast!

Until the next time!

Your VegHog

19 March 2013

Potato breads

These breads are in the style of traditional Finnish perunarieska, a potato flatbread. The only major change I made was using spelt flour instead of the normally used barley flour. Barley flour is awfully difficult to obtain in England and I didn't feel like milling or grinding pearl barley myself.

Ingredients to make about 8 small flatbreads

500g Potatoes
1 Egg
1dl Spelt flour
2dl Wheat flour
1tsp Salt


Peel the potatoes and boil them until soft. Then chase them through a potato ricer or just mash them as usual. Add the egg to the potatoes and stir. Then add the flours and salt and knead until the dough is even.

Shape small flatbreads of the dough and place them on a greased baking tray or baking paper. If you so will you can also make a larger bread. Typically this is a very easy dough to shape as the potatoes are good binding agents. Obviously it pays off using tasty waxy potatoes.

Stab some fork marks on the top of the breads and bake them at 180-200C for about 20 minutes until they have received brown spots.

They taste superb just with some butter or margarine.


Your VegHog

17 March 2013

Risotto burger with tomato, mozzarella and ciabatta

A risotto burger might sound fairly strange at first but just think about it how brilliant it must be! I got this idea mainly through the love for risotto and vegetarian Schnitzels and decided to try to make some. This was my first attempt and I'm sure that there will be more and I also have some ideas how to make them even better.

It's best to do these burgers the next day after making risotto. It's quite convenient usage for the left-over risotto. You can also cook the risotto just for the burgers but that's much more work for one day. I used a mushroom and pepper risotto for the burgers, which was similar to the risotto that I made here, only the asparagus is missing.


2-3 Eggs
Bread crumbs
Olive oil
Ciabatta rolls
Cherry tomatoes
Wild rocket

Beat the eggs on a deep plate and place the bread crumbs on another plate next to it. In that way you'll have a perfect production line for the burgers.

Heat olive oil in a pan. Olive oil isn't traditionally used that much for frying but Italian ingredients dominate in these burgers, so a nice olive oil note won't harm.

Take the risotto out of the refrigerator and shape burgers of it when it's in a cold state. If the risotto doesn't easily want to stick in a burger shape, stir a little wheat flour into the risotto and some beaten egg if needed. That should bind it better. If you want to make the burgers even more succulent mix some grated mozzarella into the risotto before shaping the burgers.

Roll the burgers first on the beaten egg plate and then in the breadcrumbs. Move them swiftly into the hot pan. Regulate the pan's heat if needed, it should be hot enough to fry the burgers until properly crispy but not too hot that they're about to burn. Turn the burgers over when one side is nicely fried golden brown and crispy. Place the fried burgers to the side and repeat this frying as long as you have some risotto left. It's totally up to you how many you want to make.

While frying you can do the rest of the preparations for the burgers: Bake the ciabatta rolls in the oven by following the info on the package. Even better if you can make your own ciabatti. Wash the rocket and tomatoes and chop the tomatoes and mozzarella into thin slices.

Before serving just stack all ingredients in a burger style on the ciabatta.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

14 March 2013

Pink grapefruit & gin cocktail

It's time for a little drink after all that heavy cooking and baking, and also my last drink related article was a while ago. I'm not the best friend of cocktails being more of a cider hog but sometimes a refreshing cocktail can be nice. So let us mix a G&G cocktail and practise for the summer for it'll come one day. One could even claim that this is a fairly healthy drink with all those vitamins but maybe I don't want to exaggerate.

Fresh pink grapefruits
Fresh lime
Crushed ice

Press juice out of the pink grapefruit and lime. Pour some gin into a nice glass and then grapefruit and lime juice on it. You can regulate the alcohol amount easily according to your preferences and taste. Crush some ice to go with it, mix and enjoy!

I can't wait until it's warmer and I can enjoy this outdoors.

Until the next time!

Your VegHog

13 March 2013

Tyrkisk Peber muffins – Turkinpippurimuffinssit

Let's make weird black muffins! One day I had this insane baking idea of making Tyrkisk Peber muffins. Tyrkisk Peber is basically Finnish salty liquorice "salmiak" and very popular among Finns and Scandinavians but other people sometimes find it slightly peculiar. I wonder why that is when it has been described as "tongue-numbing"and "almost-stinging"? Well I for one am obsessed with salmiak and I sometimes try to put it where it doesn't necessarily have any business being in.

These muffins are quite sweet although they have the slight spiciness of the liquorice. I tried not to overdo it with the Tyrkisk Peber but it still can be clearly tasted. You could also use other Tyrkisk Peber variations than the original. I could imagine that the Hot&Sour product would work out well in this. I think even some other salmiak or liquorice products would do as it can be hard to get the originals outside of Finland.

This recipe will make about 15 muffins.

For the muffin dough:

2 Eggs
150ml Milk
100ml Liquid salmiak extract
300g Wheat flour
100ml Butter
85g Sugar
3tsp Baking powder
10 Crushed Tyrkisk Peber sweets

For the icing:

50g Icing sugar
Few table spoons of liquid salmiak extract
15 Whole Tyrkisk Peber sweets
Some Tyrkisk Peber crush

Preparations are fairly simple. First preheat the oven to 180-200C.

Crush the Tyrkisk Peber sweets: put them into a bag and hammer away. I prefer a hammer for the job but also a ready crushed Tyrkisk Peber product for baking can be obtained at least in Finland.

Mix ingredients for the muffin dough: first mix the eggs, sugar, milk and salmiak extract into a smooth mixture. Then add the flour, baking powder and Tyrkisk Peber crush. Save some of the crush for the icing. Mix these until you have an even dough.

Put the dough into muffin cases, fill them up to the middle. Bake about 25-30 minutes until the muffins are baked throughout and let the muffins cool down afterwards.

In the meanwhile prepare the icing by mixing the icing sugar with some salmiak extract. You need to have a really tough texture that the icing isn't too runny.

Squirt the icing with an icing gun on the muffins, sprinkle Tyrkisk Peber crush on the top and place a whole Tyrkisk Peber sweet on each muffin.

Serve to your puzzled friends and enjoy!

If you got curious also check out my previous Tyrkisk Peber recipe, a cool sundae

Your VegHog

11 March 2013

Garlicky stuffed mushrooms

These cheesy stuffed mushrooms really make my mouth water, it's a very good and tasty vegetarian dish. They can be combined as a side to many different dishes but I think my favourite has to be the combination with mashed potatoes. I like them very garlicky, so you might want to reduce the amount of garlic if you don't like too much.


4 Large portobello mushrooms
1 Red onion
3 Cloves of garlic
A cup of bread crumbs
Emmentaler cheese
1 Garlic stock cube
A glass of white wine
Some fresh basil leaves
Salt and pepper
Olive oil


Wash the portobello mushrooms and remove their stems. Place the mushrooms into an oven dish. Finely chop the mushroom stems, onion and garlic cloves. Grate the Emmentaler cheese.

Fry the onion and chopped mushroom stems in olive oil for about 10 minutes at moderate heat. Then add the garlic and simmer further. After a while pour a glass of white wine into the pan and let it evaporate. Add the stock cube into the pan while there's still plenty of liquid and stir. Season with a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

Take the pan off the heat and add the grated cheese while stirring. Divide the stuffing into the mushrooms and throw some bread crumbs on the top.

Bake at 180C until the mushrooms are fully cooked and the tops are somewhat brown with crispy bread crumbs. Place a basil leaf or two on each and serve. If you serve them with my recommendation, potato mash, pour some of the liquid from the oven dish over it.

Have a good one!

Your VegHog

10 March 2013

Mushroom, chestnut and potato pie

Here it goes: The VegHog's attempt to tackle a British style shortcrust veggie pie with its own ideas! This was a result of a brainstorm of what might go well together and be suitable to a pie. This will also mark the end of the British Pie Week 2013. It has been a blast but I'm also happy to eat something else for a change.


For the shortcrust pastry:

60g Butter
60g Margarine
100g Wheat flour
100g Rye flour
A pinch of salt
3-4 tbsp Cold water

For the filling:

200g Baby button mushrooms
8 Small new potatoes
120g Chestnuts
A bunch of spring onions
A glass of white wine
200ml Vegetable stock
Some dried porcini mushrooms
A sprig of rosemary
2 Garlic Cloves
Butter for frying and greasing
Olive oil


Make the pastry first. For the special VegHog touch the pastry had to have rye in it. Put the soft butter and margarine into a bowl and add both flours and the salt. Pinch the dough with your fingers until you have it all mixed properly. The texture should be like small crumbs. Add 3-4 tablespoons water to bind the dough and keep kneading until you have a firm ball of dough. Put the dough into the fridge in a cling film and let it rest for at least 30 minutes.

Prepare the vegetable stock and put some rosemary in with it. Peel the potatoes and cut them in half. Heat some butter in a pan and first fry the potatoes there until they get some colour, then add some vegetable stock (up to the middle of the potatoes) and boil them under lid until tender. This is a similar method to making fondant potaoes. Now you can add the dried porcinis into the vegetable stock for later usage. I decided to add porcini mushrooms to the pie to get a more intense mushroom taste.

Wash the button mushrooms and spring onions. Cut the mushrooms in half and the spring onions into small rings. Finely chop the garlic. Fry the spring onions, mushrooms and garlic in some olive oil until they are pretty much done. Deglaze the pan with white wine when it's hot and let the wine evaporate. Then add the rest of the vegetable stock and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Towards the end, put the chestnuts in. I used cooked chestnuts from a can so they don't need much boiling. Let this mix cool down before putting onto the pastry.

When the filling is ready and the dough has rested long enough in the fridge, start filling the pie. Take a pie baking tin (Ø 20cm) and grease it with butter. Take 2/3 of the pastry and roll it out thin. Place the pastry into the tin and start filling it.

First put the fondant potatoes on the bottom. Then cover them with the mushroom and chestnut mix. Roll out the rest of the pastry to a lid and place it on the top. Seal the edges and make some patterns on the lid with a pastry cutter or a knife.

Bake in the oven at 180C for 40-50 minutes. Let the pie settle before serving.

Enjoy your pie and hopefully you've had a good pie week! I can hardly wait until next year to make much better pies.

Your VegHog

9 March 2013

Sweet pepper and feta pie

This is a pie for a lazy cooking day but that doesn't make it any less tasty. This is a perfect pie for busy weekdays when there isn't much time for cooking.


1 Puff pastry sheet
1 Packet of feta cheese
1 Sweet pointed red pepper
1 Red onion
1 Garlic clove

The preparations are simple. Just slice the pepper, garlic and onion and crush the feta cheese.

Spread a sheet of puff pastry on a baking tray. Put the veg and cheese on it in pizza style. Grind black pepper on the top.

Bake at 180C for about 20 minutes until pastry is puffy around the edges and golden brown.

Stay hungry!

The VegHog