River Cottage Gluten Free Cookery Course Review
Thinking about attending River Cottage gluten free cookery course?
Stop thinking and just book it! 👈
Just been able to walk around the gardens and into the actual kitchen of Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s Cottage, was worth the price tag.
As for the actual course…
If you’re new or just a gluten FREE(K) like me, then this is the perfect introduction to gluten free baking.
I’ve already booked on to their advanced course – It was that good!
I learnt how to make crumble free pastry, no cardboard sourdough bread, yummy digestive biscuits, crack-free pasties and chapatis.
And guess what?
If you’re dairy intolerant, vegan or whatever…
Naomi our tutor, will show you how to adapt the recipes you’ll be making on the course to suit your needs.
You get to eat EVERYTHING you make on the course.
Need to know:
Skill level: Beginners
Adaptable recipes: Yes (everything I made was dairy free also) #winning
Length: Full Day
Location: River Cottage
Cost: £195.00 per person
Arriving at River Cottage Cookery School
We arrived at the car park early which gave us time to mingle with the other participants.
It was fascinating to hear each other’s stories and reasons for being on the course.
There were even non-gluten people on the course looking to learn to bake gluten free recipes for their children that have celiac disease.
Finally, our tractor ride arrived.
I was actually quite excited about the tractor ride.
It’s not often you get to mosey on down the hill in a trailer.
Especially in the midst of the beautiful Devon countryside.
River Cottage Classroom
After disembarking at the bottom of the hill, we were welcomed by Naomi and Heidi into the cookery classroom.
To accompany our sweet welcome, we had tea, coffee and dairy and gluten free Almond and Raisin Macaroons. *Drools*
Still warm from the oven, crisp on the outside, moist in the middle, overloaded with raisins and way too much sugar.
They are worth EVERY calorie!
Never in Europe would I have guessed these were gluten AND dairy free.
I wanted to grab another one, but I didn’t want to look greedy 🙂
The classroom itself is a fair size and can easily fit 20 keen cooks comfortably.
4 people at each cooking station with plenty of room on your worktop.
You share the oven and gas hob with the person next to you.
The best thing is, you get your own fridge.
Which was pretty COOL – Literally!
It was cooking outside as well as in, so I ended up opening the fridge which was directly below me to cool myself down.
It was SUCH A HOT DAY, I was absolutely baking!
Oh, and before I forget to mention, there are seats you can park your bum on if your little legs get tired.
Or big legs in hubby’s case.
Big as in long, not fat. I thought I better mention that in case he reads this post!
Gluten Free Sourdough Starter
To kick off with, Naomi explained how to make a yeast free sourdough starter which we didn’t make ourselves of course because it takes days to ferment.
Luckily enough, Naomi had “one I made days ago” starter which we used in our sourdough bread recipe.
We learnt quite a few nutritional tips about gluten free flours and their properties. One thing, in particular, which I must share with you. It’s made a massive improvement to my health already.
YOU MUST READ THIS NEXT BIT!
Naomi who is also a nutritionist explained that YEAST FREE bread would be better for gluten intolerant people.
Because the amino acid sequence of yeasts protein structure is very similar to the amino acid sequence of gluten. Hence your body thinks its gluten. It’s called cross-reactivity. Read Dr Hagmeyer article in yeast and gluten cross-reactivity.
You. Are. Welcome.
Fancy that! No wonder my belly blows up after eating gluten free bread. And here’s me thinking it was just contaminated flour…Hmm.
Anyhow back to class.
Buckwheat and Corn Sourdough
Next Naomi showed us how to make the Buckwheat and Corn Sourdough bread.
So off I went confidently (ha…yeah right!) to make my buckwheat dough.
When Naomi was making it, she made it look so easy.
But guess what? It was!
A mixture of buckwheat, maize, tapioca starch, psyllium husk, sourdough starter, egg white (optional) and salt.
Like all gluten free doughs, it was a bit sticky.
So there’s really not that much more to do with the dough.
We Just popped them aside, covered, left to prove and HOPED for the best.
It was only the first task and I was already covered in flour.
Heck knows what I’d look like by the end of the day.
But anyway, I think the first task was just a warm-up.
(as if I wasn’t hot enough already!) #makeupmeltingoffface
The next task was more challenging – making gluten free pastry.
Yellow Pea & Linseed Pastry
Hello yellow pea flour ❤️
I would never have thought of using yellow pea flour to make pastry – it’s PEA-TASTIC!
Naomi demonstrated a neat way of bringing the pastry together without overworking it.
She called it…
…get ready for this.
It’s not as scary as it sounds. Basically, you just make a claw shape with your fingers and move it around the bowl until the pastry comes together.
Apparently, it can’t be any other yoghurt, it has to be Coyo yoghurt.
I imagine it’s something to do with the fat content.
Once I made my pastry, into the fridge it went to hide from the heat of the classroom.
In the meantime, our sourdough doubled in size and Naomi quickly showed us how to roll the dough to fit inside the tin.
We also learnt how to bake the bread in a Banneton using a dutch oven. Ohh…Posh.
For us amateurs, the trickiest part was trying to put the dough into the tin without squishing it.
Again, we covered and set them aside to rise once more.
A Mindful Coffee Break
By mid-morning, it was time for a “cup of slow”…
I saw some braving the hot coffee but I thought stuff that! it’s raking hot outside.
My nugget was on fire as it was so I opted for the cool mint tea.
Oh, and make sure you carve out some time to roam Hugh’s veg patch.
I was vegaziled!
Scrummy Sorghum & Almond Digestives
Omigosh, I was looking forward to this part.
We were clearly shown how to make these digestive biscuits which I can’t wait to tell you what they taste like.
Be patient. I’ll let you know later in the post.
All I can say for now is…
So off we went to our bake-off station.
I was determined to get these perfect. I haven’t had an edible GF dunker in 10+ years.
After making the digestive dough, we popped them in the fridge to cool.
By now, our bread was ready for the oven.
I was praying mine would turn out just as good as Naomi’s. Fingers crossed 🙂
While my bread was baking away, Naomi made a quick and easy quinoa chapatis dough for us to use later.
At this point, I was starving!
And the smell…oh boy, the smell of freshly baked bread was merciless.
I should have gone back for that second macaroon – Darn it!
At last, my buckwheat bread was ready and looking Bread-tacular!
Isn’t she a beauty👇
Crispy outer – check. Hollow bottom – check. Fluffy middle – check, check, check.
Paul Hollywood, Eat Your Heart Out!
Note to self: Bring peanut butter next time 😛
Naomi even gave us a slice of her magic.
At long last, the dinner bell went. Good job, I was ravenous!
Michelin Standard 2 Course Lunch
We were privileged to have beautiful weather so we sat outside on the deck eating like royalty while viewing the Devon countryside.
Truthfully, lunch was spectacular.
In my terms…
The main course was deliciousness, accompanied with yumminess, topped with lusciousness, on a bed of ambrosial goodness.
Basically, I didn’t have a clue what it was, but DANG… It. Was. Good!
My dairy free dessert was a magnanimous slice of chocolate torte.
Rich and unforgiving in its chocolatey-ness, one slice of this could never possibly be enough.
If you’re like me and LOVE ❤️chocolate, I’d highly recommend Bettys Chocolate course. 👈
With lunch over and a belly full of goodness, it was time to head back to the bake-off tent.
The Great Biscuit Bake Off
Entering biscuit heaven.
Now we were shown how to roll out, shape and bake the digestive biscuits.
We had to work fast in cutting the cold dough because it was such a hot day.
As I shut the oven door on my biscuits, I had no clue what these were going to turn out like or whether they would even taste like my long lost digestive memory.
20 minutes later… The results were in.
(drum roll please)
Ta-dah! – McVities look-alikes but mine are much better for dunking right?
This easy rustic gluten free digestive has ALL the biscuit magic.
Crumbly, crunchy and oh-so dunkable.
But then again, how do you take this perfect digestive and make the ultimate treat?
Add nuts and chocolate of course!
Once you drizzle over a little… ha! I mean, A LOT of chocolate and add nuts and crushed freeze-dried strawberries, it’s happy days.
I’ve been making the biscuits non stop ever since.
I think I might be biscuit obsessed…
Gimme gimme gimme a biscuit after midnight won’t somebody help me chase this craving away.
I’m obsessed x
Who Ate All The Pasties
Me of course 🙂
Pastry is challenging as it is nevermind the gluten AND dairy free type.
Yet, the gluten free queen, Naomi, seemed to make the perfect patty. *Jealous*
We were spoilt with an array of healthy and tasty fillings straight from Hugh’s veg patch.
From sauteed mushroom and goats cheese to fresh basil and cooked beef.
I rolled out my pastry as instructed, being careful not too…
As the big H would say “overwerk it”.
I like a mean, fat pasty by the way. So I overstuffed them with mushrooms, runner beans, onions and a load of basil – I LOVE basil.
They were SO chock full, I just about encased them.
I was hoping they weren’t gonna do an “Alien” on me and burst out in the oven.
35 minutes later, out of the oven they came with a “golden crust and textured like sun”.
And guess what?
No soggy bottoms. #missaccomplished
I can honestly say that these pasties are the real mcCoy!
Perfect flaky crust and cooked all the way through. Look at it👇
The filling was unreal and tasted downright delicious!
But it’s their envious pasty like texture that makes them truly unforgettable.
If you think FAB is the greatest ice lolly ever made, think again.
Naomi brought in some of her ALL natural blackcurrant lollies she made.
Good Golly! I mean really, do I need to say more?
It was more like a frozen smoothie than an ice lolly.
We sat outside on the decking while enjoying our perfect melting moment.
All agreed, these lollies have definitely melted into our memories.
Quick Quinoa Chapatis
Cheeky Chapatis and Dal for everyone 🙂
Or is it Daal, Dhal, or Dahl, that is the question.
Whatever the case, it was Daaalicious!
We had a serious amount of fillings for our Chapatis, from pickled rhubarb and Vegan Dal to gherkins and yoghurt.
But first, we had to cook them which couldn’t be simpler.
Roll out thinly, pop it on the skillet, wait until they blow up, and Bob’s your uncle.
Ladened with a gluttonous amount of Dal, dill and pickled rhubarb, I had a sensory overload.
I’m yet to master the art of eating a Chapatis without getting it all down my chin.
And remember to take a selfie while you’re doing it.
Or one of your hubby – priceless!👇
So, people, I think that’s it.
And you’ll be glad to know that the tractor will take you back to the car park.
On the whole, I highly recommend River Cottage gluten free course to anyone – SO. MUCH. FUN.
After this course, you’ll NO longer miss out on your favourite bakes!
Oh, and before you go, tell me what gluten free courses you recommend?
And make sure you watch the video.
Here’s a taste of what goes on at River Cottage gluten free cookery course.👇