I was lucky to get a space on the first gluten free Italian cooking course in the UK, last Monday the 21st May. The school is a 5-minute walk from Bond street and is behind the restaurant of the same name La Cucina Caldesi. I arrived just before 10am and joined the rest of the group for coffee in the restaurant, there were 6 of us, 5 women and 1 guy and they were all really nice. Just after 10 we were called into the class to begin learning! Our teacher was Adriana Rabionovich who teaches gluten free cooking courses at Leith’s and at the Waitrose cookery school and has authored the book GlutenFree4Kids. We all donned our plastic aprons and met the rest of the team Lucia and a very friendly guy making sauces for our pasta whose name escapes me! Giancarlo (the owner) also came in to say hi. Adriana started making white bread dough, we watched and then worked in pairs to make our own, this took a long time! Partly because we were getting started but partly because it takes a long time to get the dough at the right consistency and apparently by hand is the only way! We then watched the sauces being made, 3 recipes, a sausage ragu, pesto and a cherry tomato sauce all of which looked yummy.
After that we started on the pasta dough, we were short on eggs so one of the team went off in search of more, Adriana again demonstrated the method for the two different pasta’s buckwheat and polenta based, we then gave them ago in teams of two again, then came the fun bit, rolling the dough through the pasta machine to get it as thin as possible before cutting into tagliatelle and laying them out to dry a little, by this time it was past midday so we pleaded for a food break, we sat down and had some of the bread that had recently come out of the oven which was delicious. Then it was back to it, we made short crust pastry next, the recipe was different from others I have tried and I learned a new technique on the day, they were then put in the fridge to rest. Next up Pizza dough, this recipe was really easy and was one of the ones I was looking forward to the most; we rolled out the dough and got the bases in the oven to precook. By this time it was 3pm! And we were all flagging so we stopped for lunch, our pasta was cooked up with the different sauces, it was all delicious, I haven’t ever had fresh pasta and I was gobsmacked at how light, soft and delicious it was, helped along by the sauces, the sausage ragu was amazing and my favourite. We had more bread along with our lunch and kept it quite brief as we had more to do! After lunch we rolled out our pastry into tartlet tins ready to bake and our pizza bases came out of the oven. It was basically 4pm by this time which was when the course was supposed to finish, we hadn’t managed to make the foccacia bread or the amaretti biscuits, I hung around until 4.30 but had to leave to pick my son up from nursery. I didn’t therefore get to taste the pastry we had made but some of my fellow classmates tweeted some amazing pictures and have told me it was delicious, I have the recipe and intend to use it.
I really enjoyed the course, nice people, good teacher, great location and class environment. Not as relaxed as some I have been on but I think there was just too much to get through in the time and as it’s the first one the course may well change in format and number of dishes.
Overall if you get to go on this course you wont regret it, bring on the gluten free carbs!
I brought home some of the goods and Jules agreed it was all delicious.