Monday, 20 May 2019

Vegan Night Market in Newquay

If you are heading to the North Shore of Kernowfornia this bank holiday weekend and are looking for a vegan evening adventure then the Vegan Night Market in Newquay has been especially put on for you. 

Organised by Vegan Events Cornwall, the event is hosted and based at Sprout Health Foods in the heart of Newquay.  It's also supported by Dynamite Valley Brewing Co and Whiskers, the bar and live music venue (voted TripAdvisor's No 1 night out in Cornwall) just a cat's whiskers away from Sprout, and where the party will move on to after the market (with a drinks promo thrown in for good measure). 

There will be plenty of food at the market to ensure you are fuelled up and have your dancing shoes on for the after party.  Sprout Health Foods are planning their delicious SproutPots of loveliness whilst Sloth and Sparrow are in town to heat us up with their colourful range of Mexican street food.  For the sweet toothed amongst you Renaissance Cakery  and Lemon Thyme Patisserie will be there with a double dose of vegan naughty treats.  You can wash it all down with some fine craft beers from the very local Atlantic Brewery or sponsors Dynamite Valley Brewing Co.(free tasters apparently when you arrive too!).

Once you have stuffed yourself full of vegan goodies, there is still plenty to take in with Newquay based vegan company Generation V selling their sustainable, organic and hand-drawn street wear, local artist, illustrator and author Maia Walczak promoting her new book WylderReWilding Books providing their amazing stall of books that appeal to the more open minded readers among us, and floating nicely into the scene ARBO Surfboards with their hollow wooden surfboards and schedule of surfboard building workshops.

Phew, all that remains to tell you is to be there!  It's on Saturday (25th May) evening from 7pm - 9.30pm at Sprout Health Foods with the party moving on to Whiskers after.  For more information check out the Facebook Vegan Events Cornwall page.

Saturday, 11 May 2019

Make It Up As You Go Along and Do It Right Now Nectarine Pudding

I made a delicious 'make it up as I go along and do it right now' pudding the other day.  I had bought some cheap nectarines at a supermarket, you know the ones that have been priced down because they have gone past their so called 'sell by' date even though they are still too firm to actually eat yet.  Well they suddenly all got ripe at once and after a few morning smoothies there were some left and I then did need to use them up.  I was also in one of those moods when savoury meets sweet and there are certain ingredients that you really fancy.  On this day it was pumpkin seeds and balsamic. 

Phil will tell you that despite the mountain of vegan cook books I have, often I will just go into some weird trance and start making something without really thinking too hard about it.  I don't believe it has ever ended in anything inedible, which is lucky, but when I really hit a 'gold star' moment with something I have cooked it is annoying when I can't remember how I actually got to that point.  This recipe could have been one of those moments had it not involved very few ingredients and I had not rushed to scribble down what I remembered of this simple concoction after I had tasted it.  I told Phil it was terrible (sshhhh..) as I wanted it all to myself.  Here's what happened.....

Make It Up As You Go Along and Do It Right Now Nectarine Pudding

Nectarines (or peaches would be good too, maybe figs, or hang on, apricots too and hmmm, what else.......?)
Bit of vegan margarine
Vegan Honea (love this stuff)
Pumpkin seeds
Balsamic glaze (make sure vegan)
Yoghurt of your choice to serve

1. Slice your nectarines in two, removing the stone.
2. Place in a greased baking dish cut side up.
3. Put a small knob of margarine in the stone indent of each half.
4. Drizzle with Vegan Honea.
5. Scatter over some breadcrumbs and pumpkin seeds.
6. Drizzle over some balsamic glaze.
7. Bake in the oven at about 200 degrees C until soft (reckon it was about 25 minutes)
8. Let cool a little (or totally) and serve with yoghurt and drizzled with more honey.

Scoff, enjoy, don't tell Phil.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

The Eco Collective Opens The Doors

EC logo no background.pngMay is my favourite month of the year.  Not only do you get two bank holiday weekends to enjoy but the Cornish countryside really kicks into full green mode in preparation for the summer ahead.  Everybody and everything suddenly springs into increased activity and there seems to be a plethora of interesting vegan events, places to eat and visit and cooking inspiration to explore.  It is difficult trying to fit it all in and particularly so writing about it all!

Kicking May off for us was a visit to the newly opened Eco Collective shop on the north coast.  Just down the road from the already well established eco, music and veggie/vegan food venue of Mount Pleasant Eco Park, the Eco Collective sits nestled in the steep sided coastal village of Porthtowan, making this area now a double destination adventure for any curious and hungry vegan.

The Eco Collective is easy to find.  Just take the one road into the village and towards the beach and you will see it just behind the post box on the left, and opposite ample parking.  

There are handy benches just outside on which to devour the vegan goodies you have just purchased before heading back in for more.  There are plenty of filling, virtuous and naughty options to choose from including pasties from The Cornish Vegan Pasty Company (tasty fillings and no palm oil here), irresistible savoury and sweet treats from Nature’s Treats (again palm oil free and refined sugar free) and for a totally needed naughty blast, grab a Velicious Vegan Doughnut  to devour or a cooling Booja Booja or Coconuts ice cream from the driftwood decorated freezer.  

The display cases may be full of ready to eat wonders but there is also a selection of food and household staples, including a refill section for washing up, laundry, cleaning and bathroom supplies. 

If it’s a special gift for someone eco or vegan minded you are after then The Eco Collective has plenty on offer here too.  A row of eye catching t-shirts from Newquay based Generation-V line one wall whilst the display of stone craft, pottery, illustration and photographic work in the window and further inside the shop offer colourful, original and creative ideas from local like minded individuals and businesses.

The Eco Collective strives to bring small sustainable focused businesses together under one roof.  It only opened its doors on Wednesday and already the stock reflects what talent, both from a creative and a culinary point of view, there is within Cornwall.  Its stock is set to grow even further as more and more vegan and sustainable businesses open and come forward to be part of this exciting  new venture in the heart of Cornwall.

For more information on the Eco Collective and the talented individuals involved please visit the Eco Collective Facebook group or website.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Wild Nettle Wonders

The hedgerows are full of wonder at the moment.  How the hell people choose to go to the likes of Morrisons when there is so much out there for free is beyond me.  I choose Morrisons to pick on merely because the Newquay branch nearest to us is said to be the busiest one in the whole of the UK in the holiday season and is 'hell on earth' to even venture anywhere near (even though they do stock Frys Burgers!).  I'd rather flog myself with nettles.  Speaking of which, nettles are magic and JUST EVERYWHERE at the moment.  What stops people, beyond a good pair of gloves and laziness, from exploring this really tasty and nutritious resource?  

Something that does such a good job of keeping you away from it by virtue of its itch inducing sting would not be something that naturally enamours itself as being culinarily delicious and nutritionally beneficial.  I guess if nettles didn't have such a 'sting in the tail' they would have long been devoured by humans to oblivion, much to the detriment of the likes of butterflies who vitally depend on nettles for the growth of their larvae.  Luckily for us humans who do brave the initial and sustainable cut of the nettle, the sting is long gone once cooked or dried.  

The tender tops of the nettles are the best, from a culinary and nutritious point of view.  I personally love the taste of a good nettle soup so the nutritional benefits are a very happy side effect.  Centuries of use are seemingly backed up by the more modern scientific based health claims of the nettle.  The iron and vitamin C content of nettles are fairly obvious benefits but, with the fairly recently revealed benefit of plant sources of calcium, this is indeed another wonder of this populous 'weed'.  A not so known trace mineral called boron is evident in nettles and it is this that helps maintain calcium content in bones.  Chuck in anti-inflammatory and detoxifying properties, digestive and circulatory benefits and that is a good start for a plant so hated during those childhood summers.  

Our favourite thing to do with nettles is a simple soup and I include the recipe for Phil's Super Simple Nettle Soup below.  We also make tea occasionally and once I even made nettle beer but that is an explosive story for another time!  We have however also happened across a fascinating article called 'Taking the Sting out of Nettles' which was in a copy of Edible Alaska, a magazine brought across by my sister a couple of years ago for us to read.  The article itself was a great read but it also includes some lovely simple and more unusual recipes for nettles including Nettle Pesto, Roasted Nettle Chips and Alaskan Gomashio.  I only just refound the article again recently so we are yet to try them but as Spring progresses and the nettles grow higher, I will definitely have a go at all of these.  In addition I recently found a recipe for Nettle Flapjacks and that too is going on the list to make (replace the honey in the recipe for a vegan alternative).  I implore anyone that hasn't tried nettles to give them a go.  Just make sure you leave plenty for the wildlife too.

Phil's Super Simple Nettle Soup
Quantities not included as, well it is that simple you can work that out I'm sure!  Just go with the flow but bear in mind that the nettles cook down much like spinach so be generous with the quantity.

Onions chopped
Olive oil
Potatoes diced
Salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Nettle leaves

Fry the onions in the oil until slightly browned and then add the potatoes.  Add enough water to cover by an inch.  Add seasoning.  Cook on a boil for 10 minutes.  Add the nettles and cook for another 10 minutes.  Blend.  Done!


Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Beats and Roots Cafe

Any older vegans out there who remember how vegan food was intricately mixed up with alternative life and musical vibes will appreciated a new food venture opened this last week in Cornwall.  Beats and Roots opened its doors fully on Wednesday in the heart of Cornwall; Redruth.  There are so many interesting aspects of Beats and Roots to explore; and all involve heart and soul, great musical vibes and lots of lovely food.  

For a start, as already mentioned, veggie and vegan food has always been the mainstay of the alternative movement/music scene, but in my era, the 80's and 90's, no hunt sab benefit gig was complete without the obligatory veggie burger offering.  It was served up with punk rock flair and rib sticking finesse.  It was grassroots royalty.  As much as it is wonderful that veganism is becoming a mainstay, I sometime miss that down to earth vibe.  What I don't miss however is slipping around on a greasy floor serving up dry veggie burgers to drunken punks and wannabe rastas (anyone remember Roots on Union Street in Plymouth?) .  

In terms of vegan food however, things have thankfully moved on and, although Beats and Roots still maintain an air of desirable grassroots about their venture, their food really does go way beyond the old skool definition of that.  Whilst many establishments try and replicate that need for junk food alternatives, Beats and Roots break that mould and take a fresher approach with their veggie and vegan offerings.  There is no deep fryer involved in the food that Beats and Roots provide.  It's fresh, vibrant, and full of seasonal flavour.  

We took the time on Saturday to drop in on Paul and Ben, the heart and soul behind Beats and Roots, and sample some of their foodie wonders.  The menu is all veggie, with a large section of the menu vegan.  We chose from the specials board, which had a Mediterranean flair to it, and enjoyed a generous portion of the paella; an unctuous hearty dish which involved fresh broad beans, artichoke hearts, fennel and sweet pepper.  It was topped off with a good supply of house slaw with a basil dressing which at first I thought was an odd addition only to realise what a crunchy and wonderful contrasting texture and flavour it was to the main event underneath. Genius. We also savoured the pistou soup which was jam packed with vegetables, chickpeas, and flavour.  The obligatory topping of vegan pesto on top spiked it further with zesty appeal, whilst the big hunk of granary bread with vegan spread did wonders in soaking up any juices.  After a round of teas (several different plant milks supplied), we topped off our scoffing session with some toasted coconut chocolate slices.  

Image may contain: dog and outdoor
The food was a delight, and the ambiance, helped along by the  ensuing Spring Market, was also vibrant in an unfussy, down to earth vibe.  Beats and Roots is based in The Buttermarket in Redruth, just off the main high street.  It is in a cosy suntrap of a courtyard where people congregate to enjoy a chat, a look at any additional stalls or activities spilling out from the main market, and now Beats and Roots with its range of hot and cold beverages and veggie food ranging from breakfasts, lunch and snacks. Should the weather not afford the suntrap affect, fear not as there is a large undercover area to watch any uncosy propur Cornish rain from, and you would never be cold with the warming food offerings available.  Another wonderful advantage to the location of Beats and Roots is that your doggy companions are more than welcome in this open environment and the two dogs there when we were seemed particularly content with that arrangement.

Beats and Roots regular hours are Wednesday to Saturday 8am - 4pm.   The early opening is to offer the chance for any early birds to grab the opportunity of a wholesome breakfast (I'm told their various forms of vegan porridge rock) on the way to work, particularly via the nearby train station.  

No photo description available.However, aside from the regular hours, there are some interesting plans from Beats and Roots.  Music is as equally important to the lives of Paul and Ben, hence the name of this new cafe. Just to demonstrate this fact, the accompanying tunes emanating from Beats and Roots kitchen were as groovy as the food;  (was that Ebo Taylor I heard on Saturday? - love it!).  As the name suggests there are some plans to further infuse the two best things in life; music and food.  If you too live for such things, it may be that Beats and Roots may become the go to destination for your evening entertainment.  They have already done a few evening events (we are gutted we missed the Indian Street Food event) but many more are planned with live musical entertainment involved.

Redruth is much maligned by some, and totally missed by many visiting Cornwall.  It could therefore be seen as a strange destination for such a venture involving veggie/vegan food and an alternative music scene. However, if you want the real Cornwall, away from the entrapment of gentrified tourist destinations, then you need to look to places like Redruth.  It is the heart and soul (and by the way it has a great 'stacked to the rafters with amazing bargains' K9 Crusaders Charity Shop and who cannot love the dog sculptures made of welly boots in the High Street) of Cornwall.  The 'Roots' part of Beats and Roots could find no better home that Redruth for this very reason.  

We totally recommend Beats and Roots for a down to earth, fresh, vibrant and totally groovy vegan vibe.  Somehow it manages to blend old time roots nostalgia with an up to date freshness that is thoroughly enjoyable.  Go check them out during their regular opening hours and further watch out for any awesome evening events they have planned in the future by following them on Facebook.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Roots Culture Vegan Market

No photo description available.

You know summer has arrived when the Roots Culture Summer Markets start up again. Well, let's ignore the fact that not only has Spring only just got going and it practically snowed this morning (a hail and sleet whiteout anyway!), but hey it was very summery last week and the Roots Culture Markets always add a touch of sunshine to any Sunday.  

The Roots Culture Markets have been a stronghold of the Mount Pleasant Eco Park for a few years now and always draw in a crowd of appreciating punters to enjoy the local products, crafts, and food.  It offers a laid back vibe, all the more added to by The Tropical Pressure Sound System playing some choice tunes in the background.  

The Markets always provide for the hungry vegan, with various food trucks in attendance alongside the Cabana Kitchen and Cafe, the plot to plate kitchen and cornerstone of the Eco Park.  However, we were delighted to learn that the first Summer Market of the year, this coming Sunday 7th April, is to be a completely vegan affair.  Vegan food vendors, vegan lifestyle stalls, coffee, cakes, treats, local ale and ciders; it sounds like an ideal day for a bit of a vegan pamper and damn good scoff.

Should the weather not treat us well, there is plenty of undercover space under the oak atrium and inside the timber barn.  Should it be a true representation of the Summer we are all hanging on for, there is a huge amount of beautiful lawn and grounds to release the kids and dogs into barefoot and fancy free.  There is even a campsite with glamping options if you want to take that step towards summer even further.

It's a free event, even the parking is free, so what is there to lose (apart from some pocket money on vegan treats!)? It runs from 11am - 4pm but as ever, it's probably best to arrive early before all the treats get snapped up!  For more details, check out the Roots Culture Vegan Market Facebook events page.

Monday, 1 April 2019

Dust - A New Form of Protein?

The age old question posed to vegans is that of 'where do you get your protein'?  Well,  research released today from DVR Inc. suggests a completely new and unexplored source of protein that until today has been swept under the carpet.  

Where do gorillas and rhinos get their protein from?  Well, yes of course they both eat a plant based diet and we vegans know that this is perfectly efficient for our needs*.  However, they also live amongst quite a lot of dust, and this is the focus of the new research by DVR Inc.  Spokesperson for DVR Inc. DSc.** Chapman said "Before you pick up the hoover, just think about the benefits of what you might be sucking up, and also contributing to the landfill problem".  He added; "There are many benefits to just leaving the cleaning to another day".  DSc. Chapman has found that dust has a protein content of at least 23g PHB***, which is nothing to be sniffed at.  In fact, vegan dust has been found to be of a higher protein content than non-vegan dust.

There are some contradicting sources even from within DVR Inc. however.  DSc.**** Gill is more reserved.  "We are just at the beginning of our studies and although there has been some health benefits, namely mental ones, to ignoring the build up of dust within the living environment, we still need to explore whether this is actually an excuse for not cleaning and just going for a surf instead".  

* This is actually true!
** DSc - Doctor of Surf Competence
*** PHB - Per Hoover Bag - Not that he would know!
**** DSc - Doctor of Surface Cleaning

Friday, 29 March 2019

Boulangerie de Phil Meets Bacon Seitan

Phil's bread making goes from strength to strength.  I can even put requests in now for various forms of bread I fancy as long as it's sourdough based.  During the week we have to get up at 6am, so we don't really have time to sit down and have breakfast before we leave for work.  At the weekend we make up for that by enjoying various forms of naughty vegan brunching options (after a good reading and tea session in bed).  

Recently I had an urge for a good old simple vegan bacon roll so a request was lodged with the 'Boulangerie de Phil' for some sourdough rolls to make my Saturday morning brunch dream come true.  He delivered in such a way that made me truly appreciate why, after almost 20 years together, he is definitely a keeper (there are plenty of other reasons too I might add!).

Upton's Naturals Bacon SeitanI do normally make my own seitan, including a bacon version.  However, I just simply hadn't had time recently so with a new shop bought bacon alternative easily plucked from the shelves we did succumb. Upton's Naturals Bacon Seitan happens to be available in Sainsbury's and somehow found its way into our shopping basket just prior to my bacon roll weekend request.  I'm not unhappy about that as the ingredients are really refreshingly simple and good.  It might have even been responsible for my bacon roll brunch request.

The combination of des petits pains de Phil and Upton's Bacon Seitan really hit the spot.  In fact Phil, Phil, Phil, oi, where are you... you know you asked me whether I had any plans for Sunday?... get some of your hot buns on the go please!

Thursday, 21 March 2019

Vegan Rising - Cornwall Vegans Poster Appeal

There can be absolutely no doubt that veganism is on the rise; and at an astonishing pace.  Now more than ever is the time for outreach work, something that Cornwall Vegans do very well.  Over the past couple of years or so they have launched poster campaigns across Cornwall, and this Spring sees the release of the Vegan Rising 2019 poster campaign.

Most vegans seem tuned in to spotting the word 'vegan', and I am no exception to that, but I am not so tuned in to advertising and often times will not even notice billboards.  

Cornwall Vegans posters though I do notice, and that is without looking for them.  I saw one last night at a bus stop on my drive home through Truro.  As I was driving, it was only a fleeting glimpse of the starling one at the top of the page but it caught my attention.  It was only when I caught up on the Cornwall Vegans Facebook page last night that I saw it and put two and two together.  Anyone standing at that bus stop or walking past couldn't fail to see it.

The wonderful Starling design poster, which is gearing up towards the March for Animals on 10th August, can be seen in Truro at the moment.  The Robin design is currently in St Ives and Looe, and the Sheep design in Newquay and Falmouth.  The more posters the better to get the message out there, so Cornwall Vegans are looking for donations to buy more advertising space and spread them further afield throughout Cornwall.

Please donate if you can.  Every pound counts and will help further this great campaign.  If you can afford it please Paypal your donation (under the friends and family setting) to 

One glance, one read, one thought; that could be one more vegan in the offing.  


Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Valhalla at Falhalla

Word has come to the North Shore (of Cornwall that is, not Oahu) that down in Falifornia (that's Falmouth to the uninitiated) there is a new vegan venture in the offing.  If everyday seems like a Nordic-scale battle at the moment and you dream of your own personal Valhalla, then you should treat yourself and head over to Falhalla this Sunday for the opening day of their new pop up vegan fast food joint.

Falhalla is based at Stones Bakery, slap bang in the heart of the vibrant High Street in Falmouth and it is Pete Wright, one of the bakers at Stones, that is at the forefront of this new vegan eatery.  Back in 2016, whilst in Toronto, Pete visited a place called Cosmic Treats where he was introduced to a world of veganism he didn't know existed.  Pete likes his fast food and fell head over heels in love with the Kentucky style fried 'chicken' and 'beef' burgers offered at Cosmic Treats.  On arriving back in Falmouth last year, he was left wanting for the same kind of vegan options and finding little on offer, he took it upon himself to create his own.  

Pete has spent time refining his recipes, a task helped considerably with his experience and use of the equipment at the bakery.  He is particularly proud of his vegan brioche style buns and his seitan 'meat', along with the fact that he makes it all fresh each day.  The only exception to this is his homemade cashew ice cream, which does take a little more preparation, but after being blown away by the version he experienced in Toronto he couldn't live without producing his own supply and sharing it with the vegan community over here.

On the opening day on Sunday there will be Seitan Cheek'n Burgers, Seitan Beefy Quarter Pounders, Seitan Ribwich Burgers, and Mac n' Cheez on offer, all of which come with fries.  For dessert there is that much loved Cashew Ice Cream served on Hot Belgian Waffles.  Soft drinks are on offer, alongside a vegan pale ale from The Wild Beer Co (another establishment Pete has had some experience at).  Opening is from 12-8pm so plenty of opportunity for lunch, dinner or both!

For further details give Pete a shout on the email or phone number above.  Better still, drop in to support this new vegan venture, enjoy his homemade treats, and find out more about Falhalla.  Hopefully Falhalla will become the vegan heaven in Falmouth that its name aspires to.