My review of Gluten free baking and living At Home baking courses

I was thrilled to be asked to take part in road testing the new gluten free baking academy. A set of masterclasses which you can buy on line to download and follow in the comfort of your own kitchen or simple follow on your computer screen.

At present there are four master classes Bread, Scones, Pastry and Cake making costing £7.50 for one or better value £15 for all four.

Firstly I decided to make the vanilla cup cakes, the instructions were clear and reminded me of a comic strip style layout. Step by step photographs showing every stage of the make and bake. With clear ingredients written and photographed.

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Secondly I made the pastry following the instructions carefully I wished I had printed the pages out as I was making my lap top quite floury. So my tip is don’t do as I did, and print the pages out to make life easier. I was pleased with the pastry results and used mine to make a delicious quiche for supper tonight.

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Finally I made the cheesy scones now I am a big fan of cheese scones and love making them myself . So I did wonder how these would stack up. I was Interested when I saw that poppy seeds and gram flour were used, well I have to say they were very good. The master classes were easy to follow and would be particularly good for those who are nervous at the prospect of baking gluten free at home for the first time. Or for those who like to try using different flour mixes and getting new ideas to improve their baking skills.

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The brains behind Gluten free baking and living are Deborah and Ian Thackeray. Deborah is a Nutritionist and baker and Ian is a Coeliac both keen to help fellow Coeliacs and those living gluten free to find good recipes using various grains and seeds to make their bakes more nutritious. By using clear instructions and photographs they make gluten free baking easy to achieve at home.

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Deborah and Ian also run baking courses in Harrogate and London more details Here

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I really enjoyed all of the baking courses. very impressed with the pastry and scones, less so by the cake recipe but still not bad. But as a regular cake baker It wasn’t my favourite.

Would I pay for the courses? probably not, but that is because I have been baking for many years and I would say that I am probably not who Deborah and Ian are aiming the courses at. But if you are new to baking and need a little extra help these course are ideal. Making gluten free baking accessible to all.

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Happy gluten free baking!

on Twitter @glutenfreebaki1 

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Tips to avoid cross contamination from gluten

Newly diagnosed with Coeliac disease or sensitive to gluten? I have put together a few tips for staying gluten free.

Use separate area if possible for preparation in your kitchen, use easily identified chopping board. preferably not wooden. Glass or plastic work well as they can be cleaned easily.

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Have your own labelled butter dish to avoid contamination from gluten covered knives. It is advisable to have separate jams and spreads as it is hard to keep these free from gluten crumbs. Squeezable jams and honey work well.

Wipe surfaces well before baking and cooking and make sure cloth hasn’t been used to wipe up gluten crumbs, flour etc .

Make sure utensils are thoroughly cleaned before preparing a gluten free meal.

Always keep gluten free food stuffs in separate cupboard to gluten containing foods especially flour. If using wooden spoons they need to be clearly marked gluten free and only used in GF cooking and baking as gluten can lurk in the wood. If possible have your own colander to drain gluten free pasta as the families colander/ sieve can have hidden gluten lurking in the holes even after using a dishwasher.

Treat yourself to your very own toaster clearly labeled and away from gluten toaster to avoid crumbs.

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Make sure family grill is clean before using for gluten free food. Gluten lurks every where!

Wash hands thoroughly after feeding pets, most pet foods contain gluten.

There are Pet foods  available now that are gluten free.

Fridge doors can be a gluten trap, wipe down regularly.

Do not serve gluten free food and gluten containing food on the same plate e.g cakes. bread rolls

Best not to share a drink with someone if they are eating gluten, have heard of a case of friends sharing a water bottle causing her to be glutened.

Check with restaurants that they use a separate fryer to cook deep fried food like chips as oil will be contaminated with tiny amounts of gluten.

Always good to encourage family members to ‘clear as they go’ and not leave dirty plates possibly containing gluten on the work surface for you to clear up.

Wash hands regularly and change tea towels and cloths often.

If these simple precautions are taken, living and eating with gluten eaters doesn’t need to be a problem.

Any other tips? let me know

Our new Norfolk garden

Earlier this year Samantha Mckay a local Norfolk garden designer and her team headed up by Trevor, started work on our garden in Norfolk. 

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It really was a blank canvas!

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First a new patio area went done, followed by a base for the pavilion.

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We had asked Sam to design a country/coastal garden that was easy to maintain as we would not be at the house all the time. We wanted to include a boardwalk and some curves. We also needed to lose some of the lawn as we were spending most weekends cutting it in the summer.

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The Crown pavilion was then erected and the canvas covers were added.

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Next Sam planted all the beautiful flowers, trees and grasses. She gave us a book showing all our new plants with a guide to show us how to care for them.

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Already the plants are really starting to take shape, thanks to the recent rain and lovely sunny days.

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We look forward to spending long hot summer days admiring our new garden in Norfolk.

Many thanks to Samantha for designing such a lovely garden, and to Crown pavilions for our new outside room. We have already eaten many meals alfresco. A perfect place to entertain friends and family, or just curl up with a good book.