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!