A Passion for Baking

A Passion for Baking

I've been baking since I was 5 years old, a passion which started when my grandparents gave me an Easy Bake Oven. This tiny oven, with a 100 watt light bulb, helped me turn out copious amounts of cakes, pies and cookies. When the Betty Crocker mixes included with the oven ran out, I started experimenting with whatever scraps came my way. Those happy memories, cemented a long life passion for baking and eventually, through various twists and turns, lead to my owning a bakery, becoming a cookbook author and a product developer.

When my daughter was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease, I was at first, horrified by the prospect of not being able to bake with her. I remember going to the supermarket in search of gluten free goodies for her lunch box and the bitter disappointment of seeing all of these expensive items ending up in the bin. The sandy, gritty texture, over sweet and rock hard and the long list of preservatives and additives was a real eye opener.

I turned to my first cookbook for inspiration, and slowly began to learn through a process of experimenting, how to bake without gluten. Some of the results were not great, but to my surprise, through trial and error, I started to produce cakes, cookies, muffins and other baked goods, that tasted pretty darn good. Gone were the rock hard cookies, the crumbly dry cakes and the doughy damp muffins. Light cakes, crisp buttery cookies, perfect muffins appeared on the kitchen table day after day after day. The postman, the neighbours and friends and family, happily lined up to trial the latest creations completely oblivious to the fact these were all gluten free.

Eventually these experiments lead to the publishing of a second cookbook, The Gluten Free Cookbook for Kids. The idea behind this cookbook was to make gluten free food more accessible. I became aware, through my very own gluten free journey, how daunting cooking and especially baking can be. I wanted to take out the fear factor and show people that it is possible to make great tasting gluten free food with store cupboard ingredients.

A few years ago I started teaching people about gluten free cooking. Slowly but surely I started to see a pattern emerging. I would start off with a room of rather quiet and fearful individuals, some of them quite apprehensive and doubtful about what they would gain in a few hours. And then at the end of the session, these same individuals transformed into confident, lively, happy and often ecstatic people who felt that a whole new world had opened up for them. They could at last wave goodbye to the many horrors awaiting them in the free from aisles and take control of their taste buds. Now of course, this is not to say that I am entirely responsible for this awakening, but I did begin to discover a few things about myself. The first is that in addition to a passion for baking, I have developed a true passion for teaching. My greatest joy is to see this transformation and to see the bright shining eyes holding up a loaf of bread and saying….I didn’t think this was possible.

My husband now calls me the evangelist. I have a loyal following of people who regularly email me about triumphs, disasters, queries, hopes and desires. We work through our baking issues together and learn tips from each other. In the last year at least four of my students have started to produce gluten free products commercially and they are paving the way for better tasting gluten free food. And this is really what it’s all about. Handing down knowledge and experience to others, so that they too can develop a passion.

For more information and recipes please visit my website glutenfree4kids.com

9 Replies

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  • Hi Adriana, I'm glad that you have joined GFG and hope this is one of many blogs that you make.

    Its interesting what you say about learning to cook and bake because it was seen as a skill that was passed from generation to generation until super markets and take aways and microwave meals took over for those with too busy a life style to bake. And you are right about baking, especially without wheat is daunting but well worth the effort so good for you for teaching others.

    Just after I had been diagnosed a friend of mine's gran was diagnosed with CD and after a few weeks was making fish in gf batter for the whole family and I said I havent time to do that and he told his gran and her reply to me was If I had to catch the cod myself then I wouldnt bother! And after experimenting I realised that I could make gf fish n' chips quicker than queing at my local chippie. So its a mind set. As how long does it take to make some batter? a minute, and how long does it take to wash and peel a potato? quicker than the chip pan takes to heat up, thats the reality.

    I have posted a blog on here about your bakery class so it's great that you have joined us. And I'm sure you will be an inspirational influence.

    So nice one.

    Jerry

  • Thanks Jerry! I like the way you think. I look forward to joining you and your colleagues in making life more interesting and rewarding for all those intolerant to gluten.

  • I loved what you said about being an evangelist in the kitchen as that sounds like me! as we are what we eat and coeliac have the opportunity for a natural and healthy diet by making an effort by preparing much of their own food and thus avoiding too much processed foods and additives.

    In case anyone is interested in Adriana's Christmas Baking course here's where and when:

    Holiday and Christmas Gluten Free Baking Workshop at The Miele Experience Centre, Abingdon, Oxfordshire. Saturday 12 November from 10 am – 3:00 pm

    And for full details:

    glutenfree4kids.com/?q=cont...

  • Hi Adriana - good to see you here, I have your Gluten free cookbook for Kids & it's fab :-) Though it is rather covered in chocolate brownie mix - the best recipe ever, we eat rather a lot of it - though I use cornmeal instead of ground almonds, because my son has a serious nut allergy as well as being coeliac (this also means they are cheaper to make!)

  • Hi Becky - thanks for the comment and the compliment. I am delighted to hear that you use the book. You can always tell which are the most used cookbooks in my house and these are the ones with pages stuck together, lots of splashes on pages, and falling apart at the seams. I've never thought about using cornmeal in brownies and I am very intrigued by this. I shall have to give this a go so thanks for the tip! Kind regards, Adriana

  • Oh wow! Hi Adriana! I have just been raving about your cookbook for kids on another post and then found that you had actually posted yourself! My daughter is 4 years old and was diagnosed Coeliac in May this year. As her parents, we were shocked and sad, yet relieved that we had an answer to what was wrong with her, and utterly overwhelmed. Yours is one of the first books I bought to help me through, and it has been simply wonderful. Everything that I have made for her so far have been big hits - not just with her but with her 5 year old brother, friends, family, visitors, her teachers . . . . ! What would I have done without you?! Thank you so very much x

  • Hi MiaMoo. Thanks for the support and the great comments about the book. It was a real struggle to get the book published and there were times when I thought- is it worth it? But it is reading your comments that make it worthwhile. My vision for the book is exactly as you describe. A book that is for everyone, not just the person who can't eat gluten- and it is also a tool for changing people's perceptions of what eating gluten free is like. For many- the look of horror when offered something gluten free is a common reaction. Converting gluten free sceptics into gluten free supporters is the key to making life better for all Coeliac's out there. And like you...teachers were first on the list to be converted. It's so important to get them on board the gluten free ship! Kind regards, Adriana

  • Hi there would you by any chance have a really good recipe for cheese scones I miss them so much x x x Fi

  • Hi Fiftricks- yes there is a good cheese scone recipe in my book- although it's not called cheese scones- it's called cheesey snakes! These are lovely light cheesey scones- which also work well as a pizza base and believe it or not as dough balls. I will refer you to the website glutenfree4kids.com. Look for the pizza recipe which is an adaptation of the scones. If you want the cheesey snakes recipe- please email me and I will gladly send it to you. Kind regards, Adriana

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