Book Fair Success!

What a weekend it was!

Don Pyatt Hall looked incredible, thanks to Liz, who spent hours sewing bunting (so cool, right?) and finding the perfect decorations.

Then, the books themselves, all marked down and arranged neatly due to the enormous efforts of Trevor, our sales rep extraordinaire, and Jonny, warehouse manager and backbone of all WP’s operations.

But the best part of the whole weekend was the authors! We kicked the weekend off with Rodney Fox’s launch, and that guy can tell a yarn. The hall was in stitches for his speech, then they queued up for ages to get their books signed by the man himself.

Other highlights included Lisa Fabry’s talk on the guilt-free benefits of vegan desserts, which had us all drooling, and Derek Pedley’s explanation of the process behind Dead by Friday — an amazing book and an amazing author. Valerie Volk’s fascinating writing processes were explained, and Jude Aquilina treated us to a couple of readings. Bruce Munday explained all things stone walls and Margaret Merrilees gave an excellent overview of her work, The First Week, while Sharon Kernot explained the processes behind the creation of the world in Underground Road.

And, of course, we left Don Pyatt Hall on Sunday night with a lot less books than we’d arrived with on Friday, already talking about how we’ll do it all next year.

Thanks all for coming, enjoying, giving talks or just sipping wine. It’s lovely to have such a great bunch of people reading and interested in Wakefield titles, and it warms the cockles of our Wakefieldian hearts to know that more than a few of you will be reading our books over the break!

Book Extract – Lisa Fabry

Lisa Fabry‘s two great passions in life – food and yoga – led her to the ‘divine vegan’ concept, a way of combining practical food choices with ethical, moral and spiritual awareness. Born in London, Lisa now lives in Adelaide. She has worked as a film and television producer, writer, editor, barista, chef, and yoga teacher. In between times, she home educated her two daughters, and ran a vegan, organic cafe. You can visit Lisa Fabry at to drool over her desserts, and then you can head to our website to drool over the book, Divine Vegan Desserts!

The passage below is an excerpt on De Bolhoed, a vegetarian restaurant in Amsterdam:

SharksIt had been a struggle to find vegan food when travelling for three weeks in France and Italy. My two daughters and I had been living, on the whole, on crusty bread and ripe, knobbly tomatoes. The bread and tomatoes in France and Italy are undoubtedly among the best in the world, but one can overdo it. We were desperate to get to Amsterdam and the myriad vegan eats to be had there. De Bolhoed was our destination for brunch on our first morning. De Bolhoed means ‘The Bowler Hat’ in Dutch. Contrary to internet rumour it was not built on the site of an old hat shop but started about 25 years ago as a health food store and is now a well-known vegetarian restaurant. The owner just thought the name sounded nice! De Bolhoed sits on the edge of one of Amsterdam’s grandest and most beautiful canals, the Prinsengracht, about five minutes walk from the Anne Frank House. You can sit outside by the canal and watch the bikes whizz past, or choose one of the tables inside the cafe where the walls are decorated with painted pumpkin vines and eclectic artworks. It was busy when we arrived and all the outdoor and window tables were occupied, so we sat at a cosy corner table on bench seats below shelves covered with ornaments. We wondered why a big, fat ginger and white cat was looking at us strangely, but when he leaped up and installed himself in the corner of the bench seat we noticed the indentation in the cushion and the cat hairs that told us this was his place. He deigned to share it with us for the morning. The food at De Bolhoed is organic, all vegetarian and mostly vegan, with generous portions at a fair price for expensive Amsterdam. The menu is a mix of world cuisines – Mexican, Asian, African, Mediterranean – with an amazing array of salads which are prepared fresh daily. Each day there is a mixed vegan plate on offer, which contains seven or eight different dishes, both hot and cold. And joy of joys, after three weeks of dessert fasting, there was a tall fridge stuffed full of pies, cheesecakes and cakes, many of them vegan. We had a delicious meal, and although we looked at the other restaurants on my list, we came back to De Bolhoed every day for the rest of our stay in Amsterdam.

Divine Vegan De…frosting!

The cold is well and truly here, so it’s time to shed your summer skin and step into your winter layers. I can think of no better way to weather the worst of it than with a good book (from Wakefield Press, naturally), your fuzziest socks, and an exaggerated portion of a hot dessert. Give your muffin top a proper welcome to winter with this (vegan!) bread and butter pudding, featured alongside heaps of other great recipes in Divine Vegan Desserts by Lisa Fabry, available here.

250-300g good white bread, sliced thinly (about 6-8 slices)
¼c (50g) dairy-free spread
¼c (50g) sugar
½c (80g) raisins or sultanas
¼c chickpea (besan) flour
2 tbsp cornflour
2c (500mL) oat, rice or soy milk

Oven 180˚C/350˚F/Gas 4

1. Grease a glass or ceramic baking dish, about 20cm x 20cm (8” x 8”)
2. Spread each slice of bread thickly with dairy-free spread, reserving a little spread for the top. Cut each slice into four triangles.
3. Place a layer of bread slices, spread side up, in the bottom of the dish, cutting pieces to fit in the gaps. Sprinkle with a tablespoon of sugar and about half the raisins or sultanas.
4. Cover with another layer of bread, another tablespoon of sugar and the rest of the dried fruit.
5. Finish with a layer of bread, overlapping the slices so that the points of the triangles stick up a little – these corners should turn brown and crispy.
6. Mix the chickpea flour and cornflour in a large jug or bowl. Gradually whisk in the milk. Pour the mixture evenly over the bread slices.
7. Put in the fridge for 30 minutes to an hour to allow the bread to soak up some of the liquid.
8. Sprinkle the rest of the sugar on top of the pudding and dot with the remaining dairy-free spread.
9. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until crisp and golden brown.

And that’s it! Wait for it to cool to a safe temperature so as to not burn your tongue (I learned that one the hard way), then grab a spoon and kick back. Or share it with friends and family. You know, whichever.