The other week an email popped into my inbox for an opportunity that I was slightly gutted I couldn’t arrange for myself. It was a chance to try a Free From Cookery Class with COOKS at Carlton Towers. But it’s ok, Dr C covered it for me.
Over to Dr C… I love to cook, and have quite a few people in my life who are Coeliacs or lactose intolerant. This course with COOKS at Carlton Towers was exactly perfect for me. The cookery school, COOKS, is set in the “Downstairs” of the beautiful Carlton Towers in Selby, North Yorkshire. The keen eyed amongst you may have spotted this beautiful house doubling for Windsor Castle in ITV’s “Victoria” series.
I arrived bright and early and we were greeted with a delicious breakfast of banana pancakes, fresh fruit and gluten free soya yoghurt. We were told the structure of the day, we’d learn to make some breakfast dishes (including the banana pancakes), cook our own lunch and then whip up some tasty desserts to take away with us.
What We Made
We kicked off with some simple things – a couple of smoothie based dishes. We made a delicious Brazil nut, cacao and almond milk smoothie. Along with, wait for it, hot chocolate with cauliflower. Now I’m all for hidden veg in things, but this seemed a step too far for me. However, I found so long as the cauliflower was pureed well it gave a really nice texture. I’m still not sure I’ll be hurrying to make that one again though.
We then moved on to making our lunch. Starting with a spinach and avocado soup. This was delicious and again super simple to make. It pretty much just involved blitzing everything in the blender. We served it with a touch of coconut cream and some chopped chives.
My favourite of the savoury food we made was the curried swede risotto, which we served with a dressed chicory salad. Like quite a few of the recipes we cooked on the day this was a raw dish. But could equally be cooked if you wanted to serve it warm. I’m definitely going to making this again for lunches at work.
Lastly, we made vegetarian pad thai with vegetable noodles. I was quite amazed by how simple and quick this was to whip up. I’ll definitely be making this one again, but I might chuck in a few prawns to up the protein content! At this point in the day, having been cooking all morning, I was ravenous and extremely happy that we got to stop for lunch and devour our creations along with a cold glass of wine.
After our (very) filling lunch we got straight back to business. We started with the dessert portion of our cooking experience. We got to make three desserts, dairy free coconut panna cottas, raw dairy and gluten free cheesecake and gluten free, dairy free brownies. Normally when desserts are “free from” I’m a bit sceptical when it come to the flavour and texture. In these instances I was really proven wrong.
The brownies were the highlight for me, I cooked them just long enough to leave them fudgey. After taking them into work, I can confirm they are a resounding success. The panna cottas were deliciously light and the cheesecake, whilst not strictly a cheesecake in my eyes, was really delicious too!
I had a great day at learning about the smart substitutions you can make in every day recipes to accommodate those with allergies or intolerances. I was even lucky enough to get a mini tour of the main house, if you ever get a chance go along just to marvel at the Venetian dining room. All in I had a brilliant time, and after seeing some of the other courses they offer I’d love to go back again and try my hand at some more of the cookery masterclasses.
Would you check out a Free From Cookery Class? What do you think of Carlton Towers? Let me know in the comments,
P.S. * Dr C went to her class with COOKS at Carlton Towers in turn for an honest review. As ever all words, photos and opinions are her own.
P.P.S. COOKS at Carlton Towers is located at Carlton Towers, Carlton, Goole DN14 9LZ.
P.P.S. Check out Dr C’s other cookery course adventure at Yang Sing Manchester.