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.

Sunday, 27 November 2016

QUICK SEITAN RECIPE

300g baked seitan - enough for two Sunday roasts
I needed some seitan for the coming week, so I thought I'd cook some up whilst the oven was on for a Sunday roast. (More seitan info.)

I used leftover spicy tomato sauce (from pizza-making yesterday), as a base.

Recipe:
200g vital wheat gluten
4 dessertspoons nutritional yeast (nooch)
2 teaspoons bouillon powder
2 dessertspoons curry powder (I like a lot of heat - add to taste)

Plus:
200g homemade tomato sauce - made with a tin of tomatoes, blitzed, with mushroom sauce, soy sauce, vegan pesto (Marigold), Lingham's chilli sauce, mixed herbs.

Method:
Mix the dry ingredients, then add 150g of this to the tomato sauce. Stirring with a table knife, I found this was too wet, so I added another 25g of powder. It was still too wet, so another 25g of powder were added - then I kneaded this into a dough.

300g of this were pressed into a small, oiled, roasting dish and baked, with a lid, for 30 minutes - whilst the oven was on for the roast potatoes, etc.


Cut into two pieces, one half for tonight's dinner, and the other in the freezer.
For Sunday dinner I have one of these halves, sliced, with some of the tomato sauce instead of gravy. The half in the freezer could be next Sunday's dinner or, chopped into chunks, become part of a chilli non carne.

The other 150g I rolled out into a cutlet Notes:
This made 450g of seitan, the other 150g, pressed out into a circle about 10cm across and dry-fried for about 7-8 minutes each side, will make a seitan cutlet, which I will have for dinner tomorrow along with some curried potato wedges.

You get a more even thickness if you use a rolling pin - don't believe those other websites which tell you that this makes it tough - not true. 

I had about 40g of the flavoured vital wheat gluten left. I've found it's always better to make more than you need, it saves having to flavour another 25g, then perhaps another 25g. I put the leftover in an old spice tub which I keep in the bag of gluten flour, so it's there next time I want to make seitan.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

GIVING UP SUGAR - HARDER THAN GIVING UP ALCOHOL

Thursday 24th November 2016
Still in the zone - every meal I have without something sweet afterwards makes it easier. I was in Lidl today, and, although I bought a box of Turkish Delight for Christmas, I left the other stuff well alone. This is a first for me! :)


Saturday 19th November 2016
Well, it's only been one week, now - and I'm astonished! 

In that time I've had 4 squares of dark chocolate and several pieces of a homemade fruit soda bread - eaten as part of dinner.

My mouth no longer tells me it wants something sweet after a meal - it just doesn't! My desire for sweet stuff is getting easier every day.

This afternoon I made this 'cake in a mug' for my grandson - and I wasn't tempted in the slightest. 

So does it take just 7 days to ween oneself off sugar? I'm only a study of one, of course, but it does look very hopeful.

Thinking about it, what I was doing previously was a bit like a cigarette smoker trying to give up by smoking less - it just doesn't work. Every time you have another cigarette, you're reinforcing the nicotine addiction. Every time you have a biscuit/sweet/etc, you're reinforcing the sugar addiction.

Thoughts?

Saturday 12th November 2016
As regular readers may remember, for the past several months, I've been trying to give up - or severely cut down on - alcohol, sugar and snacking in the evening, using the 2:5 method.

I'm now down to 1 pint of stout and a small glass on wine on one day a week, and I only have a late night snack on Saturdays. But sugar has been a far harder nut to crack. I have cut out all snacking between meals, and only eating any treats after lunch or dinner. Once I start, however, despite all the tips I've learned over the past 4+ years, I'm not always able to stop.

The lead up to Xmas I find particularly difficult; Lidl have now introduced their Xmas fare, which includes several vegan treats including chocolate covered marzipan, chocolate liqueurs, marzipan fruits and Turkish delight. In previous years I've gone to town on these, reasoning that, since they're not available year-round, I should fill my boots, as it were. This year I've been more circumspect, but I still have all these goodies to hand, albeit in smaller quantities.

However, this still didn't square with my stated aim of giving up sugar.

Finally, last Saturday, I thought, right, time to take drastic(ish) action. I bundled up all my goodies in a plastic bag and threw them on top of a tall kitchen cupboard*. All I've had since then has been 2 squares of dark chocolate (I find it easy to stop after one square) - one on Sunday and one yesterday. Since I'm fasting, no chocolate for me today.

Although it's only been three days, I really feel that a corner has been turned.

Monday, 7 November 2016

WHAT CAN I MAKE WITH JUST FLOUR AND WATER

A simple soda bread*

Pancakes - just as good as the ones made with milk and eggs

Pikelets - This calls for a thicker batter which doesn't spread out over the pan

Tempura - A slightly thicker batter again: simply dip in some thin slices of your chosen 'filler', and shallow fry

Pasta - without need for a machine!

Sourdough. This needs time, but a flour and water batter, left for a few days will begin to ferment - and then you can turn it into bread!

Naan breads - done in the oven, under a grill, or in the frying pan


Pastry Here's a very simple rhubarb pie recipe - just self raising flour and water, with a little sugar and some olive oil, mixed together and rolled out. For a savoury pastry use a little salt instead of sugar.

Chappatis, of course. No need for a link, there are many recipes on line for this.

Dumplings Mix self-raising flour and water together into a dough, form into small balls and add to your stew! Talk about 'Easy-Peasy'!

*The term 'Soda bread' covers a wide range of breads (more to come)