17 November 2015

Coffee Kiosk To Let at Enfield Chase Station London #Enfield #EN2!

So, it's bitter sweet. We will close the doors of our Enfield shop soon. Help us to celebrate almost 7 years of loveliness on December 24th, 2015! I think there'll be a party atmosphere ALL DAY! So, please do come along and join us. Gunter and I have had a wonderful time with you guys and all our customers are our friends and we are so happy and delighted to have had the privilege of laughing with you, chatting with you, listening to your woes, your journey, your ups and your downs, sharing life with you for these past, almost seven years.

We were hoping to sell our business to one of our customers, so that they could live the dream, the fantasy, of just coming to the station and having the banter, community, coffee and cake for the whole working day. We are nearing the end of November and there is no sign of that happening on the horizon, the main issue being, that there is no lease in place. So, no matter if we sell you the logo, the secrets, the Facebook page, the Twitter account, the equipment, the name and the goodwill, it is too much of a risk with no lease in place.

We can't sell this business without being able to reassign the lease and so, what better leaving present can we give Enfield than to give you the details of the unit and the landlord and let you go for it. For some reason, it is quite difficult to find details of the landlord and the lease details on the internet, it seems to be buried deep, deep DOWN! So here we are especially for you is your chance to negotiate directly with the landlord and GO FOR IT!

It is a challenge, the unit is in a difficult position, at the end of platform 1, so you do have to work hard at encouraging people from the other end to even know that you are there but with the power of social media and the local press, TV, Radio and even the national papers it can be done! As you know because you've heard of My Coffee Stop, even if this is the first time, from reading this blog.

We're taking our name and business with us to our Coffee, Health Food and Book shop in Shepton Mallet, with a cosy community cinema too and we leave you with a wonderful opportunity to chase.

Being at Enfield Chase Station gave us a great start, you'll not be able to sell your business at the end of it, to realise the value in that way but you'll have a great job of your own creation, that you can re-invent everyday!

If you choose to go for it, then GOOD LUCK and when we are in Enfield, we will come and visit for a coffee and cake but make mine a herbal tea please, as you know I don't drink coffee!


27 August 2015

My Maca Bliss Balls

My Maca Powder arrived today and I could not wait to experiment with this new taste. Reading up about it on the web, I see it is said to have libido raising properties, that it can energise and lift your mood and other positive things and it tastes sweet and malty, what's not to love. So, after browsing a bit more, I created these truffles, a mish mash of other recipes tweaked and completely changed and mashed up and My Maca Bliss Balls, is what I have created!

This is what I did, all the ingredients are available to buy or order from us, by the way.

My Maca Bliss Balls

Soak 1/2 a cup of cashews and 1/2 a cup of walnuts in boiling hot water.
Take 10 pitted organic and Fairtrade dates and soak those in a separate bowl of boiling hot water.

Prepare the other ingredients.

Put 3 tablespoons of coconut butter in a container and put somewhere warm, or maybe put the container into hot water, so that it melts and add a drop of vanilla extract.

Then measure out 1/4 cup of Raw Cacao Powder, plus a 1/4 of a cup of Maca Powder and two tablespoons of Hemp Protein Powder.

Drain the water from the nuts and put the nuts into your superduper strong blender, not just any ordinary blender, otherwise this won't work. Then pulse and blend, until nicely combined.

Next drain the water from the dates and add them to the blender and then whizz away.

Keep blending and slowly pour the melted coconut butter with vanilla extract into the mix.

Then add the powders and blend well together, until it is all stodgy!

Put the mix into a metal container then put into the freezer, whilst you prepare the coatings for your truffles.

I used Cacao nibs on some, melted chocolate on some others and cacao powder on the ones that were left. 

It's pretty much up to you how creative you get and what you'd like to do.

Once you have your coatings ready, it's time to get the mix out of the freezer and start rolling walnut sized balls, you should get around 12 to 15 balls. Then roll them in your chosen coating, put them into the fridge and then ENJOY!!

I am now going to take these home to my family to enjoy and hopefully we will have a blissed out evening.

Please let me know what you decide to coat your balls with! (Hmmm, that doesn't sound too good but you know what I mean). xxx

16 July 2015

Shepton Mallet: Somerset's Festival Town!

Sssh, there's nothing to see here, move along please, there are no festivals here!

Shepton Mallet: Somerset's Festival Town!
Wow! Why would you say that? Why would you want to plaster that on every sign post as you enter our town? Why? Is that even TRUE?

1/ 'Glastonbury Festival is the largest greenfield music and performing arts festival in the world and a template for all the festivals that have come after it.' (Official Glastonbury Festival Website) and Shepton Mallet is the nearest town to the world's largest greenfield music and performing arts festival! Why should we not bask in that reflected glory and embrace that amazing association? Our town is crammed with people visiting because of Glastonbury Festival, it's only for a few days of the year....but then other towns that capitalise on historical events, for instance, are only referring to something that's history and isn't going to happen again! There are film and TV crews and media companies from all over the world to film this event and it is imperative that we embrace our close association with this phenomenal happening! The link being made clear is long overdue.

2/ The Royal Bath and West Showground is in Shepton Mallet and the NASS Festival, The New Wine Festival, The Soul Survivor Festival, The Somerset Food and Drink Fest and West Fest, are all held there. Plus there are several events and shows, which are festival-like in nature although not in name, such as the Royal Bath and West Show, The Giant Flea, The Motor Home Show and other big events and happenings. The word Festival embraces the feel of all these functions and events.

3/ The Mid-somerset Show, or Shepton Show, held on the ground by Cannards Grave Road, is right in Shepton Mallet itself. It's been running for 163 years and attracts thousands of people! That is a really, really big deal! Let's acknowledge it.

4/ Collett Festival, celebrating our own wonderful park and hopefully the slight name change from Collett PARK Festival, will mean the festival spills out from the park and into our High Street and that individual shop keepers are inspired to put on different events, exhibitions and happenings, alongside the celebrations in the park, to raise the profile of Shepton Mallet even more!

5/ The Lantern Parade, is another fantastic reason to visit Shepton Mallet, as an outsider coming from London, that looks pretty much like a festival event to me!

6/ Then we have the absolutely incredible Shepton Mallet CARNIVAL! Filled with lights and music and dancing and theatrical tableaux on floats! You might not know BUT this does not happen in every town! This is a brilliant event and another festivity that we need to proudly proclaim!

7/ In our day to day life, living in this town, no it doesn't feel like one big festival....but for people that visit us, for people that look for accommodation here, for people passing through, or using hotels, or B & Bs and so on, they see us as a Festival Town because that is mainly the reason that people come to Shepton Mallet! We are in the middle of all the festivities!

The only good reason that I can see for NOT plastering 'Somerset's Festival Town' all over the sign posts on the entry to Shepton Mallet is if you just want to keep it a secret and you DON'T want to share the fun, with anyone else, from anywhere else, you want to keep it under your hat and don't want anyone else to know.

The truth is, WE ARE SOMERSET'S FESTIVAL TOWN and we ought to enjoy and embrace that title and feel proud and sing it out loud and be thankful that somebody with brains, balls and vision has pointed it out to us! This title is more than a title, it's the key to us recognising our strength and to let other people know about it. It's the key to reviving our economy, to boosting our morale and to at last realising our TRUE identity!

2 July 2015

Delicious, No Bake, Lavender and Chocolate Cheese Cake.

It's too hot to bake, so I made this for my darling vegan fiends today! It's a mish mash of different recipes, with a touch of my own twists.

It's very, very easy to make.

1/ First line with greaseproof paper and grease, some kind of dish that can go in the freezer.

2/ Soak 1 and a half cups of Walnuts and mixed nuts in hot water for about 10 minutes or so.

3/ Put 1/2 a cup of dates in the blender but don't blend yet.

4/ In the meantime, pour 165 ml of a can of coconut milk into a small pan and put on the stove to boil.

5/ Break up 200g of Divine Dark Chocolate.

6/ When the coconut milk has just come to the boil, take off the heat and then add the broken pieces of chocolate to the hot milk and stir it around so that it melts into a delicious ganache!

7/ Next drain the nuts with a sieve and then put into the blender, with the dates. Blend and push down with a spatula, being careful to keep the spatula away from the blades. Then add some maple syrup to taste, I poured a bit in, without measuring.

8/ Scrape the mixture out into your prepared dish and flatten with your hands.

9/ Then, lovingly pour the ganache onto the base that you've just made in the dish, minding that you don't drool over it.

10/ Pick some lavender flowers/buds, wash them, dry them, pick them off the stem and then scatter them on top of your ganache.

11/ Put in the freezer.

12/ Call some friends round and eat it with them, or you can devour it slice by individual slice, without telling anyone about it.

Or you could skip all 12 steps above and just take one step into My Coffee Stop Shepton Mallet, where we will make it for you!

If you need Divine Chocolate and Coconut Milk in a tin, we sell those! We also sell the mixed nuts and dates too!

11 June 2015

The Easiest, Quickest, Tastiest Gluten-Free Pizza Ever!

I have just enjoyed the most delicious gluten-free pizza that I have ever made, no, I have just enjoyed the most delicious gluten-free pizza that I have ever tasted! Here is the recipe and it is PERFECT! The base is also brilliant for Vegans too, with no milk, or eggs needed! (If you are making Vegan pizza make sure that the toppings you choose are suitable for Vegans and don't put cheese on and I do NOT recommend any cheese replacement either, they are yuck, in my opinion!)

The base of the pizza is made with the Glebe Farm, Gluten Free Seeded Brown Bread Mix, which you can buy from our shop.

1/ Preheat your oven to 190 Degrees.

2/ Line a 9" x 13" baking tray with greaseproof paper and then grease well with oil.

3/ Pour a whole packet of 375g of Glebe Farm, Gluten Free Seeded Brown Bread Mix with Linseed and Sunflower Seeds into a large bowl and add the 10g of yeast included in the packet. 

4/ Stir in 1 tablespoon of raw cane caster sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt.

5/ Then into a measuring jug pour in hot water up to the 200ml mark, then add cold water to make up to 275ml in total.

6/ Add 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil to the water and stir in, then pour into the flour mixture and stir round until it is well mixed.

7/ Scrape the mixture into the baking tin and level it off, with the back of a spoon.

8/ Next, top with any toppings you like, put in the oven and cook for 20 to 25 minutes.

That's it!

In the photos, I used a tomato topping that I had whizzed up in the blender of tinned tomatoes, olives, herbs and tomato puree, with garlic, I spread that onto the base, layered baby spinach leaves on top of that, sprinkled on some cheddar cheese, and placed olive slices and torn sun-dried tomatoes on top.

The end result is the most delicious gluten-free pizza ever! Don't forget, you can make it suitable for Dairy-Free Diets and Vegans by missing out the cheese and ensuring you use only Dairy-Free/Vegan toppings.

4 May 2015

Chickpea, Tomato and Quinoa Dahl

Lunch for Tuesday 5th May 2015, this gorgeous tasting, Chickpea, Tomato and Quinoa Dahl! Presented in a bowl for £2.70, at the time of writing and presented with a poppadom on the side. I have been told many times that I should charge more but I want to make healthy food accessible for all, I want to inspire people to eat like this at home too! People love my cooking but I am not a naturally great cook, the way I cook is to make it as easy as possible for myself, whatever I make is easy to emulate, I promise. Lots of the ingredients we use in our dishes, I stock on our shelves for you to take home and make it for yourself. These prices too are kept as low as I possibly can.

Since around the beginning of March, we have introduced a Daily Dish of the Day in our Shepton Mallet shop, I kept turning people away for lunch and didn't want to do sandwiches. Then one day a beautiful Vegan couple turned up in my shop, they love playing Bananagram, so I got one in for them and maybe that was when they realised I might be open to gentle persuasion. That lovely couple are now a family of three and have completely convinced me to keep cooking Vegan lunches for Shepton Mallet.

I am NOT a vegan myself but what inspires me to keep cooking these vegan dishes? Well, there are several things, I do enjoy challenges and cooking something Vegan and making it look and smell so tasty that even meat eaters will buy it, try it and come back for me, is pretty exciting for me! Our business is based on sustainability, the vegetarian and vegan way of eating is much better for the earth and we are already committed to our business being 100% suitable for vegetarians, there is just less harm done to our world when animal products are avoided and I have to say that all the Vegans I've met so far seem to look fit, healthy and slender. I don't know if that's because they have to keep saying, 'No, I can't eat that, no, sorry, can't eat that', or whether it could be the discipline they show in saying no to certain products, extends over into their own health and self-control. I can't imagine a Vegan person sitting down and just deciding to stuff their face with raw cane sugar, even if it is entirely suitable for vegans. Vegan eating in general fits in with Paleo style diets, apart from the slabs of protein made out of cows or pigs that Paleo eating encourages us to have on our plate. I also like the idea of conscious, mindful eating, of having standards and sticking to them, it appeals to me. If you are going to eat animals, then at least call them by their proper names and don't suddenly change a pig to bacon and a cow to beef, it's silly and a cover up of the truth.

I like the way that these dishes I am creating are nearly always gluten-free, they are always made from scratch, no pre-made sauces, or additives, certainly not bought in from a manufacturer and passed off as my own! My dishes are always great for Slimming World members because they are usually SYN FREE! I am proud of that. That's why I wrote it in big letters. They are not so synfree though, if I have cooked something with tinned coconut milk in, so always check with me first! They are always dairy free too and packed with protein. I don't eat dairy or gluten myself, I feel so much better for it, healthier, fitter and slimmer, so it's easy for me to make those kinds of lunches for everyone else. The other thing is my partner Gunter is diabetic, so I am very aware that foods of a low to medium GI are better for all of us, not just for diabetic people.

The great thing about these Vegan, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Slimming World friendly lunches, is that they embrace people from all cultures, people who have to follow all kinds of restrictions in their diets, people that want to eat healthily, well, tastily and sensibly! I like it when people connect together and these vegan lunches are doing exactly that! Imagine going somewhere to eat where there is NO menu, there is only one dish on offer and that is Dish of the Day! I love seeing people that don't know each other, sitting down to enjoy the same food and people that do know each other and are coming out as a family or as friends sit down and share the same food, it's very, very special. The whole way of doing this means I don't ever have to throw food away. Why ever did we think it was such a good idea to have so many choices in what we eat in restaurants? This way that I am discovering for myself is leaner, greener, healthier and proving to be very popular!

Here are the ingredients that I used in the Chickpea, Tomato and Quinoa Lunch, so you can check through them. Allergens are in bold.

Onion from the Friday Market
Garlic from the Friday Market
Ginger from My Coffee Stop
Tomatoes from the Friday Market
Tinned Tomatoes from My Coffee Stop
Cumin from Peppers
Coriander from Peppers
Turmeric from Peppers
Chilli flakes from Peppers
Yeast Extract from My Coffee Stop
Spinach Leaves from Aldi
Fresh Coriander Leaves from Aldi
Cashew Nut Butter from My Coffee Stop
Quinoa from My Coffee Stop
Kallo Yeast Free Stock Cube from My Coffee Stop, (Contains Celery)
Chick Peas from My Coffee Stop
Leek from the Friday Market
Celery from the Friday Market.

So come along and taste it for yourself, or make it for yourself!

2 February 2015

An Open Letter to Emma and the #LoveYourDoorstep team in #Enfield

Pathway towards Gentleman's Row, Enfield Chase.

Dear Emma and the +Love Your Doorstep team,

I am writing to let you know that after the ups and downs of the last few years, I have had a complete change of heart and would please like the opportunity to be an Lyds business.

Firstly, I would like to apologise for comments I have made, that I felt were my true opinion at the time but have caused upset and grief for you. I did not intend this at all and I am truly sorry. Having been off work for a while, due to illness, has given me plenty of time to mull over things and just two weeks after making some more negative comments about Love Your Doorstep in a Facebook conversation, I have looked at myself and the situation and I would dearly love to make amends and try to heal the hurt that I have caused. I really do not want to leave this mess behind in my life, please allow me the opportunity to make it better again.
It was the Facebook post that got me thinking. The negativity of the post made me intrigued, so, I checked your website and twitter feed and my opinion has changed. I can see that you have developed the business into so much more than a Facebook group.

It took me a long time to get used to the changes in the group in the beginning and it clashed for me that it was a free community and then changed into one where you had to pay to join as a business. But actually, Emma, you have created a visionary and completely new business model. I've been doing a lot of thinking. I think you have had to put your foot down and create strong boundaries because it is easy for friendship, kindness and business to get all mixed up. Like if people come into my shop, start chatting, don't want a coffee but are just saying 'hello' as a friend, taking my time and energy away from when I'm working. I feel I want to give stuff to them because they are my friend but on the other hand, if I run my business like that, I won't have one.I didn't really get this for ages, until there was some distance between myself and Enfield.

Your Twitter feed is strong and you have worked hard in building up strong links within the Enfield community, such as with the FSB, Enterprise Enfield and so on.

I have always respected your talent and vision, Emma but I found the new changes and rules very difficult, I can be fairly rigid in that respect due to my asperger way of thinking.

I think when we are angry, or emotional, we react rather than respond and I've been reacting all over the place.

Looking again at Lyds from a distance, it is incredible what you have done. The designs are really slick, the website works well on my phone, I love the shopping campaign stickers and the blogging area on the website is cool too. I have to say, I really have changed my mind.

Last year, I had too much Lyds from friends all over my timeline, I felt strangely emotional about posts where Lyds showed a film at The Dugdale Centre and about when they went to parliment. I felt left out and pissed off. But it was Lyds that did that work, not me and looking back on it now, I think I was upset because I was jealous. I didn't realise at the time.

I was so emotional and upset with all the posts, I then decided to delete any of my Facebook friends that were too enthusiastic about Lyds, to preserve my sanity, I deleted all of the enthusiastic ones and that felt better, until I realised that I had hurt some of them. The whole thing has been very difficult for me. I even started not to enjoy the Ideas Station, my social media workshops for women because every time the question would come up about whether I thought Lyds was good or not, I'd try to go for a bland, 'I wouldn't use it for my business but it does work well for other businesses', approach. Or the 'If you're not good at social media, it could be good for you.'. Or 'I don't recommend it but some businesses love it.'. I could never get away with a brushaway comment, to avoid my discomfort. The rest of the meeting would sometimes dissolve into a heated debate about Lyds and not about solving social media problems. It was embarrassing and took the motivation away for me to continue.

Now, I want to support what you are doing. Maybe some people will find that inconsistent, maybe hypocritical but I am proud to admit, actually, I am wrong I've made lots and lots of mistakes. Yes, I have changed my mind. I want people to know because this has been such a public affair and I want to help to heal the hurt.

People have seen me as one of the biggest ringleaders of the 'we don't like lyds' brigade.......I didn't want to be that. Emma, you and your team are running a never done before concept business, I had no patience and didn't make allowances for the learning curve involved.

The comments I made on Facebook two weeks or so ago sound bitchy, when I reread them, at the time they felt honest and truthful.  However, having taken another look, Lyds is actually something that is working well in these extremely difficult economic times and I realise there is a core of businesses who are repeat customers because it works.

I didn't even realise that you have a job board, I have a part time job that I would love to advertise on there.
I've made a lot of mistakes in dealing with this situation and it's all been fairly public. I am not afraid to say, my attitude has been wrong.

It is time for me and others in our community to give you, Lyds the respect that you deserve.

I am all for campaigning and for economic justice and have changed a few negative things in the world. Lyds is not a negative, it doesn't need a campaign against it, however inadvertently that situation has arisen and it doesn't need an emotional response.

If you don't want our business, I don't blame you but I just thought it fair to publicly share my change of heart.
I hope that together, we can build bridges, not walls.

I am very, very sorry for the way that I have been and I really would like the opportunity to support your concept, if you can ever, please forgive me.

Yours Most Sincerely and Hopefully,
Karen Mercer. xxxx