A few weeks ago, the extremely lovely, uber- talented, but dietary-challenged Zoe Berkeley from the award-winning Bake-a-Boo met up with Coori – a specialist “free-from” food company helping to bring delicious food to those with intolerances. As someone who spends most of her days creating fantastic recipes for others, it was about time Zoe got a little bit spoilt! Here’s a little more about her day.
I’m writing this on what’s claimed to be the second hottest day of the year; so it unsurprisingly takes me right back to the actual hottest day of the year back in June. I’d been invited to an event hosted by artisan ‘free-from’ food company Coori. I’ll admit, I hadn’t heard of Coori before and all I really knew was that it was going to be a gluten free cooking evening and that they claim to be a ‘flavour revolution’. Being gluten (and dairy free) myself, I’d jumped at the chance. Then, the day came, and so did the heat! Hot, dehydrated and grumpy, I thought the last place on earth I want to be is a hot kitchen – but somehow I got it together as I really didn’t want to miss this. I was both curious and eager to learn some new gluten free tricks…as well as hungry! So I hopped on the tube over to Food at 52, where I was presented with not only a warm welcome but also an array of delicious bites – savoury pastries and bruschetta, gluten free flatbread served with a variety of dips, and colourful crudités. I certainly wasn’t expecting this banquet before the cooking began, but topped off with a glass of prosecco I already knew I had made the right decision to make the journey, whatever the weather.
We headed downstairs to the kitchen, which was a gorgeous farmhouse set-up, complete with an aga topped with bubbling pots and a family of copper pans hung above it. Dressers in each corner were filled with vintage crockery and treasures. A large oak table in the centre was prepped for us with a mound of flour mix, eggs, water jugs, cutlery and a rolling pin each. We were making pasta – ravioli to be precise. There are no words to convey my excitement to you about this! I have been gluten and dairy free for nearly 12 years now, so ravioli hasn’t even come anywhere near my radar, let alone past my lips for at least that amount of time. For many years it was pizza that I longed for and missed, but now almost every pizza joint has a gluten free offering, which is really amazing. But I have never seen or heard of anyone offering gluten free ravioli? To me this was like gold dust…. AMAZING!
We had a briefing first from the founder – the lovely Julia – who speaks with a wonderful Italian twang in her accent that somehow makes you have absolute faith in her. You can just imagine her mum has taught her how to make ‘real pasta’ from an early age in a small town in Italy and her skills will be as authentic as they can be. I don’t know if this is actually the case, but it’s a nice reverie right? However, like me, Julia is gluten free, which must be every Italian natives worst nightmare! I remember going to Milan on a work trip in 2004 and literally living on popcorn and salami the whole time I was there. I’m sure 11 years on it’s easier being gluten free in Italy but I haven’t been honoured with the pleasure of going back ever since, so my thoughts are based on that memory. She told us all about Coori and her background as a gluten-free Restaurateur. I had been intrigued by the name choice since I had first found out about Coori, which Julia explained meant ‘heart’, which can only add to my love of this brand and their products.
Being someone who bakes a lot I was surprised that it was quite hard making the dough, although I think this just takes practice, as it’s just a slightly different way of combining ingredients. But once formed it’s easy to work with and roll out. We were given a choice of vegetarian and meat fillings to fill our shapes with. The coori team were on hand to help us with pointers so there were no exploding ravioli disasters. Perhaps the best thing about fresh pasta is that it cooks in mere minutes, so once out of the water, Julia drizzled my bowl with Olive oil and fresh sage and I couldn’t wait to taste it. For me, it was literally heaven in a bowl, as I said I haven’t eaten ravioli for 12 years and it’s something I’ve always loved, for me this really was a taste sensation.
Coori gave me a huge bag of treats to take home, including fusilli, the pasta mix to make ravioli at home, as well as gnocchi and some breadcrumbs. I have made the ravioli a few times at home since and get more adventurous with my fillings each time, the last one being a garlic prawn and mushroom mix. I also made some pasta with my 5 year old nephew and he really enjoyed it so it’s a great thing to do with the kids, and something that isn’t making cakes.
I’m still working my way through my Coori goodies but will definitely be visiting the site to stock up and try the rest of the range as there are such a broad range of products, including pies and ready-made fresh ravioli, a range of flour mixes for bread, brioche and even puff pastry! Oh…..and wait for it…..Profiteroles! They also offer a subscription box service which allows you to ‘Emancipate yourself from the drudgery of free-from shopping.’ With a selection of goodies delivered to your door monthly or weekly. I cannot recommend these products enough, they are well thought out, well presented, unique and taste delicious. Gratzi Coori for fulfilling my ravioli dreams, you’ve certainly made a gluten free girl very happy!