31 May 2013

Spicy carrot and zucchini noodles

This is a colourful and summery vegan dish and the noodles are actually replaced by stringy carrot and zucchini. A dear friend of mine gave me this wonderful device that cuts vegetables into strings and that's what gave me the idea of a noodle-free noodle dish.


1 zucchini
1 carrot
1 packet of smoky tofu
1 onion
2 cloves of garlic
1-2 chilies
Ginger powder
Soy sauce
Umami paste
Rice wine
Sesame oil
Groundnut oil

Cut the zucchini and carrot into strings with a special vegetable cutter. Chop the tofu into small pieces. Also chop the onion, garlic and chili.

Heat groundnut oil in a pan and start by frying the tofu until it's firm and golden brown. Add the chili, onion and garlic and fry until they are translucent. Add some sesame oil as well.

Then add the carrot strings as they need longer cooking than the zucchini. Finally add the zucchini strings and season with ginger powder, soy sauce, umami paste and rice wine. Always taste the seasoning while you go and add more of any of the seasonings if needed. Let it simmer and stir occasionally until the veg is cooked and enjoy!

Your VegHog

30 May 2013

Steamed new potatoes with radish leaf pesto

The first harvest from The VegHog's garden (apart from herbs) has been made and I instantly cooked something with my new radishes. These radishes grew incredibly quickly in my small balcony box and I'm now going to plant the second batch. It's incredibly rewarding to be able to cook with the produce from your own garden that you watched growing.

I grew French breakfast radishes and like with other varieties the leaves are edible. Therefore I decided to make a radish leaf pesto. Of course the leaves have other uses as well, which I may explore at a later stage. Generally I'm a great appreciator of radish anyway but I very much liked this meal, which also is a fully vegan and you can basically make it in the blink of an eye.


New potatoes – Source them locally and steam them until cooked. Steaming of course keeps the vitamins in and there's no need to peel new potatoes as the peels are very thin and also nutricious.

For the radish leaf pesto:

The leaves of three radishes
1 clove of garlic
A handful of cashew nuts
Olive oil

While your potatoes are steaming you can prepare the pesto. Firstly blanch the radish leaves for ten seconds in boiling water and quickly transfer them into cold water and then drain. Puree the leaves with the garlic, cashew nuts, salt and olive oil and your spicy vegan pesto is done!

When the potatoes are steamed mix them with the pesto and serve the actual radishes on the side and enjoy!

You might have already guessed that this won't be my last radish recipe as the homegrown produce just keeps coming. Please also share your vegetable growing experiences with us!

Your VegHog

Cucumber salad with pepper and soft cheese dip

This is a light and summery salad with a tasty soft cheese dip and a fresh cucumber. Enjoy it as a snack or a side dish. The pepper dip also works beautifully with vegetable sticks, bread sticks, crisps, whatever you can think of!

This is all you need:

1 cucumber
1 orange romano pepper
150g plain light soft cheese
1 small onion
1 garlic clove
Small bunch of chives
Olive oil for frying
Salt & Pepper

First make the dip. Cut the pepper into thin and small strings and chop the onion and garlic finely. Fry these in olive oil and let simmer under the lid for about 15 minutes at moderate heat. Season with salt and pepper. Mix the veg with the soft cheese and add the chives.

Peel the cucumber and cut it into four pieces. Spread the pepper dip on the cucumber halves and enjoy.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

The VegHog's classic bean burger

This is in fact an old recipe from The VegHog's archive and it's a simple recipe for a basic bean burger. I'm looking into developing it further and have a few other variations but please try this one as well.

The preparation starts on the previous day if you use dried red kidney beans as they need to be soaked. Otherwise these are very easy to make.


1 cup dried red kidney beans
1 onion
1-2 cloves of garlic
1 chili
2 eggs
Bread crumbs


Soak the dried beans overnight and on the next day you can start with the actual burger making. First heavily boil the beans for about 15 minutes and then boil at lower heat for about one hour until they are fully soft. Then mash the cooked beans.

While the beans are boiling you can finely chop the onion, garlic and chili and mix them to the beans. Also season the mix with salt and pepper. I used a homegrown dried red chili and although it was tiny it was quite spicy. Let the burger mix cool down as otherwise you'll have difficulty shaping the burgers and keeping them together.

Once the mix is cooled down prepare a production line with a plate with beaten egg on it and another one with bread crumbs. Then heat a generous amount of vegetable oil in a pan. Shape a burger of the dough, roll it in the beaten egg and bread crumbs and fry from both sides until golden brown. Repeat these steps as long as you have bean mix left.

Serve with lovely buns, cheese and tomato or however you would like. Also have a look at my previous veggie burger recipes and tips how to make this vegan.


Your VegHog

26 May 2013

Char-grilled mushroom, spinach and cheese bagels

Here comes a wonderfully tasty breakfast, lunch or snack idea: char-grilled filled bagels. Not many instructions needed or much cooking involved!

4 plain bagels
4 chestnut mushrooms
A few leaves of spinach
Red Leicester cheese slices
1 onion
Groundnut oil for grilling

Slice the mushrooms, onion and cheese.

Fill the bagels with the ingredients and grill in a griddle pan until the bagels have some grilling stripes, the cheese has melted and the veg has cooked slightly. Turn over once.


Your VegHog

25 May 2013

Stuffed giant tomatoes

I managed to find very fragrant and tasty local tomatoes that were also huge, and I decided to make something new with them. It's a classic mix of tomato, mozzarella and basil but in a slightly different setting. Stuffing vegetables with cheese always seems like a good idea to me, so this is what I did.


2 large slicing tomatoes
1 mozzarella
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
Fresh basil leaves
Black pepper
Olive oil

Chop the onion, garlic and mozzarella. Cut a lid off the tomatoes and scoop their insides out.

Heat olive oil in a pan and fry the onions and garlic and add the tomato insides to it. Gently boil it all to a tomato sauce. Season with nutmeg, pepper, salt and fresh basil.

Place mozzarella pieces to the tomato cups and pour tomato sauce into them. Add more basil if needed. Put the lid back on the tomatoes.

Then bake at 180C for about 30 minutes or until cooked. Serve on its own or with pasta.


Your VegHog

23 May 2013

Vegetarian sausage rolls

I wanted to post a quick but slightly exciting recipe: veggie sausage rolls. Sausage rolls are very popular in Britain so why shouldn't vegetarians also be able to eat a similar snack. They are easy to make especially if you use ready made puff pastry and veggie sausages as I did on this occasion.

This is all you need:

6 Vegetarian Cumberland sausages
1 Sheet of puff pastry
A few slices of red Leicester cheese
Fresh sage
1 Egg

Heat oil in a pan and fry the veggie sausages until they are slightly browned and let them cool down.

Spread the puff pastry and place cheese slices and sage on it. Then also place the veggie sausages on the top.

Wrap the pastry around the sausage and brush with a beaten egg. Make decorational cuts on the pastry and bake at 180C for 20 minutes until they are baked golden brown.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

22 May 2013

Sun-dried tomato and asparagus deep pan pizza with lemon

I'm normally not so keen on deep pan pizzas as I prefer a thin crust pizza. Nevertheless I decided to make a spring pan pizza with some fresh local asparagus and it turned out really good.

For the base:

Wheat flour
Olive oil


Sun-dried tomatoes
Lemon juice
White wine

First make a fluffy pizza dough and let it rise while you prepare the filling.

Re-hydrate the sun-dried tomatoes in some white wine and char-grill the asparagus until it has some grilling marks.

Once the dough has risen, spread it into an oven pan and place the sun-dried tomatoes and asparagus on top. Season with the herbs and squeeze some lemon juice on it and cover with plenty of mozzarella cheese.

Bake at 180C for 30-40 minutes until the dough is fully baked and the cheese melted and golden brown.


Your VegHog

21 May 2013

Galette de pommes de terre

This is a recipe for a potato cake or bake made in the style of a french Galette de pommes de terre but I believe that my version really is the easy way out. As it will be baked and not fried there are much less steps. This can be a main meal served with salad or a good addition to roasted or steamed vegetables or vegetarian burgers.


4 large potatoes

Slice the potatoes thinly, about 2 mm thick each and place them into a greased oven dish or cake tin. Place them nicely half overlapping into a circle. Brush the potatoes with melted butter and season after two potato slice layers. Grate nutmeg on the potatoes, sprinkle salt, fresh parsley and thyme.

Then add two more potato slice layers, repeat the buttering and seasoning and bake in the oven at 180C for one hour or slightly longer until the potatoes are baked golden brown and crispy around the edges.

Served here with just some roasted tomatoes and garlic.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

19 May 2013

Cheese and rye rolls

This recipe makes about ten tasty, fresh and healthy rolls.


4dl rye flour
3dl wheat flour
100g mature Cheddar cheese
2,5dl milk
50g butter
25g dry yeast
1tsp salt

Grate the cheese and melt the butter and then start preparing the rest of the dough. First mix the dry ingredients together. Add lukewarm milk and the grated cheese to the mix. Finally add the melted butter and mix to make sure that you have an even dough. Let it rise for about 40 minutes under a tea towel.

Shape rolls of the dough and place them on a baking tray. Sprinkle grated cheese on the top and bake at 225C for 10-15 minutes.

Here served with butter and homegrown watercress.

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog

Kropsu – Ostrobothnian oven pancake

Today I'm making a local speciality from my home region Ostrobothnia in Western Finland. It's called Kropsu and it's a thick pancake baked in the oven. It's an easy and quick breakfast or snack and the baking saves you the effort that frying requires. This dish practically makes itself.

It goes something like this.

4 eggs
3dl flour
500ml milk
1tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

Beat the eggs and add the flour, sugar, salt and milk. Beat until there are no lumps. I used my beautiful new Normann Copenhagen Beater that works like a dream. 

Let the dough rise for about 30 minutes. Then bake in a greased oven dish at 225C for 30 minutes or until golden brown. The pancake will go up like souffle and will have a fluffy texture.

Serve just spread with butter or jam or fresh berries.


Your VegHog

15 May 2013

Sweet potato gnocchi with pesto

This is another one of my gnocchi recipes: simple but delicious. Try it!

For the pesto:

Large bunch of fresh basil
Vegetarian parmigiano
Pine nuts
Olive oil

Make the pesto first as it can rest in the fridge until the gnocchi is ready. Grate the vegetarian parmigiano. Grind the garlic and pine nuts, add the cheese, basil and olive oil to it and grind to a smooth paste with a hand mixer. Put it into a sealable container and let rest in the fridge.

Tip: Freeze cubes of the pesto in an ice cube tray to be used later. That way you'll always have a quick pesto at hand!

For the gnocchi:

300g Sweet potatoes
200g Potatoes
1 dl Wheat flour
1 tsp Salt

I used a mix of regular waxy potatoes and sweet potatoes as regular potatoes are more binding. Peel the potatoes and the sweet potatoes and boil them for about 30 minutes until they are soft and let them cool down. Then mash them by pressing through a potato ricer into a bowl. Add a pinch of salt and some flour into the bowl and mix and knead until you have a bouncy firm paste that can easily be shaped. Add flour carefully while checking the texture of the dough. It's important to get a texture that is bouncy and holds together at the boiling stage and that doesn't get soggy.

Shape the dough into small balls with teaspoons or by hand. Another method is to make a longish thin rod and then cut small pieces out of it. Bring water to the boil and put the gnocchi in, let boil heavily throughout. Boil until they float on the surface, which happens quite quickly.

Mix the gnocchi with the pesto and enjoy!

Stay hungry!

Your VegHog