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A course where you can Cook and eat Vegan food starts Wednesday 30th March at the Community Cafe, 1 Albert St. Ventnor

We will discuss and prepare a vegan meal each week, looking at possible variations and taking into account the season and cost of ingredients plus the individual allergies and dislikes of the group. Also to share ideas and useful tips for vegan cookery.

There will be an explanation of food combining and how it can help you to lose weight and digest food better, and an opportunity to eat the food you have prepared in the company of people on the course.

30th March,Vegetable stew with butter beans and herb dumplings

6th April, Two curries with rice and a fresh chutney

13th April, Nut roast with seasonable vegetables

20th April, Stir fry with tofu or cashew nuts

The sessions run from 5 til 7pm and cost £8 including all food.


To book call Wendy on 864054 or 07532372519



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Thinking about Oyster mushrooms

We’re going to have go at growing oyster mushroom this year, so last night we had a roaring fire in the oil drum we collected, to clean it out and make it ready for pasteurising the straw in. Straw is the initial growing medium and I was just reading that straw needs to be pasteurized but not sterilized. I’ll keep you posted as we go. Meantime if anyone has any tips please post them as this is a new thing for us.

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locally made soap

I’ve set a date for the Soap making course at The Community Café, 1  Albert Street , Ventnor. It will run on three Thursday mornings from 10 til 12 and possibly a little after as soap is a little unpredictable.

24th Feb – to discuss soap making, history, safety, equipment, different techniques and types of soap, in preparation for the following sessions. To create soap shapes with colour and fragrance using plain soap.

3rd March – to make soap using a hot process method, i.e. by cooking it. Also to make oaty bath bags.

10th march – to make liquid soap. also to make bath melts or bath bombs.

Please respond if you would like to attend. There are still a few places left. The price is£6 per session and you will be able to take home some soap.

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A lot of people say they don’t use soap on their face now. I think I know why this is. In the soap industry the glycerin is removed during the soapmaking process so that it can be sold for use in creams etc. I’m guessing that that’s why soap is making people’s faces dry. Also people are using liquid soap a lot, so we had the idea of making liquid  soap to offer for  refilling soap dipensers.

This fits in well with the time of year, it being too cold to make bars of soap, and with our desire to use local rapaseed oil, which makes a very soft bar.

Previously Nick and I have been making bars of soap in the usual way using  oils and caustic soda. When people first made soap, they were using wood ash and water, that had been concentrated. We’d call that caustic potash. ( the generic term for both caustic potash and soda is lye) This makes a softer soap as potash is deliquescent, (please say ooooh!) that is, it absorbs moisture from the air. Thus the liquid soap is made by a similar process but using a potash lye and a different quantity of oils. What was good for us was that you can do the whole lot in a slow cooker, which makes things lovely and tidy.

later on I’m going to run a few classes on soapmaking and natural cosmetics and remedies at the cafe in Albert St. Ventnor. Apart from teaching the basics of soapmaking,  I will be encouraging discussion and sharing of knowledge and experiences of the group. Please let me know if you are interested by replying to this post or call Wendy on 07532372519


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Hello Again

I haven’t visited the permaculture blog for a long time, so its time for me to have ramble on and look back over the season to review how we did at the allotment. I hope there are still people about visiting the site to find out about permaculture on the Isle of Wight. At the moment we don’t seem to have any set meetings but a few of us meet up in the cafe in Albert St Ventnor on Saturday mornings where we still sell our produce. There is usually; vegetables from Ken, jam and honey from James, herbs and tasty tarts from Rowan and home made soap and hand-cream from me and Nick ( lip balm coming soon). There’s recently been the launch of a community cafe recipe book compiled by Jill and Penny with photographs by local artists. Only £2.99 its a great local product. (more…)

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Mystery Plant

Hi can anyone help me identify this plant from the allotment. it looks edible but I’m not brave enough to try it.

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Happy New Year

Mystery picHappy New Year

Sorry for recent lack of posts, what with Christmas preparations and a couple of nasty colds I did not have enough time for everything.  I also spent a lot of time getting my hearth and fireplace ready for the installation of my wood burning stove which I had hoped would be up and running by Christmas. Never mind perhaps it will be done this month, I am beginning to envy people who have central heating.

I live in hope of some of the other members of Ventnor Permaculture actually making a few posts this year – in case you missed it that was a big hint!

I know it is freezing outside right now but the busy time of year is fast approaching, I will endeavour to post a list of things to do and seeds to sow at the start of each month.

If you are new to gardening and there is anything you would like to know or like written about please let me know.

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