Tag Archives: Gloucestershire vegan group events

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 gloucestershirevegans@yahoo.co.uk if you wish to join us.

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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.

RECIPES


Sheila’s Wild Mushroom & Chestnut Cottage Pie

Ingredients:

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

Method:

• 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)

Method:

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!

Tips:

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

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A creamy frosting you’ll dream of!

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

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:

Ingredients:

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

Method:
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.


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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

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.

Return of the Stroud Brewery

29 Jun
pizza...mmmm

pizza…mmmm

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

Ingredients:

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

 

Method:

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.

Pizza party

17 Nov

It’s really refreshing when places are accommodating to vegan needs, and Stroud’s independent artisan Pizza take-away Fat Toni’s have have been vegan-friendly from the moment they opened their doors only a year ago. From day one they offered non-dairy cheese on their menus, or extra veggies as an option, this means that their pizzas can be enjoyed by vegans or those who are lactose-intolerent.

Perfect vegan pizza - 'Alice in Wonderland' made by Fat Toni's

Perfect vegan pizza – ‘Alice in Wonderland’ made by Fat Toni’s

This inspired us to organise a vegan pizza party – to allow us to try the full range of what they have to offer to hungry, pizza-loving vegans. So we arranged in advance to have the pizzas delivered to our door and piled into a Stroud household to eagerly await our pizza-fest.

We ordered 5 varieties – Sicilian Caponata (spiced aubergine caponata, toasted pine nuts and rocket), Vegesaurus (walnut & marinated artichokes), La Franca (artichokes, crushed garlic, olives and cherry tomatoes), Alice in Wonderland (wild mushroom & aspargus) and finally, a firey one – Dantes Inferno (heaps of red & green sliced chilli!). They offer a choice of two types of sourdough – San Franciso and Ischia, giving a variation in the sharpness in the base, we tried both.

The 20″ pizzas were huge and could easily feed 3 people (even hungry vegans!), especially is you make a salad to accompany. They were beautifully cooked – the bases are the perfect balance of chewy, sour dough, and crispy edges.  The toppings were imaginative and tasty, my personal favourite was the La Franca, because it was extra garlicky, but they were all supremely tasty. The vegan cheese melts well, and adds a good salty, gooey element, but it’s not entirely necessary, as Fat Toni’s pizzas are equally tasty with extra veggies instead of cheese.

After pizza we played games, and sampled the puddings we’d all brought along to share.

Vegan Lemon Meringue pie

Vegan Lemon Meringue pie

One pudding that created quite a stir was a vegan version of Lemon Meringue Pie, with an authentic crispy top, the recipe can be found online here.

It was a lovely, warming winter social event and great to catch up with fellow local vegans.

 

 

 

 

Vegan Pizza Dough Recipe

Vegan Pizza is easy to make at home too. Here is my favourite pizza dough recipe.

Ingredients:

1tsp dried active yeast

1tsp salt

2 cups warm water

4 cups strong white flour

Method:

• Dissolve the yeast in the warm water using a whisk

• Add 1 tsp salt and stir

• Add the strong white flour 1 cup at a time, whisking between each cupful until a thick dough is formed

• Cover with a tea-towel and leave to rise in a warm place for 4 hours or more (If you do this in the morning, you have a lovely risen dough waiting for you to make pizzas from at tea-time.)

• Turn out onto a large oiled baking pan and stretch the dough to fit the pan (This recipe can make two pizzas, if you want thin-and-crispy)

• Top with your favourite toppings and bake for 20mins until the dough is golden and crispy, and your non-dairy cheese is melty.

Vegan bring-and-share meal in Cheltenham

10 Feb
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Gloucestershire vegans politely wait to pounce on this delicious spread

Gloucestershire Vegan Group brightened up a misty winter evening with a bring-and-share meal in Cheltenham. We have several of these meals during the year – where everyone brings along a dish of their choice. There is often is a real diversity of food at our events, reflecting the different cultures and tastes of the group, and showcasing the huge range of flavours and cuisines that vegan cooking encompasses.

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We all brought a dish to share

At our group meals I often hear people expressing delight that they can eat any of the food on the table. Perhaps many of us are used to having to navigate our way around everyday social occasions, having to check with hosts about whether this or that food is suitable. An all-vegan get-together is a refreshing break from this inconvenience.

It was great to see lots of new faces at this event, and especially to meet vegans of all ages (from 17 to 80-odd!) and from all corners of Gloucestershire. Our events are open to anyone who is vegan or interested in veganism.

We chatted about what experiences led us to choose to be vegan or piqued our interest in veganism. Some became vegan overnight, after watching films exposing the realities of animal farming, others became vegan gradually, removing one animal-produced item from their lives at a time. We heard from some who were inspired to go vegan by a positive example set by friends/ acquaintances, who were already vegan and made it seem like a good choice.We also shared a little of our life-histories, and talked about how family and friends viewed veganism. There were some amongst us who had been vegan for over 20 years, some just a few months, and some who – though not vegan themselves – were interested or supportive.

fresh berry ice-cream

fresh berry ice-cream

Later our lovely hosts made a fresh berry ice-cream in their blender, which was a perfect accompaniment the puddings that had been contributed to the evening – home-made chocolate brownies and tarte tatin.

Here are some recipes, shared from the evening:

 

Vegan Spanakopita

vegan spanakopita

vegan spanakopita

 

Spanakopita is a Greek spinach pie, traditionally made with feta cheese, but it can easily be adapted to be suitable for vegans. This can be made in a twelve inch diameter springform pan, or in any other similar sized baking dish.

 

Ingredients:

For the pie crust:

2 packs of filo pastry

Olive oil

For the creamy layers:

1/2 cup cashew nuts

Juice of 1 lemon

2 tbsp olive oil

1 tsp salt

1 pack firm tofu

1 tbsp dried basil

1 clove garlic

For the spinach layers:

3 cups cooked and drained spinach – fresh or frozen

1 medium sized potato, diced and boiled until soft

3/4 cup toasted flaked almonds

2 tbsp fresh dill chopped

1 cup parsley chopped

6 spring onions chopped

6 shallots chopped finely and fried until golden

2 tsp nutmeg

Salt and pepper to taste

Method:

1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees C. Blend the cashews, oil, garlic, salt and lemon juice until a smooth paste forms.

2. Add the tofu and blend until creamy, then stir in the basil

3. In a large mixing bowl, stir all of the spinach filling ingredients together and season with salt and pepper

4. Brush your pan with olive oil and layer with 6 sheets of filo, taking care to brush oil over each sheet as you add it

5. Add half of the spinach mixture to the pan, spreading it evenly

6. Add half the cashew-tofu mixture on top of the spinach and spread evenly

7. Now place 4 layers of filo pastry on top, brushing each sheet with olive oil

8. Repeat steps 5 & 6 using the remaining spinach and cashew mixture to form another two layers

9. Top with 6 more sheets of filo pastry, brushing each with oil, and fold in the edges of the sheets from the lower layers.

10. Bake for 35 mins at 170 degrees C, or until the top of the pie is deeply golden and crispy.

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Tarte Tatin

Ingredients:

1/2 cup vegan margerine

1 cup brown sugar

1 tsp vanilla extract

2 tsp cinnamon

3  star anise stars

1 pack of flaky pastry

3 apples, peeled, cored and sliced

Method:

1. Heat the margarine, sugar, cinnamon, star anise and vanilla in a large baking pan on a hob

2. Bring the mixture to a boil, and stir until it forms a thick syrup

3. Pop the apple slices in the syrup

4. Top with a sheet of flaky pastry

5. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 200 degrees C for approx 25 mins

6. Remove from the oven, put a plate on top of the pan and turn the whole thing over very quickly, so that the syrup doesn’t have a chance to seep out from the sides and burn you!