Re//Store Sisterhood: Sophie Gordon of Dust Granola
Sophie Gordon has been on my radar for a while. She makes this pretty box of Granola, free from gluten, preservatives, oils, and sugars. She started selling her granola in the café she once worked, saw the demand and decided to box her recipe. She altered the recipe slightly and gave it the pretty name Dust Granola. It soon moved onto the shelves of Harrods, Planet Organic, and recently Waitrose started stocking it. Make sure you try all her flavours, they’re all equally delicious! Next to her Dust Granola, Sophie has many more strings to her bow and is a virtuous vegan chef across all fields, running an inspiring website with all her own recipes. If she had a book out I’d buy it today. I had the pleasure of meeting her in Barber and Parlour, in Shoreditch, our mutual stomping ground, where we chatted over cold pressed juice and iced matcha tea.
How would you describe your personal style?
Pretty laid back and chilled. I’m not often very adventurous with colours and stick to my blacks, greys, and whites. I like to feel comfortable, so often opt for baggier t-shirts or playsuits. I’m very much into my culottes at the moment and ‘smarter’ trousers with a plain t-shirt/muscle tee.
What made you decide to start Dust Granola? And what inspires you at the start of a new recipes?
I started Dust Granola whilst on my travels to Australia. I was really inspired by the way of living there; having already been vegan for about a year, I felt very much at home. I started making batches of granola (pretty much the same recipe to this day) and giving it to friends and selling it in a local café that I worked in. I wasn’t excited by any other granola on the market and wanted to simplify it. Taking out any preservatives, sugars and oils, Dust was born.
When it comes to creating recipes, I’m usually inspired by whatever produce may be in season at that time. I sometimes think I’m a little crazy because I get so excited at markets and just checking out what it has to offer. For example, I picked up a great bunch of asparagus the other day, which then prompted me to make a delicious asparagus, leek and potato soup; perfect for a rainy summers evening!
When you develop your vegan recipes do you have a sustainable approach? And how do you put this in process?
I try to be as sustainable as possible. I think once you know how, it is very easy to do. Knowing where to shop, where there may be good deals etc. I always try to shop as locally as possible, buying what’s in season that is hopefully from the UK. It can be hard when you want a specific ingredient but we do have a lot available now. My top tip would be ALWAYS bring your own bag. It also annoys me that everything is wrapped in plastic and you get weird looks for not putting say 4 mushrooms into a plastic bag! I also try to buy grains, spices etc in bulk. I grow herbs in the garden; always a bonus plus if there is any food wastage, it goes straight in the composter outside. Most councils actually give you a bin these days, which I recommend everyone gets on board with!
What is the favourite element of your job? And biggest challenge?
My favourite element of what I do is probably the freedom. I’ve always looked up to people who run their own business or freelance. It’s great to be able to pick and choose what I want to do that day, being my own boss. As a Virgo I like to be organised and plan, so it works to my advantage when getting things done. I’d say the biggest challenge is no matter how great sometimes it may seem or feel to work for yourself, it can get very lonely. Lots of my friends have business partners or are a co-founder, so I’d definitely say some days, when I may be feeling less motivated, it’s hard to find it again, especially after spending a day/week on your own.
What role does yoga play in your life?
Bizarrely, I was never the yogi type. I was a runner from a very young age, competing most weekends and training after school 3 times a week. It wasn’t until I injured myself just over a year ago, that I got into yoga. I always knew the benefits it could have, but I guess at the time, I was occupied with other things. I booked onto a two week introductory offer and never looked back. I still love to run, but yoga has a different kind of release. It really allows me to let go and fully forget whatever it may be for the duration of a practice. It’s also taught me to slow down a lot, take time for myself when needed and generally have a more peaceful presence about myself.
Do you practice mindfulness and in what way?
From taking up yoga, I think that has allowed me to be more open to mindfulness and how I can do so. I recently downloaded an app called headspace; it gives you a variety of options, from a 10 minute guided meditation to perhaps journaling your thoughts. I try to scribble as much down as I can through-out my days, whether that’s as a note on my phone or in a notebook I have beside my bed.
Cooking and sharing my creations is also in some ways my meditation. I find it so therapeutic and can get lost in the flavours or just the generally playing about with a new ingredient.
What is your favourite indulgence within the world of wellness.
I don’t know if candles count but I am obsessed. There’s nothing like finding a new scent that fills the room. Burning sage is also something I love doing. It reminds me of being a child, carefree almost. I find it very soothing. I’m also a bit of a sucker for new food products on the market. I’m always so interested to try them, investigate or read up on the ingredients and their benefits. My recent favourite has been a vegan salted caramel chocolate; the dream.
I still love to run, but yoga has a different kind of release. It really allows me to let go and fully forget whatever it may be for the duration of a practice. It’s also taught me to slow down a lot, take time for myself when needed and generally have a more peaceful presence about myself.
Where do you go when you want to find inspiration in London?
East London is my favourite part of London. Usually, if I’m feeling a little uninspired I’ll head to a new café, sometimes for the food, sometimes for the interior, plus of course, a creamy matcha latte; it would be rude not to!
What do you listen to at the moment?
I’ve recently discovered an artist called Tom Walker. I love his sound/style, a good chilled playlist always sets me in the right direction. Sampha, Bonobo, and Bahamas are also my current favourites.
Could you recommend an organic / local produce cafe / restaurant in your area?
There’s a great restaurant called Toasted on Lordship Lane. They serve great natural wines and produce a menu based on what is seasonal. It’s more of a sharing type of place, with smaller dishes full of different flavours and very creatively done. Another favourite is The Begging Bowl. They too serve great wines, cocktails and their menu changes based on the season. They are very accommodating for vegans and will easily swap something in or, if you are lucky, they create something a little special for you.
Where do you go to shop for clothes / accessories?
Over the years I’ve collected a lot of rings. I rarely take them off, it feels weird to not wear them. They’ve been given to me by various different people, or from places, so each one has a nice meaning or memory. I rarely seem to buy clothes and a lot of my favourite pieces are items I’ve bought years ago but still look great. Every now and again, I love to raid Rokit or another vintage store that is similar. I also have a pair of vegan Birkenstocks which I pretty much live in!
And wellness / organic food shops in your area?
There is a shop called SMBS in Lordship Lane. They are my go-to for great organic produce. Whether that’s fresh fruit and veg or staples like beans, legumes, bread etc. Speaking of bread, there is a great bakery just down the road from there called Brick House Bread, they are my go to for fresh sourdough bread. Their ‘Peckham Rye’ or ‘Country White’ is my favourite. On a weekend, I do try to plan a day around going to a market, or at least near one, just to check out what may be on offer or perhaps get some inspiration for weekend cooking!
Who would you like to see on here in the future?
I recently discovered a space called Rye London in Dalston. Holly, who owns the space, is just wonderful. I’d love to see her on here!
What is your favourite plant based / Vegetarian recipe?
I’ve been experimenting a lot with different ‘creams’ and dips as of late, working with soaking nuts and then blending, or using tofu as a base. I sometimes lose myself trying to recreate a similar taste or texture to things that aren’t vegan. I’m a bit of a condiment queen and have hummus with most things, so having more dips to choose from is always a bonus.
Tofu sour ‘cream’:
300g silken tofu
1 lemon – juiced and a pinch of zest
2 tsp apple cider vinegar – more if you like a kick
1 large clove of garlic
2 tsp Dijon mustard
½ tsp good quality salt
Pepper to taste
Simply blend all the ingredients in a processor, adding more vinegar if you like the sourness and a little more salt depending on your taste buds 😉
Thank you Sophie for our lovely chat over delicious green drinks, more of that soon please!