The End of The VeganMoFo 2011

We did it! We posted every day during VeganMoFo. This was the third time we participated and previous years we have skipped some days. Having a theme helped a lot, especially with planning. I’m sure we’ll have a theme next year too.

Yule is getting nearer. I have already started glögg season and today I made first Yule Pastries. They’re usually filled with plum jam, but any jam or marmalade can be used. I used apple jam today.

Yule Pastries

puff pastry
jam or marmalade
optional: icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 225 Celsius degrees. Cut the thawed puff pastry sheets in half to make squares and then cut slits according to the shape you want your pastries be. See the picture below: The ones on the top row are very similar, the finished pastry will look like the pastry on the right in the photo. Bottom left makes the other pastry in the left in the photo. The last one is star shaped like the ones on the top row, but I don’t recommend cutting your pastries this way, because the points of the star will be long and sharp and they burn easily.

After cutting fold the parts marked with red circle in the middle of the square. Put some jam on top. Bake 15 minutes or until nicely browned. Sift some icing sugar on cooled pastries. Serve with coffee, glögg or tea.

Beer

Home made beer (kalja or kotikalja) is made of rye malts and it’s very low on alcohol. It’s usually consumed with dinner or lunch, and often served at special occasions like weddings or other parties. It’s easy to make, I think I should make it more often. I make the beer in a 5 liter bucket, and the recipe on the malt package is too big for my bucket, but here’s a recipe for a smaller batch.

Home Made Beer

3,75 l water
2,25 dl beer malts
1,5 dl sugar
0,5 tsp yeast or 0,25 tsp dry yeast

Bring the water to boil. Mix malts and sugar in a bucket and pour the boiling water on them. Allow to cool lukewarm. Add the yeast and loosely cover the bucket with lid (or towel). Allow to ferment 12-24 hours in room temperature. Filter (with cheesecloth) and bottle and take the bottles to fridge or cellar. Beer is ready next day.

When your beer is filtered, you’ll have about 5 dl malt mash in your sieve. Use it for bread baking, or freeze for later use.

Dill Seitan

Eating veal is fairly new thing in Finland and it’s not eaten often. Hilkka Uusivirta’s book Suomalaisen perinteen keittokirja (1982) says that in late 19th century veal cooking was taught in cooking schools/courses and before that Finns didn’t eat veal. One of the dishes they taught to make on the courses was Dill Meat, which is veal in dill sauce. It was often served in hospitals, and the book says that usually sick people and children like it. On the other hand, many people hate it, because they had to eat it at school as kids. I’m not sure if it’s because we’re so young (we were at school in late 80’s and 90’s) but neither of us have eaten Dill Meat at school and as far as we remember, it did taste quite good. Veganized version of Dill Meat is of course Dill Seitan, and the recipe below is based on the one that I found from Hilkka Uusivirta’s book.

Dill Seitan

2 balls basic seitan
2-3 tbsp margarine
2 tbsp wheat flour
1 l vegetable broth (from cubes)
2 tbsp dried dill or 0,5 dl chopped  fresh dill
salt, pepper
3 tbsp oat cream
1 tbsp distilled vinegar
1 tbsp sugar

Cube the seitan. Melt the margarine in a sauce pan and stir in the flour. Gradually add broth until it starts to look like sauce. Add dill and seitan and simmer for a while (10 minutes or longer). Add the rest of the ingredients. Serve with boiled potatoes and boiled/steamed vegetables.

Finnish Pancake

As I’ve mentioned before, American style pancakes aren’t usually eaten here in Finland. We prefer crepes if we fry them on pan. We do have a dessert called pancake, but it’s baked in the oven. I have made a lacto-ovo pancake over ten years ago and recently I wanted to try to make vegan pancake recipe. After a little experimenting I succeeded to create this recipe. Yesterday we had some pancake with bilberry jam for dessert.

Finnish Pancake

5 dl soy milk
1,5 dl barley flour
1,5 dl wheat flour
1 tsp cardamom
scant 0,5 tsp cinnamon
3 tbsp oil
2 tbsp sugar
pinch of salt
margarine for greasing the dish
jam for serving

Whisk soy milk and both flour together and let sit 15-30 minutes. Add rest of the ingredients and whisk until mixed. Grease a 20 x 30 cm dish with margarine. Pour the pancake batter in it. Bake about 40 minutes in 200 Celsius degrees or until nicely browned. Serve with jam.

Pea Soup Thursday

This is it. One of the oldest “Finnish” soups to survive to modern day. Originating from the middle-ages, this very filling soup was consumed traditionally on Thursdays, as catholic tradition dictated Friday as a day of fasting. The pea soup followed Sweden (and in turn, most inhabited parts of Finland) into Thirty Years’ War of 1618–1648 and those recruited soldiers from areas not yet familiar with the dish were introduced to its deliciousness. It takes some time to prepare, but it is so filling it’s definitely worth the wait! The usual dessert after pea soup is pancake or crepes. We’ll write more about that tomorrow.

By no means is this an original recipe from the 12th century, but a bit modernised one.

Pea Soup

250 g dried peas
water for soaking

1,3 l water
1 tsp marjoram
scant 1 tsp whole pepper corns
salt

optional ingredients: onion, carrot, seitan, textured soy protein

mustard for serving

Soak the peas in plenty of water overnight. Drain and rinse. Bring 1,3 l water to boil and add the peas. Slowly boil (1-)2 hours. Add carrots, onion or other optional ingredients when the peas have been boiling half an hour. Also add pepper corns and marjoram. When the soup is almost ready, season with salt. You should never add salt in the beginning of boiling any legumes, because the salt makes the cooking time longer. Serve with mustard (and chopped onion).

Liebster Award

We’ve been nominated for a blog award by Louise, by Degrees.

It is called the “Liebster” is German and means ‘dearest’ or ‘beloved’ but it can also mean ‘favorite’. The idea behind this award is to bring attention to bloggers who have less than 200 followers and show your support during Vegan Mofo!

The rules of winning this award are as follows:
1. Show your thanks to those who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal 5 of your top picks and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Enjoy the love and support of some wonderful people on the www!

I chose five blogs I’ve found from the list of Veganmofoers, and four of them are new to me. I hope these awesome blogs haven’t been awarded yet, but if they are, they sure deserve another award. The authors live around the world, but all the blogs are filled with delicious looking vegan photos and recipes.

1. Cooking vegan food up north. Sweden. I’ve been reading this blog since VeganMoFo 2010.

2. Vegan and Awesome. Brazil. Simple and healthy recipes.

3. Triumph Wellness. Israel. Check those Samosa Stuffed Twice-Baked Potatoes.

4. Vasantika. Slovenia. Unfortunately this blog has been very quiet for a week or so. I hope the author will continue posting in English after the mofo.

5. rabbit food. Canada. I think I have to try that lasagna in the near future.

P.S. Have you seen the list of the mofoers sorted by country?

Setsuuri – Sweet & Sour

This bread comes from south-western Finland and is called setsuuri. It comes from the Swedish words “söt” and “sur”, sweet and sour respectively, which pretty well sums the essence of this rye bread. While definitely sweeter than “usual” Finnish rye breads, this one is still pretty far from the rye breads of central Europe. This works as a normal daily bread, or as a bread for some more festive events. For example my family always has some setsuuri in our family meals.

Breads are an important part of Finnish cuisine. Especially rye bread has been very popular here throughout the ages. One can wonder if initially it became popular because rye is well-suited for the harsh Nordic growing conditions. But it’s not only that, it’s also good for your health as it contains a lot of fibers and doesn’t mess with your blood sugar like white bread does.

Setsuuri

starter:
1 l water
10 g yeast
2 slices of sour rye bread
8 dl rye flour

dough:
75 g yeast
1 dl water
2,5 dl molasses (dark syrup)
1,5 tbsp salt
2-4 tbsp dried bitter orange peel
1 tsp fennel seeds or anis
1-3 tsp caraway seeds (optional)
2 l rye flour
5 dl wheat bran

for brushing:
1 tbsp molasses
1 dl water

Mix the yeast with cool, almost cold, water. Crumble the bread slices as finely as you can. Add the rye flour and mix well. Cover and let the dough become sour in room temperature for 1-2 days.

Dissolve the yeast into small amount of water and add to the sour dough starter, add molasses and spices as well. Add wheat bran and most of the rye flour. Cover with towel and allow to rise for an hour or two. Add the rest of the rye flour, knead and make 4 longish breads (round ones work most likely just as well.) Let rise under a towel for 20-30 minutes. Bake an hour in 200 Celsius degrees. Brush the breads with molasses and water mixture when they’re almost done (after 45-50 minutes) and again when you take them out of the oven. Cover warm breads with a blanket to ensure the crust doesn’t become too hard.

My Favourite Pasta Casserole

Few years ago I made this pasta casserole with my sisters. We were all starving when it finally was ready and it tasted like the best food I had ever eaten. After that I made it at home, but it didn’t taste that super awesome, since I was just hungry and not starving. But it’s still my favourite pasta casserole. The recipe is my sister’s and it’s so great that I want to share it with everyone. More traditional pasta casserole recipe is here.

Pasta Casserole with Soy Curls

2 handfuls (=about 100 g) soy curls
vegetable broth for cooking
oil
1 onion
4-5 garlic cloves
7 dl vegetable broth or water + 1-2 bouillon cubes
4 tbsp tomato puré
2 tbsp wheat flour
2 dl oat (or soy) cream
pepper, pinch of chili, herbs (lovage, basil, parsley)
salt if needed
uncooked pasta (I recommend small pasta shapes like elbow macaroni, small shells or even farfalle)

Cook the soy curls in vegetable broth according the instructions on the package. Drain, but save the broth. Chop onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a pan and fry soy curls, onion and garlic until nicely browned. Add 5,5 dl broth and tomato puré, bring to boil. Mix 1,5 dl cold water of broth and wheat flour together. Slowly pour to the pan constantly stirring. Add herbs, pepper and chili. Slowly boil 5 minutes. Add the cream. Taste and add salt if needed. Grease an oven proof dish. Put some pasta and the so curl sauce in it, about 50/50. Carefully mix. Bake 45-60 minutes in 200 Celsius degrees.

Potato And Rice Pies

Vatruska is a Karelian small pie with potato crust and rice or semolina filling. This was my first attempt to make them, and I think it went well. The recipe is veganized from Pirkko Sallinen-Gimpl’s cook book Karjalainen keittokirja.

Vatruskas

dough:
1 kg floury potatoes
water for boiling
pinch of salt
1 dl soy or oat milk
2 dl wheat flour + more for baking

filling:
3 dl rice
6 dl water
salt
2 tbsp margarine

melted margarine for brushing

Boil the potatoes. Peel and mash them. You can also peel and half them before boiling. Allow to cool a bit and add the rest of the ingredients. You should have a dough that is sticky, but can be handled.

Filling: Bring the water to boil, add salt and cook the rice in it until it has absorbed all the water (15-20 minutes usually). Stir in the margarine.

Pat the dough into about 15 cm circles, use flour generously to avoid sticking. Put some rice on one half of the circle and fold the other half on it. Bake 10-15 minutes in 300 Celsius degrees. Brush with melted margarine and cover with towel until served. They’re best when they’re still warm.

Potato And Soy Casserole

In Finland every child and high school student gets a free lunch at school. In the 80’s when I was on the first grade one of my favourite lunches was Mashed Potato and Minced Meat Casserole. Most of the kids loved it and we called it “Hot Food”, because it was always served extremely hot and the real name was so long. Mashed Potato And Minced Meat Casserole is similar to Shepherd’s Pie and here’s my vegan version.

Mashed Potato And Soy Casserole

1,5 kg floury potatoes
water and salt
4 tbsp margarine
5-6 dl soy milk

2,5 dl textured soy protein
1 tsp each salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder
1 tbsp sweet soy sauce (reduce salt if you use regular soy sauce)
hot water
1 onion
2 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
1 tsp oregano

more margarine

Peel the potatoes and boil them in water with salt until soft. You can half or cube the potatoes to make them cook faster. Drain. Mash the potatoes and add margarine and soy milk. The result should be a bit thinner than regular mashed potatoes.

Mix textured soy protein, salt, pepper, smoked paprika and garlic powder in a bowl. Add some hot water and soy sauce and mix well. Let sit until soy is soft. Add more water if the soy has absorbed everything and isn’t quite soft yet. Peel and chop onion and garlic. Heat the oil in a pan and sauté the onion, garlic, soy protein and oregano until onion is soft and excess water from soy has evaporated.

Grease a wide dish with margarine. Spread half of the mashed potatoes on the bottom of the dish. Spread the soy protein on the mashed potatoes, spread the rest of the mashed potatoes on it and put dollops of margarine on top. Bake in 200-225 Celsius degrees 30-45 minutes or until golden brown.