The Versatile Blogger Award

I have been nominated for the Versatile Blogger Award by amazing vegan food blogger Poppy at Poppy’s Patisserie|Bunny kitchen. Thank you so much Poppy, I was both surprised and happy to know you nominated me!

versatile-blogger-award

The Rules for the Versatile Blogger Award are:

  • Visit and thank the blogger who nominated you.
  • Acknowledge the blogger on your blog and link back.
  • Share 7 random, interesting things about yourself
  • Nominate up to 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award, provide a link to their blogs in your post, and notify them on their blogs.
  • Copy and paste the award somewhere on your blog.

It’s taken me some time to write this post, because it’s been surprisingly hard to come up with the random (and interesting!) things about myself. Since most of you who read this blog don’t know me personally and thereby don’t know much about me at all, you will hopefully find something interesting among these 7 random things about me:

  1. One of my biggest dreams is to write a book (or several)
  2. I live in Finland, but most of my friends are Filipinos
  3. Since I was 8 years old we’ve always had cats (and my parents still do). It’s just after I moved away from my parents that I haven’t had a cat in my home. I have been moving around a lot and I want to have a more permanent and better suitable home before bringing any animal into it
  4. I like growing my own vegetables and herbs, but I don’t exactly have a green thumb, which quite often leads to the plants not surviving very long. But I don’t give up!
  5. I became interested in preparing food after I became a vegetarian and had to be more active in preparing my own meals, before that I was not really interested in cooking or baking. Nowadays I like experimenting with new dishes, and I especially love baking or making desserts
  6. In the end of September I’m moving from the small city where I live now to Helsinki, the Finnish capital city
  7. I have an unhealthy love for (dark) chocolate

My nominations:
20-something environmentalist
The Animal Spirits
Vegan Rabbit
Until Every Cage

More vegetarian food to the people!

Recently I’ve read two different articles about vegetarian food becoming more and more popular in Finland. What could make me happier than that?

In Helsinki, there are some high schools where even more than half of the students are vegetarians, some of them vegans. In general, 10-15% of students in Helsinki are vegetarians. During school lunches* in Helsinki there is always one lacto-ovo-vegetarian alternative apart from the alternative containing meat. Once a week the school lunch consists of only vegetarian food.

Also in Tampere, Turku, Lahti and Jyväskylä vegetarian food is getting more popular; more and more children in day care in these cities are vegetarians. More children than before are also vegans, which has led to that the city of Tampere has decided to offer vegan food as one of the daily choices for the children’s lunch. In the other cities vegan food can be offered to children upon request.

*For those of you who are not Finnish and might not know this: In Finland children in day care and schools up until high school get free lunch (paid by tax money) served to them every day.

Eating at Vegana

A few days ago we finally had time to visit Vegana here in Vaasa and taste their food.

They serve a lunch buffet that costs 9,50 € (includes a salad buffet, warm food, bread, water and tea). For one euro extra you can also have soup. You can also have take-out from the buffet table, you just pick what you want to have into a box and pay by weight.

When we came there I was a bit overwhelmed by the amount of food, because I’m so used to being able to eat just a few dishes in a buffet. Most of the food was different types of fresh vegetables and salads. The warm food of the day was oven roasted vegetables and a creamy spaghetti with pieces of soy protein. They also had several different types of bread as well as three types of vegetarian salami.

vegana lunch

I had a little scare when we read the ingredients of the different salamis and one of them had eggs, since I had got the understanding that the place was completely vegan. We had to ask about it and make sure that the rest of the food was vegan, which it fortunately was. So if you go there as a vegan, check twice and ask if you’re not sure about the ingredients!

Apart from the restaurant, they also sell food stuffs. I did not have time to check so closely what exactly they were selling, but at least different types of lentils and beans, soy milk and yoghurt, vegan cheese, bread etc.

The food was good – simple and fresh – and I’m curious what else they have to offer, so I will definitely go back some other day.

My vegan cake recipe

Several people have recently requested my recipe for the cake I usually make during parties, so I thought I would put it up here. The recipe for the sponge cake I use as the base of the cake is originally in Swedish and comes from the book “Vadå Vegan?” by Lisa Gålmark.

Sponge cake

75 g dairy-free margarine
1,5 dl soy cream
2 dl sugar
3 dl flour
2 tsp baking powder
3 tsp vanilla sugar
1 dl soy milk

First, mix the margarine and soy cream with the sugar until the mixture is smooth. Mix baking powder, vanilla sugar and flour in a separate bowl and then add all the ingredients together. Add the soy milk and mix until smooth.

Grease a small baking pan with margarine and sprinkle flour on top so that the pan is covered. Shake out any extra flour left in the pan and then pour the batter into the pan. Bake in oven at 175 degrees celsius for 40-50 minutes.

Some small tips:
I usually put a little less than 2 dl of sugar (maybe 1½), since I don’t like the cake to be too sweet.
This makes quite a small cake, so if needed you can double the recipe. Then it might be good to use a bigger baking pan, since if the batter is too thick the cake might not bake in the middle.

vegan cream cake

Making it into a cream cake:

After the sponge cake is done, let it cool down properly before you cut it horizontally into two pieces (or more if it’s thick). Letting it cool makes it easier to cut since it’s less likely to break. Place one of the layers onto the plate you like to use for serving the cake. Use a little bit of soy milk and spread it over the cake to make it little moist, you will also do the same for the top layer. Make sure you don’t put too much, it’s best if you just use a baking brush to brush on a thin layer.

Between the layers you can put pretty much anything you like. I usually use a mix of strawberry jam and banana. If I have tree layers, I put jam in between one of the layers and mashed banana between the other, if I just have two layers I mix jam and banana together. However, you can use any jam you like, and probably it will also be fine to put some kind of vegan butter cream or something like that, but I haven’t tried this.

On top of the cake and on the sides I just spread a vegan whipped cream (the best one we have around here right now comes from Alpro Soya). I whip the cream with a few teaspoons of sugar and a little vanilla sugar. If you want to add some color to the cake you can probably add some food coloring to the cream (just make sure the coloring is vegan).

The decoration is my weakest side, I’m not that good at making beautiful cakes, just tasty ones! However, I usually use some kind of fruit or berry. My favorites are strawberry, kiwi and grapes. I also like using chocolate in some form. But here you can just let you imagination run wild. I don’t generally use decorations bought in the shop, since most of them include some kind of animal derived ingredient (usually gelatin, milk or colorings).

And then there were two

Not long ago I wrote about Vaasa’s first vegetarian restaurant in a long time, Vegana, that opened in the end of July. Yesterday (August 14) the second vegetarian restaurant/café in town, Raawka, opened it’s doors. This is how the women who own the café present their place on their facebook-page:

“Raawka is an organic cafe that specializes in raw food, vegetarian and vegan food. We serve breakfast and lunch. We also offer smoothies, coffee, tea and pastries in a comfortable environment.
All our products are organic, gluten and sugar-free.
Our vision is to promote environmental awareness and healthy choices for a better future.”

The café is located in Palosaari, on Palosaarentie 23-25, and they are open Tuesday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm, as well as Saturday 11 am to 2 pm. I don’t know what price range the food is in, and I don’t know much more about the menu than what is mentioned above. However, they post their daily lunch options on their facebook page, and so far it has seemed quite yummy.

I am so happy that Vaasa is finally getting some vegetarian food places, because there has not exactly been any good options around here for vegans that want to eat out, or non-vegans or vegetarians that just want something different from the typical Asian or western food for that matter. Some people seem to think this change towards more vegetarian food is just a fad, a kind of “green food wave”, but I believe, and I hope, that it’s more than that. I believe people are finally opening their eyes towards the harm a diet saturated by animal products does to us, to the environment and to the animals, and want to change their habits at least a little bit.