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.

Friday, 23 August 2013

What others have said...

"Another great evening last night - Thankyou Paul you made it all so easy in a motivating and enthusiastic way with really good results - well done looking forward to next week" Jane (on my current village breadmaking course).

"Thank you for a fascinating day during which you managed to remove  a lot of the mystery about making bread and also managed to ensure that we all went home with quantities of wonderful examples of the bread maker's art." Sue 

"Very much enjoyed Sunday and look forward to the next session." Jim

"Loved the course on Sunday and am looking forward to the next one very much!!!

Many thanks." Julia
(Students on day one of Hornblotton course, 5/5/13)

"Thanks, an enjoyable 2 days, entertaining and informative." Amanda

"Excellent!" Jim 

"Outstanding! ...I have had an absolutely fantastic two days. Learnt a great deal and have been more than motivated to do more home baking.

Very many thanks." Simon 

"Excellent course Paul. Many thanks again. Whoever would have thought I would be able to make all of this! Best wishes," Roger

(Hornblotton 'Breadmaking made easy' course, 5th and 12th May 2013)

"Very fun session - kids and mummy enjoyed it lots"
"Ophelia and I enjoyed it very much. Good messy play (cooking). Thank you!!"
"Alfie and Stuart - very messy fun...tasty too!
"Felicity and mum had a fab time. Thank you."
"Fab session, will definitely try this again with my little one"
Brock house (Session on 15/5/13)

"The feedback and comments from yesterday’s session were fantastic, thank you so much!!"

Lynne Johnston
Family Support Worker
Brock House Childrens Centre 
(Session on 22/5/13)

Dear Ruth and Paul, 

I just wanted to say on behalf of the school and Governors, thank you again for yesterday's session. It was wonderful to see such quality and inclusive family learning for our children.

Mrs C. E. Hepher
Priorswood Primary School
(Session on 22/5/13)

Here's a thank you card I received from the students on a Breadmaking made Easy course I ran  at Burnham on Sea SS&L, in October, 2011

Tuesday, 20 August 2013


T20 Finals day, Saturday 17th August. 

My mate Alan had bought the tickets, arranged for a worst case scenario overnight stay in a hotel - the weather forecast was diabolical! - and was doing all the driving, leaving Taunton at 7.30 in the morning, and returning home well after midnight!

So I thought the least I could do would be to provide the food for the day.

Pizzas always keep well - roughly about a million times better than sandwiches! - and a well-filled bread pasty keeps all day and will hit the spot when required!

So, I set to the evening before and made a bread dough. I needed roughly 160g flour for each of the pizzas + 200g for the four pasties, so 500g of flour altogether.

Saturday, 17 August 2013


I've just watched this film, 'Watch vegucated', and I have to say it's changed the way I think about eating a plant-based diet.

I've been a vegan for coming up to 9 years now, and I've always been pretty reticent about talking about that. I've mainly waited until someone asked me about my diet, and then I've explained why I'm a vegan:

I don't want another animal to die so that I may live;
I can't eat anything that I feel sorry for;
It's better for my health;
It's better for the planet.

That's basically it. But haven't, until now, advised other people what they should eat. OK, I've gone onto the odd food forum and posted about the benefits of a plant-based diet, but I mostly keep my opinions to myself.

But watching this film has convinced me of the benefits to society of eating more plants - which means eating less meat and dairy.

Hence me posting this - I feel the need to inform.

Information is power - and I've decided to move more into spreading the word.

Watch this space!

Friday, 16 August 2013


How I began IF - 18 months ago!

My blood results, after 12 months on IF:
Finally got to see the doc yesterday (4/4/13), to get the results from my recent fasting blood test - taken on the day exactly 12 months since I began IFing, 27th Febrary. He'd been on holiday for a week, and then it took a couple of days to get an appointment. 

BP 127/79 - which he described as 'perfect'
Cholesterol: HDL 1.7, LDL 3.1
Total cholesterol/HDL ratio 2.9

The doc said these results were as good as he’d ever seen. I’m guessing he meant for a 75 year old male.

On the subject of my low heart rate - 45 a couple of weeks ago, 48-49 yesterday, the doc was quite relaxed. No need to worry.

My 10 year prognosis is that I have a 21.9% chance of getting a heart attack or a stroke. Given that someone of my age is automatically given 20%, I’m quite happy with that.

Whether these results can be put down to IF, I can't be certain. One thing is for sure, though, I shall carry on with this regime with renewed gusto!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013


Around 2 or so years ago I was referred to a consultant as a result of a chronic cough from which I'd suffered for many years. After diagnosing bronchitis - which I'd apparently had for about 20 years - I was given a course of antibiotics over 28 days. Didn't work the first time, but a second course cured the bronchitis and sorted out the cough. It appeared that even though I had given up smoking cigarettes over 40 years ago, my lungs had been damaged, and eventually, this had caught up with me. The damage I'd inflicted to the base of the lungs allowed mucus to gather, which had then become infected.

I was then referred to a 6-monthly lung clinic, which I first attended in February 2012 - coincidentally just as I was dipping my toe in the waters of Intermittent Fasting - where I was given a daily exercise programme designed to keep the mucus moving.

After 6 months, on my second visit to the Lung Clinic, they were very pleased with the progress I'd made - and asked me to return in 12 months, rather than 6. I'd lost about 5kgs.

Today, after maintaining for the past 8 months doing 6:1, I was a further 5kgs down from last year; my blood oxygen level reading was 98% which is just where it should be; my Peak Expiratory Flow Rate was fine - about the same as last year - but I was able to sustain it for longer; and my chest was absolutely clear!

My Senior Respiratory Nurse Specialist was absolutely delighted with these results! I was given the choice between a further appointment in 12 months time - or an open-ended appointment in case I needed it. So I took the second alternative - no point in cluttering up the NHS with healthy people! :-)

These results, along with my blood results from February, confirm that I'm in absolutely tip-top condition. I would probably have been 'OK' without practicing IF, but I'm sure I wouldn't be as fit as I am now without it.

As I've said many times over the past 6 months - I feel like a 40-year-old. A fit 40-year-old! :-)

Wednesday, 7 August 2013

CHOCOLATE - MY DOWNFALL and, a disappointment!

Ever since I started teaching breadmaking - and particularly pain au chocolat - chocolate has been my nemesis!

Since practicing Intermittent Fasting I've gradually reigned this in, to the extent that I bragged recently on the Mumsnet 5:2 Diet thread that I had no vegan chocolate in the house - contrasting this situation with the 1kg plus chocolate in my cupboards prior to Christmas.

I still eat chocolate, of course, but far less than I used to. 

Whilst shopping yesterday, I popped into Mr Simms in Taunton, which is just outside Sainsbury's, for my usual - once a fortnight? - bar of chilli chocolate.

To my horror - they had run out! It has apparently been growing in popularity recently, and I'm not surprised, it's gorgeous. To compensate, the shopkeeper suggested I try Tabasco chocolate...

£4.99 for 50g - would you?

...insisting that, despite the price of £5 - FIVE POUNDS?!?!? - it was wonderful stuff, and well worth the money. I would love it!

I demurred - I wasn't going to spend a fiver on 50g of chocolate, no matter how good. "What if I knock a pound off?" he asked, "£3.99!" So I weakened and said I'd give it a go - I was curious, after all.

So, late last night I had a small piece - and what a disappointment. Not even as spicy as Mr Simms normal stuff! The chocolate was OK, but…no, not for me.

The bars of chilli chocolate I usually get, which are much better, IMO, cost £2.99 for 110g - still expensive, but, as an occasional treat, worth it, in my book! The Tabasco spicy chocolate just isn't!

(However, the one piece I had had flicked my hunger switch and I polished off the other 7 pieces in no time. :( )

Sunday, 4 August 2013


(For those who aren't sure what the 5:2 diet is - here's some information)

I couldn't get any more on the plate - I was absolutely full up when I'd finished!
I didn't know quite what to call this dish. It's layered up with a bolognaise-type vegetable sauce and potatoes, with vegan flavourings instead of a cheese sauce*.

Basically, this is a lasagne/moussaka type meal using thinly sliced potatoes to layer the dish. I've made this over the years, generally to use up left-over bolognaise sauce - and it is awesome!
Makes 2 portions - one each for my two day's fasting this week.

150g onion
100g cabbage
50g carrots
100g cauliflower
200g celery
150g mushrooms
1 tin chopped tomatoes
2 teaspoons stock powder
Good pinch of dried oregano
Black pepper to taste

200g very thinly sliced potatoes (you can overlap the potatoes if you've got too many - or leave them out)
10g Free and Easy cheese sauce powder
5g nutritional yeast

(Or: instead of the powder, use the sauce)

Chop all the vegetables quite small and simmer them in a little water, until soft. Add the seasoning.

Slice the potatoes very thinly and cook for several minutes until soft.

Layer the dish in three layers - so divide the potatoes into 3 small piles. 

Spoon just under a third of the sauce into a baking dish and cover with 1/3rd of the potatoes. Cover the potatoes with cheese sauce powder and nutritional yeast (nooch). Then alternate with sauce, potatoes and the cheese sauce powder and nooch - finishing with a little liquid over the dry ingredients - just to moisten them.

Either bake for 30 minutes or microwave for 10 minutes - full power for 2 minutes, 8 minutes on 30% power (or equivalent).

Calorie count:
242 for the sauce
144 for the potatoes
25 for the sauce powder and nooch
410 in total

But since this is for two meals, that's 205 for each meal, leaving 295 (or 395 for a bloke) to spare.

(On the day made this, I chose to spend my calories on a small glass of beer, ditto some red wine - and still had enough calories spare for a small piece of chocolate cake! [Calorie counting to come!])

Free and Easy (dairy free) cheese sauce powder I bought in Sainsbury's supermarket. Engervita nutritional yeast is available in most health food shops.

I shall check out using grated vegan cheese - it'll be more calories, but, since this is pretty low calorie anyway, it might be a decent alternative.

*Or: You may want to use this vegan cheese sauce at 125 calories - but, don't forget, this makes two meals