16 July 2015

Shepton Mallet: Somerset's Festival Town!


Sssh, there's nothing to see here, move along please, there are no festivals here!


Shepton Mallet: Somerset's Festival Town!
Wow! Why would you say that? Why would you want to plaster that on every sign post as you enter our town? Why? Is that even TRUE?

1/ 'Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world and a template for all the festivals that have come after it.' (Official Glastonbury Festival Website) and Shepton Mallet is the nearest town to the world's largest greenfield music and performing arts festival! Why should we not bask in that reflected glory and embrace that amazing association? Our town is crammed with people visiting because of Glastonbury Festival, it's only for a few days of the year....but then other towns that capitalise on historical events, for instance, are only referring to something that's history and isn't going to happen again! There are film and TV crews and media companies from all over the world to film this event and it is imperative that we embrace our close association with this phenomenal happening! The link being made clear is long overdue.

2/ The Royal Bath and West Showground is in Shepton Mallet and the NASS Festival, The New Wine Festival, The Soul Survivor Festival, The Somerset Food and Drink Fest and West Fest, are all held there. Plus there are several events and shows, which are festival-like in nature although not in name, such as the Royal Bath and West Show, The Giant Flea, The Motor Home Show and other big events and happenings. The word Festival embraces the feel of all these functions and events.

3/ The Mid-somerset Show, or Shepton Show, held on the ground by Cannards Grave Road, is right in Shepton Mallet itself. It's been running for 163 years and attracts thousands of people! That is a really, really big deal! Let's acknowledge it.

4/ Collett Festival, celebrating our own wonderful park and hopefully the slight name change from Collett PARK Festival, will mean the festival spills out from the park and into our High Street and that individual shop keepers are inspired to put on different events, exhibitions and happenings, alongside the celebrations in the park, to raise the profile of Shepton Mallet even more!

5/ The Lantern Parade, is another fantastic reason to visit Shepton Mallet, as an outsider coming from London, that looks pretty much like a festival event to me!

6/ Then we have the absolutely incredible Shepton Mallet CARNIVAL! Filled with lights and music and dancing and theatrical tableaux on floats! You might not know BUT this does not happen in every town! This is a brilliant event and another festivity that we need to proudly proclaim!

7/ In our day to day life, living in this town, no it doesn't feel like one big festival....but for people that visit us, for people that look for accommodation here, for people passing through, or using hotels, or B & Bs and so on, they see us as a Festival Town because that is mainly the reason that people come to Shepton Mallet! We are in the middle of all the festivities!

The only good reason that I can see for NOT plastering 'Somerset's Festival Town' all over the sign posts on the entry to Shepton Mallet is if you just want to keep it a secret and you DON'T want to share the fun, with anyone else, from anywhere else, you want to keep it under your hat and don't want anyone else to know.

The truth is, WE ARE SOMERSET'S FESTIVAL TOWN and we ought to enjoy and embrace that title and feel proud and sing it out loud and be thankful that somebody with brains, balls and vision has pointed it out to us! This title is more than a title, it's the key to us recognising our strength and to let other people know about it. It's the key to reviving our economy, to boosting our morale and to at last realising our TRUE identity!

2 July 2015

Delicious, No Bake, Lavender and Chocolate Cheese Cake.


It's too hot to bake, so I made this for my darling vegan fiends today! It's a mish mash of different recipes, with a touch of my own twists.

It's very, very easy to make.

1/ First line with greaseproof paper and grease, some kind of dish that can go in the freezer.

2/ Soak 1 and a half cups of Walnuts and mixed nuts in hot water for about 10 minutes or so.

3/ Put 1/2 a cup of dates in the blender but don't blend yet.

4/ In the meantime, pour 165 ml of a can of coconut milk into a small pan and put on the stove to boil.

5/ Break up 200g of Divine Dark Chocolate.

6/ When the coconut milk has just come to the boil, take off the heat and then add the broken pieces of chocolate to the hot milk and stir it around so that it melts into a delicious ganache!

7/ Next drain the nuts with a sieve and then put into the blender, with the dates. Blend and push down with a spatula, being careful to keep the spatula away from the blades. Then add some maple syrup to taste, I poured a bit in, without measuring.

8/ Scrape the mixture out into your prepared dish and flatten with your hands.

9/ Then, lovingly pour the ganache onto the base that you've just made in the dish, minding that you don't drool over it.

10/ Pick some lavender flowers/buds, wash them, dry them, pick them off the stem and then scatter them on top of your ganache.

11/ Put in the freezer.

12/ Call some friends round and eat it with them, or you can devour it slice by individual slice, without telling anyone about it.

Or you could skip all 12 steps above and just take one step into My Coffee Stop Shepton Mallet, where we will make it for you!

If you need Divine Chocolate and Coconut Milk in a tin, we sell those! We also sell the mixed nuts and dates too!

11 June 2015

The Easiest, Quickest, Tastiest Gluten-Free Pizza Ever!






I have just enjoyed the most delicious gluten-free pizza that I have ever made, no, I have just enjoyed the most delicious gluten-free pizza that I have ever tasted! Here is the recipe and it is PERFECT! The base is also brilliant for Vegans too, with no milk, or eggs needed! (If you are making Vegan pizza make sure that the toppings you choose are suitable for Vegans and don't put cheese on and I do NOT recommend any cheese replacement either, they are yuck, in my opinion!)

The base of the pizza is made with the Glebe Farm, Gluten Free Seeded Brown Bread Mix, which you can buy from our shop.

1/ Preheat your oven to 190 Degrees.

2/ Line a 9" x 13" baking tray with greaseproof paper and then grease well with oil.

3/ Pour a whole packet of 375g of Glebe Farm, Gluten Free Seeded Brown Bread Mix with Linseed and Sunflower Seeds into a large bowl and add the 10g of yeast included in the packet. 

4/ Stir in 1 tablespoon of raw cane caster sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt.

5/ Then into a measuring jug pour in hot water up to the 200ml mark, then add cold water to make up to 275ml in total.

6/ Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the water and stir in, then pour into the flour mixture and stir round until it is well mixed.

7/ Scrape the mixture into the baking tin and level it off, with the back of a spoon.

8/ Next, top with any toppings you like, put in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

That's it!

In the photos, I used a tomato topping that I had whizzed up in the blender of tinned tomatoes, olives, herbs and tomato puree, with garlic, I spread that onto the base, layered baby spinach leaves on top of that, sprinkled on some cheddar cheese, and placed olive slices and torn sun-dried tomatoes on top.

The end result is the most delicious gluten-free pizza ever! Don't forget, you can make it suitable for Dairy-Free Diets and Vegans by missing out the cheese and ensuring you use only Dairy-Free/Vegan toppings.

4 May 2015

Chickpea, Tomato and Quinoa Dahl


Lunch for Tuesday 5th May 2015, this gorgeous tasting, Chickpea, Tomato and Quinoa Dahl! Presented in a bowl for £2.70, at the time of writing and presented with a poppadom on the side. I have been told many times that I should charge more but I want to make healthy food accessible for all, I want to inspire people to eat like this at home too! People love my cooking but I am not a naturally great cook, the way I cook is to make it as easy as possible for myself, whatever I make is easy to emulate, I promise. Lots of the ingredients we use in our dishes, I stock on our shelves for you to take home and make it for yourself. These prices too are kept as low as I possibly can.

Since around the beginning of March, we have introduced a Daily Dish of the Day in our Shepton Mallet shop, I kept turning people away for lunch and didn't want to do sandwiches. Then one day a beautiful Vegan couple turned up in my shop, they love playing Bananagram, so I got one in for them and maybe that was when they realised I might be open to gentle persuasion. That lovely couple are now a family of three and have completely convinced me to keep cooking Vegan lunches for Shepton Mallet.

I am NOT a vegan myself but what inspires me to keep cooking these vegan dishes? Well, there are several things, I do enjoy challenges and cooking something Vegan and making it look and smell so tasty that even meat eaters will buy it, try it and come back for me, is pretty exciting for me! Our business is based on sustainability, the vegetarian and vegan way of eating is much better for the earth and we are already committed to our business being 100% suitable for vegetarians, there is just less harm done to our world when animal products are avoided and I have to say that all the Vegans I've met so far seem to look fit, healthy and slender. I don't know if that's because they have to keep saying, 'No, I can't eat that, no, sorry, can't eat that', or whether it could be the discipline they show in saying no to certain products, extends over into their own health and self-control. I can't imagine a Vegan person sitting down and just deciding to stuff their face with raw cane sugar, even if it is entirely suitable for vegans. Vegan eating in general fits in with Paleo style diets, apart from the slabs of protein made out of cows or pigs that Paleo eating encourages us to have on our plate. I also like the idea of conscious, mindful eating, of having standards and sticking to them, it appeals to me. If you are going to eat animals, then at least call them by their proper names and don't suddenly change a pig to bacon and a cow to beef, it's silly and a cover up of the truth.

I like the way that these dishes I am creating are nearly always gluten-free, they are always made from scratch, no pre-made sauces, or additives, certainly not bought in from a manufacturer and passed off as my own! My dishes are always great for Slimming World members because they are usually SYN FREE! I am proud of that. That's why I wrote it in big letters. They are not so synfree though, if I have cooked something with tinned coconut milk in, so always check with me first! They are always dairy free too and packed with protein. I don't eat dairy or gluten myself, I feel so much better for it, healthier, fitter and slimmer, so it's easy for me to make those kinds of lunches for everyone else. The other thing is my partner Gunter is diabetic, so I am very aware that foods of a low to medium GI are better for all of us, not just for diabetic people.

The great thing about these Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Slimming World friendly lunches, is that they embrace people from all cultures, people who have to follow all kinds of restrictions in their diets, people that want to eat healthily, well, tastily and sensibly! I like it when people connect together and these vegan lunches are doing exactly that! Imagine going somewhere to eat where there is NO menu, there is only one dish on offer and that is Dish of the Day! I love seeing people that don't know each other, sitting down to enjoy the same food and people that do know each other and are coming out as a family or as friends sit down and share the same food, it's very, very special. The whole way of doing this means I don't ever have to throw food away. Why ever did we think it was such a good idea to have so many choices in what we eat in restaurants? This way that I am discovering for myself is leaner, greener, healthier and proving to be very popular!

Here are the ingredients that I used in the Chickpea, Tomato and Quinoa Lunch, so you can check through them. Allergens are in bold.

Onion from the Friday Market
Garlic from the Friday Market
Ginger from My Coffee Stop
Tomatoes from the Friday Market
Tinned Tomatoes from My Coffee Stop
Cumin from Peppers
Coriander from Peppers
Turmeric from Peppers
Chilli flakes from Peppers
Yeast Extract from My Coffee Stop
Spinach Leaves from Aldi
Fresh Coriander Leaves from Aldi
Cashew Nut Butter from My Coffee Stop
Quinoa from My Coffee Stop
Kallo Yeast Free Stock Cube from My Coffee Stop, (Contains Celery)
Chick Peas from My Coffee Stop
Leek from the Friday Market
Celery from the Friday Market.

So come along and taste it for yourself, or make it for yourself!


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