2 May 2016

Secret Hero stops driver causing more damage.

Last night, I was sleeping, snuggled up in bed, when I heard an almighty crash. The sound was in slow motion, it was quiet and got louder and louder and seemed to slide slowly into my consciousness, until I was begrudgingly awake.

I couldn't see anything untoward from my window but heard people talking and then, upon looking again, I saw the edge of a group of people. I had no idea what they were talking about and what the intermittent shouts were but everything seemed under control. So, I went back to my bed.

Later on, my partner and son told me that there was a crash involving a car and a bollard and they oveheard a man saying that he was trying to avoid the scaffolding. I wondered what had happened exactly, sorry, journalistic tendancies after having worked in a newsroom environment for ten years. So, I went dowmstairs and after listening and chatting, this is what I picked up about what could have happened. I say what 'could' have happened because I didn't get to speak to the one who had been driving the car and it wouldn't be fair to presume exactly what had happened.

I heard that the car had been parked outside the pub most of the night, then after the pub closed, the driver got in and drove down the High Street and then crashed into the bollard. People gathered round to see if he was ok and to help him out of the car but I was told he was aggressive and just wanted to drive off again. A quick thinking individual reached out to grab the car keys to prevent him driving off and maybe crashing into some more street furniture, hurting himself, or even hurting someone else on the street that night. My partner and son were out together, coming home and I think how different things could be, if that person hadn't stepped in. That bollard could be one of my loved ones instead, or one of your loved ones, or maybe even you and if the driver is one of your loved ones, he was saved by that individual from hurting himself, or creating an even bigger mistake.

So, today I have woken up feeling very grateful to anyone in our community that is brave enough to do the right thing and this was the right thing for everyone concerned, even the driver. Although he was screaming and shouting outside the pub, once he realised that he could not drive away. I hope this morning his anger diminishes and he is able to say a silent thank you to our community's secret hero.

26 April 2016

Best Brownies Ever, Fairtrade, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, with Free-Range Eggs in just TEN STEPS

It's not every day that you go to someone's funeral and taste a cake that is so deliciously chocolatey and gooey and chewy, all that same time, that you have to ask the person who gave it to you from her tin, for the recipe. 'Ah', she responded,'It is a secret family recipe and I can't tell it to you.' I knew that I had to get that recipe, it couldn't remain a secret any longer, I wanted my customers in my shop to be able to enjoy a slice of this indulgent deliciousness with their coffee. Poor lady at the funeral, I followed her around asking and asking, finally, she smiled a secret, cheeky smile and told me the truth, that it comes out of a packet mix from Costco.

So, we went to Costco and found the mix that she was talking about and it was so easy, we just had to add some oil and some eggs and they came out perfectly, every time, which was great for me, as I don't see myself as a naturally great cook, I'm the kind of person that would always burn myself when cooking, or burn what I was cooking! Also, my concentration is not my strong point, so remembering where I am in a recipe or even planning ahead to pre-heat the oven, is still an achievement in itself. That I suppose, would be the end of the story, if I didn't feel passionately about Fairtrade and making sure that our cakes do something to help heal the planet and are ethical too. I called up the mix manufacturer and asked if they would be doing a Fairtrade version, with Fairtrade chocolate and sugar in and they said that it wasn't on their radar at all. I was really disappointed and after a lot of thinking decided to try to create a recipe as simple as theirs, no egg separation needed, no fancy stuff, just quick ingredients that you can throw in the bowl and then cook and it comes out right, every time, no matter who makes it and it is Fairtrade and I decided that I wanted to make it Gluten-Free too.

So, I tried and I tried and I tried, again and again and our customers were lucky enough to taste them and tell us what they wanted it to taste like, then one day, after lots of failures, I created a recipe that tasted so beautiful, gooey, chewy and rich but with a clean aftertaste! Success! Not only that but it was Fairtrade and Gluten-free too.

Well, after that build-up, you'll want the recipe now, won't you!

I write my recipes as step by step instructions, how you would do things logically, none of this suddenly being told to put things in a pre-heated oven, without being told it needed to be pare-heated, at the beginning of the recipe.

Best Brownies Ever, Fairtrade, Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, with Free Range Eggs. Suitable for Vegetarians.

1/ Preheat the oven to 170 Degrees Celsius

2/ Line a 9 x 13 inch baking tray with grease-proof paper and grease with oil.

3/ Into a big bowl put 450g of raw cane caster sugar, Fairtrade, with 3 eggs and 1 teaspoon of Fairtrade Vanilla Extract. Mix together well, with a fork.

4/ Into a measuring jug, measure out 200ml of vegetable oil, then add 70g of Divine Cocoa Powder. Mix these together well with a fork and then add to the sugar and egg mix and mix it all together.

5/Next, measure out 120g of Doves Farm Organic Gluten Free Self Raising Flour and add 1 and a half teaspoons of Doves Farm Gluten Free Baking powder and add this to the chocolatey mixture, stir in well.

6/ Take a 100g bar of Divine Dark Chocolate and smash into pieces whilst still in the packet, using a rolling pin, I prefer a hammer though!

7/ Mix the chocolate pieces into the mix.

8/ Pour and scrape the mix into the prepared baking tray.

9/ Place in to the preheated oven for 19 minutes. Then take out, cover with foil and place in the oven for another 19 minutes.

10/ Take the brownies out and give them time to cool, then serve up and enjoy!

These brownies are great for a teatime treat, or even as an extra delicious dessert. If you can't be bothered to make them for yourself, then please pop into our shop and get some.

These brownies are full of sugar, so they are not the healthiest thing in the world to eat but they are very, very tasty and enjoyable!

17 April 2016

Blueberry Sherbet Slush

Oh my, I invented this crazily sweet and zingy number last night, whilst wanting to give my children something sweet but healthy to enjoy whilst watching a film. I can still imagine the flavours on my tongue, like fruit and sherbet and sweetness all exploding off each other, such a refreshing little number and with a secret ingredient, that pulls it all together and makes it even more nutritious for you than ever. (I know, not so secret now that I am going to mention it but there you go!). The secret ingredient is Baobab powder! We sell this in our shop, so if you would like to make this for yourself at home, please visit us to buy it, or you can order it online.

The Aduna website tells us that Baobab is a 100% natural and organic African superfruit that actually dries on the branch of the tree. It is a rich source of Vitamin C, high in fibre and has more antioxidants than any other fruit! That is one amazing superfood powder! It is said to boost immune function, help energy release and improve skin health.

In this luscious smoothie, we are throwing in some blueberries, known for being a superfood which is high in antioxidants. On the NHS website, Alison Hornby, a dietitian and BDA spokesperson is reported as saying that blueberries are a fantastic choice as one of your five portions of fruit and vegetables a day, as they are low in calories and high in nutrients. This is despite admitting that scientific evidence at the moment is inconclusive about the broader health claims of this fruit.

I was going to write a small amount of information on why the pineapple chunks in this smoothie are also extremely good for you but the list is so good and so strong and nicely presented here, that I thought I'd let you click on that instead! However, if you just want to stay on this page, basically, the pineapple is a nutrition powerhouse, great at helping you to fight colds with high amounts of Vitamin C and an excellent help with digestion and respiratory well-being because of the high amounts of Bromelain.

Of course, this smoothie is now on the menu, so come and order one, come in specially to treat yourself, in the nicest possible way.

If you are too far away to pop in, or just want to make it at home, here's how to make this amazing smoothie for yourself.

Put the following ingredients into your strong blender:

A handful of frozen pineapple
A handful of frozen blueberries
300ml of apple juice
2 x teaspoons of Aduna Baobab powder, available from us!

Whizz the blender on the ice setting, then whizz on the smoothie setting.
Pour into a glass and enjoy!

6 April 2016

Healthy Chocolate Smoothie with Chia Seeds!

Why,  oh why, do people drink crappy milkshakes with artificial syrups in them and icecream, when they can have something as tasty and delicious as this chocolatey concoction, which is actually good for you, as well as tasting so deliciously good?
I make one of these if I need a chocolate boost, for my breakfast, or for a snack and it takes like a real treat. Today, I made one for myself and one for my soon to be a teenager son. We loved sipping them in the sunshine and even though he ate those Bamboozled Jelly Beans the other day, blurgh, at least I know that he enjoyed something a lot healthier today.
Here's the recipe for two mason jars:
Put all these ingredients into a good, strong blender.
600 ml of Almond Milk
2 x tablespoons of Pulsin Rice Protein Powder
2 x tablespoons of Naturya Lacuma powder
2 x tablespoons of Raw Cacao Powder from The Raw Chocolate Company
1 tablespoon of Artisan Grain Chia seeds
2 x ripe bananas (I normally use Fairtrade and Organic)
A pinch of ginger, if required.
Then whizz on the smoothie setting, pour out into two seperate classes and enjoy.
All the above ingredients are available to buy online for delivery or through click and collect, from our shop.

Or just pop in to see us at My Coffee Stop, 34, High Street, Shepton Mallet, BA4 5AS

14 January 2016

Coffee shop on Enfield Chase Station OPEN!

UPDATE: 17th April 2016

My Coffee Stop is now located in Shepton Mallet, Somerset, were we are all enjoying a less stressful lifestyle and still encouraging people to support their local businesses, including ours of course and contributing to the community with what could possibly be the uk's smallest cinema!

My Coffee Stop in Enfield has well and truly gone, our quirky presence at the end of Platform 1 just a fleeting memory, marked by newspaper articles, awards and life changing moments. In the last year of our time there, one of our community and a relation in our extended family, ended his life there, by jumping in front of a train. Being in the position we were on the railway station and because of my struggle with depression, we were always very aware of how people might have been feeling, as they stood on the train platform and always tried to send out positive healing actions. We weren't open on Sundays, that's the day Frank died. His Mum, Eve Stickler, is a fantastic artist and has publicly thanked teachers at Highlands School in Enfield, for continuing to raise money for Childline, to help other youngsters battling with depression. It is only now, after we closed our doors at the end of February, that I have been able to open my heart to the tragedy that happened there. It is only recently, that I was able to contact Eve and send her my condolences and chat about things with her. The enormity of what happened is only just seeping through. I think because we had to just get on with things, we did.....but now, I am glad that we are no longer there. Leaving the train station behind, doesn't turn back time, or alter the grief or pain felt by those closest to Frank but I am glad that I am no longer running a business where my relative's blood was spilt, where he was feeling in such pain, death looked more attractive. If you suffer from depression, I want to tell you that death is not the answer, no longer how long you are depressed, there will be good days and good episodes and that wanting to die is just your brain tricking you, don't believe it. Please talk, please go to the doctor, please make sure that you are a survivor and can pass the message on.

Original blog post, written when we were still open.

We started our coffee shop adventure in Enfield on the 3rd February 2009, it was the recession and we knew if we could do well in difficult times, then of course business would be a good deal easier as the economy picked up!
I haven't really been a witness to an economic recovery but we are still on Platform 1 seeing you through this bitterly cold weather, at Enfield Chase Station, this is despite the fact that we were due to close on December 24th! The day before we were closing, whilst I was putting posts on Facebook selling our sofa, scales, baskets and so on, I received an email from the management company of the unit, asking me to contact them.
So, I did. On the phone, our contact told us that after a call from The Enfield Advertiser, he had managed to agree with the landlord that we wouldn't have to pay an extra fee of £500 to stay open in January and that we could stay and operate under the terms of our old lease, which ran out last year in February 2015, until another tenant is able to move in. I was completely shocked and surprised, earlier that morning our sofa had been sold for a tenner and now there was an empty space where it should have been, I looked at the coffee machine, fridge and freezer and felt greatful that we hadn't managed to sell those yet! I called Gunter to give him the news and he took it in his stride and said that he had expected something like that to happen! We had though both been looking forward to having some proper time together as a family in Shepton Mallet, where we live and the location of our other shop.
After a short chat Gunter decided he would like to keep open in Enfield, so after receiving an email confirmation from the managing company, I called to say that we would accept their offer.
On what was supposed to be our closing party, on Christmas Eve, to celebrate the last seven years and to be thankful and grateful for the fun times and friendships we ended up having to tell everyone that we would be open! There was a fantastic atmosphere and our customers' leaving presents to us of wine, champagne, chocolates and so on, ended up being we're happy that you're staying presents!
Here we are, in January on Platform 1, Enfield Chase Station and nearly HALF of our customers are missing and some have stepped inside in utter astonishment, as they hadn't heard the news that we were staying.
I suppose this blog is asking for your help to spread the word, WE ARE STILL OPEN at ENFIELD CHASE TRAIN STATION!
Please help us to let people know, by tweeting this blog, putting it on Facebook, plus one it on Google, or if you're a journalist, please write about our story to let Enfield know.
Oh alright, Enfield Advertiser, could you please print a story about this? You saved our shop from shutting with a single phone call, LET'S SHOUT ABOUT IT!

17 November 2015

Coffee Kiosk To Let at Enfield Chase Station London #Enfield #EN2!

So, it's bitter sweet. We will close the doors of our Enfield shop soon. Help us to celebrate almost 7 years of loveliness on December 24th, 2015! I think there'll be a party atmosphere ALL DAY! So, please do come along and join us. Gunter and I have had a wonderful time with you guys and all our customers are our friends and we are so happy and delighted to have had the privilege of laughing with you, chatting with you, listening to your woes, your journey, your ups and your downs, sharing life with you for these past, almost seven years.

We were hoping to sell our business to one of our customers, so that they could live the dream, the fantasy, of just coming to the station and having the banter, community, coffee and cake for the whole working day. We are nearing the end of November and there is no sign of that happening on the horizon, the main issue being, that there is no lease in place. So, no matter if we sell you the logo, the secrets, the Facebook page, the Twitter account, the equipment, the name and the goodwill, it is too much of a risk with no lease in place.

We can't sell this business without being able to reassign the lease and so, what better leaving present can we give Enfield than to give you the details of the unit and the landlord and let you go for it. For some reason, it is quite difficult to find details of the landlord and the lease details on the internet, it seems to be buried deep, deep DOWN! So here we are especially for you is your chance to negotiate directly with the landlord and GO FOR IT!

It is a challenge, the unit is in a difficult position, at the end of platform 1, so you do have to work hard at encouraging people from the other end to even know that you are there but with the power of social media and the local press, TV, Radio and even the national papers it can be done! As you know because you've heard of My Coffee Stop, even if this is the first time, from reading this blog.

We're taking our name and business with us to our Coffee, Health Food and Book shop in Shepton Mallet, with a cosy community cinema too and we leave you with a wonderful opportunity to chase.

Being at Enfield Chase Station gave us a great start, you'll not be able to sell your business at the end of it, to realise the value in that way but you'll have a great job of your own creation, that you can re-invent everyday!

If you choose to go for it, then GOOD LUCK and when we are in Enfield, we will come and visit for a coffee and cake but make mine a herbal tea please, as you know I don't drink coffee!


27 August 2015

My Maca Bliss Balls

My Maca Powder arrived today and I could not wait to experiment with this new taste. Reading up about it on the web, I see it is said to have libido raising properties, that it can energise and lift your mood and other positive things and it tastes sweet and malty, what's not to love. So, after browsing a bit more, I created these truffles, a mish mash of other recipes tweaked and completely changed and mashed up and My Maca Bliss Balls, is what I have created!

This is what I did, all the ingredients are available to buy or order from us, by the way.

My Maca Bliss Balls

Soak 1/2 a cup of cashews and 1/2 a cup of walnuts in boiling hot water.
Take 10 pitted organic and Fairtrade dates and soak those in a separate bowl of boiling hot water.

Prepare the other ingredients.

Put 3 tablespoons of coconut butter in a container and put somewhere warm, or maybe put the container into hot water, so that it melts and add a drop of vanilla extract.

Then measure out 1/4 cup of Raw Cacao Powder, plus a 1/4 of a cup of Maca Powder and two tablespoons of Hemp Protein Powder.

Drain the water from the nuts and put the nuts into your superduper strong blender, not just any ordinary blender, otherwise this won't work. Then pulse and blend, until nicely combined.

Next drain the water from the dates and add them to the blender and then whizz away.

Keep blending and slowly pour the melted coconut butter with vanilla extract into the mix.

Then add the powders and blend well together, until it is all stodgy!

Put the mix into a metal container then put into the freezer, whilst you prepare the coatings for your truffles.

I used Cacao nibs on some, melted chocolate on some others and cacao powder on the ones that were left. 

It's pretty much up to you how creative you get and what you'd like to do.

Once you have your coatings ready, it's time to get the mix out of the freezer and start rolling walnut sized balls, you should get around 12 to 15 balls. Then roll them in your chosen coating, put them into the fridge and then ENJOY!!

I am now going to take these home to my family to enjoy and hopefully we will have a blissed out evening.

Please let me know what you decide to coat your balls with! (Hmmm, that doesn't sound too good but you know what I mean). xxx

There was an error in this gadget