Sunday, 20 February 2011

Bread and Breakfast with Dan Lepard and Jo Pratt

I still can't quite believe I am on the radio every Sunday. So today’s BBC radio show I nick named Bread and Breakfast. I shall be talking to Jo Pratt the Food Editor for GLAMOUR Magazine. We prerecorded the interview earlier in the week and talked about children and the fact that parents are facing such a battle to get children to eat healthily in the morning. Reasearch shows that a third of them are going to school on an empty stomach as their parents simply dont have time to argue!

The research carried out by a leading bread manufacturer showed that a quarter of families row nearly every day about eating well, with children resorting to crafty tricks to avoid food that is good for them. I can certainly agree it’s hard - even my three try to avoid their crusts and hide their greens under their forks Jo is just lovely - with 2 young children of her own and having just written several recipe books she’s got some great tips and has worked with the likes of Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsay and Gary Rhodes in the past and Jo and her recipes have appeared on a number of TV programmes such as Daily Cooks Challenge and Saturday Kitchen, and I think we both agreed it takes very little effort to to make a slice of toast in the morning.

Taking about bread with Jo lead me on to looking into making bread so I’ve invited Wendy in to talk about the Artisan bread making course about to start in the new Shires Cookery School in East Haddon. She's kindly offered a day's bread making course in June to a Prepped reader who can correctly tell me on the comments below what bread they will learn to make on the course and why they would be the best person to send on this day. The winner will be picked at random on the 25th of February (please be sure your details mean you can be contacted by your login)

In the mean time I was slightly star stuck as I got to interview one of my food heroes Baker and food writer Dan Lepard. To me Dan is one of the most fabulous food writers on the UK scene. He has a weekly column in the Guardian and is one of the most delightful people I have spoken to about baking I can ever remember.

I used one of Dan’s recipes from his book The Handmade Loaf to make my bread pudding with. It’s a super book and whilst I know that Dan is writing another fabulous book at the moment I really love this one!

Star Anise and Orange Bread Pudding

I don’t suppose we often think of bread pudding as a glamorous dish, but this is a seriously gorgeous pudding that as you can see from the photo, is met with delight in our house! This particular dish I was inspired to make from my father in law, Brain Dunstone of Boughton.. The star anise gave a delightful twist and the bitter orange marmalade tempered the sweetness, whilst the eggs and cream form a custard. It serves generously 10 – 12, but we eat it over 2 -3 days and I sent part of this one back with my photographer Nicky Callis - it was the least I could do to say thank her for these lovely photos!

Serves 10 – 12

Prep time 20 minutes

Cooking time 1 hour 20

Freezes No

Size of dish 9cm deep, 32cm long and 27cm wide

775g of white tin loaf

275g Rasins

140g caster sugar

Zest of 1 orange

1.5l of whole milk

600ml single cream

8 medium eggs

7 star anise

3 or 4 tbs of orange marmalade

1 Preheat the oven to 180 (between gas mark 4 and 5.) Slice the bread into 1.5 cm slices.

2 Arrange the slices in a large deep dish, scattering the raisins and sugar evenly between each layer. You will get about 3 layers or so depending on the thickness of your slices. Keep 3 or 4 spoons of sugar in reserve to use later on. Bear in mind you need to leave a little room at the top, as the pudding will rise as it cooks.

3 Evenly distribute the orange zest over the top of the pudding.

4 Pour the milk, cream and eggs in a jug and whisk to evenly distribute the egg.

5 Pour gently over the bread and using the tips of your fingers gently press into the bread to ensure the liquid is distributed throughout.

6 Sprinkled the remaining sugar and add the star anise over the top and pop into the oven. After an hour and 20 minutes check that the pudding is risen and golden. If it is not golden cook for a further 10 minutes and check again.

7 Remove for the oven and glaze by gently spooning over 3 – 4 tablespoons of marmalade whilst the pudding is still hot.

8 Remove the star anise. Serve either hot of cold with custard or cream


  1. I would love to learn to bake artisan breads. At the moment I fail even when using a bread machine. I do remember making bread at school & I'm sure that turned out ok so I must have the skill buried deep!
    Chris x

  2. Hi Vanessa,

    Very jealous you got to interview Dan Lepard! I'm entiring your competition to win the Artisan baking course. On the 'why me' test - I'd be able to expand my reportoire beyond cakes (my thighs will thank you) and share everything I've learnt with all my followers on

    Helen (

  3. I would love to go on the course to learn the art of baking Artisan bread, I am ok making bread with a breadmaker but have never been good at it by hand, My Grandfather once used one of my bread rolls as a door stop!!
    Great post & I think I will make a bread pudding today now - no star anise or white tin loaf though - just a sliced brown - but after the pickled beetroot incident you know that I like to improvise!!

  4. malt crunch loaves, soda bread, hotcross buns and cottage loaves ....
    It sounds like a terrific course, and I'd welcome the opportunity to bake new breads - I especially like the sound of a malt crunch loaf. And I've never managed to make the topknot stay on top of a cottage loaf, so that would be a great trick to learn :)


  5. Hi - I've just found your blog.

    I would love to go on the artisan bread course. I've just become the 'breadwinner' in my family as my husband's been made redundant and I've had to go back to work full-time.
    The time I have in the kitchen at the weekend with my 2-year-old watching what I get up to is precious bonding time for me now and I would love to show him that bread doesn't have to come out of a plastic bag. (And will hopefully also teach him that different-looking bread is yummy for breakfast!)

    Fingers crossed +++

  6. As one of my new year resolutions .... learning to make Artisan Bread would be an absolute dream ! malt crunch loaves, soda bread, hotcross buns and cottage loaves .... Wow .. the twins and Bill would love it ! Then being able to impart those skills would be amazing ....

  7. I want to win!! (Does that sound a bit demanding?!) Think I need to be a better cook now I'm in this foodie world - aprons go a long way to making you feel like you know what you're doing but there's nothing like real expert advice!

  8. Oh no, now I've read that post above this (from Keely Lund) and I think she should win instead... xxx

  9. I would love to win, as I am a good cook but novice bread maker, so would like to learn. I would also like to make a truly great gluten free loaf, which Dan might be able to help me with : )

    Love your work Vanessa, Charlotte x

  10. Hi Vanessa,

    I got sent a copy of Jo Pratt's latest book recently and I've made quite a few things from it already that have been great including celeriac/potato dauphinoise and coconut pancakes with espresso syrup. What a difference it makes when a food stylist and recipe writer writes the book. You can trust the recipes as you know they've been tested (much like in YOUR book! x)

    However, Dan Lepard is an absolute hero, a true, true genius and inspiration. His Baker & Spice book is one of the grubbiest and most well-used in my collection.

    Lovely post xxxx

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  12. Hi Vanessa - I've just logged back here to find out who won the competition in the end?! (Or is it on the web page and I've missed it?)


If you are reading my blog I must warn you that I am not impartial. I want to influence you. I want to make you stop for just a moment and consider the effect of a lifetime of seemingly insignificant decisions and how making small delicious choices can change the world.

I believe that we can change the world one bite at a time.

It's a delicious revolution.