Daily Breads Blog

Articles written by Daily Bread workers and friends.

Christmas pictureIt’s the run up to Christmas and just as you may be (or maybe not!) getting excited about the festivities, food, time off and having some much-needed time with loved ones, your bin, cupboards and wallet may be groaning already!

Food waste, wrapping, cards and a whole heap of “stuff” that doesn’t get used or needed, is sometimes too unbearable to think about at Christmas and many of us can really feel quite guilty, overindulged and rather sad in the aftermath.

In a time where so many of us are being mindful about our environment, re-using, up-cycling and generally reducing our waste, Christmas comes bumbling along ready to undo a lot of the work we have done. So, how about taking this good practice we are beginning to adhere to and seeing it through the Christmas period? Develop a new system that your bins, wallet and conscience will thank you for.

Preparation Time.
Your freezer and cupboards could already be struggling under the strain of “stuff”, so use the weeks before Christmas to have a proper clear out of food. Make a POINT of not buying new food in and using things up. Rummage in your freezer, make meals from the tins and jars you were saving and make space. Not only will it create an attractive, easy area for leftovers that are unavoidable during the Christmas over-buying onslaught, but it will also save you a bit of cash to put towards presents too.

Stop buying anything in unnecessary packaging, especially over Christmas! Buy everything loose where possible, or re-fill. Look for presents that aren’t overly packaged with extravagant bows, plastic decorations and glitter (none of these are recyclable). Be creative with more organic ideas.

Decorations and Presents
Decorate your home with evergreens from the garden, garlands from natural products and stop buying in the shiny stuff that won’t go in the recycling. Use re-usable present bags and don’t buy the paper that can’t be recycled.

Lists and Food
Make yourself a firm list of the food and drinks you need for your Christmas period. Stick to it and don’t overbuy. Have some ingredients ready to be able to create meals from your leftovers so they don’t end up in the bin –

Puff Pastry - always good to top a veggie leftover pie.
Curry Paste – can’t say no to a leftover curry!
Tortilla Wraps – to either wrap up leftovers or make a leftover stew and cut them up to make a crunchy topping (or use leftover crisps).
Eggs (if you aren’t vegan) – a Spanish Omelette can soak up a lot of fridge ingredients.
Tinned Tomatoes – a tomato sauce can also soak up a number of leftovers, served with pasta or rice
A selection of herbs and spices to add some new flavours to your leftovers and disguise them!

It is easy to get carried away at Christmas, but it can be avoided with a little bit of planning and mindful shopping. Use your freezer for any items that are needing to be used up, but you just don’t have the time/inclination/space in the stomach to do anything with. Make a pact with yourself that you won’t add to the food waste created over Christmas and be proud of your creative thinking.

Saying all of that, it is still the time to relax a little and think about all the things you are thankful for – so find a balance, love the choices you make and love your Christmas.

Happy Christmas from all of us at Daily Bread!

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Seeded Breakfas tBreadVegan Month is here again and time to take stock…of all the animal free products and news we’ve been enjoying since the last time it was here! What a great feeling to know we are busy enjoying life, the food, products and everyday items around us, comforted by the fact no animal has had to suffer for us to live. It should make you smile and feel at peace.

Each day many more of us are joining this way of living and reassuringly, the ones that aren’t joining in yet, are becoming more aware and mindful over it. Changes recently look at some of the big brand, designer labels producing vegan products, such as wallets, handbags and belts. No longer bragging about the quality of leather but boasting about the great style and lifestyle belonging to this life choice.

How about another change? The Great British Bake Off? They have embraced “Vegan Week” this season and how refreshing to see the Baker Boy himself, Paul Hollywood reluctantly trying these inventive, flavoursome bakes. Nutritional yeast made its debut with its cheesy flavour and pastry made with coconut oil was given the Pru Leith’s seal of approval. Satisfying.

Vegan athletes have been headlining, proving how vegan life is full of health and vitality. Vegan A-list superstars have been shouting about animal welfare and quashing any awful old-fashioned stereotype images of vegans as being all dreadlocks and job free! They can be glamorous, beautiful or just plain normal, proving just how diverse and widespread vegans are.

This last year really has been a big one for vegans and this November maybe we should be celebrating. Data shows a big increase in UK Vegans and this really is down to the continuing statistics, reports, documents, news and influential information that we are open to, that allows us to think. The rise in great quality vegan food and products is drawing more of us in to be mindful of our choices and making us take positive action against the results of animal products.

So, thank you Vegan Month…we take stock and love the choices we make, it really is a piece of dairy free cake.  

Try these recipes below.

Vegan and Gluten Free Breakfast Bread

Fennel and Chickpea stir up

Fennel and Cauliflower Soup


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We would like to welcome another Organic Month at The Daily Bread as we enter into September. Many of us took part in last year’s celebration of all things organic, but are we doing enough to understand what “going organic” actually means, to both us and the world we live in?

It may be a fair comment to make that quite a few of us have now accepted the presence of the Organic Shelf in the supermarket. When it was first introduced into mainstream shops in larger quantities (in the late 1990s/early 2000s), we may have initially been rather curious, some may have picked up a few items to inspect for any physical difference, maybe even converted to organic living after careful thinking or perhaps just walked past disappointed with the price and considering it only to be an option for those with high income and disposable cash to burn. Nowadays the organic area is expected to be part of the shop shelves, along with gluten free and dairy free products, but promotion is low key in comparison.

So, Organic Month is a chance to sing about products produced within really worthwhile standards by dedicated producers, a reminder to stop and look at the organic aisle again and a rather good way to educate us all about what buying organic actually means.

Organic produce has really spent the past few years in the shadows of the vegan and wheat free marketing strategies out there, with the move towards sustainable living, managing food intolerances and animal welfare. But hang on, isn’t buying organic produce following some of the same values? If we are busy beavering away with our reasons behind following plant-based diets, shouldn’t we be celebrating all things organic too?

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DBCauliflowerWrap300With the recent hot, barmy weather and the up and coming British Burger Day, maybe it’s time to reflect on how great it is to eat al fresco. The waft of charcoal, onions, and sizzling food, the sound of laughter, music and popping bottle tops in the air from neighbours and gardens in faraway streets. And then...cutting through the chilled-out ambience of the social gathering and family mutterings, there’s the “how do you cook this veggie stuff then?”.

The BBQ is a lot of fun but when you a have a visiting vegan or vegetarian or if you are one yourself, you may feel a little awkward and on the outside at BBQs and al fresco occasions. You may force a smile for the cold pasta salad that has been provided, with a tomato sauce that has been expertly poured from a glass bottle or you may feel a little hard done by with the supply of veggie dips and raw vegetables that languish in the sun, but there are more choices available!

So, here are some facts about our favourite summer, leisure activity to get you well polished on the event. So many of us have such a lot of fun preparing and attending them, maybe it’s worth taking a moment to consider the bigger picture.

• 3 out of 4 households now own a BBQ of some sort.
• We are Europe’s leading BBQ nation, with the German’s coming 2nd to us.
• In 1997, the BBQ market was worth £150million, which is quite a lot. However, in 2017, this was set at being worth just over £7.6billion!
• Gas and charcoal are both as popular as each other when we choose our preferred cooking fuel.
• The “hooded” BBQ is the most popular model of BBQ, followed closely by the “flatbed”.
• Over the past few years, there has been a slight increase of 4% of women “manning” the BBQ.
• On average 33% of us will attend at least 8-9 BBQs this year.
• 5% of us enjoy BBQs all year round.
• The average amount spent on a BBQ meal is £41, which was £19 only 5 years ago.
• There are a bigger assortment of ingredients and more exotic dishes being prepared on the BBQ nowadays, with duck, fish, halloumi and brochettes being consumed by more of us.

So, as a vegetarian or vegan, how can you approach the great British BBQ, when the main choice of food still appears to be sausages, burgers and chicken drummers at most al fresco gatherings?

Here are some fab BBQ tips to help you through the season, whether you eat alternatives yourself or you have visitors that do:
• Make a decision whether you are going to have space to cook vegetarian/vegan foods separately and safely on your BBQ right at the beginning. Use a frying pan or separate grill away from sizzling meat fats or use the oven inside and cook.
• Forget pasta salads, and provide some colourful and tasty kebabs with mushrooms, peppers, tomatoes, courgettes, aubergines and onions.
• Pre-pare some red peppers or large mushrooms. Mix some vegan soft cheese with a huge handful of mixed herbs to create a tasty mix and stuff in to half a pepper or the top of a de-stalked mushroom. Bake/BBQ when required.
• Yes, get a pack of halloumi but don’t just cook it – quickly rub some olive oil over it, sprinkle over garlic powder, polenta and some fresh mint, the taste and crunch are lovely!
• Pitta pockets are great for Vegetarians and Vegans. Stuff some pittas with sliced jarred peppers, sundried tomatoes and artichokes, spinach, rocket, sunflower seeds or any fresh vegetables you have. Make ahead and BBQ or bake as required.
• Provide salads that everyone can eat, but make sure there is a protein on them, so these can be used as main event for vegetarians and vegans. Add seeds or nuts, beans or lentils, ready cooked from tins.
• Ok, yes, do make it easy – there are a huge choice of vegetarian burgers and sausages out there now, pre-made and really tasty. Have a look and try them out if you know your prep time is really limited.

With a summer of outside eating and long, hot evenings on the cards, be adventurous. Use fresh fruit to make cocktails, fresh vegetables, spices and herbs, homemade breads, grilled fruits and iced desserts, all fresh and seasonal. Don’t succumb to the usual meats and burgers when there is such a wide choice of ingredients available to us all, they should be celebrated along with the summer and an alternative al fresco living.DBFetaOrzo300

*Try our cauliflower wraps recipe that you can make ahead if you have a gluten free guest – see the recipes
* An alternative vegetarian orzo salad can be found in the recipes to add to your al fresco dining table for everyone.

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PeaPestoPastaWe have a rather new celebration to add to our diaries this month. July welcomes the third Great British Pea Week from the 9-15th July 2018 and it’s an acknowledgement of this great little vegetable that we all love.

Whether you’re a meat eater, vegetarian, vegan, coeliac, trying to lose weight or improve your health in general, it’s quite likely that peas are on your menu. But as you easily and quickly boil up some water for this simple, sweet vegetable to add to your meal, do you ever stop and ponder over the work that takes places to get those little pods to your freezer?

On average, everyone in Britain eats around 9,000 peas a year. That’s a lot of peas! If you consider that the pea season is only 6-8 weeks long and the UK pride themselves with picking and freezing each pea within 150 minutes, have you ever given any thought to the huge undertaking our farmers perform each year at that time?

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Italian Roll upsJune seems to a month of celebratory and social “get togethers” when it comes to National Food Days. We have The Big Lunch (3rd June), National Picnic Week (15-24th June), The Great Get Together (22-24th June) and even a National Cream Tea Day (29th June) and World Gin Day (9th June), if you’re feeling very social!

So, what is it about the month of June that brings all of these wonderful celebrations together around the same time? I reckon it’s a lot to do with the weather. The sun comes out, the picnic blankets are given a good shake and the outdoor furniture and soft furnishings are given a thorough dusting, all ready for us to bask in the emerging summer sun with good food and high spirits.

It’s great that there are these wonderful initiatives to bring families and communities together and its really worth considering all the positives for sitting down and eating together. There are many studies that show that those who sit down together regularly for meal times, have better communication skills, they are less likely to have weight issues, their diets and nutrition are more diverse, and they have stronger relationships.

There are many associations that work towards socialising individuals who for whatever reason find themselves quite isolated. Contact The Elderly are a charity who work hard at getting tea parties organised for care, conversation and a cuppa, giving older adults on their own a chance to get together with others. This is such a great initiative that provides support for the elderly and enriches lives.

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national veggie weekWith Veggie Week looming it’s worth taking a moment and thinking about all the positive aspects of being a Vegetarian and celebrating the meat-free life that many of us follow.

Provided you are following a well-planned and well-balanced diet, Vegetarians are known to have a higher consumption of fibre, folic acid, Vitamins C and E and many phytochemicals (which are the wonderful, highly beneficial nutrients found in plants). They are also found to have lower cholesterol as they consume lower levels of saturated fat, also resulting in lower blood pressure and a reduced risk of heart disease. All sounds pretty good, right?
Life is so precious, animal and human, and there are many who decide that their own life shouldn’t depend on the demise of another; this decision is one that more and more people make nowadays and this is leading to so many other benefits too.

How about education? Vegetarians (and Vegans) are likely to be much more aware of their bodily requirements when it comes to nutrition.

They understand the need to choose good proteins required for growth, repair and energy. They choose a variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables to get as many different vitamins and minerals from their diets as possible. They understand the importance of gut health and have diets rich in fibre. They are interested in eating well and embrace all the foods they choose to eat. How about animal welfare? Even though there are huge numbers of meat eaters and producers worldwide, vegetarians and vegans highlight the issue with how animals are kept and treated. Are they slaughtered humanely and are they respected? With a growing population of Vegetarians, meat producing companies are forced to consider their actions more and more.

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sandwichWith British Sandwich Week looming (from 14-20th May), it’s time to take a moment to think about how this humble food item began and how it has become such an important part of our fast food lives. It’s quite probable that everyone of us has eaten a sandwich of some form in their time; whether it was a brown sugar sandwich as a child, a bedtime “toastie” of some kind or a regular cheese affair for lunch; and so many times, it has been the answer to that familiar question “What can I make to eat - fast?”.

It is believed that the sandwich began life in the 1700’s when the 4th Earl of Sandwich, John Montague requested for some slices of beef to be served to him between two slices of toast, so he could carry on playing a 24 hour card game! Not wanting to stop play, he thought this quickly prepared and easy to eat snack would see him through the game. And so, the sandwich was born.

The sandwich can come in many different forms using different breaded items: sliced breads, two halves of baguettes, pitta pockets, toasted ones, “open” ones, wraps and even steamed bread buns that are pulled apart. Whichever breaded item, it’s used to encase a number of different fillings, both hot and cold and usually eaten with the hands.

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So, what’s the scoop on seitan?

This wonderful vegetarian or vegan “meat” is becoming more and more popular with those choosing plant based diets – but where do you get it and what on earth is it?Seitan

Seitan, (pronounced – SAY-TAN), is already used in Asian cooking as vegetarian mock meat and forms the base of many commercial vegetarian foods, such as Tofurky. It is made from a whole wheat flour base (which can be lovingly prepared by hand, but is extremely labour intensive!) or you can use Vital Wheat Gluten, which is available in many good wholefood shops. This gluten is what is left after the starch has been washed away from the wheat, leaving a high protein powder ready to make in to Seitan.

A bit like Tofu and Tempeh, Seitan won’t win any awards for flavour, but it does a produce a more “meaty” texture than these other alternatives. Stringy, chewy and dense enough to give a good bite, it is certainly gaining a lot of interest.

High in protein but not from a soybean base, this is a great alternative for Vegans and Vegetarians who are avoiding soy. It’s also high in iron and low in fat, so Seitan has many positives.

The best way to get Seitan, is to make it yourself. It’s easy to do and can be cooked in a number of different ways to suit. The only thing you need to do is to pack some flavour in to it! You can buy it already prepared in some shops but it isn’t widely available at the moment. It is known to be prepared with plenty of soy sauce, so beware if you are watching your salt levels. Making your own allows you to control sodium and the other flavours – so grab a bowl and give it a go!

Basic Seitan Recipe

BBQ Dippers

Chinese Seitan with Hoisin

Buy Suma Vita Wheat Gluten

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Orange Cinnamon PancakesMany of us could confess to owning a store cupboard containing a few hidden, out of date dried herbs and spices, where a particular recipe required one measly teaspoon of something you haven’t used again. There maybe a few vinegars, sauce jars or other condiment found lurking in the back too, but there appears to be a new contender in the Top Ten of “Brought and Used Once” list of food ingredients joining the battle for cupboard space – welcome Coconut Flour!

With a recent influx of information promoting this wonderful flour; it’s association with healthy eating, low carbs, gluten free diets and of the course the fact it has come from a coconut (which we are all learning is a wonderful ingredient to use, however it comes), there has been quite a few of us that have invested in a bag. When the word “invested” is used, this is no exaggeration – coconut flour is expensive!

A lot of us may have initially been quite keen to try a recipe using the flour and one saved article was pulled out of the magazine or website article you had been holding on to. The flour made its way to the oven, the bake was ok/great/a bit disappointing, but then all is forgotten...sound familiar? What do you do with the rest?

If you have tried using coconut flour in direct replacement of white or brown plain wheat flours, you may have found yourself both rather alarmed and rather insulted by the result! You may have thought you weren’t too bad at baking and have created some rather glorious cakes, breads and biscuits in the past, but whoa! WHAT HAPPENED?

When coconut flour was initially promoted around the UK food scene, it may have been helpful to educate customers, that this flour is NOT to be used as a direct replacement for wheat flours. It creates a heavy, flat and utterly dry experience on its own. It needs company! It’s also a thirsty beast and will absorb all of the liquid you would usually use, plus more and it will still produce a rather dry, crumbly and uninspiring result.

So, what exactly is coconut flour?
Coconut flour is dried, defatted coconut meat, that has a mild taste of coconut. It’s high in fibre and low in carbohydrate, plus, it’s gluten free. It’s also lower in fat content than the similar textured, almond flour so it’s got a lot going of it! However, to succeed with using it, you need to help it a long a bit.

If you are a novice baker, or someone new to coconut flour, it is worth initially following recipes that have been designed to use coconut flour specifically. When you get to know how these flours behave you could then start to replace the usual wheat flours with “blends”. This means 2 things –
1) Add extra liquid to the recipe
2) Add a friend or two to the coconut flour, so combine coconut flour with oat flour, or tapioca, buckwheat flour and other plain gluten free flours.

That bag of expensive coconut flour can be used up in easier ways too. You don’t need to be a top baker! How about using it to coat items? Soak some tofu or chicken pieces in buttermilk/soya yoghurt and then mix with coconut flour and oats. Bake as required. How about mixing the coconut flour with nuts, oil and sea salt and bake – use this as a topping for gratins, soups or salads. In other words, use it in ways where you want some texture or crunch.

Coconut flour doesn’t need to be lurking in the back of the cupboard and need not be an expensive mistake. Just understand that it’s thirsty and it produces a rather crumbly, heavy texture on its own. However, this means it still has a variety of uses and it can produce some wonderfully tasty and healthy results, so enjoy it...for what it is!

Try these recipes

Coconut orange and maple syrup pancakes

Pear and Ginger crumbles

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Blog articles

  • Christmas Waste

    It’s the run up to Christmas and just as you may be (or maybe not!) getting excited about the...

  • Another Vegan Month To Celebrate

    Vegan Month is here again and time to take stock…of all the animal free products and news we’ve been...

  • Organic Month

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  • The Alternative BBQ…

    With the recent hot, barmy weather and the up and coming British Burger Day, maybe it’s time to...

  • Peas to Meet You...

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  • Social “get togethers"

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  • Food For Thought During Vegetarian Week

    With Veggie Week looming it’s worth taking a moment and thinking about all the positive aspects of...

  • A Story of Two Slices

    With British Sandwich Week looming (from 14-20th May), it’s time to take a moment to think about how...

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