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.
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.
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!
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.
Kicking-off The Vegan Society’s 70th Anniversary year, and in celebration of World Vegan Day (November 1st), our local Gloucestershire-based football club Forest Green Rovers hosted a very special event: the world’s first vegan football match.
While football and veganism may sound like an unlikely combination, Forest Green FC made the headlines in 2012 when – inspired by vegan Chairperson Dale Vince – it chose to take all meat products off of the menu. Dale, who heads Stroud-based green energy company Ecotricity explains how his decision to make Forest Green Rovers into a vegetarian club is based on environmental sustainability and health; “We took some flak for it but red meat is bad for us. It’s also unsustainable. And it takes 10 grammes of vegetable protein to produce a gramme of beef. You have diminishing returns. The rough analysis is that you can feed 10 vegetarians or one meat-eater.”
As all of the food served in the club’s hospitality areas was vegan on November 1st, (it’s usually veggie with vegan options) we arrived before the game to tuck into a fantastic vegan buffet. The spread was delicious, and a great example of how appealing a vegan buffet can be. There were sweet potato & mushroom burgers, gorgeous crispy polenta chips with tomato relish, grilled courgette and fennel wraps, and much more lovely fresh (and animal-free) food.
There was a buzzing pre-match atmosphere in the club’s Carol Embrey suite, with fellow Vegan Society members, staff, and Forest Green fans mingling and chatting excitedly about the game. The match was against Lincoln City, who are ranked lower in the league than Forest Green, but were fresh from a 5-1 win against Alfreton. In one corner was a huge vegan cake, baked by Leicestershire company The Vegan Cakery, to celebrate The Vegan Society’s 70th Anniversary. It was in the shape of a football, adorned with icing sunflowers and football boots. This epic cake was flanked on either side by a sea of cupcakes bearing either The Vegan Society’s logo or the Forest Green Rovers emblem. In the other corner was the FA Cup, which was on tour, and a steady stream of people having their photo taken with this iconic football trophy.
It was great to see fellow Glos Vegans there, and also to meet the Vegan Society Staff. I especially loved chatting the the Forest Green fans about the game to come, what to chant; “Green Army!”, and what they made of the vegetarian menu; “…it doesn’t matter whether it’s vegetarian, so long as it’s tasty”.
The game itself was a thriller, with goals being scored down to the final whistle. Lincoln were lucky to begin with several good chances and raced to a 3-0 lead. The final of these three goals was scored after Forest Green’s heroic goalkeeper Sam Russell, clad in fluorescent pink kit, managed to save a penalty, and a rebounding shot, but was eventually overwhelmed by the sheer number of Lincoln players in the Forest Green box.
The half-time talk was given by The Vegan Society’s guest of honour Neil Robinson, the first ever vegan professional footballer. Now retired, Neil signed to Everton in 1973, and later played for Swansea City, Grimsby Town and Darlington. He spoke about how he scored the first ever “vegan goal” and about the importance of veganism for animals, and the environment. He also talked about the benefits of vegan nutrition to health for professional athletes. It was moving to see someone speak so proudly and clearly about veganism to a large crowd of assembled football fans, attributing his vegan diet to strong fitness and health.
After half time, Forest had a radical change of outlook, and the attacking tempo went up several notches. With Rovers being awarded a penalty after Elliot Frear was taken down in the Lincoln box, James Norwood took a spot-kick sending Lincoln’s the wrong way, and the ball to the back of the net. This goal marked the beginning of Rover’s remarkable revival, with Norwood scoring another amazing goal only a few minutes later. The show-stopping equaliser came from Forest Green in the final minutes of added time, a great pass from the ‘man of the match’ James Norwood to Dean Bennett who scored. We leapt to our feet to applaud this amazing come-back. It was a hugely entertaining game, and we will definately be back to support our favourite local vegan-friendly club in action.
Watch the highlights of the match:
A great short film made of the day by HubStroud
Thanks to Forest Green Rovers and The Vegan Society for a great day out, and a momentous day for veganism.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Thanks to everyone who came along, and to Jan at the sanctuary for letting us help out.
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.
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:
“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!
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.