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, 16 August 2017


Almost every other day, new health research becomes available, more animal cruelty is exposed, or there's more evidence of the spread of veganism. So when I come across it, I'll post it here.

There's also global warming/climate change - the biggest challenge to our survival. Here are some facts about the effects of livestock raising from the film Cowspiracy.

Wednesday 16th August 2017
This evening I found 'What the Health' on YouTube. While I was watching this, my sis-in-law rang to tell me - how good I was, how much her respect for me had grown, and how I'd been right all along. When I managed to get her to slow down and tell me why she was saying this, it turned out that her and her husband had watched 'What the Health' on Netflix last night, and were bowled over by the info it contained. Her husband has had diabetes for several years and had let me know, in no uncertain terms, that there was no way he was going to give up meat, no way. Now here I was hearing that  they were going to watch the film again, with a view to changing their diet. 

In the meantime, their respect for me had grown tremendously. I must admit, I'm basking in their praise. It feels good after my views have been dismissed all these years!

Latest edition of  Plant Based News.

Here's a ten-minute clip from the Victoria Derbyshire show on BBC News, with a panel discussing The Rise of Veganism. Pity about the nutritionist, who seems to be in a state of denial.

And here's a doctor explaining why he went vegan.

More evidence on the beneficial effects of a WFPB diet:
"Plant-based (vegetarian and vegan) diets are an effective strategy for improving nutrient intake. At the same time, they are associated with decreased all-cause mortality and decreased risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and coronary heart disease. " (From The Science of Vegetarian Nutrition and Health, 9 August 2017)

Stop feeding your cancer. An Irish doctor getting good results from putting his cancer patients on a plant based diet.

Monday 7th August 2017
Is a whole food plant based diet the answer? Doctors, including cardiologist Kim Williams, discuss the benefits of a vegan diet.

Sunday 6th August 2017
"Identical twins demonstrate diet trumps genes", Dr Rosane Oliveira.

James Cameron to release a vegan documentary, The Game Changers. (VegNews)

Our Gut Bacteria say "Go vegan or else". (Mic the Vegan)
(Click on 'Show more' underneath the video for all Mic's references)

Saturday 5th August 2017
(Previous posting on why a whole food plant based (WFPB) diet is the optimum diet.)

Here's a website that's updated pretty much every day, with news of all aspects of a WFPB diet - health, animal welfare and the environment.

A couple of items that stand out from the latest edition:
- Vegans in the US can now get cheaper life insurance thanks to their diet.
- Dairy milk under greater threat from plant-based milks.
- Interview with Dr Michael Greger, author of 'How not to die', which is still on the NY Times best-seller list, 20 months after publication. 

Another site, investigating Prostrate cancer  and a WFPB.

'Mic the vegan' is a young scientist who posts short, informative, well-researched, info about veganism on his YouTube channel. Here he is on how your body transforms on a vegan diet.

Canada's new draft food guidelines promote plant nutrition and no longer include dairy.

Plant based diet eases osteoarthritis.

And it can halt and even reverse heart disease.

In 40% of people with coronary artery disease - the first sign they are sick is sudden death. And this can happen to people as young as late 30’s early 40s.

Erectile Dysfunction is an early indicator - the canary in the coal-mine:
“E.D. is widely known as an early warning sign for heart disease.”

And, survival of the firmest.

Children's health
“Almost every North American child over the age of 3y has some degree of aortic fatty streaks.”
Hardening of the arteries, or atherosclerosis, can be seen in children as young as 3.

Tuesday, 15 August 2017

VEGAN PARKIN - the concise recipe

(The story behind this recipe.)
Simple Parkin (vegan)

100g porridge oats
100g wholemeal flour (for a gluten-free (ish) version, substitute with Dove's gluten free flour)
2 and 1/2 tsps baking powder
4 tsps ground ginger
1 tsp mixed spice
100g sugar
100g blackstrap molasses (or treacle if you can’t find molasses)
220g lukewarm water
80g vegetable oil

       Preheat the oven to 180C [or see microwave version below]
       Measure the oats, flour, baking powder, ginger and mixed spice and stir to distribute the ingredients
       Gently heat the molasses and water together to approximately blood heat and add to dry ingredients
       Add the oil to the mix and stir – initially with a large spoon or spatula, then with a whisk
       Pour in to an oiled and lined 20cm (8” inch) cake tin
       Put in the oven and cook for between 35-40 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean
       Leave on a cooling rack in the tin for ten minutes
Turn out on to the cooling tray

With a traditional parkin it is recommended you leave it for several days to mature. This is supposed to enhance the taste. I’ve no idea whether this works with this recipe – as, in this house, the parkin disappears very quickly after cooling. It is simply gorgeous from the moment it is cool enough to eat.

The only way I’ve found not to gorge on this cake is to, as soon as possible, cut it into, say, 50g pieces, then put them in the freezer. This way I can allow myself one piece per day.

If anyone has the strength and fortitude to keep the parkin for several days to see if it does in fact improve with keeping, I’d be very glad to hear from them!

Variation: For a gluten free version of this, simply use Dove’s gluten free flour in place of the wholemeal flour - and you'll need GF oats.

27th July.
Following a conversation on the Wildfood forum about microwaving carrot cake, I decided I'd try this with parkin.

I put my 800w microwave on for 3 minutes - and the parkin looked like this:

Baked in the oven my silicon cake form contains the parkin easily - but it rose much more in the microwave, as you can see! 
Once it's turned out onto the cooling rack, you can't tell the difference between a cake made in the oven - or in the microwave!
Comparing the two methods of baking:
40 minutes in the oven (with 10 minutes warm-up time), as against 5 minutes in the microwave - and you get a better risen cake!