Sunday, 27 November 2011

My birthday present

One high point I definitely do want to fill in from my absence was a slightly belated 40th birthday present from my Dad & his wife, C. They offered to pay for me to do a gluten-free cookery course (few and far between in the UK, sadly) and I jumped on it! Of course, when I booked it for the 17th of November I didn’t realise that we would be completing the sale of our house on the 18th so that it would fall smack in the middle of our house move, but it was a very welcome distraction from all the stress of moving!

The course was being held at River Cottage of TV fame, and was being presented by a blogger I’ve been reading and admiring for quite a while – nutritionist, homeopath & amazing cook Naomi Devlin.  We made a sourdough bread, breakfast banana muffins, the best brownies I ever had – gf or not gf – and some gf pastry for pissalidieres (caramelised onion & cheese tarts). It lasted a day, and included a wonderful gf lunch and an exciting ride on a trailer pulled by a tractor from the car park at the top of a steep hill, down the lane to the farm! The other participants were really nice, it was lovely to spend some time talking food with people who don’t get a glazed expression when I mention gluten (no blame to anyone else, but I appreciate that its not that interesting to people who happily devour bread, pizza and all its incarnations!!!)

River Cottage is lovely, and my only regret is not having the time to explore it a little more. I did take my camera along, so here are a few snaps to show you why it was one of the best days ever!


The scenery from the car park was beautiful, and so was the weather!


The. Best. Brownies. EVER. Sorry about the flash, it was getting a bit dark by this point…

And a wonderful lunch I didn’t have to be cautious of (or cook myself!)


Celeriac and parsnip soup with a walnut & parsley pesto


A gorgeous salad with leaves grown at River Cottage, roasted pumpkin and their own air-dried ham


Let’s pretend this was healthy, OK? See - fruit

Naomi was lovely, very informed and interesting but also funny, friendly and warm. It was great to meet someone I’ve read online, and also great to come away with a load of recipes I intend to reproduce at home!

I also made the not-entirely unexpected discovery that I really enjoy the whole cookery course thing, so I plan on looking for more, even if they aren’t gluten free, in the future!


  1. Very nice to 'see' you blogging again - and cut yourself some slack over the eating while moving house! The stress of that is enough to make anyone resort to their coping mechanism of choice.

    I don't even like celeriac, but I want to nosedive into that soup. Right now.


  2. Agree about the soup. Love celeriac, and that pesto looks gorgeous. Hope life settles down for you and you'll be happy in your new home.