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, 24 December 2014


I've been a devotee of unsulphured apricots (the brown ones), over the far commoner sulphured dried apricots (which are yellow), for quite a few years now.

I've only ever seen them in my local HFS, and they cost a bit more - but they are so worth it!

Unsulphured apricots are absolutely jam-packed full of flavour, but there's one major drawback - recently, more than half of the apricots have been quite hard and not very nice. So I've found myself sorting through them, picking out the soft ones to nibble on, and using the harder ones in cooking, where, of course, they soften up nicely.

However, I've now found the solution to the problem - by cooking the apricots. All I do, while the oven is on for something else, is place some in a small casserole dish, cover with water and cook for 30 minutes or so. When they are cooled, I place them in the fridge.

The result of this is that they become absolutely succulent - soft and almost falling apart. They are glorious, and the liqueur that results is just bursting with flavour.

I have a variety of uses for these. I snack on one or two when I need a sweet hit and I would normally reach for a square or two of dark chocolate. I add them occasionally to my flaxseed 'porridge', along with flaked almonds. (Partly this is to make sure I gain the extra value from the trace elements which might otherwise be missing from my diet.)

But the best use I've found of these luscious fruits is as a base for an after-dinner sweet, or pudding. A few of these, and some of the liquid, along with some sliced banana and a splash of soya cream, makes a superb dessert. For a deluxe version of this, which is what I shall probably have on Christmas day, I add a dash of a liqueur to the dish. My current favourite for this is Benedictine, but any vegan liqueur would go really well.

I do have one or two other ideas where I can use these apricots, but, until I try them, I won't post about them. But I'm sure you could invent your own method of using these - they truly are gorgeous!

I'm sure any way of cooking these in a little water would be as effective as the above method. Poaching them in a saucepan, with water to cover, for ten to fifteen minutes; microwaving them would also do the trick. It's just that I like the 'free' method of using the oven while it's on for something else.

I've given dates the same treatment - with very similar results! I must try other dried fruits.

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