Friday, December 21, 2012

Gluten-Free Cookery School

I've recently become very interested in the gluten-free lifestyle. It all started when my friend Charity told me about Dr. Joshi's detox diet and how she's being doing it every year, post New Year's. She really talked it up and how great she felt afterwards, etc. So I decided to look into this detox diet and there's a very interesting section on wheat and gluten. He says "because of the gluey nature of gluten, and the fact that it encourages a lot of mucus production in the gut, it hampers the digestive process and makes you feel sluggish." I myself suffer from slow digestion, so I found it all the more intriguing. Since then I've been researching the potential benefits of living the GF lifestyle. Even got Hub into it and I would say our house if 75% gluten-free, apart from the occasional treat like these Ottolenghi desserts I brought in the other day. But I had to, they were staring at me and calling my name.

So I decided to take up a gluten-free baking class and I found an introductory course at the Waitrose Cookery School, focused on Christmas treats. The class was a mix of celiacs and those wanting to adopt a gluten-free lifestyle for various reasons, which was really reassuring that I wasn't the only one. I really liked the teacher Adriana who is a trained pastry chef and learned how to bake gluten-free when her daughter was diagnosed as a celiac. She runs a great blog Gluten-free4kids and has recently gone GF and boasted the benefits she's experienced.

The class was broken down into demonstrations, followed by cooking. This was really helpful because not only could we see exactly how the consistency of batter should look, but we could bombard Adriana with questions regarding GF baking. We started off with savory recipes like the Yorkshire puddings (up top) and corn cups. These were so easy to make and look wonderful when filled. Perfect party hors d'Ĺ“uvres. We got to decorate, fill and eat our own cups, my favorite combo was cream cheese, salmon and a dollop of spicy mustard. 

We later moved onto sweets, starting off with these chocolate truffle cookies. These had great texture, crunchy outside with a soft center. And they were not too sweet, just rich with dark chocolatey-ness.

 The chocolate/fig/pistachio biscotti below was delicious as was the upside down fruit cake below. Hub gobbled that one up!

I loved the class and the things we made tasted great, wouldn't even notice the difference. They also served us a rockin' good lunch with wine. I would really like to take this GF Bread & Pastry course, but I also want to just start experimenting at home. It's all about trial and error and I think it's the best way to learn. I'll keep you posted of course, even if it goes horribly wrong!

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