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.

Thursday, 18 April 2019


These are some of the cakes and breads I've taken on my CubeofTruth adventures.
In this post:
Chocolate cake 
Summer fruit sponge cake (haven't shared this yet, but I intend to - it's just gorgeous)
Spicy fruit soda bread
2 'instant' sweets for afters (well, ready to eat in just a few minutes):
    Chocolate or ginger cake
    Banana fritters (with savoury variations)

Chocolate cake

175g sugar
25g cocoa powder
175g self raising flour
75g vegetable oil - or unsweetened apple puree
250g water

Measure the sugar and the cocoa powder, and mix them together. The sharp edges of the granulated sugar breaks up the clumps of cocoa powder, so sieving is not necessary. Add the flour and mix, then add the oil and water. Stir, initially with a dessertspoon, and then with a whisk, and pour into a prepared 20cm (8") cake tin.

Bake at 175C for 30-35 minutes.

Or: Use a silicon cake form and place in the microwave (800w) for 6 minutes. In my experience, not only do you get a quicker cake, but the cake rises about 25% higher in the microwave.

Note: I now make all my cakes in the microwave - only 6 minutes as against 45 or so minutes of oven time.

Here's the whole story, with links to the original recipe, a gluten-free alternative, vegan chocolate spread, and more.

Monday 15th April 2019
Breaking news: This is so good, nearly half the cake has gone already - and it's still warm!

Summer Fruit Sponge variation

160g self raising flour
140g sugar
25g olive oil
250g fruit puree*

Method as above - 6 minutes in the microwave.

*Fruit puree consisted of 100g dates, soaked overnight; 100g frozen blueberries; 100g frozen summer fruits; 1 banana; 5 stewed prunes and water. All blitzed in my NutriShot blender.

Next time, I think I'll add a separate amount of soaked/stewed dates instead of some of the sugar.

Spicy fruit bread

I'll post the recipe in here when I get time, but here's a link to an online soda bread recipe.

For a spicy fruit bread, instead of adding salt, add 1-2 tsps of whatever sweet spice you've got - mixed spice, cinnamon, nutmeg, etc. I always add 1/2 tsp of ground cloves, as well; 1 dessertspoon sugar, 100g sultanas or raisins, and 100g chopped dates. 

[More to come]

200g (1 mug) strong white flour 
teaspoon bouillon powder
1 teaspoon dried mixed herbs
1 teaspoon curry powder
4 large sun-dried tomatoes, chopped into small pieces
125ml (1/3rd mug) lukewarm water
1 rounded teaspoon fresh yeast or level teaspoon of dried yeast

Rich tomato sauce
Nutritional yeast (nooch)
Sliced tomato
Several sliced mushrooms

1. Place the dried ingredients and the s-d-tomatoes into a mixing bowl. Stir the yeast into the sauce until it’s dissolved (dried yeast takes a little longer to dissolve than fresh) and add it to the flour. 

2. Have a little water to hand to add if necessary, remember, it is better for your dough to be wetter (slack) rather than drier (tight). Begin to mix by stirring the ingredients together with a knife, starting with the yeast, cutting through the dough. When it gets too stiff for the knife, use your hand to squeeze the mixture together. As it forms into a solid mass, keep turning it over and pressing it down to pick up the flour at the bottom of the bowl – but make sure it stays soft. Don’t be afraid to add more water to keep it soft! When all the flour has been mixed in, wipe the bowl around with the dough, turn it out onto the worktop and begin to knead.

3. Knead by stretching the dough out, folding it over, stretching it out and so on and so forth. Do this until it is smooth – and stop before you get fed up!

4. Prepare your baking sheets, take the dough out of the mixing bowl and place it on your worktop. Divide the dough into 1 or 2 equal pieces and form each piece gently into a cob shape. Have plenty of flour to hand and liberally scatter flour over the dough and worktop. With a rolling pin, roll out each piece of dough to the size of your baking sheets. 

5. Spread the pizza base(s) with the tomato sauce and sprinkle with nooch. If the nooch gets soaked up a bit and the sauce shows through, add a bit more nooch. Place slices of tomato and mushroom on top and sprinkle with herbs and black pepper.

6. Leave them to prove until the dough has become puffy at the edges.

7. Place in a hot oven, 220C, 425F or gas mark 7 for 15-20 minutes, turning round halfway through if necessary. When they're done the pizzas will lift up all along one side when you check underneath, using a palette knife. The bottom should be browning from the edges.

2 quick puddings:
Chocolate or ginger cake

1. You want cake? You can be eating some in around 6 minutes of thinking of it:

In a cereal bowl place 4 dsps each of sugar and self raising flour - to this add a teaspoon of either cocoa powder or powdered ginger and stir. (You can always this adjust amount the next time you make it.) Then add around 6 dsps of water and one of oil (I use olive oil, 'cos that's all I have, but rapeseed or other oils will be fine.)
Now stir the mix thoroughly and microwave for 2 minutes. Now you have cake.

Banana fritters

Put a frying pan, with a little oil on to a medium heat. 
In a jug, place 1/2 cup of self raising flour and a dsp of sugar. Add enough water to make a paste - stir this to remove all the lumps. Then add a little more water to make a thick batter.
Slice a banana lengthways, then cut each slice into 2 or 3 pieces. Put the banana pieces into the batter and turn them over to coat both sides. Using a fork, lower each piece of battered banana into the frying pan and adjust the heat - you need it to be medium to high. Turn the banana over after a couple of minutes and fry the other side. You're looking for a golden brown on each side.

Variation: Exactly the same method can be used to make battered mushrooms. Except you would use salt (or half a vegetable Oxo cube) instead of sugar. And battered sausages.

Notes. Both these can be made with gluten free self raising flour.