If you are interested in signing up for the challenge of a plastic free July then check out www.plasticfreeJuly.org where there are loads of tips on how to limit our use of plastic
From single origin chocolate to Dutch processed cocoa chocolate has come a long way from the bag of cacao beans Christopher Columbus brought back from South America in the 16th century and the boxes of Milk Tray and bars of Bournville familiar from many of our childhoods.
Long before chocolate was served in bar form it was a drink mixed with honey and spices that was greatly enjoyed by Aztec emperor Montezuma. It is said that he would drink it from golden goblets, before throwing them away, never using the same one twice for his beloved ‘chocolatl’ drink. When Montezuma needed something to fuel his long romantic nights he would drink a goblet of chocolatl before entering his harem, claiming it made his tongue dance, and pulse quicken.
For our June meeting Susie from My Chocolate joined us to take us on a chocolate journey through the history of chocolate, a tasting session and we watched in anticipation as Susie made a huge bar of chocolate (plus a vegan one) that we all got to taste and take home. It was a great session learning the art of tempering chocolate, we got to taste 100% chocolate which was love/hate depending on preference and discovered why white chocolate is a nightmare to work with in the kitchen. Thanks to Susie and My Chocolate for a great meeting.
just a small piece then….
Plus tea and cake and chat
Dates for your diary
June 20th we are delighted to be joining Living Waterway and Wild Hackney for a free guided tour along the canal and around the Kingsland Basin looking at the wildlife and floating islands that are offering homes to a whole host of birds, butterflies, insect life and more. We are meeting at 7.30pm at the North End of Kingsland Basin, just past Toconoco cafe. The entrance is 20-28 Hertford Road with ‘Norway Wharf’ above the gates. Hope to see you there
Save The Date – Party In The Park festival organised by the De Beauvoir Association in De Beauvoir Square is on Saturday July 6th and we are running the Tea and Cake stall for the fifth year running. We are looking for volunteers to bake cakes and help out on the day so if you have a signature lemon drizzle or are magic at millionaires shortbread and all in between or fancy an hour serving cake to very eager customers at this fun, family friendly event then email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or let us know at the meeting
From pretty in pink through the night before Christmas and all manner of festive fondant foliage inbetween, we rolled, crimped and decorated a whole host of Christmas cakes at our December meeting. Icing sugar flying while we indulged in a seasonal glass of wine and munched on mince pies, a wonderful array of completely individual cakes exited the building at the end of the night.
A huge thanks goes to our talented member, Lynn Brooks for guiding us through the art of working with fondant. Here are some pictures of just a handful of the creative concoctions that emerged throughout the meeting plus a lovely picture of Lynn showing us the ropes.
An additional thanks to all from our membership and our community who donated gift sets for the women at Solace Women’s Aid refuge – see above for just a portion of all the gifts that were delivered to Solace …
The De Beauvoir Flower and Produce Show (and Dog Show) has been taking place every year since 1979 (at least).
This year, for the first time, WE are jointly organising the show with De Beauvoir Gardeners and this means that we need some help and volunteers. We are not only running the cake stall (domestic delights) but helping with all aspects of the show which is a really lovely annual event – a village style show in the heart of London. It celebrates this corner of Hackney’s growing, creative and dog owning communities and is promoted through local schools to encourage children to bake, draw, grow and make – we even have cup cake decorating on the day.
As well as the usual flower, produce, baking and preserve categories there are new (WI) craft entries as follows:
- For children – A glove puppet made from a sock
and for everyone:
- Greeting card in any medium (e.g. sewn, painting, collage, photograph, crafting)
- A floral tea or egg cosy, stitched, knitted or crocheted
- Homemade piece of jewellery (brooch, necklace, bracelet or ring) on a garden theme
To make this year a success we really need your help in lots of ways:
- Volunteers to help for a couple of hours on a stall.
- Volunteers to help with setting up or clearing up. This includes husbands and burley teenagers to help with the heavy work of setting up gazebos, carrying books and tables – either in the morning or at the end (or both).
- As many individual entries in all categories as possible (we are not doing WI group entries this year) again encourage neighbours, relatives and children to enter too. CLICK HERE to see all the categories so you can start planning your entries now.
- Contributions of nice items for the tombola (bring items to the August and September meetings).
- Whole cakes and savouries to sell on the day.
- Bring your dog along and consider entering the floral fancy dress category.
- Promote the show on facebook or twitter using the links on this page.
- Put a poster up.
We will have sign-up sheets and be available for questions at the August social where we will also distribute posters and leaflets for those who have already signed up for leaflet distribution.
For those of you who missed Party in the Park here are some pictures of our hugely successful tea and cake stall. Huge THANKS to everyone who baked, helped, organised, served and cleared up. Congratulations to the De Beauvoir Association for another brilliant community event. We would also like to give special thanks to two local sponsors, Biscuitea on Southgate Road and De Beauvoir Deli for their generous (and professional) donations.
Queue for £5 a box of a cake at the end of the day
De Beauvoir WI tea and cake stall, Party in the Park 2016
De Beauvoir WI members
Biscuitea donated these two amazing cakes
Goats cheese and red pepper palmiers
Mascarpone and summer fruits cake
Lemon and chocolate cup cakes
Something for everyone
Sarah and Nichola setting up
For those of you who missed July’s meeting – it was a cracker! There was more about baking but this time is was all about bread. Ben Mackinnon described how he founded artisan bakery E5 Bakehouse, in the corner of a railway arch in London Fields in 2011. The bakery has enjoyed huge success and the popularity of sourdough bread has spread but although he now employs 46 people he still runs the business along strong sustainable and ethical principals. Not least deliveries – which are only by bicycle – limiting them to Hackney restaurants and delis. Ben talked with passion, expert knowledge and candid good humour as we fired question after question at him. For those of you interested here is my own blog post on sending my husband to an E5 Bakehouse workshop for his birthday.
Nia – Ending Violence Against Women
We had another speaker at July’s meeting – the wonderful Heather Harvey from Nia, our chosen charity in 2015. She talked about the work that they do and the wide range of projects they run which range from a rape crisis support line to helping women exit prostitution. Small charities like Nia, which do so much to try to change the lives of frightened and vulnerable women and girls needs as much good PR and support as possible. One small thing that we can all do is vote for Nia in the Adiah Antigha Community awards, please show your support by voting for them through this link. I think many of us felt that their work was something that we could all help to promote and I am sure we will be discussing how we can help do this in the future.
August – Pub meet up
We don’t meet in the Crypt in August because it tends to be quieter due to summer holidays. We have a social instead and we are meeting in the back room at the Scolt Head at 7.30pm for a good old natter. It’s a great opportunity to discuss ideas for future speakers and WI resolutions so if you have ideas bring them along. Members get one glass of wine on us.
Just a few images of Jane Lowe’s wonderful marmalade masterclass, images by Lesley Thompson.