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.

Monday, 14 December 2015


[This is a work in progress - but I'd better hurry up, 'cos Xmas is coming fast! :(]

Vegans obviously have different requirements at Christmas, and, in my experience, have rather unconventional Christmases. The big difference, of course, is the content of the Christmas  roast dinner. Not for us the turkey, gravy, pigs in blankets, Yorkshire puddings, etc, so we look for alternatives for these things.

Being vegans, we’re well used to thinking outside of the box, and we can ring the changes ad infinitum on our Xmas dinner. The last couple of years I’ve made a vegan haggis Wellington – and this year I’m contemplating stuffed mushroom en croute, in a brioche crust. There are many other delicious alternatives, of course. Nut roast often figures – for those not keen on nuts, sunflower or other seeds can be substituted. Enrich the dish with mushrooms, sweet chestnuts, sun-dried tomatoes, etc. I’m not a fan of gravy, so instead I make a rich, spicy tomato sauce (using sun-dried tomato paste).

It’s possible – and, indeed, very easy - to make a vegan Xmas cake. But, in our house, even before I become vegan, this cake would still be hanging around until well into January – partly because everyone has had a surfeit of goodies over the festive period, and partly because it’s not very interesting, IMO.

However, this Christmas loaf, made with a bread dough, is not only delicious and easy to prepare, it’s festive to boot!

There’s also the issue of chocolates and sweets at Christmas time. We don’t want to miss out when these are handed around, so we hunt them out – and when we (I) find them, we (I) put them to one side (hoard them).

ATM, Lidl has several goodies on sale, but these will disappear after Xmas - so I'm busily hoarding these to have in the New Year.

Dark Chocolate Gingers
Chocolate Kegs (liqueurs, with brandy, not Advocaat, obviously)
Dark chocolate covered marzipan with pineapple
There are other goodies - spicy biscuits, etc, but these all contain palm oil, which I avoid where possible.
Year round they sell 100g bars of Fairtrade vegan dark chocolate - 70% cocoa content.

Another chocolate which is both vegan and Fairtrade is Co-op brand dark chocolate - £1.00 for 150g - but this is only 52% cocoa content.

The only sweet biscuit I've come across recently that is both vegan and doesn't contain palm oil (that isn't from a sustainable source), is Nairn's dark chocolate chip oat biscuits - which are not too sweet. They also make a very nice ginger biscuit.

Both of these lend themselves very well to be half coated in melted dark chocolate. As a treat, at Christmas, I love 'em!