Tag Archives: veganism

Vegan Hostess’ Chickpea Salad

[Bilingual, because I’m participating in a Finnish cooking challenge. The challenge is vegan food and what you would serve to a vegan guest. Details in Finnish here]

Olen jo tainnutkin mainita, että teen usein salaattia kun meille on tulossa vieraita. Niistä syntyy vähemmän tiskiä ja ruoan voi tehdä valmiiksi. Lisäksi kevyempi pääruoka tarkoittaa, että jälkiruoalle jää enemmän tilaa. Mikäs sen mukavampaa 😉

As I’ve mentioned before, I often make a salad when we have guests coming over. Two important reasons for this are that there’s usually less cleaning up to do and a cold salad can be prepared in advance. A light main dish also means that I can bring out the big guns with the dessert 😉

Yleensä käytän aika paljon reseptejä (jos ei muuten niin inspiraationa), mutta yksi menneen kesän suosikkisalaateistani on omasta päästä (vaikkakin niin simppeli, ettei se paljoa miettimistä vaadi). Tätä olen ehtinyt tarjota jo lähestulkoon jokaiselle jonka kanssa syön edes satunnaisesti yhdessä.

Usually I cook from other people’s recipes, or at the very least use them as an inspiration. However, this past summer I came up with a super simple salad that quickly became one of my favourites. I’ve served it to practically everybody I on occasion eat with.


Summer Chickpea Salad / Kesäinen kikhernesalaatti

Enough for two hungy people / kahdelle nälkäiselle

5 dl of pasta / pastaa

one garlic clove / yksi valkosipulin kynsi

230 g ready-to-eat chickpeas / valmiita kikherneitä

70 g rucola (a.k.a rocket salad and arugula, according to Wikipedia)

juice of half a lemon / puolikkaan sitruunan mehu

canola oil to taste  / rypsiöljyä maun mukaan

salt and pepper to taste / suolaa ja pippuria maun mukaan


Cook the pasta / keitä pasta.

Crush the garlic clove / puserra valkosipuli.

Rinse the chickpeas and rucola / huuhtele kikherneet ja rucola.

Mix the pasta with the garlic and chickpeas / sekoita valkosipuli ja kikherneet pastan joukkoon.

Squeeze in the lemon juice and stir a bit / puserra sitruunamehu joukkoon ja sekoita hieman.

Add the rucola and canola oil / lisää rucola ja rypsiöljy.

Finally, add salt and pepper and mix well / lopuksi lisää suola sekä pippuri ja sekoita hyvin.






T-O-F-U: a guide

I must warn you: this entry has no knitting content whatsoever. Although the subject (tofu) is treated with the same amount of enthusiasm as a sock knitter feels after discovering Judy’s magic cast on.

What is tofu? The really short answer: tofu is made from soy. There are a few steps in the process, but soy beans are the original source.

In Finnish you may also come across the term soijajuusto, “soy cheese”. In spite of this translation, tofu is not really a replacement for cheese (there are other products for that), but an alternative for meat.

There are two varieties of tofu sold generally, firm and soft (also called “silken“). The brand I use a lot is the Finnish Soya (homepage here). They sell both unseasoned and seasoned firm tofu, plus silken tofu with the name pehmeä – mjuk tofu

Tofu is widely available at least where I live. Even Alepa usually has some, with larger supermarkets carrying multiple varieties and brands. Check near the cheese section.

Firm tofu has a significant amount of protein (about 16g/100g) and not too much fat (8-10g). Silken tofu has less protein (6-8g), so I tend not to use it as the main ingredient in my cooking.

Tofu by itself is pretty tasteless, but can with seasoning be adapted almost endlessly. The firm variety I mostly use fried, in savoury dishes. Silken tofu is good in pie fillings, sauces and even in baking -I’ve used it in chocolate pancakes, for example.

Here are a few examples of how I use tofu:


This picture was taken around Christmas, in case you can’t guess from all the red. It’s spaghetti with tofu in sesame sauce, made from a recipe in Puputytön juhlakirja (Finnish vegan cook book) that has become a household staple.

(A fun fact that surprises most people: sesame seeds have a high amount of calcium. 100g has 975mg, more than the adult’s recommended daily intake (600mg*). Of course one doesn’t eat 100g in one meal, but I use small amounts here and there, and bigger quantities occasionally -like in the sesame sauce.)


This is Satay Tofu with a bulgur salad. The Satay, or peanut, “sauce” (this one’s pretty thick) is my own version. The bulgur salad is based on a recipe in Viiden tähden vegaani (another Finnish book), but I substituted couscous with bulgur (which also adds protein and fiber to the meal).

what to do with tofu

Finally, an example of my typical weekend breakfast. The basic idea is just that, basic -fry some tofu, add some vegetables our whatever’s in the fridge, season, and eat. My favourite version is probably frozen peas, onion and corn. The picture shows tofu and left-over peas and tomatoes, with nutritional yeast sprinkled on top. (That, by the way, is one of the vegan substitutes for cheese. See wikipedia article here or a vegan blogger’s post here. In Helsinki the best places to find it are Ruohonjuuri, Punnitse & Säästä, Ekolo and general health food stores.)

As you can see, in all of these examples the tofu has been fried. This is both fast and easy, but here are the basics:

-First dry the tofu! I generally first press it with my hands over the sink and then wrap it in kitchen paper. Once the extra moisture is out, I cut it into cubes or slices, depending on the recipe. You can also put tofu in the freezer -it changes the texture a bit but makes it even more easier to fry.

-After drying, I either fry the tofu at once or let it marinate in a sauce for a while.

-If you’re frying just the tofu, use a hot pan. The tofu should get a nice golden colour.

For more recipes, my two favourite sources have already been mentioned – Viiden tähden vegaani and Puputytön juhlakirja. There’s also one focused exclusively on tofu: Tofukeittokirja by Marianne Kiskola and Sanna Miettunen. I rarely use English-language sources nowadays, but Vegan Yum Yum has pretty good recipes in the archives. In Finnish my fave is Chocochili. Other vegan blogs are for example Pidempi korsi and kasvis.fi.

*Kasvisruutukokki (WSOY 2003), page 30.

Spreading the Love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!

Happy Valentine's Day

Picture shows me attempting to form a heart with my new mittens(!). As wiser knitters have already noted, it isn’t very easy.

There are a variety of things I have been very happy about lately, and what better day to mention them than St. Valentine’s? So without further ado, here goes:

1. Mittens 

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Mittens in waffle pattern (from 60 Quick Knits), knit in Dream in Color Classy (colourway in Vino Veritas).

Camera Roll-244

Virankannos Mittens (pattern free in Ulla) for the bf, knit in Madelinetosh Tosh Vintage, colourway Grove.

2. LYS-explosion

Both Snurre (homepage here), and Villavyyhti (homepage here) opened last year in Helsinki. And let’s not forget older favourites, either 🙂 After not having been to yarn stores in a while, there really is nothing better.

3. Etsy: knitting bags

There are many awesome shops but Bird Leg Bags is where I recently got two knitting bags. Not only did I get them fast, wrapped nicely and with a few extras, but OMG…Owls! and kittens! My two weaknesses.

4. (Vegan) Chocolate

A local healthfood store (Ruohonjuuri) has started carrying Moo Chocolates. I am totally addicted. They use rice milk which makes the chocolate taste very similar to “regular” milk chocolate. There are other brands on the market as well but Moo is my favourite. Yummy!




Veg*n Q&A

(veg*n=term used to refer to both vegetarians and vegans)

I started reading The Yarn Harlot’s latest book today, and her essay about things non-knitters say to knitters really got me inspired. Now, I do get some really annoying questions as a knitter, but most of the time it’s just someone complimenting my work (which, obviously, is always nice). The more difficult and/or interesting conversations concern vegetarianism or veganism.

Most people that I communicate with on a daily or weekly basis know that I used to be a semi-vegetarian (i.e. I ate fish) and went nearly-vegan in last January (the “nearly” comes from the fact that I still use wool that I had purchased before that). Obviously it’s not the first thing I’d mention in a job interview or when talking to my thesis advisor, but it’s something that I am proud of and therefore do not hide it. This means that I do occasionally have to Explain Things.

1. The One Question Not To Ask 

Q: You still eat chicken, right?

A: No. (This question makes no sense for either a pesco-vegetarian or a vegan, since last time I checked, chicken=not fish/not vegetable. Also, if you ask this when I’m drunk, I cannot guarantee that I won’t start citing Foer or Masson.)

2. The Question I Bet She’s Heard Already

Q: Isn’t that really hard?

A: Not really. It limits your options, but if you no longer view certain foods as viable options (because they cease being “food”), the question is irrelevant. 

3. The Question That Isn’t A Question (and which only leads to an argument)

Q: I think you are wrong, because (Insert X)

A: I am ashamed to say that I do on occassion enjoy arguing, so this might not end well.

But, seriously speaking, everyone has a right to disagree. Most of my friends (presumably) disagree, since they are not vegetarians. it does not mean we cannot be friends, but mutual respect and courtesy is required.