Let me ask you a question. When was the last time you enjoyed a lunch like this? With all the components gluten free, homemade and delicious. Some time ago, right? Would you know where to start with making gluten free flaky pastry to wrap around a sausage roll? Nope, me either. Until yesterday.
When I had to exclude gluten completely from my diet I went out and bought armfuls of gluten free cookery books. While some have proved to be more useful than others, it rapidly became pretty clear that I was going to need proper instruction on how to cook gluten free food that people would actually like to eat. I can follow a recipe but felt I needed some tuition to build my confidence to try and be more creative and experimental with gluten free baking.
Since then I have searched long and hard for a gluten free cookery class. My needs were pretty simple (or so I thought); gluten free cookery school, on a weekend and in London. Although I did find one gluten free cookery class run on an infrequent basis, it was not on a weekend. So as I work full time, doing one of these classes would mean paying the cost of the course as well as losing a very valuable day’s holiday from work.
So you can imagine my sheer delight when not only did I find a gluten free baking course on a date I could make and which was in London, it turned out to be held somewhat bizarrely in a cookery school two streets from where I live! Fantastic.
Arriving at the course, we were greeted with possibly the best cake I’ve ever tasted (gluten free or not). Moist, light and full of raspberries. My kind of start to a learning experience!
The gluten free baking course was organised by the lovely Sarah Jones who runs Especially Delicious cakes, a company specialising in gluten free celebration cakes. Sarah has been cooking and baking gluten free for 15 years since being medically diagnosed as having to live on a gluten free diet and her passion for baking was clear on the course.
The 8 participants on the course had various reasons for learning how to bake gluten free, from their own or a family member’s medical reasons, wanting to feel better and even in order to cook for a soon to be daughter in law who is Coeliac (what a nice mother in law to be!).
The course offered exactly the good introduction to gluten free baking I was looking for. We made gluten free bread, flaky and shortcrust pastry, pizza dough, sugar cookies, classic sponge and doughnuts! All gluten free. Looking back, this was quite a lot to fit into the day, but it didn’t feel at all rushed. One of the course participants was also dairy free and this was accommodated.
Here’s a few photos of what we made on the course…..
Sausage rolls with delicious flaky pastry:
I made these bread rolls made using Sarah’s basic bread recipe. I’m feeling confident enough to try making this bread at home but with some added seeds for extra fibre and taste:
And for the pièce de résistance; a gluten free doughnut made by my own fair hands, ta da!
I must be going soft because I brought this home for Mr D to try. For the record, he loved it.
What I liked about Sarah’s recipes used on the course was that they really focus on the flavour of the food. Sausage rolls, doughnuts and cakes are not going to feature in my diet every day but I really wanted to learn how to cook with gluten free flours for the times when I do want to use them. I also liked the fact the recipes did not call for complicated mixes of flours, the readily available Dove’s Farm gluten free flour was used.
Everything you need for the course is provided on the day, including a recipe booklet to take away of the items we cooked. We also left the course with a box of our baking to take home. This was good because I got to see how the items kept for the next day. The sausage rolls still tasted amazing!
Going forward, Sarah plans to run some more specialised courses focusing on specific aspects of gluten free baking such as a whole session on bread making. You can sign up for her mailing list here and be notified of upcoming courses and any offers.
Course Length: 9am to 4pm
Content: Basics of gluten free baking are covered and you should leave the course feeling confident and inspired to bake gluten free
Where: Battersea, London (Clapham Junction is the nearest train station)
Next course: Saturday 7th May 2011
Course website: www.glutenfreebaking.co.uk
Especially Delicious: Gluten free celebration cakes website
It’s also worth checking out the website of the Authentic Ethnic cooking school where Sarah’s gluten free baking course was held. The very knowledgeable owner Tertia explained her Vietnamese cooking class would be suitable for those on a gluten free diet as would the forthcoming raw food class. Click here for forthcoming classes.