Super Easy Tasty Bread

I don’t even try to make any sort of baked bread to sell commercially anymore as my kitchen is simply not set up for it. Sometimes I’m making raw foods, or chocolates and I don’t have the space.

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That doesn’t mean I don’t like bread and I want to be able to eat it but the stuff in supermarkets and sold by most bakers will do horrible things to my stomach. So when I want some bread to eat invariably I end up making it.

I know it sounds like a massive faff – but I have been doing this for over 30 years now and once you have your head set that this is how it will be done then you kinda just do it. Admittedly, a freezer bigger than an icebox would be great – but even that isn’t essential.

Straight away I will direct you to my sourdough starter recipe on here

Once this is fully on its way I freeze it. I then take it out the day before I’m baking and get it going again by adding more flour and water and I keep it going until the baking has been completed and then back into the freezer it goes until next time. It doesn’t let me down.

If you don’t want to use a starter then use 7 g of dried yeast, in a jug with a little date syrup and  warm water to activate it.

The addition of khorasan flour and spelt flour as well as sesame, sunflower, pumpkin and hemp seeds in this bread makes an extremely tasty and nutritious loaf.


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Makes 4 x 1lb loaves – which sounds like a lot – but I always use one and freeze the others asap so they still have that out of the oven freshness when I need to use them. I just don’t have time to go through this process that often.

7 oz of your sourdough starter or
7 g dried yeast (this comes in a little sachet or its a heaped teaspoonful)  in 200ml water water and 1 tsp date syrup or another natural sweetener
100g a bread flour that you like – but one with wheat
450g spelt wholemeal flour
450g khorasan flour
1.5 tbsp fine seasalt
200g sesame more for the tin
200g sunflower seeds
200g pumpkin seeds
 100g hemp seeds
50 ml olive, hemp or flax seed oil
another 700ml of warm water
I honestly don’t think this could be simpler.
Either add the 200ml of warm water to the 7g of yeast or the 7 oz of starter you want the yeast to ‘bloom’ – it goes nice and frothy and smells like something you’d like to eat.
Mix the starter to slacken it.
Put the flours into a capacious bowl (I do use a stand mixer now as I have other things to do).
Add the yeast/starter and the other 700 ml of water (500ml if you are hand mixing) and start by slowly mixing it and then either give it a full 20 minutes of kneading by hand and 5 minutes on the highest speed on your stand mixer.
Cover with a damp cloth or cling film and leave it in a warm spot to get going. It is entirely up to you how long you leave it. You could leave it for a couple of hours or you can leave it for 24 hours.
Now add the seasalt, oil and the seeds as it needs to be knocked back (a good kneading) for a couple of minutes.
If you are making the bread on a stand mixer the bread should be a soft- almost pourable dough – that is correct.
Grease and flour your bread tins.
Divide the dough equally between the tins.
Set your oven to Gas 8 230˚C 450˚F
Stand the tins in a warm place and cover with a damp t towel.
Give it 40 – 50 minutes and it should fill the tins or double in size. Allow it to double in size. If its cold in your house it will take longer.
Once its double put the t towel in for a wash and put the tins into the oven – 2 at the top, and 2 in the middle.
Allow them 30 minutes then swap the levels over.
Give it another 20 minutes and check that they are cooked.
Turn them out of the tin and give them 10 minutes before you cut them.
I bet they are good enough for you to happily eat them just plain!

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.

email me

phone or text 0792 310 9170


Infinitely Adaptable Salad with a Smashing Hemp Seed and Ginger Dressing

I am rather chuffed with meself today. Husband No:1 (not sure if I’m keeping him, 23 years of marriage and he is still annoying 🙂 )came in and announced that he wants to follow the 5:2 diet (he has no need to lose weight at all – he is a damn near physically perfect specimen – but he wants to be healthier) and he is really keep for those 2 days to be fully raw, vegan days. I know for sure now that he has been enjoying those foods along with all the other delights I proffer.

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I did promise on my FB page that I would share this recipe. It is, as I say, infinitely adaptable, I would always suggest you use seasonal fruit and veg and if you can get locally grown then do so. You know if you can’t grow stuff yourself you can pop along to the local allotments or communal veg gardens and either buy the excess that they are probably selling or else go along and introduce yourself, tell them you are wanting to eat more locally grown foods and that theirs looks gorgeous (a little flattery will go a long way) and offer to buy what they have over each week. Not only will you be getting some fantastic produce, but you’ll be getting inspired by what these old boys and girls can produce and you’ll probably make a couple more friends 🙂

In all honesty, the food may well not look as perfect as the stuff in the supermarkets – I take that as an excellent indication that the food has been grown with due respect to the flora and fauna of the veg garden – and I kinda like bees …. and wasps … and even spiders 🙂

Mix this up … use what is good right now
1 cup fresh beans (broad, french, runner- in the winter you can go for sprouted mung, kidney or chick peas)
3 ears of corn (just slice the kernels off the cob with a sharp knife (in the winter you can use 2 cups of frozen – it can be our secret)
1 sweet red pepper
2 cups of chopped tomatoes (I currently am loving the very fleshy italian varieties)
2 large carrots (I am currently loving the globe variety I have in my garden – so…. carroty!)
1 corgette/zucchini
1/2 a sweet white onion/shallot

Give it all a good scrubbing wash and then chop it all into small pieces (so a few pieces could pile onto a teaspoon)
And mix in a bowl.

Hemp Seed and Ginger Dressing
4 medium carrots
a 2cm hunk of ginger (peeled and sliced)
3 tbsp coconut palm sugar (or whatever you like to use as a sweetener – this adds such a nice warm base to go with the hemp seeds)
1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup water
2 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp himalayan salt (you can use sea salt – but I like the iron hit)
1/3 cup Hemp seed oil
1/2 cup shelled hemp seeds

Pop everything bar the hemp seeds into a good strong food processor/blender and let it go until everything is a nice soft sauce. If it needs a little more water to blend it then just add it in 1/4 cup at a time.

Now just taste it, adjust the seasoning (does it need a little more sugar, vinegar, salt? Or all of them?)

Tip into a bowl and stir in the hemp seeds (my absolute favourite seeds)

Now use it to dress the above salad or use it as a dip. I love it smeared onto raw veggie wraps with some naughty avocado and apple – yum


Mushroom & Wild Garlic Tart with Chestnut Crumble. (Vegan and Gluten & Wheat Free)

My lovely girl has decide to take Cookery as her GCSE exam, but at school she struggles. She cannot eat wheat and although the school have said they will accommodate this, they don’t really know how to use Gluten Free flour and so she is frustrated and feels she is no good at cooking.


When really all that is the matter is that she needs to be taught how to cook with Gluten Free flour as opposed to just following a wheaten recipe and subbing in the Gluten Free flour – mostly that doesn’t work, allowances have to be made.

Anyway, so I wanted to help her see she is very capable. SO we set about making this tart with a few fresh organic(!) ingredients I was able to pick up at the market on Saturday.

It all turned out fab, not only did it give her a little boost, we all got a lovely late breakfast – perhaps not a perfect nutritional balance – but utterly joyous!

I hope you all like it


Mushroom & Wild Garlic Tart with Chestnut Crumble.

120g/4oz wild garlic

3 tbsp olive oil
2 onions, finely diced

2 cloves of garlic pressed
6 portobello (field) mushrooms, diced


500g/1 lb Gluten Free plain flour
½ tsp sea salt

250g/8oz sunflower margarine at room temperature

75g/2½oz/heaped ½ cup sunflower or pumpkin seeds, finely chopped

250ml/10fl oz water with 1 tsp ground linseeds soaked in it

Tofu filling
400g/14oz tofu, patted dry

30ml/2 tbsp olive oil

40ml/3 tbsp lemon juice

1½ tsp sea salt

1½ tbsp dried thyme

1½ tbsp dried tarragon
1½ tbsp nutritional yeast (Engervita B12 is the one to find)

3 tbsp cornflour

250g/8oz Chestnut flour
125g/4oz Cashew nuts
90ml/3 floz olive oil

Set the oven to 190°C/375°F Gas5
Make the pastry. Super simple to make this. Blitz the marg, salt and flour together until it is crumby. On a slow speed pour in the water and it will form a ball.
Use this to line a 29 cm flan case. When you roll the pastry do not worry that it break, there is not gluten so you can easily patch this pastry as you would when you were little playing with playdough. It will not suffer at all for it. It does not need to rest or be chilled as there is not stretchy gluten to make it misbehave. Line it with the parchment paper, fill with baking beans and bake for 35- 40 minutes until it is set.

To make the Tofu filling, process all the ingredients together in the food processor and set aside.
To make the Filling, heat a frying pan over a high heat. Add the oil and cook the onions until they are starting to colour. Drain from the pan but leave in the oil and then fry the diced mushrooms until they brown too. Add the garlic and wilt in the chopped wild garlic. Tip in with the onion and set aside.

To make the crumble just blitz the ingredients until they make a nice crumble, set aside.

Take the case from the oven.

Mix the tofu and filling parts together and pour into the case. Top with the crumble and return to the oven for another 20 minutes until it is nice and brown.

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You can serve it hot, warm, cold or chilled. We had it on it’s own (with a side of fresh fruit jam parts made from the scraps of pastry and a loaf of Fennel & Caraway Sourdough on the side 🙂

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Steak & Kidney Steamed Suet Pudding

It’s so winter-y and Christmassy here in Suffolk, which is very beautiful (but does cause havoc with my internet connection!) And I have daughter No1 home now and we are getting ready for our first gathering with some friends this evening. It’s so lovely! We’re all keen to get into our Christmas family traditions, Geoff put the nodding reindeer onto the roof last night and the girls are ready to make the Pomandours (which we will force our guests into joining in with this Medieval activity this evening). As I sit here, writing this, I have a pan full of sugar syrup with Cardamons, Cinnamon, Stem Ginger, Juniper berries, Nutmeg and Mixed Spice bubbling away on the stove behind me making the base for tonight’s Mulled wine. This stuff sets us in our season and links us to each other in ever widening circles.

As little Italian kids growing up in rural England we had different traditions, on Christmas Eve we ate no meat, but Dad would make a monster pan of Spaghetti Aglio e Olio, Mum would make Strufoli and sticky honey Zepple, the house would be freezing, we had to share the sitting room space with under the sofa spiders the size of your head and Dad would disappear at some point under the cover of darkness to get us a tree (don’t worry the Pinewood on Hamilton Road still exists and is none the worse for those illicit Yuletide activities).

As I got older I just wanted to cook, I got my first cookery book for Christmas when I was 10 years old and the following year I got the ‘Readers Digest Easy Stages Cook Book’ (I think my Mum had gone into Tindalls and asked for a book that was suitable for a ‘learner’). I was a little obsessed with that book and I still have it, rebound, pages dusty with flour, in places sticky with sugar, but still a really great cookery book. It fed the flame of my love for wanting to feed people (Are you coming over? Great, I’ll make a cake! Do you want dinner?). It was in this book that I found a Steak & Kidney Pudding recipe. I couldn’t make it as I had no idea what suet was, my Mum would get me whatever I wanted to cook with but sometimes it was hard to tell her what I needed when I didn’t know what it was, so didn’t have the language in English or Italian to tell her. At one point I was keen on making bread and needed some strong flour and I saw an advert on the telly for a particular brand, so I asked my Mum to get me some packs of Country Life … and she came back with Country Life butter.

When I went to Catering college we did make suet puddings, all sorts,  and I  loved them.

Go on, try one, they are light and savoury and flavourful, just what a cold day is asking you to  make 🙂

A healthy winter portion!

Steak & Kidney Pudding

2 tbsp plain flour (or cornflour or Bisto)

750g 1 lb 8 oz chuck or stewing steak, cut into chunks

300g 10 oz lambs kidney each cut into 6, (either get the cut up ones or else use some scissors to snip the tubes out, very easy to do, before you cut them into pieces just pinch the white bit and snip where it goes into the kidney)

2 tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and chopped

2 sticks celery, washed and chopped

200g 6oz Chestnut mushrooms, quartered

4 cloves garlic, sliced

1 Bay leaf

2 tsp dried Thyme

2 tsp dried Parsley

2 tsp dried Rosemary

2 tbsp Balsamic vinegar (or red wine vinegar)

1 Anchovy fillet or a tbsp Worchestershire sauce (this is optional, but I say do it as it makes the beef even beefier!)

250ml/½ pt red wine

250ml/½ pt beef stock

Suet pastry:
500g 1 lb Self raising flour

1 tsp salt

1 tsp dried Thyme

2 tsp dried Parsley

250g 8 oz chopped suet (beef or vegetable)

250ml/½ pt cold water

Getting ready

Butter or Oil, to grease

First you need to make the filling, I think it’s best to do this early in the morning, if you are an early riser like me, or in the evening the night before if you can’t do early starts.

Heat the oil in a large pan.

Over a medium heat add the onions, celery and carrots until they start to look transparent.

Add the mushrooms and garlic and cook over a medium high heat until they start to turn a little brown.

Now add the herbs. Stir.

Add the Anchovy, vinegar, wine and stock. Bring up to the boil. Pop the lid on and turn the heat down so that it is simmering away gently.

Cook for about 1¾ hours until all is tender.

Just check it now, you want the meat to still be just under the liquid after you have stirred it, if it looks too dry add some more water if it looks like soup, then remove the lid, turn the heat to medium high and allow some of the liquid to boil off.

Gravy to meat and veg ratio

Mix the 2 tbsp of flour/cornflour/Bisto with enough water for it to be like a thin cream. As the stew is simmering add half the creamy mix whilst stirring, has it made a nice gravy consistency? If too thick add a touch more water, if too thin add a little more of the mix.

Cook for a minute, then turn the heat off.

Get a spoon (you decide how big 🙂 ) and taste the mix. Now season it with salt and pepper. Pop the lid back on and forget about it all until about 2 and ½ hours before you plan to eat.

So it’s now a couple of hours before your meal! 😀

I use a 1½ lt pudding basin and I smear the inside with a thin coating of butter (I just use my hands) but you can brush with oil or use a spray oil if you like).

The pastry is too easy for words (try making them into dumplings -just spoonfuls popped into the top of a pan of simmering stew for 15 minutes … why call them dumplings? they’re so light and delicious)

Suet pastry dry mix

Sift the flour and salt into a mixing bowl and add the herbs.

Use a butter knife or spatula (or wooden spoon if you have to but it will stick more) to mix in the suet.

Now stir in the cold water to make a firm-ish dough. Cut off a quarter of the dough and set aside.

Roll out the rest to about ½ cm thick. Fold the circle in half then into a quarter. Feed the pointy middle bit into the middle of the basin and carefully unfold it so that it lines the basin. Coax it to fit into the corners but don’t tear though. It is a forgiving pastry and if you pay attention it will all be fine.

Herby suet pastry

Use a spoon to add in the cooled meaty mix and fill to use a centimeter below the top of the basin(I filled mine to the brim because we are a greedy bunch and we wanted to eat it all there and then). Brush the exposed edge of pastry on the lip of the basin with water, just dip your fingers into some cold water and pat them onto the pastry.

Uncooked pudding

Roll out the lid to fit and lay it on top and press the lid edges to seal it.

Take a sheet of aluminum wide enough to cover the edges with a good 2 com each side and about 1½ times as long and fold the sheet on top so that it looks domed and tent-ish.

Use some string to tie the foil under the basin lip and use more string to tie a stringy handle so as to be able to lift the basin out of the pan. Test the handle to make sure you can lift the basin before you start to cook it so you know it will not break or list dangerously at that last minute when everyone is waiting with a plate in hand.

Lower the pudding in a large pan half-filled with boiling water, cover with its’ lid and simmer for 2 hours.

As long as the lid is tight fitting it will be fine but do check the water level halfway though and top up with more boiling water if necessary.

15 minutes before you are to turn the pud out, grab a Savoy or Pointy cabbage and wash and slice it up, throw into boiling water for 5 minutes, drain well, melt a knob of butter and coat the cabbage with it.

The beast

Lift the pudding out of the pan. Remove the foil.

Turned out and it starts to crack

Get help now if it is a beast like mine! Turn it out

Portion taken

and serve immediately, with a good spoon of cabbage on the side.

All the moist and tender meaty/herby,vegetabley filling

This is a self contained beauty, I like the cabbage but it is really a dish all ready for eating all on its’ own.

Come and see me on Saturdays’ at Bermondsey Square Farmers Market in Southwark. It’s just off Tower Bridge Road, a short walk from The White Cube, Southbank and Borough Market.
All new customers will get a lovely washable cotton shopper as a ‘Thank you and please come again next week’ (Whie stocks last!)

Every Friday at about 6 pm GMT I publish photos of the items I have cooked for market. Have a look at the Facebook page.

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phone or text 0792 310 9170
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