15 May 2016

Easy 5 minute Raw, Vegan Soup

Sometimes it is really hard trying to eat healthily and especially when you're hungry, rushing around, trying to do so much and have hardly a moment to think about nutrition. That's why I created this Easy 5 Minute Raw Vegan Soup Recipe.

Influenced by the tastes of my customers and a lady who came in the other week and told me what I could do with my copious amounts of wild garlic!

This is so easy, so good for you and so very enjoyable, so, here goes:

1/ Put the following into a blender.

A handful each of WildGarlic, SpringGreens and Spinach.

A quarter of a Kallo stock cube.

3 generous teaspoons of MellowBrown Rice and Soy Miso.
Chilli to taste.

A drizzle of Clearspring Japanese Toasted Sesame Oil.

Organic Tamari Soy Sauce to taste.

A shake of Turmeric.

And around 600ml of hot but not boiling water.

2/ Whizz blender until required texture. I whizz until there are still little chunks of leaves but you might prefer it throughly blended and smooth.

3/ Pour into a mug or bowl, drink to your health and enjoy.

This recipe creates around 4 portions but of course that depends on the size of bowl or mug that you are using.

10 May 2016

Powerful and Passionate Protest Comments to Support Library Petition!

I started the Leave our Library Alone petition with just my own voice. I do have a habit of saying out loud what everyone is thinking, which usually causes some offence and is generally something I have to try hard to control but when it comes to creating a petition, that's when my weakness is a strength. I write it from the heart and write what I feel is my truth and if people agree with it, they sign the petition, it's as simple as that. A petition isn't just about what I as an individual think, it is a tool to accumulate power for our collective voices to be heard and that's why, I think that if you sign a petition, it's really important to write your own personal comment about what you think about the issue. A petition isn't always a perfect document and society is of course made up of many individuals, each with their own story or angle on the situation. The petition I have created isn't a list of perfect wishes of mine, that need to be magically turned into reality, it's a starting point to attract like-minded individuals, to campaign for what our town needs and to encourage discussion with Somerset County Council. The people on Somerset County Council are real people too, they are not some ogres and I truly believe that when they understand how much our library means to us, in the position it is, that we can come together and create a solution. Nope, I don't know what that solution is but that doesn't mean that I can't campaign against something that is just plain wrong!

So, the petition that I created has three main points:

1/ For our library to be left where it is at the heart of our town.

2/ For opening hours to be longer.

3/ For staff to be supported by automation and not cut because of it.

In just a few days, the campaign has been gathering momentum and there are several powerful comments already on the petition which is just about to reach the 400 signatures landmark!

Please join your voice with ours and get our message heard:

Please sign and comment on the petition, here. 

Please share this article on Facebook and encourage your friends and family to sign too.

Thank you so much for all your support so far.

Here are some of the other voices joining the protest.

It's a vital resource for the community, and should be kept in the centre of the community.

Mary Boston, Cranmore, United Kingdom

I do not think that Mendip will be happy until the whole of Shepton has become a dormitory town with only the shops at the top of the town to serve the town. This is a beautiful town and yet the agenda of Mendip is a brain teaser. LEAVE the library where it is, at least when people go there then they are passing shops who may benefit from a visit from them also, if it is at the top of town in Mendip then what is the point?
Lindy Wilson, Glastonbury, United Kingdom

Libraries AND librarians are a wonderful resource that help reduce crime, improve social mobility and make people happy especially older people and children
Helen Clemence, Shepton Mallet, United Kingdom

Libraries are important for the future of our children and should be kept in the heart of the town

4 May 2016

Leave our Library Alone!

have the opening hours of the library in Shepton Mallet Town centre have already been cut, to even less than than the short hours that were already in place BUT plans are being discussed about:

1/ Moving the library from the centre, to the so called 'Hub', on the edge of our town.

2/ Automating it, so that it is a self-serve facility. 

You know what, one day, they will tell us that it's all available online anyway, so why on earth do we need to pay rent for buildings to house books? Slowly, slowly and then not so slowly they are taking away and eradicating our library.

Please support our campaign and sign the online petition.

Why should our Library stay in the centre of our town?

In my mind the library is the cornerstone of all education. Reading is one of the most important life skills that we will ever learn, it is one of the most honourable pursuits of your time. Once we learn to read, we can learn almost anything because there is probably a book for every subject under the sun. Isn't it incredible that we can even learn another language just through the pages of a book. Reading is at the forefront of our education system, it is the backbone of our learning and the main centre of reading needs to be right in the forefront of our minds and in front of our eyes too. A library is a place to be proud of, standing where it is, right by our majestic looking Market Cross. Right in the centre of our town where it is easily accessible by everybody. 

The Friday Market is coming alive again and more and more people are enjoying this part of our town and altering their lives to either work in the market, or come and visit the market and then taking a look in the library, is an easy and natural progression of those visits.

Having the library in the centre of town reminds us to go and to use it. There is no way that such an important part of community life should be hidden away in the council offices.

I understand that in these economically difficult times we have to make cutbacks and sacrifices and we have to think sensibly about how we use our money. Maybe it is just not viable to pay the costs of a separate lease, when the library can be housed more cost effectively in the council's own buildings. However, maybe it is the council buildings that are in the wrong place and not the library! I understand that a few years ago, the council buildings were in the centre of town. Why did that change? Why make one mistake and then because of that mistake make another one and another one? In the short term moving the library will mean cheaper running costs. In the long term, a Library that is hidden away and automated sends out the message that reading is not important in our society, it is not worth investing in the future of everyone who lives in Shepton Mallet, it is more important to keep costs down. They say that actions speak louder than words, the action of moving the library from the centre of town to the edge of town says loudly and clearly that 'We don't care!' and the written words in books will disappear and not be read or 'heard', those words will be silent.

I taught both of my boys to read and the accessibility and visibility of the library meant that we had support and encouragement and it was very, very easy to incorporate it into our lifestyle. The position of the library is not just about convenience, or about people visiting to be too lazy to walk a little further, it is about the prominence of the library in our every day lives, the profile that it is given, its visibility and the respect that we give it. Moving the library and making it invisible shows us that the service is undervalued and will then be cut completely.

Why should we keep people employed in the Library?

A library with no one to serve us becomes a soulless place. A library isn't just a place to get books, it's sometimes a place to get warm, for someone on the streets, while they read and enjoy talking to someone about something other than their situation. A library for me, is sometimes a respite from the stresses of the outside world and that means the people who work in there too. I am not always in a good state of mind, sometimes I need help to look for a book and I need someone else's knowledge and enthusiasm and recommendation as a guide. Taking the people out of the library is just wrong. Those people are the very essence of the library, their helpfulness and personalities make the library a place that you want to go back to again and again.

Imagine an automated library! That would mean no person to interact with, no one, apart from you, again, to praise your child and encourage them when they choose their first book. No specialised personal knowledge, the knowledge that only comes from life experience and the infectious enthusiasm of another person, the kind of knowledge that can't be gleaned from a computer. There'll be no smile as you walk in, no chat at the desk, no sense of community. No-one for you to speak to, even if it's only about a book, if you've been on your own all day and have no family in the area.

Severing our links with our library is one of the worst ideas that I have heard of since I have moved to this area!


It is perfect where it is, right in the heart of our town. Right where everyone can access it easily. It is appalling that the hours have been shortened, it's appalling that they want to make it self-service and it's appalling that they want to move it from the centre of our town. No, no, no way will I as an individual resident allow this to happen. As individuals we are powerful together.

If you agree with me please like this Facebook Page, please sign our petition.

If you don't agree, come into my shop, buy loads of things and then I might spare a moment to listen to your point of view. 

Moving the library is almost as bad as suggesting Timpson's have a pod at Tesco!

3 May 2016

My Delicious Vegan and Gluten-Free Spicy Black Bean Chocolate Brownies

I am posting this yummy recipe, especially for one of our regular customers, who keeps asking me for it. So here is is for you.

I know most coffee shops and restaurants don't usually release their secret recipes but I am going to put them all into a cook book one day, so this is my little method of getting it all down before you actually have to pay for it! (I didn't want to write that bit but our customer Rob, who can hear what I am writing because I keep reading it out, keeps piping up with suggestions in the background and he said that he hopes you buy the book anyway, as a matter of fact, I agree with him).

I wanted to create a brownie that everyone could enjoy, the catch word I like to think of in our shop is inclusivity, (It's probably not a real word but it could be one day). I want everyone to be able to eat the same thing and not worry about allergies, or health issues, or weight gain and so on. So, I try to make things that all the different groups of minority eaters can enjoy together.

The great thing about these Brownies is if you swap the Divine Bar of chocolate for the Hasslacher's 100% Cacao option, they are perfectly suitable for a clean eating paleo diet, with no refined sugar in.

Here we go then:

1/ Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius.

2/ Take a 9" x 9" square brownie tin, line with grease proof paper.

Take one 400g can of drained black beans and put into a blender.

2/ Add two dessertspoons of Divine Cocoa powder.

3/ Meanwhile take 1/4 of a cup of Biona Organics mild coconut oil and put it in a warm place to melt. I normally put mine in a bowl of hot water.

4/ Take 1/3 a cup of Chantico Organic Agave Sweetner and pour into the ingredients that are already in the blender.

5/ Add 1/4 teaspoon of salt, a teaspoon of Taylor and Colledge Vanilla Bean Extract vanilla essence and 1/2 a teaspoon of Doves Farm Gluten Free Baking Powder.

6/ Take half a cup of gluten-free Glebe Farm Oats and add to the ingredients in the blender.

7/ Add a pinch of ginger and a pinch of chilli, or leave out, or put more in according to your taste!

8/ Pour your melted coconut oil into the ingredients in the blend and then blend. I use a smoothie setting on mine.

9/ Smash up a 100g bar of Divine Chocolate. This has sugar in it, so for a cleaner option, you could use Hasslacher's 100% Cacao. Just use about 8 cubes, as it is very intense, if you love bitter, you'll love it with this chocolate! Then stir whichever smashed up chocolate you have chosen into the mix.

10/ Then pour the whole mixture into the brownie tin and cook for 19 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.

Get the ingredients now for the Hasslacher's Version

Get the ingredients now for the Divine Chocolate Version.

Nutritional Information.

This recipe makes 9 portions.

The Hasslacher's Version is about 127 calories per serving.
13.5g Carbs Sugars 7g
6.8g Fat Saturated is 5.8g
2.9g Protein
64.6mg Sodium
5.3% Iron

The Divine Chocolate Version is about 165 calories per serving.
20.5g Carbs Sugars 12.7g
Fats 8.7g
Saturated 10.6g
Polyunsaturated 2g
Monounsaturated 1.7g
Trans 2.3g
Sodium 394.4mg
Potassium 284.3mg
Dietry Fiber 3.8g
Protein 3g
Calcium 1.5%
Iron 8.5%

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!