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I am writing with some exciting news!
As some of you may have already heard...my partner and I are opening a vegan cafe in Colchester!
We'll be calling ourselves "The Den at Twenty Three" and will be based on Crouch Street.
At the moment we are busy renovating the premises, and hope to open in the second week of March.
I'll be making lots of cakes to sell, and we'll also sell teas, coffees and hot chocolates, with a variety of non-dairy milks. (and optional vegan whipped cream and marshmallows!!)
We'll also have breakfasts and lunches (to eat in or take away) that will include sausage sandwiches, waffles and syrup, toasties, wraps and burgers!
We've set up a Facebook and Twitter account and so far have had a great response, with lots of messages of support from hungry veggies, vegans, and curious omnivores!
Our aim is to make a place where everyone feels welcome (vegan or not!) and to prove that vegan food can be interesting, diverse and delicious!
We'll be launching our website soon, but until then you can follow us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/thedenattwentythree and on Twitter @thedenat23.
May 2014 marked the debut of Colchester's First Vegan fair, which I am very proud to have co-organisied with two other vegans from Colchester!
The idea wasn't just to make an event for vegans, but also for people interested in learning more about veganism, and to hopefully serve as a good outreach opportunity!
We wanted the fair to be a celebration of all things vegan!
As it was our first fair it was a little tricky to convince some companies to travel to Colchester have a stall, especially since we couldn't tell them how successful or how popular it would be! However we managed to get some great local businesses on board, including local curry stall "The Chickpea", local health food shop "Natural Foods", a couple of raw food stalls, two breweries and of course myself selling cakes!
From further afield we had London based “Kizzy’s Cookies” and also Hodmedods beans who are from Norfolk. We were also really thrilled to have elite vegan athlete and marathoner Fiona Oakes offer to come to the fair to speak to people about all she has achieved on a plant based diet.
We made a lot of effort promoting the fair via social media, and also a leaflet drop.
The fair (which was free to visit) was held on 10th May at Colchester Arts Centre, and started at 11am.
We estimate that at least 600 people visited, which we were obviously thrilled with, as it was more than we could ever have hoped for!
My advice to anyone thinking of planning a vegan fair in their own town is to just go out and do it!
Aside from the hire costs of the venue and the leafleting costs there weren't really any other expenses. The money from the stall holder’s pitches covered our costs, and what was left over we donated to the charity Vegfam.
(We also held a charity raffle in aid of Vegfam, with prizes of 3 hampers of vegan goodies donated by various companies, and over £400 was raised in total!)
It was a great sense of accomplishment to see all of our efforts being appreciated by people in the local community. Everyone we spoke to was very complimentary and said they can’t wait for the next one!
More photo's from the day can be found on my facebook page here:https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?
and on the website of photographer and designer Jack Burley, here: http://www.jackburley.co.uk/colchester-vegan-fair-2014/
Sent to folks on my mailing list on 28/01/14
Just a little email to tell you details of the special Valentine's cupcake selection that I am offering this year, (which includes chocolate cupcakes with a homemade nutella centre! I think they'd make a nice gift to show anyone you love them!)
Mix and match the following cupcakes
Chocolate hazelnut, with a gooey chocolate hazelnut centre, frosted with chocolate, vanilla or chocolate hazelnut frosting and scattered with toasted hazelnut pieces.
Chocolate hazelnut, with a gooey chocolate hazelnut centre, frosted with chocolate, vanilla or chocolate hazelnut frosting, drizzled with chocolate hazelnut sauce and scattered with toasted hazelnut pieces.
Rose water flavoured, with rosewater frosting and a scattering of rose petals.
Vanilla and raspberry, with raspberries baked in, and raspberry pieces on top.
Vanilla, with vanilla frosting and a scattering of rose rose petals or raspberry pieces.
Chocolate, with chocolate frosting, sprinkled with toasted hazelnut pieces or drizzled with chocolate.
£8.50 for 4/ £11 for 6/ £19 for 12
A box of whoopie pies, with any of the following frostings: Chocolate, peanut butter, vanilla, raspberry
£12 for 6
View more photos on my facebook page!
You can view my blog here.
Yesterday I launched a separate "Ps...it's vegan!" blog on blogspot.My first post is all about easy to make cheaty vegan desserts! In time I will be adding "proper" recipes and other lovely vegan things!
"Ps...it's vegan" business news will remain here in this news section :)
In other news..."The Minories Garden Cafe" in Colchester are now selling our cakes on Wednesdays.
I'm thrilled that "ps...it's vegan!" is nominated for "Best Vegan Cakes" at the UK vegan awards for the second year running. Please give us a sneaky vote here if you like our cakes! Thank you!
April 20th I held a charity bake sale in Lush Colchester, as part of the "worldwide vegan bake sale" to raise funds for Tower Hill Stables Animal Sanctuary, in Asheldham, Essex.
The bake sale was a huge success and all 180 cakes sold in less than 3 hours! (between 11am and 2pm).
I am thrilled that kind hearted cake-lovers helped to raise £245.80 Tower Hill!
I was overwhelmed by the turn out and support-some people were even buying boxes of 10 cakes at a time! One couple came all the way from Billericay, just to buy some cakes!
The staff at Lush were lovely and gave me a really warm welcome (and bought their fair share of cakes too!)
I spent 12 hours making lot's of different flavoured cupcakes, muffins, cookies, whoopie pies and cinnamon rolls.
This is the second time I've participated in the world wide vegan bakesale, in 2011 I held another bakesale in Lush, which raised £157 for Animal Aid.
This year I chose to support Tower Hill Stables because I follow them on Facebook and felt I wanted to help the good work they do.
I was thrilled that the sanctuary owner, elite vegan marathon runner Fiona Oakes came along to support the event! (although all the cakes had sold out by the time she arrived!)
It was lovely to meet Fiona. I've been a huge fan of hers for ages. (you could say she's one of my heroes!) I really appreciated her taking the time to visit Colchester
Fiona is a former Olympic athlete (former cyclist), who now competes in extreme marathons.
She won the women's race at the North Pole marathon earlier this year (in temperatures of -28 c!) and came in third place overall, behind two male runners. She smashed the previous women's course record by 45 minutes! (along with her mascot- Percy bear, who also made an appearance at Lush!)
Fiona runs these extreme marathons to raise awareness of veganism and to prove that you can excel on a plant based diet, and also to raise funds for her animal sanctuary, at which she cares for 400 rescued animals (including horses, sheep, cows, chickens, pigs and rescued dogs and cats).
Fiona said she was really happy to see me promoting veganism through baking cakes, as a lot of people still seem to think being vegan means going without! She was also very appreciative of the effort I'd put in to raise money for her sanctuary, and said she'd be happy to help promote "ps..it's vegan!" in the future.
Fiona and me! (and Percy on my shoulder!
More photos from the day can be seen here
Since it is nearly Christmas I thought I would share with you a recipe for vegan mince pies!
The pastry recipe is from the amazing "Vegan Pie in The Sky" by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and Terry Hope Romeo.
Let’s make MINCE PIES!
· 11/4 cups (7 oz/ 200g) plain flour
· 1/4 teaspoon salt
· 1.5 tablespoon sugar
· 4 tablespoons (2oz/50g) cold dairy free margarine (recommend “Vitalite” or sunflower “Pure”)
· 4 tablespoons (2oz/50g) cold vegetable fat (ie Trex)
· 3 tablespoons ice water
· 1/2 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
· 1 jar readymade mincemeat
· 3 tbsp soya or almond milk
· Icing sugar for dusting
· Rolling pin or wine bottle for rolling out pastry, muffin tin, round pastry cutters, or a glass
To make your pastry: This is an all-purpose, flaky, roll-out pie crust, perfect for any pies. It's great for cutting shapes, or making lattices. Double the recipe and use it to make apple pie!
To assemble you pies:
Preheat oven to 200 C.
· Dust a clean work surface and rolling pin with flour. Roll out one ball of pastry to about 1/8 inch thick.
· Using a glass or pastry cutter cut out circles approx 3.5 inch wide, and press carefully into the muffin pan to make the base of your pies.
· Spoon 2 teaspoons of mincemeat into each pie. Roll out the other ball of pastry to 1/8 inch thick. Use a star cutter (if you have one) or a smaller glass to cut out the lids of your pies. Press the lids on. Make a small hole in the surface of each pie with a small sharp knife to allow the steam to escape (no need if using star shaped lids). Brush each pie with a little soya or almond milk.
· Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 mins or until golden brown. Remove from the oven and allow to cool in the tin for 5 mins before moving to a cooling rack.
· When cooled sprinkle the tops with icing sugar.
· They will keep well if placed in an airtight tin. If you like you can warm them in the oven before serving.
I have neglected keeping up to date with my news! And a fair bit has happened lately.
Most notably, I was very excited to come third in the category of "Best Vegan Cakes" at the UK vegan awards!
It was a surprise enough to see I was nominated, so I was super excited to finish in the top three (out of 13 nominated vegan bakeries).
Other good news, I am currently supplying two new locations.
The first is "Cafe at number 21" which is a new eatery on Trinity Street, that aims to cater for all diets, including vegetarian and vegan.
I supply them with vegan cupcakes (and the occasional muffin), throughout the week.
I am also currently trialling supplying 2 canteens (Zest and Blues) at the University of Essex! So if you know any vegan (or non-vegan!) students at the uni please let them know about my cakes, and be sure to tell them to let the catering staff know how happy they are to see sweet vegan treats on sale!!
Amendment, July 2013: I am unfortunately no longer stocking the university, due to issues delivering the cakes (I don't drive!)
I have also recently stopped supplying "Cafe at 21" (for personal reasons). For any updates on new stockists, join our mailing list!
I am afraid I am bearer of bad news this evening! (You may
have already read this on Facebook..)
Unfortunately the Treehouse café are having to call time on their vegan market stall, for the time being at least…
Here is a message that they posted on facebook earlier today…
lovely people of Colchester, we've got some good news and some bad news for
So there we are!
I’d like to extend my thanks too to everyone
that supported the stall and bought my cakes; I was really blown away by the
response, and I’m really sorry that I won’t be able to make you any more for the time being.
(I know it’s not as convenient as stopping by the stall, but at least an option is there..)
I’ll keep you informed on here of any other places that I may end up selling in the future (I’ll have sent some of you around the whole town looking for vegan cakes soon! -Sorry about that!), and I’ll also email my mailing list with any developments regarding The Treehouse. -Don’t forget you can also follow them on their facebook page where they will post any updates.
Hopefully I will have some better news to report in the near future!
Many thanks as always