23 August 2016

Holiday photos from Finland


Here are some of my holiday photos from Finland trying to transmit the holiday atmosphere and whatever I got up to there. I hope you'll enjoy these photos. I have a few more Finland posts in store, which I will post as soon as possible.

Helsinki and Flow Festival

First of all I arrived in Helsinki with my partner, where we met a very good friend of mine and also visited a music festival called Flow. In Helsinki city we went to the Market Square as usual, as there are so many lovely looking stalls offering local produce. There's nothing better for me than fresh Finnish summer produce. I especially like fresh chanterelles, they are so very tasty. We also visited a covered food market next to the Market Square outdoor market.

Flow Festival had a whole section selling vegan street food, and I had to try several things as you can imagine, even when I wasn't that hungry anymore. Unfortunately I didn't manage to try all of them, but was very well fed for the festival day. I have another post coming, where I'll write about a couple of more dishes from there, but these kale-broadbean sticks with pea hummus were just lovely and so was a falafel platter with dips.

Helsinki is a very pretty city in the summer. If you have never been, I can only warmly recommend.













At home

After the visit to Helsinki it was time to go home to visit my family. At my mum's and granddad's places I got up to the usual summer activities of the countryside, foraging, walking in the forest and going to the sauna. These are the most relaxing things I could do on my holiday and I do feel really refreshed after this.

The forests were absolutely loaded with lingonberries, it looked so pretty. I like lingonberries, although they are very intense tasting and can be overpowering. However they are so healthy. This summer has also been very good for wild mushrooms in Finland (both edible and poisonous ones, need to be very careful when foraging) and we managed to find some chanterelles. I made a cheesy chanterelle tart, but used the mushrooms that I bought at the market in Helsinki for this.

The weather was quite rainy and so the river by my mum's house started flooding, luckily not too much. We had some nice and sunny days too and it was warm throughout.

I also did some cooking and was delighted about some new products I found. There was a really good fresh beetroot pasta and a mix to make veggie burgers from grains. It was so nice to use the seasonal berries from the garden or the forest in different dishes as a boost.






















22 August 2016

Nectarine and beluga lentil salad


So I'm back from my holiday and first of all wanted to share a salad with you, which I made in Finland. I had a wonderful time with my family and have a lot to write to you about. I feel refreshed and still have a few days off work to spend here in England. I am going to post plenty of holiday pictures soon and write about my activities and the products I bought in Finland, but here is this colourful summer salad now before I get the other stuff sorted.

This salad consisted of freshly picked white currants, mixed salad leaves, briefly fried nectarines, fried grilling cheese (similar to halloumi, but made from cow's milk), beluga lentils and tomatoes. This was a really filling salad and could be eaten as a stand-alone dish. 



I especially loved the addition of the white currants and nectarines adding a summery freshness to the salad. We picked the white currants in my granddad's garden ourselves. That always gives a nice touch to cooking, adding something that you have gathered or foraged yourself, and in Finland it's often possible for me. The berry season was still full on and I will post about some of my other findings later.

Have a nice week! More posts to follow soon. It's good to be back!



Your VegHog

10 August 2016

Holiday


Hello my dear readers!

I just wanted to let you know that it might get a bit quieter here in the blog for the next two weeks, as I will be travelling back home to Finland. I may still post from there, if I feel like it, but I may also take a full break during the holiday. But don't worry, I will be back by the end of the month and then I will also be sharing some of my travel experiences. I will be going to a music festival that allegedly has a whole street of vegan street food, so I'm quite looking forward to that. Otherwise I will just spend some time with my closest family members.

I'm sure that I will update Instagram and Twitter a little bit during this time, so keep your eyes peeled for @theveghog.

In the meanwhile, please remember to take part in Eat Your Greens! I will still be online having a look at your creations.

Have a lovely August!

Your VegHog



Spelt puff chocolates - Spelttisuklaat


The 80s were modest times in Finland and treats were always something special. We didn't always have chocolate, sweets or crisps around, so we had to get creative when the snacking hunger got ahold of us. Of course then homemade sweets had to be made and one of the absolute classics are these rice crispie chocolate cups. My grandmother made them quite often and they were so tasty. I think that most of the time just cocoa powder was used and not chocolate. The classic way is to make them in muffin cups, as it's so easy, but I'm considering making them as a bar as well.

I had a look for old rice crispie chocolate recipes online, but Fazer's one got my attention taking this treat straight to the 21st century. They didn't use spelt puffs, which were my own addition. I have made these with both dark and milk chocolate and both were very good, possibly the milk chocolate ones were slightly tastier. These had a hint of coconut flavour due to the oil and weren't too sweet, so they were just perfect for me. Here however are the dark chocolate ones with a hint of coconut depicted.


This recipe makes about 10-12 small spelt puff chocolate cups

Ingredients

150 g dark baking chocolate
2 tbsp coconut oil
1 tsp icing sugar
8 dl spelt puffs

Method

Melt the chocolate and coconut oil in a water bath.

Then mix the sugar in followed by the spelt puffs. Mix thoroughly so that the chocolate covers the puffs.

Put the mixture into muffin cases and let rest in the fridge for at least an hour.

Enjoy as small snacks in between or as a dessert.




Your VegHog

9 August 2016

Sticky soya fillets with homemade pitta bread


I fancied something like a soya burger, but somehow that didn't quite tickle my fancy this time. I decided to make something a bit different, so I ended up making sticky marinated soya fillets with homemade pitta bread, and served them with carrots, lettuce and chilli ketchup. I recently bought a new product for me, chilli ketchup by Gran Luchito, whose smoked chilli paste and chilli mayo I have been using a lot lately. It's another brilliant product by them and I can only recommend it.

I really wanted to make the pitta bread myself, as I thought that the other steps for making this dish are quite simple and effortless. I sought for guidance from Felicity Cloake's recent article How to cook the perfect pitta bread. They turned out nice by following her recipe. I was just a bit too lazy sometimes and didn't roll the pittas quite as thinly as I was supposed to. Most of them puffed up properly though and I was able to fill them.


I enjoyed this plate very much. Here is my recipe for the other components starting with marinating the soya fillets.

Marinade:

2 tsp smoked chilli paste
1 tsp liquid smoke
2 tsp liquid aminos
1 tsp vegetable stock extract
4 tbsp maple syrup
3 garlic cloves

Other ingredients:

2 cups dried soya fillets/large soya chunks
2 carrots
1 red onion
Vegetable oil for frying
Lambs lettuce
Chilli ketchup

Method

Cook the soya fillets in water according to the packet instructions and quickly fry them in a pan in little oil. Cover them in the marinade and let rest in the fridge for at least one hour.

Cut the carrots into thin strings with a vegetable cutter or a spiraliser.

Cut the onion into half rings and fry them in little vegetable oil.

Also fry the soya fillets again before serving.

Serve all components together with the pitta bread. I also added some chilli ketchup and lambs lettuce on the side.

Enjoy!






Your VegHog