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Food and Ingredients News

Gluten Free Cookery Courses

The charity Coeliac UK estimates that around 1% of the UK population is affected by coeliac disease.

If you or a member of your family has been diagnosed with a gluten intolerance, or coeliac disease, then it’s likely that you will need to completely review your cooking habits.

Gluten features in many different foods, including several that you would not expect. Learning how to prepare gluten-free dishes is a positive way of adjusting to your new lifestyle. There are many great gluten-free dishes and by tackling the allergy head on you will feel more in control.

Several cookery schools now offer gluten-free cooking courses but in our view the following are well worth considering.

The Cookery School, Glasgow

The Cookery School is based in Glasgow’s city centre and is one of the city’s best kept secrets. It is well known for its wide variety of cooking courses – from classes for the promising chef, whisky and wine tasting and cupcake courses to hen parties and corporate events.

All courses are very practical, with everything provided, including recipes, equipment, ingredients, and an apron.

During the one-day ‘Gluten-Free Baking & Bread’ cookery course guests will learn how to prepare chocolate muffins, a herb loaf, fruit scones, cupcakes, Victoria sponge and butter icing. The day will include a mixture of chef demonstrations and practical hands-on learning.

Lunch with wine is included and guests will have the opportunity to take their best work home with them. Bookings are currently being taken for the next course which begins on 17th November.

Gluten-Free Cooking For Kids, Oxfordshire

Gluten-Free Cooking For Kids have launched a new gluten-free bakery course at the Miele Centre in Abingdon. The one-day course will focus on preparing guest for the Christmas period and is a great opportunity to learn some fantastic new skills.

The course will be delivered using a mixture of demonstrations and hands-on learning. It will be packed with lots of hints and tips. Guests will learn how to prepare many gluten-free Christmas classics, including mince pies, canapés, turkey stuffing, biscuits galore and sticky and moist cakes.

All necessary ingredients and materials are provided. Guests will also receive refreshments, including lunch, and recipes of the dishes they have learnt.

The course is suitable for both novices and more experienced chefs. Bookings are currently being taken for the next course which begins on 24th November.

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News

Shropshire farm joins forces with cookery school

Maynards Farm in Shrewsbury has teamed up with the Seasoned Cookery School to offer a range of different cookery courses.

The team at Seasoned already run courses throughout Staffordshire and Derbyshire, and are proud of their reputation for teaching students of all abilities.

The courses at Maynards will utilise the farm’s fantastic produce and will be delivered by a team of expert chefs. Topics will range from Best of British Meat to Indian Entertaining.

Seasoned’s founder, Clare Tetley, explained that all of their cooking courses are delivered by professionals in a fun and relaxed environment. The aim is to give people a fun day out at the same time as helping people to improve their cookery skills.

The cookery school was launched during 2010, and since then has taught more than a thousand people, from youngsters who have never cooked before to aspiring chefs that are aiming to perfect their dishes. The school primarily focuses on daily courses for keen amateurs and uses eight different chefs each with different passions and skills. The team consists of experts on subjects such as Indian cuisine, restaurant food, food smoking, baking and cake decorating.

In addition to the courses at Maynards Farm, Seasoned are also offering food education to schools and community groups in Shropshire. Recent activities have included,

  • Student survival courses for school leavers preparing for University,
  • Workshops with CLIC Sargent for cancer patients,
  • Respite courses for carers and
  • Fundraising and other fast food projects in schools.

The Seasoned team are passionate about food education and believe that teaching people the fundamentals of cookery can give them a skill that will last a lifetime.

A number of cookery courses are scheduled to take place over the coming months. These include Indian Entertaining, Food Smoking, One-Pot Wonders and Easy Entertaining. All will take place at Maynards Farm in the recently converted barn.

For further information please visit the cookery school’s website.

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Food and Ingredients News

Potato Council turns up shocking vegetable know-how stats

Oh my life, I’m so sorry. I do so keep tittering. It’s taken me an absolute age to start writing this. Okay – deep breath…and begin…
…over on the Great British Chef’s blog, they have an article about the ineptitude and ignorance of adults when it comes to knowing what are or what to do with vegetables. That I can sort of understand and it is so not a laughing matter.

When one in five adults in the UK believes that parsnips grow on trees, we’re in big trouble. We all know that they come out of pods, of course. But it’s not the context of the article that’s slaying me – it’s the people who conducted the survey – oh, Lawdy, I’m off again. Composure, love, c’mon.

According to the Potato Council (did anyone have Mr Potato Head? I just keep seeing variations of all of the different disguises sported by said character, sitting around a table of war – I’m so very sorry), not only did swathes of the 2,000 correspondents in the study lack knowledge of some of the absolute staples of the vegetarian portion of our diet, but also 95% weren’t at all phased by their ignorance. Is it any wonder that obesity and type two diabetes is abound?

Mr Potato Head kwikloks
credit: A Healthy Mr Potato Head, kwikloks 

Here are just a few snippets of the worrying results that the survey, conducted ahead of Potato Week and, one would expect, to highlight the exact lack of knowledge that the results, maybe somewhat predictably, turned up:

  • Twenty percent of all adults polled were blissfully ignorant of potato brands King Edward or Maris Piper.
  • Approximately one hundred of the adults surveyed believed that the Granny Smith was a variety of potato, whilst
  • a further two hundred thought that tomatoes were harvested out of the ground.

Incredible as it sounds, TGBC article makes a very good point. With even vegetables sliced and diced and microwave-ready from the coolers and freezers in the supermarkets, why should adults possess in-depth knowledge of the origin of each species of vegetable they ‘prepare’ for their families?

Oh, and that was another thing – not only was not recognising traditional potato brands or believing that some brands of apples were quite literally la pomme de terre an issue, but also many subjects said they had an issue cooking spuds, once they’d got past that tricky stage of identifying them.  I’d love to see how the Granny Smith French Fries turned out…moving on.

From not being able to make ‘fluffy’ roasters (50%) to boiled potatoes crumbling into the water (34%) to mash being too lumpy/sloppy (28%), all were cited as barriers to culinary prowess using the most basic ingredient in the kitchen.

It may help those struggling that the Potato Council has issued a re-classification for spud-types. I’m not as confident as Caroline Evans, of the Potato Council, in her belief that the new branding will help struggling chefs to “…pick the potato that’s right for each dish, every time.” The new classifications are:

  • Fluffy
  • Salad
  • Smooth

What do you think?  Lord help them when they have to make chips, that’s all I can say…talk about half-baked?

Categories
Cookery Class News

Don’t want to be labelled obese? Obey the labels!

Having put together a nutritional diet for an ‘abs’ program, there’s little I don’t know about food labelling.  Much of that is thanks to the in-depth research necessary to turn the diet used as the basis for the program from the haute cuisine status it held, whilst delivering exactly the same results, into a Supermarket own-label branded diet (in the majority).

In fact, if you were to lay out the majority of everyday foods on a table, I’d be able to give you a rough approximation of the make up of each ingredient, fats, carbs, protein and any vitamin and/or mineral content, including sodium. Once you get to that stage, you begin to take it for granted that everyone else, similarly conscious of what they’re feeding their bodies (you so very are what you eat), at least shows a passing interest in what the packaging says about the food within. But apparently not.

That ever-popular editorial Agricultural Economics has recently issued this year’s results of the National Health Interview Survey in the US. It highlighted, for me, three main instances that could be directly addressed to tackle the epidemic of obesity spreading the globe (not to mention far too many waistlines), upon the crest of which rides the ever-growing problem of type two diabetes, even in younger adults.

The first, and for the woman looking for a quick fix to tackle their weight loss issues, is perhaps the one that is simplest to implement, is that women who don’t read food labels are an average 9lbs heavier than their content-querying counterparts. That’s like half a stone and then some!

Secondly, the annual study suggests that those who continued their education after compulsory schooling were more likely to consult the food labels than those who’d quit as soon as they were able.

And tertiary – portion control. Quite simply, if you don’t know how many calories, grams of saturated fat or nutritional content each meal contains, how on earth can you begin to serve up healthy options for you and your family?

All of this suggests that the education about food we receive falls way short and it’s often up to us as adults to go out into the world and learn even the basics of nutritional content that will help us live our lives to the full and engender our children to do the same.

There is plenty of further reading on here under the ‘healthy eating‘ tag, but why not do something about learning how to cook healthy and nutritious food yourself? We offer many regional cookery courses for you to compare. Check them out and see where you can get a hold of your nearest healthy-eating cookery class to kick-start your metabolism, hence your life. It is that serious.