Bread, Cakes, Vegan


Christmas is coming, and Stollen is a favourite German sweet pastry.  A recipe dating back hundreds of years, it’s essentially sweetened yeasted bread with dried fruit, spices  and a layer  of marzipan.

I love it, because I don’t like overly sweet things, and I love to flavour sweetness with spices such as nutmeg and cinnamon.  Keenly aware that sugar is justifiably getting a very bad rap these days, so I thought I’d try coconut sugar, which some vegan nutritionists are giving the thumbs up to.  It’s relatively unprocessed, and therefore retains some nutrients, and it has a nice caramel flavour which works well in this recipe.  it is also less sweet than sugar, so if you want to use cane sugar reduce the quantity by about one third. The marzipan is sugary anyway …. :/



Continue reading “Stollen”

Bread, Gluten-Free, Vegan

Many-Seeded Gluten-Free Rustic Bread

In a lengthy and on-going catalogue of disasters this is the first gluten-free loaf I’ve made that I’m actually quite proud of!  For a start, it’s edible (which has got to be a point in it’s favour 🙂 ) and it slices beautifully, toasts successfully and is made with lots of good things…. sunflower seeds, chia seeds, linseed and hemp seeds….to name but a few.

It’s actually very tasty, it looks quite dense, but is both moist and surprisingly light.  It has a sweet nutty earthy flavour.

I tend to make or buy sour-dough bread, which on the whole I find pretty good for me, but this is the start to a big experiment, and in the next month, and possibly longer, I shall only be cooking gluten-free.  I’m quite excited about exploring a world without gluten.  I’ve had a niggling gluten intolerance for years (some forms of gluten-based products seem OK)… but now I’m thinking to try being completely gluten-free…so I’ll only be posting gluten-free for some time to come….

I’m really pleased with this bread, as it worked out very well, and is also adaptable …. different flours…different seeds…nuts…dried fruit…etc.    we shall see 🙂

A final note, I use oat flour in this recipe, because it has a slight moistness that helps.  Sometimes, oats can ‘accidentally’ contain other grains so look out for certified gluten-free oats/oatmeal/ oat flour.  Also, some people may have an intolerance to oats, in which case, swap the oats for another flour such as hemp flour or teff flour.

Hope you enjoy!



makes 1 large loaf

Ingredients: Continue reading “Many-Seeded Gluten-Free Rustic Bread”

Bread, Cook's Tales, Curries, Vegan

Stuffed Naan Bread + a cautionary tale…

I don’t go to restaurants much.

But the other day we went to a restaurant/cafe before going to a show.  It was a celebratory evening for 2.

We did our preliminary investigations, and found a simple sweet looking cafe (not far from the theatre, and not long opened), that did Asian food, and had on the menu displayed in the window, as clear as day, a vegan option.

An interesting looking aubergine curry with a peanut and jaggery sauce, with pilau rice and mango chutney.  Just the ticket.  I love Indian food and am always looking for inspiration.

We got there as the cafe opened, as we only had about 75 mins. before we needed to leave to get to the show. (We’d explained about the time thing and the vegan thing when we booked.  ‘That’s fine,’ they said).

We ordered drinks, and got on with relaxing and enjoying ourselves.

Waiter comes: ‘we’ll have the vegan option,’ we declare, pointing vaguely at the menu.

Off he goes.

Food arrives, and we notice that there’s naan bread rather than rice.

We might’ve asked why, but we wanted to enjoy ourselves, not get in a bother with the restaurant … and moreover we needed to get to the show on time…. and we just wanted a really nice evening….no hassle etc.

The curry was delicious.  Lovely spice mix, and the aubergine was cooked to perfection.  Sort of crispy on the outside and soft on the inside…

I began munching on the naan bread….. and after a little while my taste buds kicked in.

I said to my partner, I think this naan has got milk…or even cream in it.

He expressed disbelief…and reached for the menu.

‘That’s funny,’ he said, ‘this menu is different, but the naan is still included in the vegan option…’

‘Hmmm… not so sure,’ I said.

I didn’t eat any more of it.

When we paid, I asked the front of house manager about the bread….in a diplomatic sort of a way, and hoping I was wrong.

She looked oddly at me and confirmed what I’d thought.  Yes, the bread had milk in it.

‘Why is it described as vegan then?’…I asked, as calmly as I could.

To cut a long story short, they got rather defensive.  Confusion reigned, for us at least….

Which was a shame, because all we wanted a peaceable outcome.

The waiter came back from the kitchen muttering : ‘it was only the curry that’s vegan.’

Not helpful.

‘Err, have you heard of the trade descriptions act?’ we asked.  There was no doubt that the naan was included in the vegan option on the in-house menu.  It even had a little box around it.  Asking why there was no rice (like it said on the menu in the window) seemed irrelevant by now ……

It all got a bit heated.  At no point did they offer a real, unconditional apology.

I explained to them that they were very lucky neither of us was lactose-intolerant /allergic.  This did quieten them down a bit.

We left, determined despite everything, to enjoy the rest of our evening.  Which we did.


Here’s a recipe for a naan bread they could’ve served us.

Cooking for Peace.


Makes 6

Ingredients: Continue reading “Stuffed Naan Bread + a cautionary tale…”

Bread, Breakfast, Vegan, Vegan Treats

Chinese Steamed Buns, filled with Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste.

A  recipe for a sweet comforting breakfast.  These buns are definitely best eaten straight away, while still warm …but I have discovered that they revive when lightly toasted.  🙂

A simple enough recipe, a bit of faff involved …particularly if you make your own adzuki bean paste (which is worth it I think…).

You can buy adzuki bean paste in a good oriental store…. but this recipe for Yokan includes the ingredients and method for adzuki bean paste if you want to try it out.

(click image for link)

There are many variations, plain sweet buns….or you could try using jam or a fruit compote instead of adzuki bean paste…. or else savoury buns (leaving out the sugar in the dough recipe and adding more salt), stuffed with something like a mushroom tapenade or crumbled tofu flavoured with miso…

But the adzuki bean paste has a lovely distinctive taste with a gentle sweetness….



makes 8-10

Ingredients: Continue reading “Chinese Steamed Buns, filled with Sweet Adzuki Bean Paste.”

All About Beans, Bread, Mediterranean Dishes, Pasta, Soups, Vegan

Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup + Olive and Herb Focaccia.

In the last few days I’ve been getting a few seedlings going.  Tomatoes, chillies and sweet peppers.  A gardener always lives in hope.  Spring here in the UK is being erratic, and we are waiting for Storm Katie as I write.

Making this soup has made me remember how delicious home-grown tomatoes are.  I can’t wait.

The bread is easy, and adaptable, instead of olives you can add sun-dried tomatoes, sliced artichoke hearts or diced spring onions….

olive focaccia and tuscan bean soup


Serves 4   

Olive and Herb Focaccia:    Continue reading “Tuscan Bean and Pasta Soup + Olive and Herb Focaccia.”

Bread, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Brotchán Roy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.

Two old and traditional recipes rooted deep in Irish History. My simple offerings on St Patrick’s Day.

Both of these recipes have few ingredients.  I’m always in love with the simple recipes.  The ones based on local produce, local climate and the time of year.  The ones without fuss or fiddle. Leeks overwinter even in frost and snow.  And now, at the very end of winter in the northern hemisphere, there they are when there’s not much else left.


My father was born on St. Patrick’s Day.  I didn’t really expect a food blog to get personal, but today it has.  Despite the fact that it was his last name, he was always known as Pat.

He had a little bit of Irish in him too, so I guess that means that I do too!  I miss him.

Food for peace on St. Patrick’s Day…. hope you like … 😉


Brotchán Roy + Soda Bread

Brotchán Roy + Traditional Irish Soda Bread

For 4


Irish Soda Bread

Traditional Irish Soda Bread

This bread only has 4 ingredients.   Continue reading “Brotchán Roy and Traditional Irish Soda Bread.”

Bread, Soups, Vegan, Vegan on a Shoestring

Ukrainian Lentil, Beetroot and Potato Borscht + Black Bread.


A fabulous, traditional, hearty, lentil and vegetable Borscht with classic Ukrainian flavours.  Served on this occasion, with a traditional Ukrainian dense rich rye bread.

And they go deliciously well together, they really do.  (The considered opinion of my taste-testers! 🙂 )

Here in the UK it remains unseasonably chilly,  and thick warming soups such as this are just the ticket.  A simple rustic recipe, that requires no frills or fancy trimmings just a lot of chopping …ha…. and a few herbs and spices.

Once the chopping’s done, put it all together and just sit back and wait….

The bread requires little effort, just time and warmth to prove…. twice.

Lentil and Vegetable Borscht + Black Bread




Ingredients:    Continue reading “Ukrainian Lentil, Beetroot and Potato Borscht + Black Bread.”

Bread, Vegan, Vegan Snacks

Spelt, Oatmeal and Black Seed Savoury Biscuits.

Black Seed, also known as Nigella Sativa are quite possibly little gems of goodness.

…try googling it…it’s surprising what you find…

Thought I’d try using them in these simple spelt and oatmeal biscuits, which are a good, robust, little biscuit to go with vegan cheeses and sharp fruity chutneys and jellies.

Simple enough to make, and they store very well in an airtight container.

spelt and oatmeal savoury biscuits


makes 24-30

Ingredients:    Continue reading “Spelt, Oatmeal and Black Seed Savoury Biscuits.”

Bread, Vegan

Portuguese-Style Semolina Bread.

A soft, moist rustic bread, ideal to accompany soup.

Lovely served warm.

Easy to do…can be ready in time for lunch!

Try it with Caldo Verde, a Portuguese Cabbage and Potato Broth, which is quite delicious:

Caldo Verde

(click image for recipe link)



Ingredients:   Continue reading “Portuguese-Style Semolina Bread.”

Bread, Breakfast, Vegan

Breakfast. Hot Spiced Grapefruit and Savoury Croissants.

Grapefruit reminds me of my grandad.  He loved it.

He used to have a special curved knife for slicing the fruit away from the peel.  I wonder if they still exist?   Probably…..

Somehow grapefruit seem to be out of favour, but here’s a nice way of spicing them up….

hot ruby grapefruit – with maple syrup, cinnamon and ginger

…and ‘Jus-Rol’ Croisssants … a gift for vegans…and they are really nice.

freshly baked croissant – as they are… or savoury cheese and onion – vegan


croissant and grapefruit


How to to do it:

Hot Spiced Grapefruit.

Continue reading “Breakfast. Hot Spiced Grapefruit and Savoury Croissants.”