I'm very excited to be writing this blogpost because over the past few months it feels like all I seem to be finding time to do is write ups for specific events or reviews we've been asked to do, rather than everything else we do because we want to do. Don't get me wrong, I love the reviews, working with brands is a passion of mine from my pre-kids working days so I do enjoy it.
But it is especially lovely to have done something way out of my comfort zone and be able to make time to write about it here.
In the old days (pre-kids) I used to go to London all the time for various work meetings and it didn't faze me at all. Since then however, we always seem to go as a family so I've not had to find my own way round or figure out exactly where I'm going. So when I saw that the wonderful Henrietta Inman was doing a Clean Cakes summer cookery course that I really really wanted to go to, I had to overcome my fear of heading to London on my own. My first instinct was to put the idea right out of my mind - it wouldn't be practical leaving Richard to come home early from work, look after the three kids whilst I went off to London, and most likely panic and get lost somewhere in London. But I just couldn't get the idea out of my head.
I thought perhaps a friend would like to attend too so we could travel together, but it seems I'm the only one in my circle of friends that is getting into this type of cooking.
So I just had to feel the fear and do it anyway!
It was such a great evening. I didn't take my camera, only my phone, so I didn't get very good quality photos to share, so you'll have to take my word for it that we produced the most amazing looking and tasting cakes - all packed with goodness and wholesome healthy ingredients.
In our small groups of two's and three's we each tackled a recipe that was totally new to us as we muddled through finding ingredients we weren't necessarily familiar with. But with Henrietta on hand with oodles of expertise and knowledge all the desserts turned out beautifully along with a couple of fabulous savoury bakes too.
Having been too daunted by ingredients that at the time were less familiar to me (you can read about when I first came across this book here), I had put off purchasing Henrietta's Clean Cakes recipe book, but this evening was the perfect time to take the plunge and buy it. She kindly signed it to D, our very own brilliant chef, who has a growing collection of cookery books.
My favourite tasting recipe from the cookery evening had been the Blueberry Lemon Mousse cake - a type of alternative to a cheesecake. So I wanted to try to recreate it straight away. I used my lovely new cookery book for the recipe but I have since found this particular recipe online too in case you fancy having a go.
I even explored the garden for inspiration to see what edible flowers I could find to decorate the blueberry mousse cakes with.
I made up the full recipe amount but used smaller cheesecake moulds to make several cakes rather than one big one.
I know I didn't get the texture quite right as mine tasted grittier than the ones we'd had on the cookery course. Perhaps I didn't soak the cashews long enough? Or perhaps I didn't blend them enough? I don't think I whipped the coconut cream sufficiently as I had little lumps of cream left in it. I also didn't have any hemp seeds for the base so used ground flaxseed instead.
But for a first attempt, I was happy with them given my disastrous track record in the kitchen. But I will try again with these to see if I can get them closer to how they are supposed to taste. I'm wondering whether there is an alternative to using dessicated coconut in the base as no-one in my family is keen on it. So I might try something else in the base instead and see if that works out.
I loved meeting like-minded people on the course - some cooked for a living, others for a hobby, some were into healthy eating, whilst others had food allergies and intolerences but we all seemed to really enjoy the course which was relaxed and fun, and we enjoyed a lovely meal together at the end with oodles of delicious clean cakes desserts for afters.
It felt such an honour to meet such a talented and creative chef who had so much expertise with her pastry chef background and so much passion for clean eating and using alternative ingredients. I really hope there are more courses like this to follow as I just want to learn more and more.
In the meantime I'm sure I will be cooking lots from my new Clean Cakes recipe book!