Monthly Archives: May 2012

More Common Questions for Vegans

The season of graduation parties and summer weddings is fast approaching, and I found myself today spending more time on an R.S.V.P than I usually do on my CV. Yes, there is that question of “special diet”, erikoisruokavalio, involved.

My attitude towards such questions depends very much on the situation. When 120 guests are expected and catering is paid for, I don’t feel uncomfortable as a vegan guest. People whose job is to make large amounts of food for a lot of people should know a thing or two about special diets. But the smaller the event, the less likely I am to say anything (unless me and the bf are the only guests). Of course many darling people are considerate without me asking, and I appreciate it beyond words.

Vegaanituotteet.net is invaluable. It lists what items available in regular stores are vegan.For cooking yourself, my favourite blog is Chocochili. The cookery book Viiden tähden vegaani by the same person ranks also highly on my list.

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mother's cotton sweater

No, I didn’t make this sweater, although it too is handmade. My mother knit it for herself, somewhere in the 80’s I think. In the era of big, loose sweaters. At some point, of course, it stopped being her style and got put away in a closet. I found it around 2007 and started using it.

The sweater is made from smooth cotton, which means that the many yarn ends woven in have a habit of escaping to the right side of the garment. This annoys the hell out of me, but I like the colour so much that I keep wearing it, even though it means weaving the ends in again and again.

 

An Anniversary

I’ve had grand ambitions about all sorts of things that I want to write about (Rufus! VegFest! Spring walks in Helsinki! More vegan baking!) but have directed too much of my energy elsewhere to have any left for blogging. Luckily I have perfected the quick-and-dirty-version of cooking and cleaning -surely I can adapt the same principles to writing…

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The socks are done! Have been for a while now. 

Yarn: Zitron Trekking Pro Natura, dyed by me using KoolAid (success!)

Pattern: I picked the stitch pattern from Pieni suuri neulekirja (orig. Knitting Stitches: over 300 contemporary and traditional stitch patterns) by Mary Webb. Otherwise this is my basic sock – 72 sts, short-row heel and all that jazz.

Speaking of quick-and-dirty cooking…

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Some of our guests probably think that all I ever eat is salads, because I serve them so often. This one’s one of my favourites: tasty, healthy, filling and ready in 20 minutes. The recipe is from Viiden tähden vegaani.

Because I somehow felt too busy/tired to write last week, I also missed my blog’s anniversary. Yep, I’ve been writing here for a year now!

I’ve received prizes from other people’s giveaways, but have never hosted one myself. This occasion seemed like the perfect excuse to have one, especially since I have the perfect prize:

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It’s fingering weight sock yarn (60% wool, 20% bamboo, 20% silk) from Handu. She’s a fantastic Finnish dyer and co-author of the book Neulekirja. I’ve used her other yarns before (most recently in one of the stockinette socks), but this skein I got as a mistake. It’s still very pretty, though, and should make some knitter very happy.

So here’s the deal. I’ve learned that in the knitting community nothing draws out people like free yarn, and I’m shamelessly going to take advantage of this fact now.

Posterous has some kind of page-hit statistics, and although the numbers are fairly small, I’m guessing they can’t all be from M (or our cat-loving friend 😉 but have not entirely ruled out the possibility of Posterous reporting some ghost readers. Therefore: comments needed!

Place a comment for a chance to win the yarn. I’m going to randomly pick one winner on June 1st. You do not need to be in Finland/Europe to be eligible.

Please mention in your comment if you’re not a knitter (alternative prize needed) or are vegan/strict vegetarian (alternative yarn needed). Other information is also welcome, such as how you found me.

(total fail in quick-and-dirty blogging, btw!)

 

Copenhagen!

This year, my busy April also included a trip!

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My Travelling Sock Picture (à la Yarn Harlot). The sock is the second of the pair (first one was finished before we left).

Although I had knitting in my bag for most of the time, I actually knit very little during the trip. Most knitting was accomplished on the plane to & from Copenhagen. I also managed a few rounds while waiting in line at the Ny Carlsberg Glyptotek. I even received a few comments from another Finnish tourist who was also a knitter. I gave her the address of the yarn store in Copenhagen I had already visited. Speaking of which…

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The store is called Sommerfuglen, you can see it behind the water fountain. It’s not the only yarn store in the city, but I’ve understood it is the best. I didn’t buy very much since a lot of the US import brands would be cheaper for me in Finland, because of the current Danish Krone-Euro -exchange rate. But it was the first time I saw Namaste bags in person. I have one I bought online and was seriously tempted to get a different one.

That’s pretty much all the knitting-related stuff about our trip. But I have some excellent restaurants to recommend!

For starters: I got all my information about where to get vegan food in Copenhagen from HappyCow. It has always served me well. If I went travelling in Finland I would also check the restaurant reviews from Animalia’s website.

Firefly

Homepage here

We went here on the first night, rather exhausted from a day of travel. It’s all-vegan and pretty near some of the other places we ate at. The place looks rather trendy which I always find scary, but the staff was friendly. At least on a weekday night, other customers seemed to be tourists as well.

The dinner was excellent -too pricey to be eaten every week but a perfect beginning to our vacation. I especially loved the desserts:

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I had raspberry cheesecake (the “cheese” made from cashews), the BF ate buckthorn berry sorbet. I loved the cake so much that we actually went back to Firefly another day, just for desserts.

Green Sushi

Homepage here (we only visited the restaurant on Gronnegade)

There aren’t that many places in Helsinki where you can get good vegan sushi, so in Copenhagen this restarant was a must. It isn’t all-vegan, but had a decent selection and vegan items were clearly marked on the menu.

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I had the 11-piece vegan set for lunch. Yummy! Very reasonably priced too. We came back another day for dinner and weren’t disappointed then either.

Naturbageriet

Homepage here

As the name suggests, this is a bakery. It’s pretty small but located near the Firely and Kalaset (see below) restaurants and had good vegan carrot cake 🙂

Kalaset

Info here

Very laid-back, nearly packed on a Saturday afternoon. Not all-vegan (or even all-vegetarian) but again, everything was clearly marked on the menu. I had the vegan burger:

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The (homemade) ketchup was like a revelation and the burger plenty big. Also: good beer!

SimpleRaw

Homepage here

All-raw, all-vegan, small place with a very Scandinavian decor. Menu was only in Danish but the waitress offered help (and I still remember some Swedish). We shared a meze-plate that had small portions of everything (pretty good, especially the lentil steak) but were too full to try the desserts. They looked delicious, though.

Finally, I have to mention Kokkeriet. It was recommended to us by a vegetarian couple, yet it’s by no means a vegetarian restaurant. I have no idea how they got the idea to eat there. However, I can testify that if you notify the restaurant ahead of time, they can prepare a vegan menu that is well-thought-out and definitely suitable for special occasion dinners.