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, 24 September 2013


The weekend began with a great meal out with our friends - 3 couples all told - on Friday evening at The White Lion, near Taunton (I'm attempting to write a review  night for trip advisor). My impression of the meal is that the chef saw me (a vegan, for new readers) as a challenge, and a chance to be a bit creative - and it paid off handsomely!

Sunday, 22 September 2013


(For those who aren't sure what the 5:2 diet is, there's a great deal of info on this thread.)

Calorie count:
Whole pizza - 910 cal
1/2 pizza - 455 cals
1/3 pizza - 303 cals
1/4 pizza - 228 cals


Lovely morning baking with my two classes on Friday morning at Halcon PS!

First, in the second week of my Family Learning course, the group - well, the children -  made petit pain au chocolat and cheese and tomato pizza.

Both these breads are very economical to make - the chocolate rolls cost as little as 5p each. But what really took the parents by surprise was the cost of the 10" pizza, made with 1 mug of flour, one fifth of a tube of tomato puree and 100g of cheese, which we costed at 67p.

Flour - 10p (assuming 1.5kg strong bread flour costs 80p as it currently does at Sainsbury's)
Tomato puree - 7p (assuming a tube costs 33p as it currently does at Lidl)
Cheese - 50p (assuming 500g grated cheese costs £2.47 as it currently does at Sainsbury's)

Total 67p

(No cost for the salt - miniscule - or the yeast, which can be obtained free from Asda)

And no pics, either - I always seem to forget in these sessions! :(

However, in the session which followed this, because my support worker, Mrs Carpenter, was taking pics, I remembered to take a few of my own.

After the FL session, I stay on for a session with a group of four, currently year 3, students, and make bread with them.

Sunday, 8 September 2013


Some mushroom slices already cooked, some just added to the pan, and some sultana pikelets
Tempura is just a posh name for a flour and water batter. Most of the recipes you see on line use sparkling water, or beer, generally, and I usually make a yeast-risen batter. However, I was curious to see what could be done with just self-raising flour and water, with a view to adding it to my flour and water post.

(Now I've read the Wiki entry on tempura, I discovered I was closer to the original than I thought!)

I had my chance this morning, when a friend of my wife's popped round for a coffee. Whilst they were chatting I put a frying pan on with a little oil, poured some s/r flour into a bowl and mixed in enough water to make a thickish batter.

Thursday, 5 September 2013


I'm on a 6:1 programme of intermittent fasting, on maintenance, since I don't wish to lose any more weight. However, I want the health benefits that come with fasting, so a one day a week fasting regime suits me fine.

On a fasting day I'd prefer not to eat all - it's so much easier - but I'm not always able to get approval from my wife.

So I make a meal with as few calories as possible - which, for me, means a vegetable curry using plenty of celery and mushrooms:

Tonight's dinner:
750g mixed veg, chopped
1 dessertspoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon curry powder
Sprinkle of dried herbs
1 tin chopped tomatoes

Total calories 220

(Click here for a more concise recipe and method - which is basically a quick and easy 'bung it all in' technique!)

This made two large side plates full of curry - one of which I had with 100g of broccoli, to replace the carbs I would normally use. The other I shall add to and turn it into a chilli non carne with some seitan.

Curry 110 cals
Broccoli 30 cals

So, 140 calories in total for dinner, not bad!

I use my fasting days as an alcohol-free day - so I drink iced water instead of wine.

Sunday, 1 September 2013


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

Measure the dry ingredients and place them in a large mixing bowl and pour in the water. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be on the sticky side - especially since you'll be rolling these out flat using flour. Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a table knife. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use one hand to turn the bowl round, whilst the other hand begins to squeeze the mixture together. Make sure the dough stays soft - don’t be afraid to add more water. When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and knead (flatten and fold) for about 10 seconds, no more.

There are several ways to shape these - here are two suggestions:
Table naan: Using a rolling pin and on  a floured surface, roll out the dough into a large square. Place it on a prepared baking sheet and put it straight into the oven.

Traditional tear drop shape: Divide the dough into four pieces, sprinkle with flour, then roll out first into a circle, and then into an oval. Place them on a prepared baking sheet and put them straight into the oven.

Bake at 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for 10-15 minutes. Check after 7-8 minutes. Turn it over if necessary to ensure both sides are coloured enough.

Divide into 4 pieces and roll each piece out to about 10cm by 15cm (4" x 6"). Place under a hot grill and keep a close eye on them when grilling because they can swell up and begin to burn if you’re not careful. Turn over after 2 or 3 minutes. 

Cook these in the frying pan with a little oil.