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.

Saturday, 1 August 2015


I've recently spent a few days at a lovely old hotel in Sesimbra, Portugal, the Hotel Do Mar, with my son and three of my four grandchildren. (The fourth, 22 months old, stayed at home with my daughter.)

Before we went, I spoke to the hotel who vaguely assured me that they would be able to cater for my veganism.

On the first day, I had breakfast of cereal with fruit juice, toast and jam - so no problem there. (I don't usually have breakfast, but, hey, I'm on holiday, right?)

When I spoke to the Maitre D, I had to explain - several times - just exactly what a vegan could and could not eat. He was very curious - and a bit mystified, I have to say.

Lunch was veg soup, fried potatoes and bread. Interestingly, the soup was billed as a cream soup - but I was assured that 'creamed' in this case meant 'blitzed'. The Portuguese haven't yet adopted the abominable English (?) habit of adding cream to their soups.

Dinner was a veg stew with asparagus as a side dish - bit average, truth be told, but OK for all that. However it was served in a large dish, and the 8/9 sticks of asparagus were in a separate dish, placed on another layer of veg. 

Breakfast and lunch on the second day were as before, and for dinner I was given a risotto. Not the best one I've ever had, but, I was fed and I was happy. Again,  I wasn't just handed a plateful of food, it came in a large serving dish - and was far too much for me to eat by myself. Happily, my family came somewhat to my rescue.

On the third day I was told by the M.D. that my dinner was on its way, just to be patient - and then this arrived!

Stuffed Pepper - just gorgeous
I have to admit, I'm not all that fond of stuffed peppers, but as I got into it, my mind was slowly changed, and by the time it was all gone, I was a convert. It was wonderful, and the pic just doesn't do it justice! Family's help not needed on this occasion - although they all did have a taste.

On the fifth day, there was a change to the lunch routine - I got myself some soup and fried potatoes, but then, this arrived!

[No pic, as yet, it's on my son's phone]

It was absolutely stunning. The flavours were fabulous!

Finally, for the last dinner - rolled, stuffed cabbage:

Stuffed cabbage - simply wonderfu!
This was stuffed with rice, lentils and mushrooms, mainly and was, once again, fabuIous! And, once again, the family all insisted on a taste - and agreed with me that it was splendid!

I often eat out and think I can do better myself - but with these last three meals, that thought never crossed my mind. I had eaten royally - the chef rose to the chalIenge, and I had been treated like an honoured guest!

I asked to see the chef, and shook his hand - he was appreciative, but it was obvious that he just thought he was doing his job.

All in all, this is one hotel that I can truly recommend for other vegans.

Apart from the food, everything else was just as it should be, in a (rather tired, it has to be said, but none the worse for that), 4-star hotel. The location is superb, being on the northern end of Sesimbra bay and every room has a sea view. The beach is just across the (not very busy) road in front of the hotel - with everything you would expect on a beach in Portugal. 

The sea was as flat as a mill pond on every day we were there (albeit a bit chilly at 13C - or was it 18C? I forget) and the kids had an absolute ball in the sun (28/29C every day). I sat under the shade, reading, and all I had to do was to enjoy the odd beer with my son and make sure the kids had plenty of ice creams.

All in all, I ate and drank very well during the week, and denied myself nothing. However, I fasted for 24 hours on the way out and 30 hours on the way back. Not having to worry about food whilst in transit is very liberating. And I came back still using the same hole in my belt that I've been using for getting on for three years now!

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