As some of you will know from following me on Twitter, my amazing husband bought me a trip to River Cottage HQ as an anniversary present…and the day of my advanced gluten-free cookery course was last Friday. From the minute I found out that I would be going it has been hard for me to contain my excitement! I was promised that I would be making choux buns, puff pastry, pitta breads, Iraki sweet treats called Kleicha and even crumpets…all gluten-free of course! Even better, they were able to cope with other dietary restrictions too…so I found out how to make these things dairy-free!
Naomi Devlin was our expert baker for the day (check out her blog here). She has the most fabulous knowledge about gluten-free baking, including what all the different flours do, how they work together, their nutrient make-up etc etc. She must have spent a very very long time in the kitchen working out which flours work best to provide perfect results. What we made was fabulous (although I have to say my puff pastry sausage rolls could have looked more beautiful!) and tasted incredible!
|My kleichia before baking, with the date and cardamom filling|
I came home totally buzzing and unable to wait to try the recipes out at home. BUT there is a big but…I have searched Exeter for some brown rice flour so that I can get on with the sourdough starter that is needed in many of the recipes…to find that nowhere has it! Nowhere. Not even the health food shops – or if they do it can’t be guaranteed to be gluten-free (what is the point in that???). So, my initial excitement about getting on with the recipes has turned to frustration. Buying the flours I need on the internet will set me back a small fortune, and one that I do not have right now! So my excitement has turned a little to disappointment along with determination to try and use the flours that I can get hold of to make some of the recipes. If I am successful I will let you know!
Along with learning how to make the most amazing things gluten-free I also met some fantastic people! It was through snatched conversations with these fabulous individuals that I learnt many things.
One of those was that you can make dairy-free yogurt! I am sure you are reading this thinking that that is obvious, but it had never occurred to me before so I shall be making that in the very near future! I also learnt a lot about making gluten-free bread with sourdough and and am very keen to give that a go! In addition, and completely separate, in talking ‘food’ to the Tesco checkout lady this morning, I learnt that putting a frangipane (the cake mixture you get on top of bakewell tarts) on top of mince meat makes a completely delicious mince-pie! Watch out for pictures of those on Twitter in the coming weeks!