Beautiful bring-and-share!

20 Sep


Gloucestershire Vegan Group had a fabulous bring-and-share in Gloucester on the 13th September 2014. Hosted by a couple from our group in their home near Gloucester, we especially enjoyed a trip around their beautiful wildlife-friendly garden – a meadow bursting with bee-friendly flowers and colours.



As usual there was a great selection of animal-free dishes brought along for sharing. We had some sumptuous summer salads, a tasty asparagus quiche, a spicy south-western style corn pudding and some moreish crispy tofu cubes coated in yeast flakes to make them extra-savoury.


For puddings the summer-theme continued, with harvest fruits such as garden-grown raspberries and apples included wherever possible. There was some fantastic raspberry-chocolate combinations – chocolate and raspberry cake with a rich chocolate icing, raspberry jam-filled chocolate cupcakes with a rich chocolate ganache drizzled on top, a chocolate mousse cheesecake with a raspberry topping. There was also an extra-tasty apple crumble and a spiced dorset apple-cake to give us a refreshing break from the choco-raspberry overload.

Our get-togethers are a good chance to chat vegan stuff – from the usual sharing of tasty cooking ideas, to vegan perspectives on the Gloucestershire Badger Cull, which some of us are taking action against again this year by joining the Wounded Badger Patrol.

Thanks to our hosts for the evening for being so welcoming, and if you fancy coming along to our get-togethers we’d love you to join us – please join our email list for more details.



Savoury Tofu Cubes


1 block firm tofu

4 Tablespoons yeast flakes

2 tablespoons soya sauce

Vegetable oil for frying

Little gem or similar lettuce leaves for serving


1.Cut the tofu into cubes

2.Pat the tofu dry with some kitchen paper or a clean tea towel

3. Roll the cubes in the yeast flakes on a shallow dish

4. Heat the oil in a pan over a medium heat (cast iron pans work well) and fry the cubes until crispy and golden

5. Remove from the cubes from the pan and set aside on a paper towel to absorb excess oil

6. Serve on a bed of lettuce leaves, sprinkle with the tamari/soya sauce


Isobel’s Rice Salad


1 mug cooked rice

Mung Bean Sprouts


Peppers – red & yellow




3/4 cup balsamic vinegar

1/4 cup tamari or soya sauce

1 tablespoon of french mustard


1. Cook the rice and allow to cool

2. Dice the Vegetables

3. Mix with the marinade and serve


Sheila’s Dorset Apple Cake


2 cooking apples – peeled and diced

4oz raisins

4oz coconut oil

4oz coconut nectar sugar

4oz spelt flour

4oz porridge oats

1 heaped tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ground ginger

2 tsp bicarbonate of soda

1 tablespoon boiling water


1.Mix the coconut oil, coconut sugar, spelt flour, oats and spices, including the ginger.

2. Add the bicarb to the tablespoon of boiling water, mix this in to the dry ingredients

3. Stir in the chopped apple and raisins

4. Add to a pre-greased baking tray or cake tin and bake for 45mins at 180 degrees celcius.

Lending a hand at Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary

13 Aug

Teamwork: painting the hen house

Teamwork: painting the hen house

Our visit to Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary in July 2013 compelled us to think of ways we could help this amazing charity, which provides a forever home for rescued farm animals.

First we got baking (a vegan’s secret weapon) and we have had several stalls at markets and events, with an amazing array of baked goodies, raising in total £534. Then on the 2nd August 2014, we arranged a work-day at the sanctuary, a small group of us taking a trip to Evesham for the day, to paint fences, chicken coops and do a bit of DIY.

Always hoping for a rich-tea biscuit

Always hoping for a rich-tea biscuit





It was great to re-visit the sanctuary, and even better to help out. We gave the weathered coops a lick of fresh paint, while hens and dogs scurried around the sanctuary yard, and elderly sheep bleated to each other in neighbouring pens. A beautiful golden cockerel was making himself at home in the sheep pens, and occasionally let out a surprisingly loud cock-a-doodle, his huge neck reaching up to the sky, and his legs planted like tree-trunks.

The giant cockerel

The giant cockerel

We broke-up the work day with a bring-and-share lunch in the yard, and while we were contentedly munching away, a cunning hen launched herself from the top of a coop into our picnic and made off with some lentil rissoles. After lunch we fed the sheep a few rich-tea biscuits that we’d remembered to bring along (they are the sheep’s favourite treats), and this nearly started a sheep riot such was the enthusiasm.

Then on to paint the main hen house in the fox-proof chicken enclosure. The hens were even more curious here, and pecked at our shoelaces or followed us around. In the background they were enjoying the sunshine, and dust-bathing in little hollows they’d made in the dirt, or just hanging out, pecking at the soil and scratching – all the natural behaviours that the Farm Animal Sanctuary gives these rescued hens the freedom to explore.

Luxuriating in a dust-bath

Luxuriating in a dust-bath

By the end of the day, we we’re all splattered from head-to-toe with brown paint – what a sight to behold, but very happy to have finished painting the large chicken house. It was a great chance to lend a hand to a good cause and enjoy spending time with fellow Glos Vegans.

The Farm Animal Sanctuary is such an inspiring example of positive action being taken to give farm animals (the most badly treated and exploited animals in our society) a chance they’d never otherwise be granted to live out their natural lives free from fear or harm. The number of animals given sanctuary at Evesham is a mere drop in the ocean compared to the approximately 900 million animals that are reared to be used by humans for food and clothing each year, but I see it as a small oasis of hope in a very non-vegan world. If you’d like to donate to them, adopt an animal, or offer your time to help out, please see their website for details.

OAP sheep

OAP sheep

Thanks to everyone who came along, and to Jan at the sanctuary for letting us help out.

A hen enjoying her smartly painted coop

A hen enjoying her smartly painted coop

Vegans dine out in Nailsworth

13 Aug

Great news for anyone looking to dine out in the vibrant Gloucestershire market town of Nailsworth – The Olive Tree Mediterranean Restaurant has added a selection of vegan choices to their menu. Their separate vegan menu is available to view online. The options for hungry vegans include Campagne Pizza (roasted garlic tomatoes, courgettes, peppers, olives and chillis, topped with rocket), Spaghetti Amatriciano with roasted veg and olives, or Antipasti of Sundried Tomatoes. Most excitingly, there’s even three vegan choices for dessert including a Chocolate Brownie Sundae.


Gloucestershire Vegans dining out at The Olive Tree

We love to see local places making an effort to include us in their menu choices, so to show our support for The Olive Tree we decided to combine a Gloucestershire Vegan Group meet-up and walk, with lunch there.

Below is a report from Gina on how it went:


Admiring the view

“The long-planned Walk to Box Village finally arrived on a very warm and sunny day when 9 of the Group met in the Waterside Garden Centre carpark on the Avening Road. Three other friends joined us and we all set off on the gently uphill journey towards Box. We headed up through the woods to Pensile Road and after a little incline, on to a viewpoint from which could be seen the trees and hills surrounding Nailsworth. We then continued up the hill towards the lovely winding Scarr Hill, arriving on the picturesque Box Village Green. After a short pause to regain our breath, we wandered through the village, noting their unusual library facilities  …. a disused old red telephone box, where people borrow and lend each other an assortment of reading matter!


The Box phone-booth library

We continued along Box Lane with its typical Cotswold stone houses and wonderful views and finally down through the fields to Balls Green. By this time, tummies were beginning to rumble and we hastened back down Pensile Road to The Olive Tree spot on 1pm where Paddy – the proprietor – was waiting to welcome us. Upstairs, a long table was laid to accommodate us all together enabling a very sociable meal. The exciting menu was extensive, with 6 starters, 6 main courses and 3 desserts – vegan beer was also on offer.”
Chocolate brownie sundae

Chocolate Brownie Sundae

Thanks to very much to Mike who made a great success of organising this walk & lunch, for Gina for the write up & photos, and also to Anotonio for some fab photos.
Check out The Olive Tree:
28 George Street, Nailsworth Gloucestershire GL6 0AG
Tel: 01453 834802

Return of the Stroud Brewery

29 Jun


On a sunny Saturday in June Gloucestershire Vegan Group were lured back to the Brewery Bar at Stroud Brewery for round-two of their delicious vegan beer and pizza. We arrived early to beat the pizza-rush, armed with our own fave cheese substitute for Velo Bakery to sprinkle liberally over our selection of pizzas before cooking in their on-site wood-fired pizza oven. All of Stroud Brewery bottled beer is vegan (and organic), which provided a great range of choice for us to try. Since our last visit Stroud Brewery have added the Organic Lager and the Stroud Organic Ale to their range, both of which were great to drink on a warm evening on their wooden decked beer garden.

We’re also excited to learn about the special beer they’ve been brewing up in collaboration with Asparagasm – vegan and wheat free pale ale – we can’t wait to try it!

A big hit on the evening was Sheila’s home-made cheese – here’s the recipe:


Sheila’s vegan cheese


2 handfuls of cashew nuts
1 handful of yeast flakes
Olive oil to mix
1 generous teaspoon yeast extract
1 mean teaspoon of turmeric
2-3 teaspoons tomato puree



Grind the cashew nuts in a blender
Add yeast flakes, add olive oil to give desired consistency.
Add Marmite, turmeric and tomato purree.
Adjust ingredients to taste.

Best used raw, shame to cook

Very simple cheap Vegan cheese
Soya flour, oil & yeast extract
Mix ingredients to taste

Can be made runny and spreadable
Or use a solid vegan margarine to make a sliceable cheese.
Fine for cooking.


Making your own vegan cheese is fun, not to mention cost-effective compared to buying shop-bought cheese substitutes. There are loads of different methods, and non-dariy cheese can be made from a variety of ingredients. If you’re interested in making your own, you can try recipes from the excellent ‘Artisan Vegan Cheese‘ by the inspiring vegan chef Miyoko Schinner.

Tour de Tetbury

20 May

Vegan cyclists take on the Royal Oak

Go vegan cyclists!

Go vegan cyclists!

Last year it became apparent that we had quite a few keen cyclists in our group who were longing for a cycle-adventure, so when this year’s events were being planned, a bike-ride was one of the first in the list. By wonderful coincidence, at about the same time I had an email from Kate Lewis, who had recently become proprietor of the Royal Oak in Tetbury, she was enthusiatic about having our group to visit, as she’s vegan herself, and runs vibrant pop-up vegan fine dining events  …and so the vegan Tour de Tetbury was born.

We couldn’t have picked a better day, cloudless and stunningly sunny. A group of nine of us set off from Stroud at 10.30am and wound our way up the intimidatingly steep Butterrow Hill. We stopped for a bit at the top to take in the incredible view of the Stroud Valleys from Rodborough Common, and to catch a breath. With the biggest hill soundly behind us, we crossed the common – past shade-bathing herds of cows – and on through the quiet streets of Minchinhampton. At Gatcombe Park we took a left and meandered our way down through the woods to Cherington Lake, which was thick with lilypads, just allowing small glimpses of water to catch the sun. From Cherington it was one glorious flat road to the Royal Oak – part of cycle-friendly Sustrans Route 45. The hedgerows were alive and billowing with vivid green spring growth and clouds of cow-parsley. The road was quiet and the sky seemed so big and blue, we cycled side-by-side chatting.

Checking out the view at Cherington Lake

Checking out the view at Cherington Lake

As soon as we arrived at the Royal Oak I knew it was the place to be! The pub has been lovingly restored, and just looked great.We left our bikes in the beautiful wooden bike shed, and one of our group came out the pub door grinning from ear to ear and clutching a pint vegan (unfined) Moor Ale. We met up with eight more of our group who joined us for lunch.

Soaking up the sun - and atmosphere in the Royal Oak beer garden

Soaking up the sun – and atmosphere in the Royal Oak beer garden

Kate and her team were so welcoming and friendly. They’d prepared a special 3-course vegan menu for us (although there are always several vegan dining options on normally – including a vegan burger). This consisted of fresh zingy warm salad of asparagus, sun-blushed tomatoes and ratte potatoes, with smoky seeds for starters, as well as a wild mushroom soup option. For mains, there was Herb nut roast, with rosemary gravy, roasted potatoes, parsnips and vegetables. The puddings were the show-stoppers – a Lazy Booja Berry Glory , as well as options for Booja Booja Ice cream and fruit, and Dolcetti Sorbets.

Vegan Roast Dinner - Royal Oak Style: Oak Leaf Sharing Platter, Asparagus and Sun-blushed Tomato Salad, Herby Nut Roast, Lazy Booja Berry Glory.

Vegan Roast Dinner – Royal Oak Style: Oak Leaf Sharing Platter, Asparagus and Sun-blushed Tomato Salad, Herby Nut Roast, Lazy Booja Berry Glory.

It was the first time I’ve eaten a vegan roast dinner out locally, as most veggie roasts aren’t vegan friendly, and it felt special to be so accomodated. The starter salad was really fresh and full of texture from the smoked seeds, and sun-blushed tomatoes. It had a good tangy dressing which worked well with the potatoes. The roast was really flavourful, moist with a good quantity of crunchy nuts and fresh herbs. The roast potatoes were beautifully crispy, and the parsnips sweet and well-roasted, the side veg was cooked well, and everything was smothered in a good dose of rosemary gravy. The Booja Berry Glory was incredible. Anyone who has tried Booja Booja ice-cream will let you know how amazing it is. But imagine this luscious chocolate cashew-based ice-cream combined with strawberries, cherries and chunks of chocolate tiffin.

Kate brings us some vegan wines to try

Kate brings us some vegan wines to try

It was an incredibly relaxing setting, with views onto Tetbury Allotments and beyond onto hawthorn trees seemingly iced with blossom. Loads of the group enjoyed the Moor Ale, which has a really good hoppy flavour. We also sampled a few of the vegan wines stocked by the Royal Oak, of which there are several.  The Vinos de la Tierra de Castilla Dragora Blanco, was a big hit, it had a zingy citrusy flavour. Other vegan drinks they have are Orchard Pig Cider and Freedom Organic lager as well as a good range of soft drinks.

As a parting gift Kate gave us some gorgeous snacks to sample from her friend who runs Moral Fibre – a nutritious vegan snack company. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the group made of them. I sampled the Choco-banananut Bites which were really stuffed with bananaryness, and had a good chewy more-ish texture.




Snacks by Moral Fibre

We rode back to Stroud, full and happy after such a special afternoon. The Royal Oak, Tetbury is too good to miss, and wonderfully welcoming to all – but especially vegans. Looking forward to visiting again!


Viva’s Incredible Vegan Roadshow

28 Apr
Viva's Incredible Vegan Roadshow was buzzing

Viva’s Incredible Vegan Roadshow was buzzing

Us Gloucestershire folk were fortunate enough to have Viva’s Incredible Vegan Roadshow spring-up in Gloucester Guildhall last Saturday 26th April 2014. This all-vegan event had a fayre-like atmosphere, with a huge array of stalls, informative talks and cookery demonstrations.

The event was buzzing. With doors opening at 10.30am, it was immediately busy and was constantly so until late in the afternoon.

It was a good platform for local campaigns. Many were there including Gloucestershire Against Badger Shooting who were raising funds to help them continue their work against the badger cull in Gloucestershire, and Dean Farm Trust; a charity founded in 2008 who provide sanctuary for and raise awareness about farmed and ill-treated animals.

Viva had some great information on vegan and animal-rights issues, as well as free food samples and a heaving merchandise stall selling all sorts of stuff, from cookbooks to lip-balm.

There were some fantastic food stalls. A beautiful stall from Simply V, a pop-up vegan catering company from Cardiff, caught my eye with their iced dougnuts. Also from Cardiff, was Vegetarian Food Studio with mountains of incredible indian snacks; stuffed chillies; bhajis and samosas. Another independent vegan food business Tall Poppy Foods had some decadant looking cupcakes and other tempting goodies. Stalls such as these, and many more, demonstrating the versatilty and deliciousness of a plant-based diet couldn’t fail to give a positive impression about vegan cuisine to anyone who visited.

Simply V's enticingly beautiful stall - check out the doughnuts!

Simply V’s enticingly beautiful stall – check out the doughnuts!

For Gloucestershire Vegan Group, having a stall at Viva’s Incredible Vegan Roadshow was a great opportunity to publicise our group and the vegan social events we put on in Gloucestershire.

We also always like to combine our stalls with a spot of fundraising. To make the most of this event, we filled our stall with a selection of yummy lovingly-baked goodies, created by Glos Vegan Group members, which we offered in exchange for a small donation to Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary. Amazingly we managed to raise £234, what a result!

Baked goodies - raising funds for Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary

Baked goodies – raising funds for Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary

Events such as Viva’s Roadshows and the VegFest, seem to have multiple benefits, here are just a few that spring to my mind:

• Strengthening the vegan community by providing pop-up all-vegan inclusive spaces and a chance to meet like-minded people.

•Educating by providing information on animal rights, vegan nutrition & cookery, not only to vegans, but to anyone who happens to visit them.

•Promoting positive alternatives to animal cruelty through veganism.

• Raising the profile of Veganism in the local area.

We’d like to thank Viva for putting on this event.

[2014.04.24] 001.1a[] (GVG at Viva! Roadshow in Gloucester)


Viva’s Vegan Roadshow is coming to Gloucester

23 Apr

download Exciting news for Vegans, veggies and anyone curious about a cruelty-free way of living; Viva are hosting one of their Incredible Vegan Roadshow events at Gloucester Guildhall this Saturday 26th April 2014 (free entry!).

Come along for a chance to taste vegan foods, get one-to-one nutritional advice, pick up recipes and factsheets, have a cuppa and a vegan snack, find out more about local farm animal sanctuaries, and shop for vegan goodies (from chocolate to cosmetics).

Gloucestershire Vegan Group will have a stall at the roadshow, so do pop by and say hello. We’d love to meet you and have a chat. We can do our best to answer any of your local vegan-related queries, or tell you about the programme of events we put on – for vegans and those interested in veganism – in Gloucestershire. We will have a tempting array of lovingly home-baked vegan goodies on offer, in exchange for donations. The money raised from our stall will go to Evesham Farm Animal Sanctuary.

There are full details about the event on Viva’s website, including a map of how to get to Gloucester Guildhall.

We hope to see you there!



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