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.

Thursday, 9 March 2017


Starter: Baked onion bhajis
Main: Chilli non carne with seitan, coconut milk and Thai spices
Pudding: Apple strudel

Baked onion bhajis

I left these a couple of minutes too long in the oven - so they've just caught a little
2 large onions, sliced fairly thinly
Oil (for the frying pan - I use rapeseed)
1 teaspoon curry powder (my made up curry powder consists of 3 parts chilli powder to 1 each of cumin, coriander and turmeric – you may wish to reduce this ratio)
½ teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
100g gram (chickpea) flour
2 teaspoons bouillon powder
2 dessertspoons tomato puree

Fry the onions for about 5 minutes until al dente
Stir the spices in with the onions and fry for a couple more minutes
Mix the gram flour, bouillon powder in a bowl, then add the tomato puree and enough water to form a batter.  Add the onions and mix altogether. It should be a fairly loose mixture.

Using a dessertspoon, place heaped spoonfuls of the mix onto a prepared baking sheet (I simply oil mine), and bake at 200C for 20-25 mins.

Thai chilli non carne with seitan

Start with a vegetable curry.

To which add a tin of coconut milk, a dessertspoon of Thai curry paste, a dessertspoon each of soya sauce and lemon juice, and a squeeze of garlic paste.
Then add a tin of red kidney beans (or 240g of dried, cooked beans), the Seitan chunks and simmer until the chunks have softened.
Adjust seasoning
(Personally, I would add an extra dessertspoon of Thai curry and a splash of Encona West Indian Hot Pepper sauce, or similar)

Serve with Jasmine rice

Apple strudel

This is one of the strudels made with my special need's students. If you look  carefully, you can just make out a K (on the right) made from a scrap of dough - which means it was made by Kestor.
You can, of course, make this with ready made puff pastry which is easily available and very often vegan.

However, I find a strudel made with your own croissant dough to be, not only tastier, but very satisfying to make.

1 portion of croissant dough, made with 200g flour and a dessertspoon of sugar instead of the salt. Once made, keep it in the fridge, in an oiled plastic bag, until you're ready to use it.

3 medium apples, peeled and thinly sliced
200g sultanas
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon each cinnamon and nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground clove
100ml orange juice

Either stew the fruit in a saucepan on the stove until the apples are soft - but still retain their shape; or, microwave the fruit for approximately 10 minutes.

Let the fruit mixture cool before shaping the strudel.

Once you're ready to go, roll the dough out to to approximately 35cm x 25cm (a little bigger than my laptop!) and place it onto a piece of baking parchment, with the long side across in front of you.

Spread the filling in a thick band across the length of the dough, leaving a couple of centimetres at each end. Gently, using the baking paper as support, bring the dough over the top of the filling until it is covered. Roll it over an extra 2-3 cms to create an overlap.

Trim any spare width of dough (bake as nibbles), and carefully tuck in the ends.

Using the baking parchment, slide the strudel onto a baking tray and, using a sharp knife, make shallow diagonal cuts in the top of the dough. Cover the strudel with a dry tea towel and leave to prove until the dough is risen and puffy.

Turn the oven onto 200C, and carefully brush the strudel with a sugar glaze - one dessertspoon sugar to two dessertspoons boiling water.

When the oven is up to temperature, place the strudel in the middle of the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes. Brush again with the sugar glaze. 

Either serve immediately, with Alpro custard, or place to cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

VEGANISM: Reason Nr. 1 - Animal welfare

(There are two other good reasons for going vegan - Global warming and health. I shall post about these as soon as I can - and I'll link to them from here. Necessarily, some of these links cross the boundaries, but I've tried to separate them out as much as I can.)

I was a vegetarian for 2 years - for health reasons - before I transitioned into a vegan. It took me two years for the blinkers to fully come off. Prior to that I’d been a meat-eater for 63 years, with the blinkers fully in place.

There is more and more evidence emerging of the inherent cruelty involved in the livestock industry - here I'm going to present some of it. Much of it comes from the US, but we have our own tragedies over here.

"...with the number of land animals slaughtered every year reaching over 50 billion - plus incalculable numbers of sea creatures."

SWINE - a very British horror story.

And even closer to home:

Pig farm in Somerset.

And here's an overview of the meat industry.

There are some truly inspirational animal activists around - here's James Aspey, one of the most remarkable. Another is Gary Yourofsky, who is perhaps more 'in your face'. (Video starts 20 mins in - you'll need to slide it back to the beginning.)

Here are the top 10 vegan documentaries - each one with its own trailer.

There's more - much more. Do your own research. If you still want to eat meat and meat products after wading through all these links - then please don't call yourself an animal lover!

Monday, 20 February 2017


There are several dishes that can be made with just self-raising flour and water - and here are the ones I've posted so far.

Finally, I've got around to adding dumplings to this list - and, once again, they are simple to make, cheap - and surprisingly good!

Today, I had a rich vegetable sauce simmering on the stove, and I thought it's time I made the effort!

So I took a heaped dessertspoonful of self-raising flour, added a pinch of salt, 2 or 3 dessertspoons of water, and mixed it into a dough. This I kneaded for a couple of seconds, formed it into a ball and dropped it into the hot, bubbling sauce.

It had been in the sauce a minute or two before I took the pic, and it had already grown a little
Six or seven minutes later, I looked at it again.

Doubled in size
After about 10 more minutes I turned it over in the sauce - and left it for a further 20 minutes. Then I took it out and, with difficulty because it was very soft, sliced it in half...

It was light and fluffy - everything you'd want from a dumpling!
I should have made more - in the end, to bulk out the dumpling I tore pieces off a quarter of a soda bread I'd made earlier, and simmered them in the sauce.

Next time I do that, I'll make sure I add sufficient water, because the soda bread soaked up all the liquid - and my lovely sauce was nearly burnt!

I don't think these dumplings require measurements - but for those of you who don't agree with me, here's the recipe:

1 mug or 200g self raising flour
1/4 tsp salt
1/3rd mug or 125ml water

1. You'll need a stew of some kind to cook these in! :)

2. Place the flour and salt into a large mixing bowl, add the water and begin mixing with a table knife or similar.

3. Mix together into a soft dough, stirring and cutting through the dough as it forms, adding more flour or water as needed. 

4. Keep the dough as soft as possible - even a little sticky, since they're going into a liquid, after all.

5. Divide the dough into 8 or 10 or 12 pieces - depending on how big you want them - and form into balls a bit smaller than the size of a golf ball - then place these gently into your stew.

6. Make sure there is enough liquid in your stew to carry the dumplings. Turn them over after about 6-7 minutes. They'll be ready about 20 minutes after going into the stew.

Ring the changes with these - make them with half and half white and wholemeal flour. If you don't have self-raising wholemeal flour, add a teaspoon of baking powder at the rate of 1 teaspoon to 100g of flour.

Add herbs and spices to the flour to pep them up a bit.

I posted this recipe on Mumsnet, and AmberLeaf responded:

"You should try Jamaican dumplings, plain flour and water, sometimes cornmeal [fine] 50/50 with the plain flour."

Tuesday, 7 February 2017


Hi folks

I received this message from a friend of mine:

I'm sorry but you really need to get off your soap box.”

My initial thought was to reply just to that one person, giving the reasons for my activism - but then I thought, perhaps there are others in my circle thinking the same thing, and I should indeed pull my horns in.

So I feel I need to get my motivations out there.

Just why am I trying to persuade people to adopt a whole food plant-based (WFPB) diet - and indeed go vegan, which means no leather, fur, etc?

There are 3 reasons, in fact, each one of which is sufficient, in my eyes, to encourage someone to go vegan:

Global warming/climate change
Animal welfare
One’s own health

The first is the most important: if we do nothing global warming will overwhelm us. It affects all of our futures, especially those who come after us- our children and grandchildren.

The second is intimately linked to the first - since raising livestock is one of the biggest contributors to climate change. Estimates range from it contributing about 30-50% of global warming emissions (GWE).
But we have to ask ourselves, 'Given the inherent cruelty in the livestock industry, is it moral to consume meat and meat products?'
Listen to the words of Gary Yourofsky:

Some quotes:

The top ten vegan documentary films:

The third reason. Adopting a WFPB diet will immediately start to reverse the heart disease you undoubtedly have ATM:

“Prevent and reverse heart disease”

As a side effect it will lessen your chances of getting any of the other 14 killer diseases suffered in a Western/developed society. If we all did this it would hugely take the pressure off the NHS, and the care system, and extend our healthy lives (meaning we may not live longer, but we will be healthier for longer before falling off this mortal coil.)

When I first became vegan I was much more reticent than I am now, but now that global warming can not be ignored any longer, I feel I have to speak out on that issue. 

And, with the number of land animals slaughtered every year reaching over 50 billion - plus incalculable numbers of sea creatures:

I’ve begun to think that simply being vegan is no longer enough - I need to become more pro-active.

I was a big meat-eater right up until the age of 63, when BSE and CJD were around. It was trying to avoid this disease that caused me to give up eating meat. I was a vegetarian for a couple of years after that - but gradually the blinkers came off and I began to see the cruelty which is a necessary concomitant of the dairy industry. Around this time there was a TV film describing what happens to male chicks at birth. They’re disposed of immediately - by gassing, suffocating or simply being tossed in a grinder. I could no longer eat eggs after that.

Now that I’ve been researching the enormous health benefits that a vegan diet brings, I find it quite ironic that, simply by avoiding harm to animals, my action has resulted in being the best thing I could have done for my own health. And I’m also doing less harm to the planet.

Truly a win-win situation.

There's one other thing - we humans did not develop as meat eaters! We belong to the group of primates - we're great apes - and share all the characteristics of a herbivore with them:

Instead of this simply being a statement of my position, I'd like to have a dialogue. These are my reasons (plus those below) for adopting a WFPB diet and living a vegan lifestyle. Along with Gary Yourofsky, I've thought long and hard about arguments against veganism - and I can't come up with any:

Maybe you can.

1st January 2017
Hi folks

I figure if I’ve got all this info, I should share it with my friends. But please don’t take all this as definitive - I urge you to do your own research.

If you agree with the 97% of scientists that global warming is caused by human activity and is the greatest threat humanity faces, then one simple action that everyone can take - is to go vegan!

Here are 2 important speeches pointing out the inherent cruelty of raising livestock:

The speech YouTube didn’t want you to see:

Here’s James Aspey with a ten minute video, which has been described as the “Best video you’ll ever see.”

“If we aren’t eating animals for our health - and we don’t need to kill and eat them to be healthy, what are we doing this to them for?”

“We have core values of veganism, before we were vegans. We have veganism in our heart. If you agree that causing unnecessary harm to animals is wrong, then by that belief, by your own belief, you are obligated to become vegan. Because anything less than being vegan is going in conflict with your core value of non-violence to animals.” James Aspey

Still not convinced?
The environment:
Your health:

Reversing coronary artery disease (CAD) - Dr Esselstyn

Animal welfare:
Geez, where do I start?


Beef: Not as cruel as the dairy industry, by a long chalk - but they still end up having their lives cut short. (Need citation for this)

“The Perils of Dairy”

“What the Dairy Industry Doesn't Want You to Know”

“What’s wrong with eggs?”