Bank holiday weekends are the best!

What a beautiful weekend we had! What did you get up to?

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We were wandering around Brighton last Friday with the best weather! 24 degrees and blue sky all weekend. Already thinking about the summer months and all the cool stuff that is coming up. In the UK the summer season starts in May and I would actually say it’s one of my favourite months living in Brighton. Food festival, The Great Escape music festival and Brighton Fringe all in one month. People here knows it’s the beginning of the summer and can just feel the happiness around.

There is always some cool pop up bars around and one of the newest ones is this Bison Beach Bar in Kemptown. Had couple of beers in the sun and actually ended getting a good workout as well, because we’re living on the other side of the town ha! If you are in town, go and check them out – have a beer and watch the waves.

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On Sunday we headed out to London. I used to live there for 2,5 years and as hectic it gets, it’s nice to visit every now and than, specially in the summer. Had the best day for it as well 🙂 If you haven’t been to London yet, you got to put this on your bucket list! Really vibrant, colourful and beautiful metropolis. There is so much I could tell you about London, but you should go and experience it yourself!

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Our plan was to head over to North – East to see Victoria Market. They organise this beautiful little food market every single Sunday between 10am – 4pm and I was happily surprised how many vegan products and food stools they had, heaven! The easiest way to get there from Central London is to take central line to Bethnal Green and walk the rest of the way. It’s a really nice little walk on a sunny day like this, took us about 15 minutes.

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First thing I wanted to have was a strong coffee 😀 Got there and had a oat milk flat white, soo delicious! Flat whites are great because they are made with double shot of Espresso and with less milk, but still getting the whole taste spectrum – ab favs!

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Instagram is such a great place to find pop ups, products, food or anything really but in this occasion I found all the food stools before we got there. If you want to check this market it’s @victoriaparkmkt I was most excited about these two   Crosstowndoughnuts + Jakesvegansteaks

 

PHILADELPHIA STYLE CHEEZESTEAKS

 

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This was SO good! Sub, seitan, mustard and melted vegan cheese… I could just go back for this. All the stakes are fresh and handmade. I really like their business idea, these aren’t just for vegans, the purpose is to show all the people around that vegan food is and can be really delicious and is able to fix those Sunday cravings. My boyfriend had one and he is not vegan, but said this was the best seitan he has ever had before – so win win! Next time I will need to have those steak fries..

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CROSSTOWN DOUGHNUTS

 

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I have wanted to try these for the past year because of Instagram! Lot of people that I follow have been raving about how good these are and YES I agree. My filling was peanut butter and blackcurrant jam.. Oh lord! These guys has few shops around London city if you cant make it to the market. I will join these Instagram hypers – DO IT!

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Lovely little market and a very special day.

I am already waiting my next holiday, luckily I have a week off in couple of weeks. I have started to do my own morning routine and exercises, so far so good! I have only started doing these ( it’s been two days ) but feel my day flows very differently.. I have never been a morning person and always thought people can’t change but maybe I was wrong. I will be posting updates how I’m getting on mainly on Instagram – Should I write a full post in here? Let me know your views in here or Instagram, really interested to hear. Do you exercise yourself? would you want to start? If you workout or do yoga/meditation what benefits have you experienced? Ping me a message and check out my Instagram account @thevegescandi

thevegescandi x

 

Vegan Spinach Hazelnut Pancakes

Have you heard about spinach pancakes before? I used to looove them when I lived in Finland and specially growing up, my grandma used to make these all the time but with dairy and eggs. Just one of those things that you loved growing up, but have kinda forgotten their existence until now. I tried to find some history for these savoury pancakes, but I couldn’t find much more than they are from the 18th century and they have been part of traditional home cooking in Finland ever since.

So how can you make these fluffy plant based pancakes at home?

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You will need a high speed blender and a frying pan for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 tbsp of Flaxseed Linwoods

3 tbsp of Water

40g Fresh Spinach

150ml of Single Soy Cream Alpro Single Soy Cream

30g of Hazelnuts

200ml Oat Milk Aplro Unsweetened Oat Milk

2cm of Fresh Ginger

150ml of Self-raising Flour

50g Vegan butter Almond butter spread

1 tsp of Sea Salt

2 tsp of Brown Sugar

On top of the pancakes I added:

Oatly Cream Fraiche Oatly Cream Fraiche and Swedish Lingoberry jam from Felix

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METHOD:

Start by mixing flaxseed with water, mix and let it set for 10min on it’s own. Flaxseed mixed with water works like eggs. This is a life saver in plant based baking.

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Place your spinach, cream, milk, hazelnuts, flour, salt and sugar into your blender. Cut about 2 cm piece from fresh ginger, grate it and add it to your blender with everything else. Once your flaxseed mix has thickened for 10 minutes, pour this into the blender and mix all the ingredients well. I blended everything for about 30 seconds. You will see when all the ingredients are cut smooth and it looks like a nice pancake mix as in the picture below –

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Take out your frying pan and melt some vegan butter on it before pouring any of the mix in. Remember not to melt all the butter at once, you will want to add little bit with every second pancake I would say. Otherwise your pancakes will taste just like butter and not much else.

“How do I know when to flip the pancake other way round?” When you can see lot of air bubbles on your pancake than you know it’s ready – see below –

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This mix will give you about 10 pancakes, depending on the size you make them. So if you’re cooking for more people, just double or triple the mix ingredients and you’re good to go 🙂 Serve with Oatly’s Fraiche and Lingonberry jam, you find the links above.

 

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Happy cookings and please let me know what did you think of my hazelnut pancakes?

thevegescandi x

Weekend in Helsinki

 

This holiday was so needed. I travelled to Finland and spent a lovely weekend in Helsinki with some friends and actually got to do quite a lot. People who know me, I’m always doing stuff so it felt quite natural to be out n’ about the whole time. If you are planning a visit to Helsinki, I would recommend to stay at least 4 days.

 

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Flight from London to Helsinki was absolutely fine. I travelled with Norwegian that is one of the cheapest airlines from London to Finland. I think they are pretty good considering the pricing and overall.  Do you like making friends while you’re travelling? I always make new friends in the plane, specially if I’m travelling on my own, mainly because I’m afraid of flying and also you get to hear the greatest life stories! This time I talked about David Bowie with this older man who was travelling to Finland to see his son who is married with a Finnish woman.

I had those coriander soy noodles at Cafe Bar No 9 in Helsinki. They were ok, would say 7/10. I have noticed it’s pretty difficult to be vegan while you’re travelling because all these places would have one dish for you and it’s normally Falafel in a wrap. Any experiences?? I loose my interest really easily if I keep having the same stuff. I should have done more research as well, so I blame myself this time 😀 Home cooking options and supermarkets are the next level though comparing to the UK. You have got so many options and products there to cook with. I always feel like a little kid going into the supermarket in Finland, always so excited!8CD96B1A-41B5-4359-B9B7-460CFA86DBCE

Pretty much all the snow was melted in Helsinki, but it was still very beautiful. All these colourful streets and alleyways in Ullanlinna, Helsinki.

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Nicest areas to stay in Helsinki I would say are Eira, Ullanlinna, Kamppi and Punavuori. This is if you’re travelling to the country as a tourist and want to be in central Helsinki, in walking distance to everything.

9E6D7D7B-6073-45FF-8C58-A8E1F2249F86One really fun thing we did this Friday was Yrjönkadun uimahalli, this is a day Spa with 3 different saunas and it’s only 15 euros for an entry. Good heads up though, they have women’s days separate from guys because most of the people swim naked in here. You can wear a swimming suit, but pretty much everyone is naked so it just feels natural. Also with that 15 euros you get a little cabin upstairs where you can change and you’ll have a waitress  – obviously we had some champagne! It felt like the place had so much history and character. Such a nice afternoon xx

 

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Saturday went drinking cocktails at the Helsinki Drink Festival. Was so nice to see all these Finnish companies and brands to stand in one place. Two of my favourites from the night must have been Koskenkorva vodka and Napue gin.

 

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Gin – Tonic – Cranberries – Rosemary

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Hopefully next time the weather is a bit warmer, it was only -6 degrees but I’m starting to feel like it’s time for the summer – don’t you think?

 

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Until next time Finland …. Where to next?

thevegescandi

Finnish style Cabbage Rolls

One of my childhood favourites was my IsoĂ€iti’s (Grandma’s) cabbage rolls and now being a plant-based eater, I wanted to take the challenge on and create my own version of them as close to the flavour that I can remember. The challenge in this case was the fact that grandma uses beef mince as the main ingredient. Soy sauce and balsamic vinegar are two main ingredients that I use to create “salty meat” flavours. I would say, that if you are a vegan or vegetarian that doesn’t like the flavour of meat or anything that reminds you of meat – this recipe is not for you. Cabbages are in season in the summer, so save this recipe for later as well!

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History doesn’t tell us where cabbage rolls originally came from, but there are trades in Jewish cooking around 2000 years ago. Also some of the first recipes came from Romania and the North Pole. In Sweden and Finland the traditional cabbage rolls are eaten with cranberry sauce and boiled potatoes. I am not a big fan of boiled potatoes so I served the cabbage rolls only with cranberry sauce.

So how can you make these delicious vegan version, Nordic rolls at home?

For this recipe you will need:

  • Fan oven
  • Large oven tray
  • Foil
  • Large pot
  • Small pot
  • Large pan
  • Scale
  • Colander

INGREDIENT:

  • 1 Savoy Cabbage
  • Olive oil
  • 1 Vegetable stock cube

Filling:

  • 100 g Pearl Barley
  • 50 g Red Lentils
  • 300 g of Quorn Mince
  • 125 g Chestnut Mushrooms
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 1 White Onion
  • 4 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar
  • 3 tbsp of Light Soy Sauce
  • 2 tbsp/ 10 Sprays of Liquid Smoke
  • 1 tsp of Dijon Mustard
  • 1 tbsp of Paprika
  • 1 tbsp of Marjoram
  • 1 tsp of Salt
  • 1 tsp of Pepper

METHOD STEP BY STEP:

You want to start by removing the hard stem of the cabbage to make the cooking process quicker. See picture below. Add cabbage into the large pot and boil for 10-15mins.

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You don’t want to over cook the cabbage because the leaves will break later on when you’re trying to roll them up. Once this is done, place the pot to the side to cool down and save some of the boiled cabbage water as we’re going to need it later on.

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Rinse out the pearl barley and place in the smaller pot. Bring to boil and let it simmer for 25mins. After 15mins of cooking the barley, add red lentils into the boiling water. Remember to stir. After 25 minutes, drain the water and set aside.

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Finely cut the onion, garlic and mushrooms. Add onions and garlic into a large pan with some olive oil. Cook until golden brown and add Quorn mince and mushrooms into the pan. The Quorn mince that I used was frozen so I cooked for approx 5mins before adding any spices. Add all the rest of the filling ingredients herbs and spices to your mix and cook on a low heat until you are happy with the flavour. Stir in the pearl barley and red lentils, cooking for another 5mins.

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 The mix feels quite dry at this point but remember that the cabbage rolls will be cooking in water so we don’t want to make the filling too wet at this stage.

Pour some olive oil into a large oven tray and spread it all over with kitchen towel or a baking brush.

And now we need to start rolling…

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You want to cut the end of those leaves off so it’s easier to roll. Place some mix on top of the leaf as shown in the picture above.

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Once you have finished rolling, pour some of the cabbage water on top of the cabbage rolls and place the dish into the oven for 10 minutes in 225 celsius. While the cabbage rolls are cooking in the oven, boil some water in a kettle and pour this into a bowl and add the vegetable stock cube. Mix well with a fork.

Take out the tray and pour this vegetable stock water on top of the cabbage rolls so that the bottom of the tray has liquid all over.

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Use the tin foil from earlier to cover up the tray and place it back to the oven. Cook the dish another 30 – 45 mins in lower heat at 175 celsius.

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Serve with cranberry sauce and enjoy!

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thevegescandi x

Vegan Mushroom Wellington

Wellington is originally from Ireland, so this isn’t really a Scandinavian dish but I’ve always wanted to create my own version of it. What makes your Christmas? For me it’s always been pastries, heavier food and wine… Have chocolate for breakfast, who cares it’s Christmas right??

It was so exciting to go to a supermarket in Finland, as funny as this may sound… Something I have in common with my boyfriend is that we both love supermarkets. I’ve really started to love food shopping and this time we had a chance to do this in Finland. There is so many options and brands for vegetarians as well for vegans. Earth Control is a great Nordic brand for snacking or cooking, healthy and delicious! I wanted to give the Wellington a Christmassy flavour by using Earth Control’s Salad Mix with nuts and dried fruit. This way you get protein and natural sweetness.

If you live in Finland, Sweden or Denmark go and check out their product selection. Hopefully the business will expand and this way we’ll get their products to the UK too.

 Link to Earth Control’s website

 

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Veggie Wellington is pretty easy dish when you’ve got the right ingredients and the right puff pastry. There are many versions out there, but here is mine.

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FILLING:

Olive Oil

400g Chestnut Mushrooms



2 Garlic Cloves



1 Red Onion



200g Mix of Fruit and Nuts – Earth Control

100g of Red Organic Lentils

1 Sweet Red Pepper



Chopped Chive

Dried garlic

Black pepper

Sea Salt

OTHER INGREDIENTS:

Puff Pastry

Oat/Soy Cream

 

METHOD:

Start by getting your puff pastry out so it can get to room temperature, so it’s easier to roll. Next heat up your oven to 225 degrees celsius. Dice your mushrooms, onion, garlic, sweet pepper and chive. Blend all the nuts and fruit in a blender. Add some olive oil into a large pan, adding the onion and garlic. Once they turn golden brown, add all the rest of the ingredients for the filling. Leave the mix to cool down before adding into the pastry. While your filling is cooling down, take some baking paper and on top of it roll the puff pastry so t’s a little thinner and a bit wider. Place your filling in the middle of one half of the pastry, so you can roll it over and then fold under both ends. Gently make few cuts on top of your pastry and brush the top with oat or soy cream. Place your dish in to the middle section of your oven for 30min until golden brown. This really depends on your oven, so keep an eye on your tray. Let to cool down and decorate with chopped chive.

 

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Next one I’m going to try is with Spinach and vegan cheese! Such a great Sunday comfort food. PS. Try your Vegan Wellington with mustard… So tasty!

All images taken by jonnahelinphotography

thevegescandi x

 

 

Sweet Potato Gnocchi

My first go with sweet potato gnocchi – not perfect and needs improving, but it’s tasty! Gnocchi has simple ingredients, you’ll only need some flour and baked sweet potatoes. I saw an episode of Jamie’s 15 minute meals and thought “that looks fun!”

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I wanted to make tonight’s dinner vegan, so I used milk-free butter and coconut based cheese. Before sharing this recipe for gnocchi, I want to make it perfect. The only way to keep improving and to make something taste amazing is by practising, and I need lots of practicing! Make something, think how to improve it and what flavours to add-on it. we’re all learning all the time. The best feeling when you nail it!

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Sweet Potato Gnocchi

Stem Broccoli 

Spinach

Pine Nuts

Lemons

Garlic

Onion

Milk Free Butter

Vegan Cheese

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thevegescandi

Vivera fish finger wraps

Happy Monday folks! So glad I have got back to my exercise routine after a really bad cold few weeks back. It’s so easy to stay at home or not just go, we’ve all been there! I’m trying to exercise as much as I can, whenever I have got time really. Personally I feel like it’s the best way to break off from work or any other stuff that is happening on that day. Growing up I was never a sporty person so I am quite surprised and happy how much I actually enjoy and get out of exercise! If you struggle and would like to add some exercise to your daily routine, start easy – go for a long walk few times a week and see how you feel. Always listen to your own body and see what feels good, don’t worse anything. Listen to your favourite podcast and forget everything else for an hour, the best!

While I was getting ready for work this morning, I started thinking about self-talk and how we often are way too hard on ourselves. Set some goals, but be kind to yourself. It’s not about the destination, it’s about making yourself feel good in your own body and being happy.

So regarding food – came home from the gym, starving thinking I want something quick, easy and delicious! Have tried these wheat “fish” fingers from Vivera few times, absolutely love them. Add some dill and malt vinegar for perfection! YUM.

INGREDIENTS: 

  • Wheat fingers Vivera
  • Vegan Mayo
  • Tomato
  • Cucumber
  • Spinach
  • Malt Vinegar
  • Spring onion
  • Dill

Makaroonilaatikko – Pasta bake

One of my first memories growing up must be my grandma’s cooking, the smells, radio playing quietly in the background and her smiling at me. Food has always been such a happy subject in our family, something to looking forward to and I will always thank my grandma for that. One of the first recipes I learned from her is famous Finnish pasta bake called Makaroonilaatikko, in English this dish is called macaroni casserole.

Makaroonilaatikko is still to this day a very popular dish in Finland. It’s a pasta bake originally made with macaroni pasta, beef mince, eggs and cream or milk depending on what you might have in the fridge that day. This dish is really heavy, so grandma always used to cut me few slices of cucumber as a side dish, her idea of a salad haha! And of course you would drizzle ketchup all over
.

I wanted to take on the challenge to replace the meat and dairy, and make it as delicious as I remember from my childhood. Creating similar flavours, saltines and the right texture. Food is not just about the flavour, its colours and textures too.

You will need a large tray for this dish and a fan oven.

INGREDIENTS:

PASTA SAUCE

350 g Soya Protein

2 Garlic

1 White Onion

8 Sun-dried Tomatoes 

400 – 500 g Tomato Passata

1 tbsp of Balsamic Vinegar

Handful of Fresh Basil

Pinch of Black Pepper and Salt

OTHER INGREDIENTS FOR MAKAROONILAATIKKO

350g Pasta

200g Vegan cheese

250ml Single Soya Cream

Half a cup of Water

Breadcrumbs

3 Tomatoes

METHOD:

Start by adding some olive oil into your baking dish, you can also use any butter substitute as this is to prevent Makaroonilaatikko sticking once it’s cooked. I would add little bit of oil into a kitchen towel to spread it around, nice and easy.

Cook the diced onion until brown, then add garlic, your soya protein and other sauce ingredients together in a saucepan.

Boil your pasta al dente , this is not crucial as you will bake the pasta as well later on, just how I prefer to do it. Make sure you don’t over cook your pasta.

Once your sauce has the right flavour and pasta is ready, place both of them into your large baking tray and mix well together. Add soya cream, water and vegan cheese into the mix.

Slice tomatoes on top of your dish to add flavour and breadcrumbs to give the needed crispness. If you have any vegan cheese left, sprinkle the rest on top of your dish.

Bake your pasta bake at 175 Celsius for 30 minutes. You will see the top turning golden brown and this is a sign that is ready to take out.  Let it cool down before serving.

PS. Don’t forget the cucumber!

thevegescandi

Fresh basil & cashew pesto

Today something very exciting happened, I finally got my Ninja UK food processor!! A blender is something that every household should invest in. Perfect for homemade pesto,  hummus, soups, cheese spreads, energy balls, smoothies.. The list goes on!

Today I am making vegan pesto and super excited to share this recipe with you! This is really quick and easy to make at home. Also way better than the ones you buy from your local supermarket. Home cooking just wins every time if you ask me! We are going to have our pesto with spaghetti later on, but this works really well in sandwiches too.

My vegan pesto is creamy and full of nutrients. By using cashews and avocado, you will get multiple vitamins such as B,K,E and C. Avocados are also rich in protein, iron and healthy fats that we all need. Cashews have a lower fat content than most other nuts and they are great for your heart. Both Avocados and Cashews are creamy and they just take the sauce into the next level.

You will need a food processor for this recipe.

INGREDIENTS:

1 cup of Fresh Basil
1 cup of Spinach
1/2 cup of Cashews
Half an Avocado
100g Vegan Parmesan
2 Garlic
1/2 cup of Olive oil
Squeeze 1 Lemon
Pinch of Black pepper, Salt and Paprika

METHOD:

Add all the ingredients into a food processor. Blend for 30 seconds and check if it’s the right consistency. We all like a bit different flavours so get creative – By adding more olive oil, garlic or even basil you might get that extra something. This recipe is enough for 4 portions of pasta.

Happy cookings with your food processor!

thevegescandi