No bread is an island

...entire of itself. (With apologies to John Donne!)
I live and breathe breadmaking. I’m an evangelist who would like everyone to make his or her own bread. I want to demystify breadmaking and show it as the easy everyday craft that it is. To this end I endeavour to make my recipes as simple and as foolproof as I possibly can.

I call my blog 'No bread is an island' because every bread is connected to another bread. So a spicy fruit bun with a cross on top is a hot cross bun. This fruit dough will also make a fruit loaf - or Chelsea buns or a Swedish tea ring...
I'm also a vegan, so I have lots of vegan recipes on here - and I'm adding more all the time.

Monday, 21 April 2014


Sunday 20th April 2014
Decided it was time for another trifle - but this time, the sponge I made was chocolate (link further down the post), and the vegetarian jelly was orange:


One of the reasons I first began intermittent fasting (IF) almost two years ago was evidence that fasting had some effect on cancer cells. It was the reference to prostate cancer cells being susceptible to fasting that provoked my initial interest!

The evidence suggested that, whilst fasting, the body’s cells go into repair mode – but invasive cells (cancers, tumours) are neglected and become easier to treat.

Since then evidence continues to accumulate that this is so – but in my experience, the research is disparate and scattered.

I wanted to bring any research that I have come across into one place; to which I can refer any friends and relatives who may know someone with cancer – unfortunately all too common an occurrence latterly, it seems to me.

These articles are all available by searching online, of course. However, the purpose of this post, apart from bringing much research all together, is also to link to forums which will give support to anyone deciding to fast, and will also advise on the different fasting regimes – of which there are several.

Intermittent Fasting
The best resource I am aware of concerning Intermittent Fasting – and one of the most supportive is

There is a lot of science and research on the forum  - putting ‘Fasting and cancer’ in the search box brings up 250+ results.

Another supportive forum is on the Mumsnet website. The first thread was begun the day after the Horizon programme which brought Intermittent Fasting to the attention of the British public. The latest thread (21st April 2014) is Nr 42 and they’re currently needing to start a new thread every 15 days or so.

Also on the site is a research thread full of Tips and Links – well worth looking through.

Monday 21st April 2014
Dr Miriam Stoppard, in her health column in the Daily Mirror had this to say about Intermittent Fasting (I've tried to find this online, but it doesn't appear to be there yet):
"I'm keen on Intermittent Fasting. It's very efficient and doesn't only help you to lose weight, it also prolongs your life.
"It works by increasing your sensitivity to insulin - a very good thing - so it controls your appetite and gets rid of cravings.
"It protects you from heart disease and diabetes, too, and should you need chemo for a malignancy (heaven forbid) it makes your tumour more sensitive to the treatment programme. 
"All in all, a good thing."

(My italics)

 I shall add to this post as and when I come across other research on the subject.

Sunday, 20 April 2014


Today is the 6th time this year I've had the chiminea in action. Here are a few of the pics I have taken along the way:

Since I only cook outdoors on sunny days, some liquid refreshment always seems to be called for. This is how I begin my cooking - with a glass of my homemade (Munton's) stout.

Saturday, 19 April 2014


For all those who made their own hot cross buns this year, don’t put away those skills until next year!

Extend that expertise and turn your hot cross bun dough into a whole range of brilliant breads:
Chelsea buns
Swedish tea ring
Apfel kuchen (German apple cake)
Christmas loaf
Fruit loaf
And more!
You'll find links to all the individual recipes, with pics, alongside each variation.

Here’s my original hot cross bun recipe – which is itself a variation on spicy fruit buns

MANGO KUCHEN a vegan fruit loaf

More pics further down the post
230g strong white flour
25g unrefined cane sugar (Billington's natural molasses sugar)
1 teaspoon mixed spice
150g sultanas, chopped prunes and chopped apricots(soaked for 24 hours)
20g fresh yeast (or 10g dried active yeast)
105g soaking liquid from the dried fruit
50g olive oil

Thursday, 17 April 2014


7th August 2013
Why, oh why don't I have this more often?

I've just made a quick version of this for lunch, which was absolutely fabulous - and only 184 calories!

Lightly fry the tomato and mushroom to soften, and sprinkle with black pepper.


30g gram flour
Pinch of salt (optional)
75ml water
5 squirts of 'One-cal' olive oil (for the frying pan)

1 rounded dessertspoon hummus
1 sliced tomato
1 sliced mushroom

Method - as below.

Calorie count:

30g gram flour - 101
20g houmous - 60
75g tomato  - 14
29g mushroom - 4
10 squirts of oil (five for the tomato and mushroom, 5 for the 'omelette') - 5

Total 184 calories

29th April 2013
I just love chick-pea (gram) flour! It is full of  flavour - and so useful in the kitchen.

Here's a lovely, socca based, vegan, gluten-free, soya-free omelette-type dish. Dead easy - and dead gorgeous! 

This 'omelette' totals roughly 263 calories for those watching their weight. Served with the potato wedges linked to below, plus a serving of broccoli, the total comes to approximately 375.

30g gram flour
Pinch of salt (optional)
75ml water
5 squirts of 'One-cal' olive oil (for the frying pan)

Mix together, and add:

5 slices of jalapeno peppers, chopped fine
1 sun-dried tomato, chopped small

Sprinkle of lemon juice
1 field mushroom, sliced and lightly fried
Black pepper

Sharp, tangy and hot - and very few calories!
Heat a medium-sized frying pan with a little oil (or, for calorie counters, use about 5 squirts of 'One-cal'), and pour in the batter. 

Just starting to cook from the edges
Allow the pancake to cook for about 4-5 minutes, then, to make sure it's not sticking to the pan, gently lift the edges up all round with a spatula.

Spread houmous over one half of it, sprinkle with lemon juice,  then place the mushroom slices over the houmous.

Finished off with black pepper 
Sprinkle with black pepper, then fold the other side of the pancake over the filling.

The finished 'omelette'
Serve with curried potato wedges and broccoli.

30g gram flour - 101c
16g jalapenos - 4
16g sun dried tomatoes - 33
40g houmous - 120
36g mushroom - 5
5 squirts of oil - 5

Total - 268

Plus 100g curried potato wedges - 87 cals, and broccoli - 15 cals

370 calories in total!

Note: If you want an even lower-calorie meal, substitute the houmous with more mushrooms and sliced tomato. The meal would probably come in at around 270 cals in total!

More about the 5:2 'diet'.

Tuesday, 15 April 2014


There are several things you can make with just self raising flour and water - here are some of them.

Yesterday I made several crepes Suzette for an after-dinner treat, using these pancakes. I had some batter leftover, so for lunch today I made a large pancake, spread half of it with hummus, with some slices of tomato, added a sprinkle of nooch and some black pepper, and folded it over. Voila! A hummus and tomato omelette! Simply gorgeous!

Pancake day tomorrow - but you don't need eggs and milk, just s/raising flour and water will suffice - and you won't be able to tell the difference! This recipe will save you a packet. Flour and water pancakes - just about as simple as it gets!

It's hard to believe, but these are just as good as those made with traditional ingredients.

And here it is - can you tell the difference?
200g self raising flour (you can also make these with gluten-free flour)
600ml water

1 mug self-raising flour
2 mugs water

Whisk together, to get rid of the lumps, and pour enough into a medium hot, oiled, frying pan to cover the base. Flip over to cook the other side when the bottom is browned to your liking - then serve with the topping of your choice.

(There's also a case to be made for putting some flour in a jug and adding enough water to make it into a fairly runny batter.)

I'm very fond of the usual sugar and lemon juice - but I also like them spread with homemade marmalade. I'm told chocolate spread is also very tasty on pancakes - I'll have to try it!

So, the benefits:
Cost – a batch of these pancakes will cost around 10p for 10 or more – about  a penny each. As against up to around 90p for a traditional batch.
Ease of making - you don't have to plan for these except by having a packet of self-raising flour in the cupboard. Really, there's no need to measure anything - just tip some flour in a bowl or jug and add water - stirring all the time - until it reaches the consistency you want.
Health – if you’re trying to cut down on dairy or eggs, these are for you. The young sister-in-law of one of my students (Nadine) is allergic to eggs, so Nadine was delighted to learn you don’t need them.*
Animal welfare. No animals will be harmed in the making of these pancakes.

Calories - This makes, say 10 pancakes. Self raising flour has 350 calories per 100g, so the combined total of the batch is 700g. Divided by 10 pancakes that makes 70 cals per pancake. Adding lemon juice and a teaspoon of sugar (5g) is 20 cals, so a good-sized pancake can be made for around 90 calories.

Nadine, one of my students told me about her young sister-in-law. She loves cooking and has been helping her mum make pancakes  (even flipping them) - and then had to watch her family eat them, for years. Yet she's never been able to taste one, until now. Nadine took the recipe round and they made pancakes straight away - and the youngster tucked into one with absolute delight. "That's pancake day sorted from now on!" was Nadine's comment!

Here's how I got to where I am with these.

Sunday, 13 April 2014


Needing something sweet, I made my version of a crepe suzette  after dinner tonight. 15 minutes after having the idea, I was tucking in. 

I used this recipe as a base - except that I didn't measure anything. [This is also gorgeous using chick-pea (gram) flour]

At 8.30pm I put the frying pan on a medium heat with a little oil and grabbed a jug and a bag of self-raising flour. Poured about a handful of flour into the jug and added some water - whisked with a spoon, then with a fork. The batter was a little on the thick side, so I added more water and whisked for another minute.

4 minutes later I poured about half of the batter into the frying pan, tilted it so that it covered the base of the pan and adjusted the heat.

After another 4 minutes I turned the pancake over - using a spatula since my cast iron frying pan is just too heavy to flip.

Whilst it was cooking I placed a good dessertspoonful of my home-made ginger marmalade into a dish, added a little water, and stuck it in the microwave for 45-50 seconds.

At 8.42, I turned the pancake over again to give the first side another couple of minutes.

8.44  - slid out the pancake onto a plate, poured the marmalade sauce over the middle of the pancake and drizzled Benedictine over the sauce. Folded the pancake over the filling and poured soya cream over the top.

8.45 tucked in to the Crepe Suzette - sublime!

CHEAP AND CHEERFUL - TEMPURA, with a yeast-risen batter (vegan)

One of the cheapest, and most satisfying, meals you can make!

(I also make these using a self-raising flour and water batter.)

75g strong white flour
75g strong wholemeal flour (or you could use all white)
1/4 or less teaspoon of salt
250ml lukewarm water
10g fresh yeast (or 5g dried active yeast)

1 Linda McCartney sausage
50g or so of Fry's polony
I large field mushroom

And vegetable oil - 1/2 a centimetre of oil in either a saucepan or a small frying pan.

You don't want the portion sizes too big - this is my preference

Thursday, 10 April 2014

VEGAN SODA BREAD PIZZAS with sun-dried tomatoes and olives

More pics further down

It was the end of term session this morning, of our U3A Enquiring minds (P4C) course, so we all brought something in for a buffet lunch. My contribution was a couple of vegan pizzas - with a soda bread crust - which went down a storm.

200g self raising flour
1 teaspoon bouillon powder
125ml liquid (100g water, 25g tomato puree)
50g oil from the sun-dried tomatoes (This enhances the crust and gives it almost a shortcrust pastry-type feel.)

1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 dessertspoon mushroom sauce
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 dessertspoons nutritional yeast

This was mashed with a potato masher to make it more smooth, and simmered to reduce it.

Sun-dried tomatoes, cut into strips, mushrooms, olives, nutritional yeast and oregano