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, 3 August 2015

RHUBARB PIE - with the simplest pastry ever! (Vegan)

Who would have thought that a pie could be simpler than a crumble? Yet that's the case here!

Pastry too thick? Not so sure.The filling is just tart enough, and the pastry is almost cake-like!
500g of rhubarb, with 100g of sugar, encased in a sweetened bread dough. Sounds simple, and it is - but it's oh, so flavoursome!

Here's a savoury pie, made the same way, with the method of assembly shown in pics. I used 200g of self raising flour, with 25g of sugar, and my wife maintains the pastry is too thick. So I was thinking that next time I'll use 150g of flour and roll the dough out thinner. But then again, I'm sitting here munching a slice of cold pie (and trying to leave some for tomorrow!), and the proportions seem just right. The pastry, bread, call it what you will, is almost cake-like - it's absolutely gorgeous!

Saturday, 1 August 2015


A Thai chilli non carne pie!

The other half ended up in the freezer
As a vegan, I often find myself thinking out of the box, and here's a pastry which uses no milk, butter, marge or lard. Consequently, there is no need for that tiresome technique known as 'rubbing in' which is supposed to make something like 'breadcrumbs'. 

No need, either, for resting the pastry in the fridge - this is a 'quick pastry'. Or for 'baking blind' - there's no need for any of that faff. Instead, the ingredients are mixed into a dough - kneaded for a few seconds to distribute the ingredients properly - then rolled out and popped into a pie dish. If there is an easier method, I'd like to hear of it!


I've recently spent a few days at a lovely old hotel in Sesimbra, Portugal, the Hotel Do Mar, with my son and three of my four grandchildren. (The fourth, 22 months old, stayed at home with my daughter.)

Before we went, I spoke to the hotel who vaguely assured me that they would be able to cater for my veganism.

On the first day, I had breakfast of cereal with fruit juice, toast and jam - so no problem there. (I don't usually have breakfast, but, hey, I'm on holiday, right?)

When I spoke to the Maitre D, I had to explain - several times - just exactly what a vegan could and could not eat. He was very curious - and a bit mystified, I have to say.

Lunch was veg soup, fried potatoes and bread. Interestingly, the soup was billed as a cream soup - but I was assured that 'creamed' in this case meant 'blitzed'. The Portuguese haven't yet adopted the abominable English (?) habit of adding cream to their soups.

Wednesday, 15 July 2015


Seitan generally:

Seitan is wheat gluten powder (available online from the Low Carb Megastore ) mixed with something tasty into a stiff dough. The tasty stuff (ragu sauce, lentil curry, dried apricots [soaked overnight], or whatever) can be mashed or blitzed with a hand blender. This latter produces a thick slurry to which you add gluten powder. I generally work on the ratio of 2 parts slurry to one part gluten powder - but you may have to add either more GP or liquid. In my experience you need to heavily spice your slurry - over-spice it if you like.


200g of seitan - enough for a meal with some leftover for the next day

Once the seitan is made, fill up a small cooking dish with as much as you can get in - in this case, around 200g - and then cook for 30 minutes at 200C.

I generally have about 2/3rds of this with my roast dinner, and the rest I'll chop into chunks and have in a chilli non carne or similar.


Monday 23rd January 2012
Following a discussion on the BBC Food board last night, I made a batch of these, some of which I had last night, and another batch of which I've just eaten for breakfast. 

(When starting a sourdough culture, you're asked to discard part of it regularly during the early stages. However, this discard makes excellent pikelets.)

In the light of this I've updated the recipe (see below) - and I took several more pics:

The first two were cooked on top and the rest are just drying from the sides 
The third one turned over and the others continuing to dry from the edges 
All done - just need something on top...

...and covered with marmalade. Breakfast is ready!
Have to admit I found it hard to resist eating these just as soon as they come out of the frying pan. Had some for my pudding tonight, made some for my wife and made enough for tomorrow's breakfast.

June 2010.

Placed in the frying pan, a dessertspoon at a time
Oops, seems to be one missing!
There are few things easier than making pikelets (free-form crumpets).  It’s a good way into breadmaking for a beginner.

300ml lukewarm water
1 teaspoon yeast – any kind
Enough strong (breadmaking) flour - around 200g - to make a thickish paste

(Check here for a gluten-free version.)

Stir the water/yeast/flour mixture, adding more flour if it’s a bit thin – or more water if it’s a bit thick, and leave until you're ready to cook them.

When you're ready to go, lightly oil a frying pan and place over a medium heat.

When the pan is warm enough, place a spoonful of batter in the frying pan to see if the batter is the right consistency. If they spread across your frying pan the batter is too thin and you’ll need to add some more flour to thicken it. Cook them until the top has turned pale and is set in a mass of tiny holes.

As soon as the top is dry – and not before – turn them over to cook on the other side. They should be nicely brown on both sides.

Keep them warm in a folded cloth until they are all done.

For fruit pikelets, as in the pic, add a handful of sultanas after you’ve mixed the batter.

I made these last night and had half the batter left over for this morning’s breakfast. The fruit plumps up lovely.

These can also be made with self raising flour - in which case, simply mix the batter and go straight ahead.

Tuesday, 14 July 2015


[More info to come - of course! :)]


Just beginning to cook

Cooking the other side

Done! Takes about 5 minutes.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015


Two field mushrooms, spread with Pateole mushroom pate and Meridian pesto, pan-fried curried wedges and broccoli - totalling 424 calories.

Wipe the mushrooms and place them in a microwavable dish. Remove the stalks (but leave them in the dish) and spread the mushroom pate over the mushroom, followed by the pesto. Microwave, on full power, for 6-7 minutes.

165g mushrooms 22 calories
54g mushroom pate 124 
15g pesto 75
218g potato 158
One-cal spray 14
100g broccoli 31

I wasn't intending to fast today, until I realised I had to be out of the house before 12, to shop for the first of the three teaching sessions I had this afternoon and evening. I hadn't had breakfast (rarely do, these days), so I simply missed out lunch and only ate when I returned after 7.

I wanted something quick, so I had stuffed mushrooms with pan-fried curried wedges and broccoli. This only amounted to 424 cals, so I had some strawberries dipped in dark chocolate for dessert. All in all, I was pretty stuffed.

Sunday, 5 July 2015


Just 10 minutes in the oven at 220C

Bread dough:
200g (1 mug) white bread flour
1 crumbled stock cube
1 teaspoon curry powder
125g (1/3rd mug) lukewarm (handhot) water
1 good teaspoon fresh yeast (or level teaspoon dried active yeast)
25g sunflower oil (I used the oil from a jar of sun-dried tomatoes)

4 dessertspoon Pateole mushroom pate
1 dessertspoon vegan pesto (Meridian)
4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped small
4 slices mushroom, 4 slices tomato