Warming Food On A Cold Day

The weather was cold today, so we needed warming food for dinner. We had some pumpkin in the fridge, and it needed to be used before it goes bad. I haven’t cooked much with pumpkin and the only foods I could think of were soup, pie and risotto. We had pumpkin soup two weeks ago and I didn’t want to make that again. From allrecipes.com or somewhere I found a chili recipe, which called for pureed pumpkin. The recipe also called for turkey and, in my opinion, too few spices, so I didn’t follow it. But the idea of pureed pumpkin sounded good and I made this chili. It was good and tasty, but I couldn’t taste the pumpkin in it. Maybe I should have diced it instead of pureeing.

chiliChili with Pumpkin

2-3 tbsp oil
1 tsp caraway seeds
1 tsp paprika
0,5 tsp cayenne
pinch chili powder
2 (small) onions
2 shallots
2 (big) garlic cloves
2 fresh chili peppers (I used lemon drop and caronong)
1 red bell pepper
1 can crushed tomatoes
2 handfuls of diced kohlrabi
5 dl pureed pumpkin
1 can kidney beans (2 would be better)
2 dl corn

Chop the onions and shallots coarcely, mince the garlic and fresh chilies. Dice the bell pepper. Heat the oil in a large pot and fry caraway seeds, paprika, cayenne and chili powder for a minute. Add onions, shallots, garlic and chilies and sauté until the onions start to get soft. Add bell pepper and sauté few minutes. Stir in the tomatoes and kohlrabi and bring to boil. Simmer for 5-10 minutes. Add the rest of the ingredients and simmer 20 more minutes.

Autumn Dessert

Nearly all leaves have already fallen from trees and the temperature goes often below zero at night. The season of fresh food is almost over, but apples are still good. We don’t usually make desserts, but now we lots of apples that have to be eaten. So we had baked apples after the dinner.


Baked Apples

molasses/syrup (optional)

Wash the apples and remove the cores with apple corer. Mix some cinnamon with sugar (1-2tsp cinnamon with 1 dl sugar). Put the apples into a lightly greased oven proof dish and fill the holes with sugar and cinnamon mixture. Drizzle some molasses/syrup on the apples, if you use it. Put few tablespoons of water to the dish and bake in 200 Celsius degrees 30-45 minutes or until apples are very soft. Spoon some liquid from the dish on the apples once or twice during the baking. Serve with vanilla sauce or ice cream.

You can also put some crushed nuts or almonds, raisins or coconut flakes inside the apples.

Veganizing the Königsberger Klopse, Part 1

Königsberger Klopse (or alternatively Soßklopse) is an East Prussian cuisine consisting of meatballs in a white sauce and served with boiled potatoes. Since we obviously won’t be using meat of any sort, veganizing the cuisine is in order.

The secret ingredient in both “meatballs” and white sauce are capers. Lots of them. This first part will however only deal with the white sauce, as we’re desperately trying to perfect the “meatball” substance – our previous experiment resulted in a mess of exploded balls. Wunderbar, eh?

königsberg1Caper Sauce

3 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp flour
5 dl soy milk
1 glass white wine
3 tbsp capers
salt, white pepper
1 tsp mustard
juice of half lemon

Melt the margarine in a sauce pan, stir in flour. Pour a little bit of milk to the pan, stirr well, add more milk, stirr etc. until all the milk is in the pan. Add the white wine and bring to boil, stirring often. Add capers, salt, pepper, mustard and lemon juice and cook on low heat 5-10 minutes. If the sauce gets too thick , add more milk.

Lentils on My Bread

We needed something filling with the Pumpkin Soup. Slice of bread goes well with soup, so some kind of spread was best. We didn’t have chick peas or tahini, so hummus was out of question. We did have sun dried tomatoes and lentils, and I whipped up this spread when the soup was boiling on the stove. The soup was light, but with rye bread and lentil spread it was a filling meal.

linssileipäLentil Spread with Sun Dried Tomatoes

4 dl lentils + water for cooking
1 red onion
1 big garlic clove
1 tsp lemon juice
5 tbsp sun dried tomato strips
3 tbsp oil from tomato jar
salt, pepper
1 tsp dried parsley
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil

Cook the lentils in boiling water until they are soft (10-15 minutes). Rince with cold water or let cool. Puré all the ingredients except basil with a blender. Add basil and stirr well.

Soup Is Good Food

It’s time to use the pumpkin we have in our fridge. I used some of it to this soup, but there’s more than a half left, so we’ll be eating more pumpkin in the near future. Soup is nice food on a busy day, because you can just let it simmer while you do other things. This soup is a light meal, so you may want to have a hummus or tofu sandwitch with it. Or maybe serve it as a starter.

kurpitsakeittoPumpkin Soup

2-4 shallots
3 tbsp oil
2 garlic cloves
1 fresh chili (I used lemon drop)
3cm piece fresh ginger
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander
1 tsp turmeric
1 l water (or broth)
3 carrots, cut in 2-3cm thick slices
2 potatoes, cubed
1 l pumpkin cubes
1 tsp salt
1 tsp lovage
1 tsp dried parsley (or 1 tbsp fresh)
50g creamed coconut

Chop the shallots coarsely. Mince garlic, chili and ginger. Heat the oil in a pot and fry the shallots for a minute or two. Add garlic, chili, ginger, turmeric, cumin and coriander and fry one more minute. Add the water, salt and lovage and bring to boil. Add carrots, potatoes and pumpkin, cover with a lid and cook until they are soft. Remove heat and puré the soup with a blender. Put the soup back on heat, add parsley and coconut and stir until the coconut is melted. Taste and add more salt or other spices if needed.

Mushroom Pastries

A friend of ours invited us to sauna on Saturday, and we thought it would be nice to bring some food with us. It needed to be something that can be eaten cold, and decided to make pastries. We bought frozen dough, but feel free to use your favourite dough recipe.

sienipasteijatMushroom Pastries

2 packages (=16 sheets) puff pastry
3 small shallots
1 big garlic clove
2 tbsp oil
2 dl pickled mushrooms
2,5 dl cooked barley (or rice)
0,5 dl oat cream
parsley and chervil
cold water
poppy seeds (optional)

Peel and finely chop the shallots, mince the garlic. Chop the mushrooms. Heat the oil in a frying pan and sauté the shallots and garlic for couple of minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté few more minutes. Stir in the barley, cream and herbs.

Cut each puff pastry sheet in half to make 32 squares. Put a spoonful of the mushroom mixture on each square. Brush two sides with cold water and fold the square diagonally. Crimp the edges. Brush the pastries with cold water and sprinkle poppy seed on them. Bake in 225 celsius degrees about 15 minutes or until they’re golden brown.

Carrot Casserole

I have always liked carrots. The only carrot food I didn’t like as a child was carrot casserole. I was 20 or something when I started to think it was edible. I still prefer rutabaga, but nowadays I think carrot casserole is good too. I even make it sometimes. Usually carrot casserole is made with rice or barley porridge (leftovers), but semolina can be used too. I followed vegaaniliitto’s recipe to make this casserole and translated in English below.


Carrot Casserole

1,5 kg carrots +  water for boiling
4 dl semolina grains
2 tsp molasses
1½ tbsp salt
½ tsp ground white pepper
1 tsp dry ginger
½ tsp nutmeg
4 dl oat or soy milk
1 dl carrot cooking water
bread crumbs

Peel the carrots and cut them smaller. Cook them in boiling water until they are soft. Save 1 dl water from cooking and mash the carrots. Combine all the ingredients except bread crumbs. Grease an oven proof dish and pour the mixture in it. Sprinkle bread crumbs on top and make a pattern the surface with spoon or fork. Bake 1,5-2 hours in 175 celsius degrees.

The Great Seitan

When I became vegetarian, I didn’t like soy curls or other products that had meat like texture. Years later I learnt to love those meaty soy products (thanks to Nomad) and now seitan is one of my favourite foods. I have also started to read meat recipes to get new ideas to cook soy and seitan. I saw an interesting lingon marinade recipe in a news paper and made a seitan version of it. And it was as great as I thought it would be. The seitan recipe is from Inna Somersalo’s book Yllin kyllin, I just made a different marinade. We had carrot casserole, pickled beets and lingon jam as side dishes.


Lingon Seitan

4 dl vital wheat gluten
1 dl gram flour
1 dl soy flour
1 tbsp vegetable broth powder (or use more salt)
½ tsp salt
1 tsp garam masala
1 tsp smoked paprika
½ tsp dry ginger
1 tsp garlic powder
0,5 dl soy sauce
0,5 dl oil
2,5 dl water


2 dl lingons
2 tbsp salt
1 tbsp black pepper
2 tbsp molasses
1 dl oil
2 tbsp rosemary

Mix all the dry ingredients in a bowl. Mix oil, soy sauce and water in another bowl and combine with the dry ingredients. Knead couple of minutes. Form a roast.

Mash the lingons and add the rest of the marinade ingredients. Stirr well. Put the seitan into a plastic bag and pour the marinade in. Make sure the seitan is well covered with the marinade and put the bag in another plastic bag or a bowl, just in case. Marinade in the fridge over night.

Wrap the roast in aluminium foil and bake in 175 Celsius degrees for an hour. Check what the roast looks like and bake little longer uncovered if the surface doesn’t look firm enough.

Childhood Memories

Back in the 80’s, when we were kids, all the kids loved macaroni casserole. Don’t know if they still love it, I haven’t talked about food with kids for years.

Usually macaroni casserole is made with eggs, milk and minced meat. Or just eggs and milk, if it’s served as side dish. In many vegan recipes soy flour is used instead of egg, but I don’t recommend that unless you want your casserole taste like soy flour. Here’s my version, I used bechamel sauce to make a firm casserole.


Vegan Macaroni Casserole

350 g macaroni
water and salt for cooking
3 dl textured soy protein
salt, pepper, garlic powder
1 onion, chopped
some herbs if you like

Bechamel sauce

2 tbsp margarine
3 tbsp wheat flour
5 dl soy milk
salt, pepper

optional: grated carrot, chopped celery, frozen corn or peas or any other vegetables.

Cook the macaroni in the salted water. Soak the soy protein in hot water, spiced with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion couple of minutes. Add the textured soy protein and fry until the exess liquid is gone. Taste and add more salt and pepper if needed, and add herbs if you want to.

Making the sauce: Melt the margarine in a sauce pan and stir in flour. Add 0,5-1dl milk, stir well, add more milk, stir etc. until all the milk is gone. Bring to boil (remember to stir often!) and season with salt, pepper and nutmeg.

Grease an oven proof dish and put half of the cooked macaroni on the bottom. Put the textured soy protein mix and vegetables (if you use them) on it and rest of the macaroni on top. Or mix everything together. Last pour the sauce on. Put the dish to a cold oven, turn it on 125 celsius degrees and go to the library. When you come back, the food is ready. Or if you want to stay at home, bake the dish in 175 degrees about an hour.

Serve with ketchup and something simple, like grated carrots, cucumber slices or pickled beets.


It’s the apple season. I think one of the best ways to use apples is to bake them under an oat crust. Many people make wheat flour crust, but oats taste much better and the texture is nice and crispy. The bake is even better if you mix some red currants with the apples. My bake got a little too dark, because I was making seitan and forgot to check what’s happening in the oven. We ate the bake with vanilla sauce (Oatly), but vanilla ice cream is good too.


Apple Bake

4-5 apples
1-2 tsp cinnamon
2-3 tsp sugar

100g margarine
1 dl sugar
3 dl rolled oats

for serving: vanilla sauce or vanilla ice cream

Peel the apples and remove the cores. Dice the apples and put the to a lightly greased oven proof dish. Sprinkle some cinnamon and sugar on them. Put margarine, sugar and rolled oats into a bowl and mix them with your hands. Spread the oat mixture on the apples and bake in 200 celsius degrees until golden brown.