26 February 2017

Thai rice with fennel, carrots and cashews

Light vegan Thai dishes are my favourites at the moment, and I can imagine cooking more this type of dishes towards the spring. I made once again a similar rice dish with Thai flavours, as I have done a few times before. You can use whatever vegetables you have, but as I have been also so fond of fennel lately, I chose to use fennel paired with the basic and economical carrots that go well in so many dishes. This was a very tasty and flavoursome dish.

Thai rice with fennel, carrot and cashews


1 fennel
2 carrots
1 onion
3 garlic cloves
3 cm fresh ginger
1 small chilli
1 tbsp vegetable oil
160 ml coconut cream
Bunch fresh Thai basil
Bunch fresh coriander
2 dried lemongrass stalks
1 lime's juice
2 tbsp soy sauce
150 g cashew nuts
1 cup jasmine rice


Cook the jasmine rice in water.

Chop the cashew nuts coarsely and toast them on a dry pan.

Chop the fennel into slices and the carrots into slices. Also chop the onion, garlic, ginger and chilli finely.

Start cooking the onion in vegetable oil, and once it's soft and slightly browned, add the garlic, ginger and chilli to the pan.

After a while also add the carrots, soon followed by the fennel. Cook for a little while and then add the coconut cream and spices.

Let the mix simmer, and shortly before serving, mix in the rice and cashews.


Your VegHog

23 February 2017

One-pot spaghetti

I can't believe that I avoided making a one-pot pasta for this long, but now I have finally made it, I have joined the club of the one-pot cooks! This recipe by Anna Jones: Kale, Tomato and lemon zest one-pot spaghetti was the one that ultimately persuaded me. It turned out to be a really tasty pasta dish.

This dish was so convenient to make and such a revelation. My partner often makes remarks about how many pots and pans and bowls I usually use to make one dish, but now he was really surprised.

You can find the original recipe through the link, but I also made some small amendments of my own. I used kalettes instead of kale and only zest of one lemon, which I found to be enough lemony taste. Kalettes are pretty much my favourite greens of the season, they can go just anywhere. I also added some garlic to the recipe, as I simply don't seem to be able to cook without garlic. I chose spaghetti as my preferred pasta and it worked out very nicely. What a nice sauce the pasta cooking water shaped with the olive oil, tomatoes and other seasoning. It was really amazing and makes my other weekday pastas look quite lame.

What are your experiences with one-pot pasta dishes?

Your VegHog 

21 February 2017

Vegan Flemish inspired stew

My partner loves eating stews, especially the ones that contain beer. So I had to give in and make such a dish again, and I wasn't disappointed myself either, as this was a really nice and warming vegan winter dish. It may look a bit rustic, but it was full of flavour.

A rich and malty dark Belgian beer is the best for this dish. Hoppy beers or wheat beer wouldn't work in this dish, so I decided to use Gouden Carolus Classic, which was pretty much the perfect choice. This is a vegan stew with otherwise basic ingredients so it's perfect for economical eating as well. My cheap eats week is over, but it doesn't harm to make more economical cooking choices.

Vegan Flemish inspired stew


Vegetable oil
3 medium onions
Pinch of salt
400 g small potatoes
1 large carrot
2 cloves garlic
150 ml dark Belgian beer
1 tbsp vegetable stock extract or to taste
1 large bay leaf
Couple of grinds of black pepper
1 tsp dried thyme
½ cup dried broad bean crunch


Chop the onions into half moons and caramelise them in the vegetable oil with the pinch of salt. Let them caramelise under the lid until they are very soft and brown. Stir every 5-10 minutes.

Chop the potatoes into chunks. I leave the peels on, but you can peel if you prefer.

Chop the carrot into fine slices and the garlic finely.

Add the carrots and the garlic and fry for a minute or two, and then add the beer.

Stir and cook off the alcohol for a couple of minutes, then add the potatoes.

Cover the potatoes with water or vegetable stock. I added water and then the vegetable stock extract.

Add the bay leaf, black pepper and thyme.

Let it lightly boil under the lid until the potatoes cooked and melting in the mouth. Stir occasionally while it's cooking.

Add the broad bean crunch to the stew and let it cook until done. Alternatively soy mince or beans can be used.

Once all the flavours have blended nicely after the slow cooking, serve the dish.


Your VegHog

19 February 2017

Rice and soya pasties

Here is a quick veggie pasty post before I start preparing tonight's dinner. I love slow cooking on a Sunday and spend quite a few hours in the kitchen. I stream either a TV programme or listen to music while I'm at it. I often also have a few sips of refreshing cider and try not to think of the approaching Monday. So today I'm going to make the same dish again that I posted a few weeks back, Braised cauliflower, roast potatoes and beurre blanc. I liked it so much, it's rich and comforting, which makes it perfect for a winter Sunday dinner.

But now to the pasties. Veggie pasties are very tasty and perfect snacks for any occasion. This time I chose a rice, soya mince and carrot mix as the filling. I used a purple carrot, an orange carrot and red camargue rice, which made the filling quite vibrant and interesting looking. These pasties were tasty too and I will soon make some more. 

4 large rice and soya pasties


1/3 cup red camargue rice
1/3 cup dried soya mince
1 onion
2 carrots
2 garlic cloves
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
1 tbsp liquid smoke
320 g puff pastry


Cook the rice and soya mince separately in water.

Chop the onion, carrot and garlic finely and cook them in olive oil.

Season the mix after the rice and soya mince have also been mixed in.

Wrap the filling in puff pastry pockets and bake at 200 C for about 20 minutes.


Your VegHog

18 February 2017

Mexican dirty potatoes

Are you also seeing dirty fries on so many menus? I have only a few times seen a vegetarian version of these loaded fries and find them quite tasty and a nice change from the usual. I guess vegetarian dirty fries can be loaded with cheese, chilli, different vegetables and dips, anything basically that would go in that combo.

I was somewhat inspired by the “dirtiness” of the fries for this vegan roast potato dish. I stole the name from the fries, even though these weren't fries, but potatoes anyway. So I made roast potatoes with a Mexican twist by adding some pepper, black beans, sweetcorn and the typical Mexican spices. 

Mexican dirty potatoes


400 g potatoes
Olive oil for roasting
1 large red romano pepper
1 large onion
3 garlic cloves
1 small chilli
1 can black beans
1 small can sweetcorn
2 tsp smoked chilli paste
½ tsp ground cumin
½ tsp ground coriander
1 tsp smoked paprika
Sprinkle of salt
Fresh coriander (optional)


Cut the potatoes into quarters or smaller pieces and cook them in water for about 15 minutes. Then place them into a baking tray with olive oil. Roast at 200 C for about 40 minutes.

Prep the rest of the ingredients in the meanwhile: chop the pepper, onion, garlic and chilli. Add the pepper first to the potatoes and roast for about 10 minutes. After that time also add the beans, sweetcorn, chilli, garlic and onion.

Roast for about 40 minutes more. I covered the dish for the first 20 minutes with foil, but that's optional. I just thought that without a foil the dish may dry out too much.

Mix the smoked chilli paste, ground cumin, ground coriander, smoked paprika and salt with a dash of olive oil and water to make a liquid paste. Season the contents of the oven dish with the seasoning paste and return to the oven for a few minutes until the flavours have blended in nicely.

You can serve this with some nice fragrant fresh coriander, or even a bit of grated cheese, if you want to have a non-vegan version.


Your VegHog

14 February 2017

Vegan Valentine

Will you be my vegan Valentine? Haha, I'm just having a bit of fun, I'm not really one for Valentine's Day. In Finland it's known as friends' day, Ystävänpäivä, which I find somewhat better. So I want to wish all my readers a very happy friends' day!

Somehow the season gripped me anyway, and I made some “romantic” lunchboxes for my partner and me containing beetroot coloured onigiri hearts made from sushi rice and some fresh vegetables and a spicy chilli-soy-sesameoil-dip. It was all presented in the style of a bento box. I cooked the sushi rice with a few beetroot bits in the pot in order to colour it red. I also added a umeboshi paste centre to the hearts, just a little bit, in order to have a spicy zing inside.

How are you spending Valentine's Day? Do you have any food traditions for it?

Your VegHog

12 February 2017

The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017 Round Up

This week was The VegHog's Cheap Eats Week 2017, which has now finally come to its end. I've been following my money spending more closely and trying to cook in a more economical way. I've been trying to utilise many things from my dry cupboard and using seasonal vegetables for cooking. I think that planning is key when you want to save money. I made a weekly cooking plan and stuck to it, used what I already had, used left-overs whenever possible etc. It wasn't difficult to do, so I'm wondering why I'm sometimes so lazy to plan properly, which often leads to food waste. I will try to be better now in any case, as I have a big project to save for, but I still don't want to blog less or let the quality slip. We will see how it goes, thankfully vegetarian cooking isn't too expensive in any case.

This week I also called for my fellow food bloggers to take part and share their money saving recipes, and here are the lovely entries I received.

Laura posted a recipe for Chickpeas & veggies soup with rainbow salad. She also told how her taste buds have changed with the time, as as a child she couldn't stand a vinegar addition to her soup, which her parents used to do, but now she really likes it. This soup contains a lot of veggies, carrots, parsnip, broccoli with chickpeas and pasta. Sounds like a really wholesome veggie soup and I wouldn't mind trying that vinegar addition either. The salad is also wonderfully colourful and healthy. Those root vegetables and cabbage are really economical and so versatile.

Shaheen shared a Cinnamon Spice Butternut Squash and Chickpea Curry. This dish is great for cheap eats, as you can make a bigger bowl and heat it up on several days and stretch by adding some rice on the side. That's always a very clever money and time saving way of cooking. Also the ingredients are on the economical side. I like to cook a lot with chickpeas and seasonal squashes, as that tends to be quite cheap. This is a mild curry with lots of warming spices, and I really like the look of that cinnamon quill in the bowl. A chickpea curry of some sort is already on my planner for next week.

Thank you so much for these entries Laura and Shaheen, I'm so happy about both of them. I currently have so many bags of dried chickpeas in the cupboard and needed a bit of inspiration for them, so these dishes are just perfect to try.

I hope you have enjoyed the Cheap Eats Week, which will probably return next year. Have a pleasant Sunday!

Your VegHog