vegan businesses

IWD: Interview With . Gabriella + Molly, Founders Of Planted

In interview as part of our IWD series we speak to Planted one of the UK's leading creators of healthy plant-based food about their journey and goals for the future.

IWD: Interview With Katrina Fox, Journalist + Media Coach

Katrina Fox has long been on of the leading lights when it comes to championing vegan business. This interview explores her extrodinary career and hopes for the future.

IWD: Interview With Vane + Dani, Founder Of Vida Bakery

As part of our IWD series we speak to the founders of Vida Bakery, Dani + Vane. 

Vegan Dragon's Den Announced At Vevolution Festival

We are excited to announce the launch of Pitch + Plant, the UK’s first ever plant-based business investment challenge at Vevolution Festival. 

Everyone’s Talking About The C-Word!

With our first event of 2017, Vevolution Topics: Vegan Food Innovation happening tomorrow (7th February) we have asked vegan foodie blogger & chef Kind State Of Mind aka Ellie Phoebe Brown to be our guest blogger and talk about the hot topic of cheese! 

Tickets are still available for our Food Innovation tomorrow at The Trampery. Ellie will be there giving out samples of her incredible food. To help get you in the mood for some food innovation inspiration we will leave you with Kind State Of Mind...over to you Ellie!  


Everyone’s Talking About The C-Word!
By Ellie Phoebe Brown
Kind State Of Mind

Oh but I could never give up cheese!" If I had a penny for every time I’ve heard that phrase in response to any mention of being vegan, well ... I’d be paying myself actually because even I’ve uttered those - now clichéd - words. I was a major cheese lover for years and although my reliance on dairy is over, it seems cheese is still a hot topic with both vegans and non-vegans alike. 

Why is cheese such a big deal? You may remember the headlines a few years ago stating that cheese is as addictive as hard drugs. While the attention seeking articles were referencing genuine research into “addictive-like eating”, the actual journal (published in early 2015) unsurprisingly concluded that matters were in fact - as ever - far more complex than the simplistic, and awry conclusion spun by the media. 

If it’s not purely biological, what else makes us crazy about cheese? I think there’s a compelling argument to be made for the role of psychological factors in our apparent cheese dependance. Cheese is, by and large, a comforting food. Its high fat and calorie content render it synonymous with special occasions, treats and well, really tasty things! Cheese on toast, macaroni cheese, pizza, the Christmas cheese board, it’s all about pleasure and indulgence (which helps somewhat in explaining why the cheese salad never caught on!) No wonder our brains tell us we love it. Cheese is also often a food we are brought up eating, so it additionally has positive associations from our childhood. Growing up as a vegetarian I ate a lot of cheese and therefore it’s linked to many of my happiest food-related memories from home. Bearing in mind the comfort and memory associations that people have with cheese, on top of possible biological reasons, we can begin to understand the hold it has over people’s eating habits. 

So if you’re vegan you’re just supposed to give up all that good stuff then? Nope! You just have to make a few changes. There is a whole world of dairy free cheeses out there, and it’s growing at a fast pace! With availability increasing in response to growing demand it’s easier than ever to get your hands on some vegan cheese. Large retailers such as Ocado and Holland & Barrett sell vegan cheese products, and last year Sainsbury’s brought out their own range of vegan cheeses in collaboration with Vevolution's sponsor Bute Island Foods. The latter has proved so popular that it exceeded their sales expectations by 300% in its first month, a sign if there ever was one of how mainstream the desire to ditch dairy has become. 

It’s not just large retailers either. There are now many smaller suppliers emerging too, selling their own tasty hand-crafted cheeses. Companies such as Mouse’s Favourite, a London-based company making artisan nut-based cheeses, and Nutcrafter Creamery from Glasgow, who make an impressive array of aged and organic vegan cheeses. International companies are also looking to get in on the UK’s booming vegan cheese market. The American company Follow Your Heart recently launched a small selection of their vegan cheeses over here, which I personally really love. I hope more companies follow suit, to increase the selection of products available to U.K. vegans as The States seem to be streets ahead of us in the product development stakes and this, in turn, will generate some healthy competition and innovation between brands. 

For many people giving up cheese is the main barrier to becoming vegan. However, with more and more vegan cheeses coming on to the market all the time, with even better textures and flavours than before, this last hurdle to becoming vegan may soon be a thing of the past! 

And lastly…. Of course, you can make your own vegan cheese! Here’s a cheap, simple and tasty way to make your own cashew cheese. With a bit of practice, you can adjust the flavours with different herbs and spices but garlic and chive are a great place to start!\

Garlic and Chive Cashew Cheese
By Ellie Phoebe Brown
Kind State Of Mind 

Makes: One round cheese
Prep time: 30 minutes plus chilling time

Ingredients:

  • 100g raw cashews, soaked overnight

  • 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice

  • 2 cloves of garlic

  • 1/2 tsp fine salt

  • Freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 tbsp water

  • Small bunch of chives (or other herb)

Method:

  1. In a food processor or blender place all ingredients except for the chives. Process until the mixture becomes smooth and creamy in texture. You'll need to keep stopping to scrape down the sides to ensure it all gets blended. Keep blending until it stops being lumpy and grainy and looks like a smooth soft cheese. This may take 5 - 10 minutes so keep going! You can add a little more water to get it moving in the blender if absolutely needed - but if you want to make a firm cheese try to avoid adding too much extra liquid.
  2. Finely chop the chives and stir into your smooth cheese mixture. If you add them to the blender to combine you will end up with a green cheese - so best to stir them in! Have a taste and add more salt if needed.
  3. If you want to make a soft cheese spread, like a cream cheese, then all you need to do is transfer the cheese to a small bowl, cover and refrigerate for a few hours. You can eat it immediately - but it will set slightly if you leave it to chill, making a slightly thicker spread.
  4. If you want to make a firmer cheese, like the one pictured above, then you'll need to remove some of the moisture from the cheese. For this you'll need a square of double layer cheese cloth, or a thin, clean tea towel. Lay out the cloth and scrape all of the cheese mixture into the centre of the square and roughly shape it into a round shape. Gather the corners of the cloth, bring together the top and fasten with a  rubber band to create a little parcel (see pics)  I tie it above my sink to drain for a few hours (you could also put it in a sieve above a bowl) and then place it in a dish lined with kitchen towel in the fridge for a further 3-4 hours or overnight. (You can also put it straight into the fridge in a sieve or wrapped in kitchen towel but I've found the 2 step process removes the most water, resulting in the firmest cheese.)
  5. Once it's been in the fridge you can gently remove the cheese cloth and there will be your little cashew cheese!
  6. The cheese will keep for about 4-5 days in the fridge, in an airtight container - but it never lasts that long around me!

For a more detailed version of the recipe with photos go to my blog post here: https://kindstateofmind.com/2017/02/02/easy-garlic-and-chive-cashew-cheese/


Be sure to check out Ellie's other recipes and food tips over at her blog Kind State Of Mind and follow her foodie adventures on her social channels - Instagram, Facebook & Twitter.

Ellie will be at Vevolution Topics: Food Innovation tomorrow Tuesday 7th February and will be giving out samples of her yummy food creations so don't miss out and grab your ticket now: https://vevolution-topics-food.eventbrite.com/

allplants Kick-Off The 2017 Vegan Food Revolution

Alex and Jonathan Petrides, Founders of allplants.

Alex and Jonathan Petrides, Founders of allplants.

The vegan food revolution looks set to continue with pace in 2017. This week brothers, Jonathan and Alex Petrides are launching allplants, their plant-based meals startup, which delivers fresh frozen meals to doorsteps nationwide.

Alex some of you may remember took to the Vevolution mainstage in November to talk about the allplants story to-date.

Both the brothers have enjoyed successful business careers, Alex was the first employee of popcorn brand Propercorn, helping the brand grow from zero to 3,000,000 packs of popcorn popped per month. JP career has seen him work as a business consultant for McKinsey before setting up Africa’s first mobile bank in Kenya and health care provider, Penda. 

Alex Petrides (centre) during the entrepreneur panel at Vevolution 2016. (Picture by Simon Way Photography)

Alex Petrides (centre) during the entrepreneur panel at Vevolution 2016. (Picture by Simon Way Photography)

Brothers JP & Alex are inspired by cuisines, cultures and food from all over the world. When they started eating a totally plant-based diet, they realised just how difficult it was to find and make great-tasting meals every day of the week.

Working in the kitchen with chefs, restaurateurs and nutritionists, they developed a delicious range of handmade, plant-based meals.

allplants are serving 6 delicious, tasting dishes for two to share, delivered to your home.  Each meal is ready-to-eat; making it easy, affordable and nutritious to eat plant-based, any night of the week. In the future, they will be launching seasonal menus, and a wider range of products, so people and planet can more easily, thrive together.

Jerk Jackfruit, one for the spice lovers

Jerk Jackfruit, one for the spice lovers

Tasting dishes currently include Jerk Jackfruit, Moussaka, Black Bean Chilli, Claypot Tagine, Cashew Mac and the french classic Bourguigon.

Cashew Mac from the allplants range

Cashew Mac from the allplants range

At Vevolution we were lucky to sent a range of the dishes to try and we loved them. Our favourites have been the Moussaka and Cashew Mac. We were so confident about their deliciousness that we fed some of an omnivorous friend who really enjoyed them.  It really showed us that these foods are for everyone whether you are already vegan or just someone who wants to get more plant-based food in your life.

Both Judy and I feel excited about the flavours in allplants dishes, this is something the brother are keen to talk about. "There’s a real myth that “vegan” means bland and boring, or expensive, squeaky clean, diet food; we’re breaking that mould, making it easy and tasty to eat a nourishing plant-rich meal.” says JP, allplants Co-Founder.

Last month we sat down with JP for a catch up and to hear about what allplants have planned for 2017. And he said something that really stuck with both myself and Judy. We were raving on about all the great new vegan places and pop-ups in London and JP made a fantastic point that it is great being vegan in London but in many parts of the UK there is still a dearth of great vegan food. This is something we love about allplants is that the meals are now available nationwide. We are sure that it is going to be a huge success and we urge you to give their meals a try we are sure you will enjoy them like we did.

Want to tell your story?

We love hearing from people doing great things in the vegan movement. If you would like to appear on the Vevolution blog get in-touch at damien@vevolution.co and let us know what you're up to.