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.

Tuesday, 20 February 2018


[31st Oct 2017 - I've done it! Here's the BBC's report on it - pics and interview.

I absolutely smashed my original 100 target, achieving 127 press ups inside 60 seconds on my third set. Total so far = 14066. Story below.]

In July 2016, I managed 1175 press ups in 1 hour, raising £850 for the local YMCA and Taunton Association for the Homeless. I did this by doing a set of 20 press ups every minute, roughly, for the hour. 

I’ve kept practicing and my plan for this year's challenge is to see how many I can do in one minute. To my surprise, I’ve built up to over 100 in one minute.

I turn 80 in a few days or so, and my intention is to raise more money for charity by getting a 1 minute video of my efforts up on to YouTube. I'm still improving, and there's no doubt I'll smash my 100 press up target.

I also intend to do 1 million press ups between my 80th and 90th birthdays. To accomplish this I need to do 100,000 a year, approx 2,000 a week. I want to leave a day’s rest between my efforts, and have Sunday off, so a routine of 650 on 3 days of the week is what I'm aiming for.

Latest news! (Or should that be breaking news?)
The date has been set for my one minute challenge - I shall make the attempt at 2.00pm on Tuesday 31st October, at the YMCA, Taunton.

Here's my JustGiving page if you wish to donate.

And you have my grateful thanks if you do!

BBC film and interview on my challenge.

Sunday, 18 February 2018

CONSUMING DAIRY - Bad for the environment, bad for the cows - and bad for us!

Dairy products are a relatively recent addition to our diet, having only been consumed over the last 10,000 years - and 5 billion people in the world cannot tolerate it.

Michael Klaper MD, on The Dangers of Dairy.

Dairy is Scary - A 5 minute video on the brutal truth behind the dairy industry.

The Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine - What the Dairy Industry doesn’t want you to know.

Why milk is bad for us - what the science says.

The environmental impact of the dairy industry.

Thursday, 15 February 2018

Cheese, potato and broccoli (or onion) pasties

(Makes 8 pasties)

400g (or 2 mugs) strong white flour
1/2 tsp salt (optional)
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast
250ml (or 2/3rds mug) lukewarm water
Splash of olive oil (optional)

Several large potatoes, cubed and boiled
1 clump of cooked broccoli (or chopped onions)
150g your favourite vegan cheese, grated

Mix these together with whatever herbs, black pepper, etc, you wish

1. Place flour and salt into a mixing bowl, measure the water and stir in the fresh yeast, then add to the flour, followed by the olive oil if using.

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary. Remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Holding the bowl with one hand begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with your fingers. Check how the dough feels as you mix – it should stay soft and squidgy – and add more flour or water as needed. When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – or until you get fed up!

4. Divide the dough into 8 pieces and form each one into a bun shape. Using plenty of flour on your worktop, roll each one out into a circle a little bigger than a tea plate. Place a couple of spoonfuls of filling on one side of the circle, lift the other side over to cover it and press the two sides together. (Don’t wet the edges first – that’s a pastry technique.) Form a crimp by pushing your fingertips together – one on top of the edge of the dough and the other at the side of the dough.

5. Place each one onto a baking sheet – either oiled or lined with baking paper – and leave to prove until the dough has become puffy.

6. Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for between 12-15 minutes. Look for some shade of brown underneath.

Lentil and potato pasties. Cook 100g of red lentils in enough water – takes about 10-12 minutes once the water has boiled. Separately, boil some cubed potatoes along with a chopped onion and flavourings such as herbs, stock powder and perhaps some curry paste. Once everything is cooked, add the potatoes, etc, to the lentils and simmer until it thickens. Use as in step 4 above.

Update, 15/2/18:
Since working with Taunton Association for the Homeless, I've made these with just s/raising flour - they go straight in the oven once shaped, and are quick and easy to make. No faffing about with the yeast, etc.

Monday, 27 November 2017


There are a whole range of recipes which use a chick-pea batter - here's my recipe for socca, which is a thin pancake, done in a frying pan.

Faina, or farinata, if I've done my research properly, is a lot thicker, and baked in the oven.

The basic recipe is very simple:
100g chick-pea (gram) flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
300ml water
1 tablespoon olive oil (optional)

However, I love to tinker with recipes, and I wanted something spicy.

So I added a teaspoon of my homemade curry powder, a teaspoon of bouillon powder instead of salt, a teaspoon of Italian seasoning and a splash of mushroom sauce.

I whisked this to get rid of the lumps, and poured it into a 20cm cake tin ( actually, my silicon cake form).

This was baked in the oven for about 20 minutes at 220C.

It came out as a solid slab - and (apart from nibbling it constantly, for it was very tasty), I wasn't sure what to do with it. Eventually, I cut off  about a third which I sliced horizontally and fried lightly for a couple of minutes each side. I had this for dinner with a spicy tomato sauce with cannelloni beans (sort of baked beans) and some curried potato wedges.

I thought it was absolutely gorgeous, and it's one I shall do again. Whilst eating this, I realised that, cut into chunks and fried, it could well be used in a chilli non carne. In the event I made the chunks and added some to a veg curry I was making. This again was a lovely way to use up the faina - and I've still got some chunks left in the oven (which I'm nibbling on every time I go to the fridge!)

I could certainly see me using this in the same way I use seitan - and it's yet another alternative to soya chunks.

Friday, 17 November 2017


Wednesday 15th November 2017
Peter came today, for the first time, and made these cheese and sausage wraps. Both the cheese and the sausage were vegan - I've decided I don't want any meat or dairy in my cooking. 

They were judged 'very tasty'. Peter also made some fruit pikelets, which he generously shared with some of the other hostel residents.
Violife pizza cheese 
Wednesday 8th November 2017
Andy came for the first time today - and made bread rolls. A baker himself he needed no guidance from me. However, they didn't turn out as well as they could have done, since we used self-raising flour, which was all we had at the time. I promised we'd have strong bread flour for the next time Andy came.

Add caption

Wednesday 25th Oct 2017
Oh dear, I'm such a lazy sod - combine that with my gadfly-like impulses and nothing appears to happen. I haven't stopped teaching at the TAH, I've just been too idle to post about it. Which is a shame because we've made some great stuff. 

I'm going to get in now with a New Year's Resolution (is this the earliest?) to update this blog every Wednesday - when I've something to report.

In the meantime, I'll see if I can't find some pics of the breads my students have made - which deserve to be celebrated!

Thursday, 2 November 2017


Almost every other day, new health research becomes available, more animal cruelty is exposed, or there's more evidence of the spread of veganism. So when I come across it, I'll post it here.

There's also global warming/climate change - the biggest challenge to our survival. Here are some facts about the effects of livestock raising from the film Cowspiracy.

The evidence is overwhelming - a vegan diet is better for our health, for animal welfare, and, most importantly for the planet. If you call yourself an environmentalist, going vegan is the most effective action you can take.

I have several friends who either have cancer or have family members with the disease, so I've gathered together some of the research on what can be done to fight this.

A whole food, plant-based diet and cancer.

Intermittent fasting and cancer.

Monday, 16 October 2017

Rollplay at Derwent Lower School

(Similar session with my daughter's year group at St Marks primary, Basingstoke)

This week I'm making bread with each of my 3 grandchildren's (9, 7 and 5) classes, starting with:

Monday 20th June. (Further down you'll find my report and pics from the other two sessions.)
First session today, with year 3 - otherwise known as 'Foxes'. 18 children including my granddaughter Olivia, who assisted me admirably.

We arranged the tables in a semi-circle, 2 to a table, one bowl to each pair.

We were making bread rolls, basically (any shape), to this recipe:
1 mug flour, quarter of a teaspoon of salt, 1/3rd mug of lukewarm water and one teaspoon of yeast .
After showing the youngsters how I mix and knead a dough, I demonstrated a few shapes of animals, and also some fancy dinner rolls - with the following results:

Sunday, 15 October 2017


There are three reasons one should adopt a vegan, whole food, plant-based (WFPB) - lifestyle:
For the sake of your health - vegans live longer and healthier than other populations;
For the sake of our planet - raising livestock produces more greenhouse gases than all transportation combined; and,
For the sake of the animals.

The most immediate of these is, of course, Animal Welfare. Every day millions of innocent beings - earthlings, just like us - are being mutilated, tortured and murdered, for no good reason.

Have a look what happens (albeit heavily censored) in a slaughterhouse. Don't watch this if your intention is to eat meat regardless of the suffering caused!

Here's the view of a farmer's daughter:
"Dairy is an Everyday Dystopian Horror"

To my undying shame, for 64 years I was a full participant in this. I was an avid meat-eater - every meal had to have some meat with it. Any veggies were just an adjunct.

In 2001, at the height of the CJD (Mad Cow) scare, I decided to give up meat and become a vegetarian. Over the next 2 years, as I became aware of the horrors and animal abuse in the dairy industry, I gradually gave up all dairy. About that time there was a graphic film on the BBC showing how male chicks are simply discarded shortly after birth - by gassing, or simply being tossed into a grinder. So I gave up eating eggs.

Friday, 13 October 2017

WHY EGGS should be off the menu

10 medical reasons not to consume eggs. (Joel Kahn, MD)

Eggs vs Cigarettes in Atherosclerosis (Michael Greger, MD)

"...the head of USDA’s Poultry Research and Promotion program... “you can’t couch eggs [or] egg products as being ‘healthy’ or ‘nutritious.'”
(Who says eggs aren't healthy or safe? - Michael Greger, MD)

Smashing the myth that eggs are a health food (Jesse J. Jacoby, Plant Based News)

What's Wrong With Eggs? The Truth About The Egg Industry - (Erin Janus)

Free range is a con. There is no such thing as an ethical egg. (Chas Newkey-Burden - The Guardian)

So, to sum up: Eggs are unhealthy; egg production is inherently cruel; and is the cause of enormous pollution.

Egg replacement.
There are several alternatives for eggs - a quick online search brings up the main ones. But eggs are often unnecessary in recipes - for instance I never use eggs in my cake or bread recipes. And very good pancakes can be made without eggs or milk.

Friday, 29 September 2017


One of the reasons I began intermittent fasting (IF) in February 2012 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.