The Cottage Vegan

A headshot of Rachael Care
Rachael Care – the face behind The Cottage Vegan

A cup of tea and a chat with Rachael Care – The Cottage Vegan

Although we live in the same, small North Notts village, I had never met Rachael – until the village plant sale at the Clayworth Memorial Hall.  A few of us had taken homemade cakes to sell to help boost the proceeds.  Rachael had made a selection of vegan muffins which looked eye-poppingly gorgeous.

Blueberry and lemon Chelsea buns drizzled with glace icing
Sticky blueberry and lemon Chelsea buns drizzled with glace icing

A gap in the market for vegan food locally

She and I chatted and it seemed that she was on the verge of starting up her own business ‘The Cottage Vegan’.  Having done some research locally she discovered that there is a gap in the market for home-prepared, vegan food.  After the plant sale we linked up on Facebook.

Apple crumble cake
Apple crumble cake – looks stunning when baked in a bundt tin

Such glorious cakes

The pictures she was posting of her glorious cakes gave me the idea that someone I know might appreciate one of her creations.  I messaged Rachael and within minutes she responded saying that she was baking at that moment and would have a carrot cake ready for me that very afternoon.  Now that is service!  The cake went down a treat, it tasted divine and it didn’t break the bank!

A very col,our full Hummingbird cake decorated with edible fresh flowers
Hummingbird cake, decorated with edible fresh flowers

Cup of tea and a chat

I asked Rachael if she fancied a chat over a cup of tea and she kindly invited me to her cottage.  And it is is exactly as you would imagine – a typical English cottage in a typical English village!  She has over a hundred cookery books and her kitchen is all neatly laid out ready for the next baking session.  It seems that ‘The Cottage Vegan’ (very aptly named) went ‘live’ on 1st July.  One month in and business is already brisk.  Simple word-of-mouth alongside social media and the orders are rolling in.

All set for afternoon tea with fresh flowers a cup of tea and an apple cram horn
Afternoon tea with apple cream corn

We made a connection

She and I seemed to connect, having much in common: a love of cookery, making things, creativity and ‘flavour’!  I was bowled over by her determination and passion and asked her how she had arrived at this point in her life – on the cusp of a new business.  It seems that she has taken a long and winding route to where she is now. 

Buckwheat pastry with cheese, onion, tomatoes and homemade mango chutney
Buckwheat pastry patties with cheese, onion, tomatoes and homemade mango chutney

Back to school

Rachael has worked with various companies in administration and also at one point as a carer.  But she had always harboured the desire to learn to cook, although she could already cook she wanted to learn to do it professionally.  She was encouraged to follow her dream by her husband so gave up her job and started a vocational college course https://www.don.ac.uk/. 

If you don’t ask you don’t get

With a need to keep some money coming in and also to get a foot into the catering industry, she took a job as a chamber maid at a local hotel with a fine dining restaurant attached http://www.mountpleasant.co.uk/ . One thing led to another and she dared to ask the Head Chef if he would give her a job. To her surprise he said ‘yes’! and he continued to be her mentor and oversee her progress… and her rise to pastry chef.

Satay skewers and rainbow salad
Satay skewers with rainbow salad

Home is where the heart is

Something that has always been on her mind is, like me, she loves to be at home.  All those endless days spent staring out of someone else’s window with a longing just to be at home.  Also like me, she enjoys her own company.  All this points to where she is, developing her own business from where she loves more than anywhere else to be… her own kitchen.

Business is booming

Market research was to supply her husband’s colleagues with her first bakes, actively encouraging their feedback – and ultimately their orders, which began to gather momentum.  She now finds herself very busy.  Because she is flexible and open to suggestions she is constantly adding new lines and experimenting with flavours.  She will even prepare a week’s worth of readymade vegan meals to people who don’t have the time to shop and cook.  It’s a service that is clearly much appreciated.

Get in touch with Rachael at the Cottage Vegan

Have a look at The Cottage Vegan’s Facebook page and if there’s anything thing there that tempts you (believe me there will be whether you are vegan or not!) send her a message. https://m.facebook.com/thecottagevegan/ 

Variety is the spice of life

So, it’s not just cakes… it’s Jamaican patties, vegan lasagne, bean and vegetable casseroles, flatbreads, vegan burgers, the most amazing gâteux, muffins and cakes – and probably anything else you might ask of her.  All her bakes and makes are made to order with top-quality, local produce… and lots of love.

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