Buckwheat Bread Rolls for Breakfast

Everybody loves freshly baked bread rolls for breakfast. These are easy to make, just mix the ingredients together in the night, shape into balls and bake in the morning.

Here in Finland buckwheat is mostly used as a gluten-free alternative to wheat, rye and barley, but I’d like to see this tasty grain used more among non-coeliacs too. I like to make these bread rolls with combination of buckwheat and wheat, but I’ve added a gluten-fee option to the recipe too.


Breakfast Bread Rolls

3 dl cold water
12 g yeast (1/4 package)
pinch of salt
1 dl buckwheat flour
1,5 dl buckwheat flakes
3,5 dl wheat flour

In the night before: dissolve the yeast and salt into water. Stir in buckwheat flour and flakes. Add enough wheat flour to make soft dough. Make 9 balls and put them on a baking sheet. Cover with a towel and transfer to the fridge.

In the morning: Put the baking sheet into the cold oven and turn it to 225 Celsius degrees. Bake until golden brown, 20-30 minutes. The baking time can be shorter or longer, depends on how quickly your oven heats.

Gluten free option: Use gluten free flour mix instead of wheat flour. Make sure the mix is vegan, some gluten free flour mixes include milk powder. The bread rolls won’t rise as nicely as with wheat flour, so consider patting them flat in the first place.


Cookbook Challenge: Shut up and Eat!

Shut up and Eat! by Tony Lip and Steven Priggé is a cookbook, but unlike most cookbooks, it’s not just a collection of recipes. The book does include a lot of recipes, but in my opinion the stories are the best part of the book. Many famous Italian-American actors share their memories about food, movies and life and after the story they also share their best recipes. Some recipes are old family recipes, some are from famous restaurants and some are just food they like to cook. You can read about Tony Lip’s days in the army, how he later worked in nightclub Copacabana in New York City, how he served dinner to young Sopranos fans who came to his door asking for autograph. And then you can cook same Pasta Fagiole he cooked for Mickey Rourke when they lived together in Los Angeles. And this was just the first of many actors in the book and about 20 first pages.

As you can expect, the recipes include a lot of animal products. Few are already vegan (just don’t sprinkle the optional parmesan cheese on top), some are easy to veganize and many recipes are impossible to veganize.

Who would I recommend this book to? The stories I would recommend to anyone, but I wouldn’t recommend the recipes for veg(etari)ans. I’m happy to own this book, but I read it as a collection of interesting tales, not as a great recipe collection.

I’m going to skip this challenge in February for two reasons. A) I’m starting to work overtime next week and I don’t want any extra work with cooking. B) I want to cook more from One Dish Vegan and Shut up and Eat!
I’ll return to the cookbook challenge in March or April.

Cookbook Challenge: One-Dish Vegan

I got Robin Robertson’s One-Dish Vegan from VeganMoFo 2013 giveaway. Once again, I was browsing the book a lot and reading the recipes when I got it, but only cooked couple of recipes. That’s why I didn’t blog about it then. I knew December would be a busy month with holidays and everything, so this book seemed a perfect choice for weekday dinners. The rule in my challenge is that I have to cook at least once a week something from the book, and this month I cooked something 2-3 times a week, except during the holidays.

One-dish in this case means that the dinner is served from one dish, you may need more for preparing. But in many recipes it does mean you need only one pot or pan for making and serving the dish. The book also has conversion tables for liquid and weight measurements and oven temperatures. I love this, it’s really useful for us who live outside US. I hate when the recipe says I have to bake something in 375 F and I have no idea how hot is that in Celsius degrees, and I have to go and google it.

The book is filled with recipes for soups, stews, pasta, baked dishes, chilis, salads and other dishes that can be made quite easily. They don’t require hours of cooking, so they’re great for cooking on weekdays after work. Polenta bake was a clever idea. If you know you won’t have much time for cooking, you can prepare it day before and just bake it for dinner.

My favourite part of the book was the soups. Usually soup recipes are a bit boring, but not in this book. They are hearty and they’re filled with vegetables and a protein source, so they’re a complete meals, not just starters. My favourite recipe in the whole book is Creamy Bean and Winter Vegetable Soup (p. 29). I haven’t tried Indonesian Noodle Soup with Tofu or Spicy Peanut Soup yet, but they sound so great that they may be even better.

I skipped the salad section, because I want to have warm dinners when the weather is cold. But how about Mediterranean Rice and Chickpea Salad or Citrus-Dressed Quinoa and Black Bean Salad next summer? I’m sure they’ll also be great lunches for work.

I recommend this book for anyone, who isn’t allergic to tomatoes, since a lot of recipes include tomatoes in some form. Many recipes call for a can of fire roasted tomatoes, which are not available here, so I substituted them with regular crushed tomatoes or chopped sun dried tomatoes. Otherwise the ingredients are easy to find, you can buy most of them from any supermarket.

Cookbook Challenge

I like to read cookbooks. I buy them or borrow them from the library, but I rarely cook anything from them. I wanted to change this and challenged myself to cook more from the cookbooks that sit neglected on the book self.

My personal Cookbook Challenge has simple rules: Every month I pick a cookbook and I have to cook something from it at least once a week.

For November I picked Vegaanikeittiön käsikirja by Celine Steen and Joni Marie Newman, which is the Finnish translation of The Complete Guide to Vegan Food Substitutions. I have been browsing this book, but I don’t think I had actually tried any of the recipes until beginning of November.

This book is written for omnivores who want to become vegan, so I’m not quite part of the target group. If you’re used to cook with animal products and want to stop eating them or reduce the amount you eat them, this book is for you. This book has instructions and tips for substituting meat, dairy, eggs and honey with plant based products, so it’ll help you to create vegan versions of your old favourite recipes. The authors have even added non-vegan sample recipes with instructions how to veganize them. The book also has chapters about substituting gluten, soy, processed sugar and fat, so if you’re allergic or want to eat healthier this book has recipes and tips for you too. We have been vegans for years, so we’re familiar with cooking with tofu and seitan, or baking without eggs. The cheese substituting chapter was my favourite, and it had good tips and recipes for us too. I didn’t try any of the cheese recipes during this challenge month, mostly because I didn’t have ingredients at home and was too lazy to go buy them, but I definitely will try them one day.

I hate one thing in this book: the recipe index. It’s nearly impossible to find anything from it. My favourite recipe was called Grillipavut (probably Barbecue Beans in the English version) and normally I’d expect to find it from G in the index. Not in this book. You have to guess how the authors have categorized it. Maybe it’s a main course? No. Side dish? No. Meat substitutes? No. Finally, here it is in the soups and stews. It’s easier to just browse the book to find the recipe you’re looking for. If someone has made a usable index for this book, please let me know. I’d be happy to print one for me too.

I think the translators have made couple of mistakes, like I think seitan ribs recipe should call for gram flour, not graham flour. And the translators haven’t bothered to convert the cups to dl. They just suggest buying measuring cups and have added approximate amounts in dl in parenthesis in the recipes. I’d expect a Finnish translation would use dl, since we use metric system here.

There are some imperfections in the book, but in general it’s quite good. I’d recommend this to anyone who want to eat more vegetables and less animal products. During this month I found couple of recipes that I’ll definitely make again, and several interesting recipes I haven’t tried yet.

Tofu Tuesday: Spanakopita

Our last recipe in VeganMoFo 2014 is a Greek classic: Spanakopita. Traditionally they’re filled with spinach and feta, so vegan version is naturally filled with spinach and tofu. Once again this has been fun, but blogging every day is also a lot of work. I hope randomofo will be up in October too, I love to browse blogs through it.

A Joyrney with Tiffany nominated us for Liebster Award. Thank you for the honour, but we have to pass answering the questions and nominating other blogs. Today it’s already time to go to bed, and tomorrow after work we’ll have to get ready for a little holiday trip.



1 package filo pastry (450 g)
about 2 dl olive oil for brushing

450 g frozen spinach
2 onions, chopped
450 g tofu
3 tbsp nutritional yeast
3 tbsp chopped dill
3 tbsp chopped parsley
1 tbsp chopped mint
1 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp salt
0,5 tsp pepper

Thaw the filo pastry according to the instructions on the package. Meanwhile prepare the filling. Sauté spinach and onion on a non-stick pan until water has evaporated. Allow to cool a bit. Crumble tofu in a bowl and add the rest of the filling ingredients.

Cut the filo pastry into strips, about 10 cm wide. Take one strip and place it on the table. Brush with olive oil. Put a heaping tablespoon of the filling in to one end. Fold one corner to form a triangle and continue folding until the strip is wrapped around the filling. It’s hard to explain, so check this picture. Brush with olive oil and put on a baking sheet. Make the rest of the pies the same way. Bake 10-15 minutes in 225 Celsius degrees.


Moroccan Monday: Chickpea Balls

Kefta means ground meat, and Kefta Mkaouara is a traditional Moroccan tagine dish with meatballs and eggs in tomato sauce. We obviously didn’t cook meat and eggs today, but inspired by this dish we made chickpea balls and tomato sauce. We don’t have a tagine, so we just baked the balls in the oven and prepared the sauce on stove. We served them separately, but you can also mix them together.


Chickpea Balls

4 dl cooked chickpeas (or 1 can)
1 small onion
1 dl chickpea flour
1 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp paprika
1 tbsp chopped cilantro
2 tbsp chopped parsley
salt, pepper
oil for brushing

Mash the chickpeas until there are no whole chickpeas left. Use blender if you prefer smoother texture. Finely chop the onion. Mix all the ingredients together, add couple of tbsp water if it looks too dry. Form balls and put them on a baking sheet. Brush the balls with oil and bake about half an hour in 200 Celsius degrees. Serve with tomato sauce and couscous/potatoes/rise.

Tomato Sauce

2 onions
1-2 tbsp chopped parsley
1 can tomato passata or crushed tomatoes
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp pepper
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp cinnamon
0,5-1 tsp cayenne

Chop the onions and garlic. Put all the sauce ingredients to a saucepan and simmer at least 30 minutes. Serve with chickpea balls.


Slow Food Sunday: Chili

Nomad makes great chili, I love it and all our friends love it. Today he made a batch and I wrote down how he made it. This time he used only bell peppers as vegetables, but sometimes he has used other vegetables too, like eggplant or zucchini. You can use beans of your choice, for example combination of kidney beans and white beans are great. Long simmering time smooths the burning of the chili peppers and makes the chili perfect. Also plain soy yogurt or Oatly creme fraiche cuts down the heat, serve the yogurt plain or season it with salt, pepper and lime juice.


Vegan Chili

1,5 tbsp cumin
2 tsp black pepper
3 Scotch Bonnets or other hot peppers
4-5 garlic cloves
2-3 onions
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
1 green bell pepper
4-5 tbsp oil
1 tsp liquid smoke
few pieces of dark chocolate (about 25 g)
2,5 dl dark beer (make sure it’s vegan, for example Guiness isn’t)
10-12 dl cooked beans (or 3 cans)
2 cans crushed tomatoes

Grind cumin seeds and black pepper. Finely chop chili peppers, garlic and onions. Chop the bell peppers in little bigger chunks. Heat the oil in a pot and sauté cumin, black pepper and chili pepper for a minute. Add onion, garlic and liquid smoke and continue sautéing until onions are soft. Add bell peppers and few minutes later the chocolate. When the chocolate has melted, add beer and simmer until the sauce gets thicker. Add beans and tomatoes and simmer a few hours.