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.

Wednesday, 14 December 2016


Thursday 9th June 2016
Here's my latest seitan - made with leftover veg and potato stew + vital wheat gluten and flavourings:

Two ways to cook this - one half baked in the oven, the other half dry fried
All I do nowadays is to weigh off the leftover stew - today around 350g, then estimate how much wheat gluten I'll need - and I went for 150g.

Tuesday, 13 December 2016


7th December 2016
In an attempt to avoid BSE/CJD (Mad Cow's Disease), I became a vegetarian 15 years ago. I first of all gave up beef, then, after Christmas 2001, all other sources of meat. It was just easier that way.

It then took me around 2 years to transition to a completely plant-based (vegan) diet - impelled by increasing concerns about animal welfare. About 2-3 months after giving up all sources of dairy, I found that my nasal drip - a constant irritant - had completely dried up. 

My osteoarthritis, from which I'd suffered for the previous few years, stabilised - it was no longer getting worse each year, as it had been. Today it is no longer a concern - I no longer have osteoarthritis.

Now, of course, Climate Change has reared its ugly head and forswearing meat and meat products is even more of an imperative.

So, 3 reasons to adopt a whole food, plant-based diet: 
Animal Welfare; and, 
Global Warming.

Any one of these three reasons, IMO, should be sufficient on its own to persuade people to eat nothing but plants.

The evidence for the health effects of eating a plant-based diet is overwhelming. The case is made most effectively in the film, Forks Over Knives. (95 minutes) 

Here is a review.

The film Forks Over Knives, Extended Interviews is also available. In it the scientists who contributed to the film talk about their work.

Review here.

Friday, 9 December 2016


23rd January 2013.
Made this in the microwave, but, because other microwaved cakes of mine have over-flowed the silicon cake form I use, I reduced the amount by 20%:

Microwave version:

160g self raising flour (for a gluten free version, just substitute GF s/raising flour)
120g granulated sugar
20g cocoa powder
80g grated, cooked beetroot
100g water
60g apple juice 
40g vegetable oil

Using an 800W microwave, 7 minutes minutes on full power. Leave in the cake form for ten minutes to finish cooking.

[Pics to come]

Made this again, with oil this time and some apple juice instead of water. I also reduced the sugar by a quarter. I think this makes a nicer loaf.

Revised recipe:
200g self raising flour
150g granulated sugar
2 dessertspoons cocoa powder
100g grated, cooked beetroot
100g water
100g apple juice
50g vegetable oil

At work this morning, I was collared by the wife of one of my friends on the walk, who told me he hadn't stopped talking about the chocolate and beetroot loaf - and could she have the recipe, please!

Certainly looks the part

Risen quite well
I've been meaning to try this ever since I bought some of this bread at the 'Taste of Christmas' Show at the Excel Centre before Christmas last year. The bread was amazing. We were told it was vegan, and made with fruit juice - and whatever fruits they were making it with. There was an astonishing variety of cakes, all made to a basic formula.

Finally managed to track down the company - Global Fusion, of Stoke Newington, London, N16.

Since making vegan chocolate cake, which uses self raising flour, I've been wondering about the dividing line between that sort of cake and a soda bread. My thought was that the Creole breads come somewhere in the middle.

I'd also wanted to make a soda bread version of the chocolate and beetroot loaf I've made quite a few times.

So this is my attempt - and it's in the oven right this very minute. Another 25 minutes will tell me if I'm on the right track or not.

200g self raising flour
200g sugar
25g cocoa powder
100g cooked beetroot, grated
200g water

Measure the dry ingredients (sifting the cocoa powder) into a mixing bowl, add the grated beetroot then the water. Stir with a large spoon, then whisk for a few seconds then pour into a prepared loaftin.

Only when I was pouring it in the loaftin did I realise - too late - that I'd forgot to include any oil.

So, we'll see shortly, just what sort of a cock-up I've made!

60 minutes later. The bread's out of the oven, sliced and tasted. It tastes fine, but we'll see what my fellow walkers think of it tomorrow.

Well, it's different! It holds together well, but it's a little rubbery; it's slightly claggy in mouth feel; it's sweet - perhaps too sweet; but when I'd finished a taste, my mouth wanted to taste it again - so that's a positive.

I'll see what my mates think.

Next time I'll make one just as it was described to me by the stall holder - full of fruit juice. So I'll ditch the beetroot and make it just with apple juice - perhaps using 150g of sugar instead of 200g. Oh, and I'll definitely include some oil - perhaps 50g.

Wednesday 2nd May.
Beautiful day for a walk on the Quantocks with some good friends, and about an hour into the walk I brought out the bread - which went down very well! "Moist," "Delicious""Very nice!"

So even without any oil at all, it's still an excellent loaf!