Creativity in the Kitchen – Food Intolerance and Allergens
As part of Coeliac Awareness week we asked Principal of Harts Barn Cookery School, Yvette Farrell, on her thoughts and experiences of cooking for people with allergies or intolerance.
How do you deal with food intolerances running a Cookery School?
Working in the catering and food industry it is European law that we have an understanding of the 14 registered allergens and the conditions they can effect.
We take this responsibility seriously and use the free training available from the Food Standards Agency and also have an allergen statement. We always ask attendees to cookery or baking classes, parties, supper clubs, chef hire and other events to let us know if there are any allergies or intolerances that we need to be aware of. By knowing in advance, we can then accommodate these requirements into our menus.
How much of a challenge is it when presented with a food allergy?
I get quite excited when presented with a food allergy as it opens up a huge range of alternative ingredients to use creatively. I was presented with a challenge on my recent supper club ‘A Taste of the Forest’ where there were customers attending with Gluten intolerance. One of the menu items were Beer Crackers made with plain wheat flour and beer both with a high gluten content. Creative thinking cap went on. After a bit of experimentation I substituted the plain wheat flour with a self raising gluten free flour from the Free From Fairy range – this is an excellent flour produced by a lady who has coeliac disease in the family. She thought creatively and produced her own flour range. It can be purchased on Amazon too.
I then had to substitute the beer so I decided to try making them with white wine. As gluten free pastry is notorious for not binding together I needed to think of a binding agent to hold the mixture together to enable me to roll it out very thin. I had heard of cream cheese being used as a binder so I added a tablespoon of cream cheese to the mixture.
It bonded together beautifully and rolled very thin with out breaking. When baked, the crackers were the perfect crispiness required from a cracker. They were so good I made enough for all the customers rather than making a separate batch with plain flour. They were served with wild garlic pesto.
I would say, don’t worry if you are diagnosed with a food allergy there is a vast range of products and know-how to make you a very happy diner.
We offer a range of cookery classes for those with dietary requirements – see them all HERE or if you have ANY questions Yvette will be going live at 2pm this Friday 12th May on our Facebook Page or you can email your question at firstname.lastname@example.org