We’ve just had a very busy but fun day celebrating my youngest’s much anticipated 4th birthday – they both really enjoyed making the cupcakes, and I enjoyed creating new veggie savoury combinations so everyone was happy! Hope you like the pics…
Following on from my last post highlighting my hopefully positive journey towards opening a vegetarian cafe in the North of England, I thought that you might be interested in this update.
A lot has happened since my last posting on April, and the exciting news is that after a great deal of searching, I have finally found a property and a location! Although it is still relatively early days and I am hesitant to get too enthusiastic until I have signed the Lease (hopefully a couple of weeks off), I have found somewhere that seems ideal. It is located in New Mills in Derbyshire and there seems to be a really good atmosphere about the town, with positive feedback via Twitter and Facebook about the possibility of opening up a veggie cafe there. The building itself was formerly used for office purposes, but has two floors which means that I will have the flexibility of additional seating and storage space, together with the potential for using rooms for community use, which opens up many exciting possibilities.
I won’t bore you with the logistics facing me at the moment, however in the last two weeks I have appointed a solicitor, accountant, and submitted a full planning change of use application (unfortunately moving from office to restaurant/cafe use is not considered permitted development, so an application is required). The joys of sorting out a business bank account are next (yawn!)
On a more exciting note, I have now moved my friend Adam up from South Wales so that he can help me get everything up and running, and he is currently in my old vacant house (which I need to sell quickly (yipe!)).
The most enjoyable things of the last month have been the purchases. I was given a tip about the Emmaus charity (Check them out – http://www.emmaus.co.uk), which does great work in providing opportunities for homeless people. So far I have bought 20 chairs, mostly for £3.00 each!
The biggest expense so far has been my works vehicle. I needed to get a van that I could also do the school run in and managed to find this fantastic ex-Royal Mail van. My children have already donated a cuddly Postman Pat to stick on the dashboard!
I hope that this has provided a bit of an insight into the stages of setting up a new business – with a bit of luck my next posting will be covering colour schemes, internal layout designs and menu decisions – watch this space!
This is a recipe which I came up with a couple of weeks ago, with my three-year-old daughter (who must take at least 50% of the credit!), and have since made it again, as it was such a success. I think the combination of pasta with nuts generally works well, and of course provides a double-whammy of protein and energy…
Serves 4 – 6
200g dried pasta (I used penne for this)
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and finely diced
1 large cauliflower, cut into small florets
3 tbs olive oil
100g chestnut mushrooms, quartered
75g raw cashew nuts, roughly chopped
100g mature cheddar cheese, grated
50g plain white flour
2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and pepper
1. Preheat the oven to 200C. When temperature is reached, add the cauliflower florets and diced sweet potato to a large baking tray with the olive oil and seasoning. Mix well and roast for 20 minutes.
2. Meanwhile, bring a large pan of salted water to the boil and cook the pasta until roughly half way to al dente (4-5 minutes).
3. In a separate saucepan, make the cheese sauce by melting the butter and then gently adding the flour, milk and 80g of the cheese, whisking continuously until combined. Season and add the oregano.
4. Combine the drained pasta with the mushrooms, cashew nuts and roasted vegetables. Transfer to a large casserole dish and pour over the cheese sauce. Add the remaining grated cheese and bake on 200C for approximately 20 minutes until lightly browned.
5. Serve at once with a green salad or garlic bread.
I thought I’d add a bit of a twist to the childcare-in-the-kitchen activity that I’m fond of, and rather than baking cupcakes, myself and my inventive three-year-old daughter created this! I asked her to give me the main ingredients (she grabbed cauliflower, cashew nuts, mushrooms and cheese!), and we prepared it together. Proper experimental veggie fusion food and an hours’ worth of quality time to boot – result!
This is the first in an occasional series of blogs I wanted to do charting the (hopefully!) successful course towards setting up my own vegetarian cafe business. As you will have noticed I have already acquired the domain name of Pulse Cafe, but have not done a lot else.
As a bit of background, opening my own business relating to the cooking and selling a vegetarian food is something that I have wanted to do for a very long time. By career I have been a Chartered Building Surveyor for 20 years, however on the birth of my second child I decided to have a career break to look after her until she went to school. During the course of this I decided that actually a complete career change is actually something that I wanted and have been progressing towards this.
Now that Jasmine is going to be going to school in September I have decided to move things up a notch and start actively looking to turn to dream into reality. For the past four months I have been volunteering at the Topaz cafe in Ashton-under-Lyne which is a great vegetarian cafe run in affiliation with Mind, the mental health charity. This has provided me with loads of really good experience and also made me realise that even with a modest number of customers I will struggle to cope as a one-man operation!
In a moment of clarity I realised that if I was looking to seek help in any future business it would be best to do so with somebody that I already know and trust. As a result I contacted my friend Adam who I have known for over 30 years and is currently unemployed in South Wales and a also a committed vegetarian and weird music lover like myself. After a number of conversations it transpired that Adam was also very enthusiastic about the idea, and that it would make sense if he relocated to the Northwest, which is happening in June.
The only not-so-minor issue is that I will be bankrolling this venture by the sale of my previous house, that hasn’t occurred yet, however hopefully the housing market will pick up and things will move forward without having to go cap in hand to Mr Bank Manager!
I hope you have enjoyed this break from my usual postings of food, and I will hopefully be providing Part Two of this adventure soon. Any input and/or advice regarding the setting up of a new business would be very much gratefully received.
Speak to you soon.