Summer dessert delights

30 Jun

Gloucestershire Vegan Group members have been having adventures with aquafaba! Yes ‘aquafaba’ literally the juice that comes off of a tin of chickpeas or beans – something we’ve been discarding without a thought until recently. This unappealing sounding by-product has been hailed as a magic ingredient. The secret seems to lie in the protein content of the water, which some vegan chefs have discovered behaves in a similar manner to egg-white when whisked. At our latest bring-and-share meal, on a balmy summer afternoon, we were treated to meringues with strawberries and cream, brought along by members of the group. It was the perfect summer dessert, here is the recipe for you all to enjoy:


Meringue-y goodness

Meringue-y goodness


The water out of one 400g can of chickpeas, drained and strained (apparently the water from other beans works too!)

140g icing sugar

1 teaspoon cream of tartar


1 large bowl (This must be very clean – any residue or oil could cause your meringues to deflate!)

1 medium or large bowl

Electric hand whisk or stand mixer

Piping bag with large nozzle of your choosing (mine was a star nozzle)

3 large baking trays

Greaseproof paper


1. First, preheat your oven to 100 degrees Celsius, and line your baking trays with greaseproof paper.

2. Add the chickpea water to a large, clean bowl and beat on high speed with either an electric whisk or stand whisk. Do this for about 5 minutes. 

3. After 5 minutes, while continuing to beat, gradually add in the icing sugar, a bit at a time. Once all the sugar is incorporated, sprinkle in the cream of tartar and the lemon extract.

4. Keep beating until the meringue is glossy, with very stiff peaks.

5. Scoop the meringue into your piping bag, pushing it down gently with a spoon or spatula. If the mixture doesn’t all fit in one go, you can do the piping in batches.

6. Pipe nests of meringue onto your lined baking sheets. To do this you basically want to first make a small circle (about 3 inches across), then add a two or three spirals on top, around the outer edge.

7. Bake in your preheated oven for 2 hours and 45 minutes. Then, switch off the oven and leave the meringues in there for an extra hour or two. They should be completely dry when you remove them.

The recipe is on


Strawberries and cream

Strawberries and cream


175g(6oz) tofu
50g(2oz) coconut melted oil, heated,
( used heat treated (Suma), as I don’t like coconut)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon coconut flower nectar


Blend all ingredients together until completely smooth. Be careful when you add the liquid coconut oil as it can solidify on contact with the cold tofu
So it does need to be heated and not just liquid.

Its good on toast/scones with strawberry jam.

Vegan Kids Picnic – 5th July 2015

18 Jun

Gloucestershire Vegan Group vegan kids picnicI’m delighted to announce that on the 5th July 2015 Gloucestershire Vegan Group will be holding it’s first ever event designed specifically for families. We hope to enjoy an afternoon of picnicking, activities and games in the lovely Stratford Park in Stroud, Gloucestershire. Our event is open to anyone who is vegan and their families or anyone who is interested in veganism. We’d love you to bring along a dish of vegan food to share, a picnic blanket and plates. After lunch we will play some games, and get stuck into some family friendly activities, including a special game of Stratford Park I-spy. We will meet at the bandstand at 12.30pm, and will picnic nearby. Please r.s.v.p at if you wish to join us.

Volunteering at Dean Farm Trust

11 May The weeding gang starting work
The weeding gang starting work

The weeding gang starting work

Earlier in the year Dean Farm Trust – a charity which provides a ‘forever home’ for a family of rescued farm animals – reached out to us to come and help with their spring-time tasks and we were only too happy to oblige. As a result we spend yesterday enthusiastically helping out at their beautiful farm animal sanctuary, situated in a secluded valley near to Chepstow.

We split into working groups, one gang helping hand-weeding and clearing a new paddock, to free the grazing from being overrun with dock and burdock. The other group of us helped weatherproof the stables, giving the wood a spring-time coat of paint. It was hugely enjoyable to work together to help out a great cause.

A beautiful spread at our bring-and-share picnic lunch

A beautiful spread at our bring-and-share picnic lunch

At lunch-time we took a break, for a bring-and-share vegan picnic. As usual we collectively created an epic spread, and an incredible range of yummy stuff, demonstrating the variety and deliciousness of vegan food.

Whilst we ate Janette and Mary from the sanctuary gave us a overview of their work and their motivations to start the sanctuary, along with brief history of Dean Farm Trust. I was impressed with how carefully they had researched, funded and planned their sanctuary. This forethought is clearly a large part of their success. You can read more about how they started here.

We learned that Dean Farm Trust doesn’t simply seek to give a home to the animals they take in at their sanctuary, they want every animal they rescue to have the best possible care and health. This is why they will not take in more animals than they have the resources and grazing to support at the sanctuary. Dean Farm Trust cannot rescue all farmed animals, but for every animal they provide a home for, the difference to that individual animal’s life is immeasurable.

Dean Farm Trust have the ethos “protecting, informing, educating” and so they also work as animal advocates. Their website and excellent monthly newsletter not only provide details about their heartening work at the sanctuary, but raise awareness about animal exploitation; providing facts about animal farming and campaigns to stop animal cruelty such as the ‘Ban Foie Gras‘ Campaign. They also promote veganism and other positive actions you can take to live more compassionately.

I felt that the rescued animals who are living out the rest of their natural lives in happiness at Dean Farm Trust are a totem of the millions of farmed animals worldwide who are less fortunate than them. They are a few happy endings in an otherwise grim industry, and a constant reminder that animals should not be treated as mere commodities in the brutal and inhumane world of animal farming. (continued below >>)

a most contented pig

a most contented pig

Gloucestershire Vegan Group and Burrito the donkey listen to Mary from Dean Farm Trust talk about their work.

Gloucestershire Vegan Group and Burrito the donkey listen to Mary from Dean Farm Trust on a tour of the sanctuary.

Compassion for animals is an important lesson for everyone

Compassion for animals is an important lesson for everyone

After lunch we were taken to meet the animals. Our tour led us through a paddock of cheeky donkeys, who jostled for attention, and a few leftover carrots from lunch. We met the two boisterous pigs who came roaring across the field to greet us, and saw the ex-battery hens contentedly dust bathing in little pits they’d dug out in the soft spring soil. Dean Farm Trust is also home to several sheep, rescue ponies, and a small and affectionate team of ex-puppy farm Cavalier Spaniels. It was a real highlight of our visit to meet the animals we were volunteering to bring benefit to.

Ex- battery hens re-discovering the joy of natural behaviours such as dust-bathing.

Ex-battery hens re-discovering the joy of natural behaviours such as dust-bathing.

We carried on working in the afternoon, and went home tired but happy from a great day volunteering.

Thanks to Dean Farm Trust for being so welcoming to us all, and thanks to all of the Gloucestershire Vegans who gave up their sunday to come and help. We’d love to come back and volunteer again in the future.

You can subscribe to Dean Farm Trust’s newsletter on their website (subscribe box at the bottom of their homepage).

Unstoppable vegans dig deep for the animals!

Unstoppable vegans dig deep for the animals!

Bring-and-share Vegan Supper

22 Mar

Join us for vegan get-togethers.

It’s always a real pleasure to meet up with fellow vegans, and our recent bring-and-share supper was no exception.

We had a lively evening, full of chat about all things vegan and beyond, and our plates were laden with the scrumptious dishes we had brought along to share. In a distinctly non-vegan world it’s really such a boost to occasionally have a vegan-centered social event.

Some people were regulars at Gloucestershire Vegan Group get-togethers, but others had never even met with fellow vegans before. We hope their first experience of meeting like-minded people was a friendly and welcoming one.

There was as ever an amazing selection of food; samosas, sushi and sos-rolls, mousakka and cottage pie, jewish pastries and carrot cake. We’re united by, amongst other things, our passion for amazing vegan food and the spread we created demonstrated the diversity and deliciousness of vegan cooking. Our food may be free from the products of animal cruelty, but it’s certainly not free from flavour or imagination. For those of you who missed it, or who want to recreate the fantastic food we made, below are just a few of the recipes.


Sheila’s Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Cottage Pie


5 large sweet potatoes
5 leeks
2 x 250g of mushrooms
2 x 200g of chestnuts
2 x tins of tomatoes
Vegetable stock to taste
Coconut oil


• Dry fry leeks, mushrooms separately adding water to the leeks when necessary.
• Mix with tinned tomatoes
• Add vegetable stock to taste

For the topping:
• Bake the sweet potatoes
• When cool enough to handle, skin the potatoes and blend with coconut oil and season to taste and spread over the tomato chestnut filling and bake to heat though.

Mireia’s Moussaka

Ingredients for the tomato sauce:

1 chopped up onion

1 chopped up glove of garlic

Some tomato puree

1 tin of chopped tomatoes

1 cup of vegan mince

Couple of sliced carrots

1 sliced aubergine (medium to thin)

Bit of oil (for frying the onion), salt, mixed herbs, basil, some vegetable stock (bouillon)

Ingredients for the “cheese” sauce topping (from the Artisan Vegan Cheese book):

2 1/2 cups of water

1 cup raw cashews

¼ cup nutritional flakes

Bit of salt

Freshly squeezed lemon juice (1- 3 teaspoons)


Fry the chopped onion in a deep saucepan, add the salt and mixed herbs, add the garlic after about 5 minutes; fry some more until it starts browning (not long). Add a good dollop of pureed tomato, stir and fry for another minute, then add the tin of chopped tomatoes, ¾ fill the empty tin with some cold water to rinse it out and add to the pan (the pureed tomato and the protein mince would thicken the sauce too much otherwise), and add the protein mince straightaway, give it all a good stir and bring to the boil, stirring often, add the carrots, cook for a couple of minutes on low heat. Add the basil too, and the bouillon.

Oil/ grease a deep oven going dish, fill it with layers of the tomato sauce and the sliced aubergines till you’ve used everything. Put in the oven (180⁰) and bake for about 45 minutes or more until the aubergine feels soft (insert a skewer).

Meanwhile prepare the “cheese” sauce topping: Put the water and cashews in a blender and process till smooth and creamy. (You do not have to soak the cashews first and you do not need a super-fast blender either). It should take about a couple of minutes. Transfer into a saucepan and whisk in the nutritional flakes, salt and 1 teaspoon of the lemon juice. Cook over medium yeast, stirring almost constantly with the whisk, until very thick, about 3- 4 minutes (do not boil). Taste and add more lemon juice if desired. It’s really magic: it does thicken and it tastes really nice!


You can prepare this topping before you will need it: it will keep in a covered container in the fridge for about 4 days.

I found this topping doesn’t like going in the oven: so I make sure it’s quite hot at the time when my moussaka is ready and pour it over the top of it before bringing to the table.

Mireia says: If you substitute lasagne sheets for the aubergine then you get lasagne instead! You can also fry some chopped peppers with the onion at the beginning, or add anything else you fancy to the mix, I never followed a recipe, I just made it up from the memory of what it looked like!

Sheila’s Carrot Cake with dreamy cream cheese frosting


A creamy frosting you’ll dream of!

Sheila followed this carrot cake recipe from the comprehensive online vegan baking resource

Sheila made a huge cake, but said if she made it again, she’d try cupcakes as it was very fragile as a large cake.

Here is her amazing cream cheese frosting which compliments the fruity cake:


2 cups soaked cashews
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 tablespoons liquid coconut oil
1/3 cup agave/liquid sweetener

Blend all ingredients apart from water in high speed blender with as little water as possible. Spread on top of the cooled cakes with a spatula.


A vegan Jewish Pastry: Hamantaschen

We also had a delicious poppyseed-paste filled Jewish pastry called Hamantaschen made following this excellent recipe from the inspiring Vegan Chef Isa Chandra

Join us in 2015!

3 Feb

Some of our 2014 events

A very happy new year to you all!

We have a great selection of events planned in 2015, you can view a list here.

Gloucestershire Vegan Group events are open to vegans and those interested in veganism. Our friendly, informal group is welcoming to new members. We aim to build a sense of community for vegans in Gloucestershire, by meeting-up and sharing vegan food, providing support, friendship and having fun. We also like to support local animal-friendly causes.

We look forward to meeting you.

To subscribe yourself to our email list, and find out more details about our events, click here.

Gig and Vegan Tapas at Star Anise Arts Cafe

1 Jan

Come and celebrate a shiny new year at this vegan tapas and music night at the Star Anise, Gloucester Street, Stroud on the 3rd January 2015, Doors 7pm.


Festive Banquet at the Royal Oak

1 Dec

EIMG_20141129_194952~2arlier in the year I wrote about our cycle to The Royal Oak in Tetbury, we had such a good time, that I’ve been longing for a trip back there with my fellow Glos Vegans.

The Royal Oak has a vegan proprietor, Kate Lewis, who is also involved in organising dynamic vegan fine-dining events. She’s brought her enthusiasm for decent vegan cuisine to the Royal Oak, and as a result the vegan Christmas Menu was more than enough to tempt plenty of Glos Vegans to book in for our annual festive meal.

Twenty of us came together to celebrate the beginning of the festive season in style, with a mini-bus load rocking-up from Cheltenham, and the rest of us descending from around the county on a foggy winter evening. It was lovely that a few that were new to the group were also able to come along.

We were given the dining-room which is a above the bustling bar, and the Royal Oak team had transformed it into a enchanting space, with glimmering candle lanterns, divine table-centrepieces, and luxurious winter foliage adorning the old wooden beams. It was a lovely atmosphere and we admired the surrounds as we chatted pre-dinner.

The meal itself was an absolute feast. We ate some fantastic food, starting with a spiced cauliflower and almond soup, with polenta and spinich croquettes. The soup was warming and well-seasoned, with a lovely crunch from the toasted almonds. We adored the polenta, which was so crispy and golden. Others had a warm tofu salad which looked great. The main was a classic roast dinner with some toothsome tempeh and plenty of veg on the side. The tempeh had a great texture and taste, and the sprouts were just perfect, but we all went mad over the garlic mashed potato which had a sweet tang of roast garlic.

a festive feast

a festive feast

Just when we thought the meal couldn’t get any better out came the puddings: mulled pear in puff pastry with booja chocolate ice cream and chase marmalade bread pudding with hot chocolate sauce. Unsurprisingly we devoured every last drop of that hot chocolate sauce, there was certainly some most-unsociable plate-licking and some of us even drank the last of it from shot-glasses!

artisan vegan cheese

artisan vegan cheese

Then one last lovely surprise from Kate, an artisan vegan cheeseboard, with smoked-cheddar, cranberry brie, feta and a black pepper & herb cheese, all served on gorgeous heart-shaped crackers. It was tasty, crafted nut-cheese, with punchy flavours. It provided a perfect end to our evening.

I must also mention the great selection of vegan alcohol available at the Royal Oak. Their own collaboration with Stroud Brewery, Asparagasm, is available on tap and is unfined. It’s a tasty, refreshing ale and is wheat-free. They also have Moor Ales, and a selection of vegan wines from Vintage Roots.

Thanks to the wonderful Royal Oak staff for making our evening such a special occasion.

Gloucestershire Vegan Group will be taking a small break from events until early 2015. Events for 2015 will be planned during December/January and as usual will be publicised via our email list. If you’d like to suggest an event then please get in touch. Our events aim to support and help build vegan community in Gloucestershire. We promote veganism principally because animals have a right to life and freedom. If you’d like to sign-up and get updates about events such as this one visit this page.


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