Gift Vouchers now available

presentJust a quick note to tell you about two ways you can purchase Loaf gift vouchers for your loved one’s this Christmas! Firstly, Loaf director Tom Baker (that’s me!) is a registered bread making teacher on the excellent School of Everything website, and is one of only a handful of teachers chosen to take part in their Christmas gift scheme. You can purchase a day on one of Loaf’s ‘Bread: back to basics’ by visiting the gift’s section. It’s also worth hunting around for other interesting teachers on their too – you could buy a knitting lesson, photography tuition, or even a twitter masterclass!

Secondly, you can now purchase Loaf Cookery School gift vouchers direct from us. They are sold in multiples of £10, or if you want to buy a place on a specific course, a personalised voucher can be created especially for you’re loved one. Find out more on the new gift voucher page by clicking here.

Week One at Loaf Cookery School

pasta courseWell last week saw Loaf’s first week of doing business. We started on Thursday evening with a ‘Handmade Pasta’ workshop. Five people came along (six is our maximum class size), and by the end of the evening had successfully mastered kneading, rolling, and shaping fresh egg pasta, and made three classy sauces to accompany their handiwork. Alongside a nice Chianti, we enjoyed seasonal vegetable tortellini with a butter and blue cheese sauce, paperdelle puttanesca, and taglietelli carbonara. Oh and we made some orechiette with the scraps and a quick gnocchi demo. Phew, it was a lot of fun and the talented students picked up the techniques extremely quickly, without even using a pasta machine!

Saturday saw the first full day ‘Bread:back to basics’ course, and it was a sell out. We had a fabulous day, and produced some great breads.

bread course

Despite the weather we were dashing in and out to the earth oven to bake our white and multigrain loaves, in which we had earlier made our own pizza’s for lunch and fougasse to show off! We covered a couple of different kneading techniques and made some stunning ciabatta’s too. We covered the principles of sourdough baking, and I’ll be seeing some of the students next year when I do a Friday eve/Saturday morning ‘simply sourdough’ course – should be great fun! We finished off making brioche dough, and each student left with a bit of dough to refrigerate overnight, and bake at home. Check out this review of the day on the No Love Sincerer blog, and see our upcoming courses here.
All in all a great first week, knackering stuff though!

Loaf Cookery School – poll results and plans!

bread ovenThanks to everyone who voted in our recent ‘what cookery skills you’d like to learn’ poll. The full results are at the bottom of this post, and they’ve been really helpful for me in planning what courses to start delivering. Coming out top is home brewing (you boozy lot!), near behind is breadmaking, dairy skills, and butchery, closely followed by preserving, british classics, vegetarian cooking, and wildfood. The results seem to have confirmed my hunch that there is a desire to learn forgotten traditional food skills – is this a sign of the recession, or is it just because they’re damn good fun?!

Breadmaking dates are already in the diary, so that’s a relief! There may also be a couple of evening workshops before Christmas too – I’m thinking maybe festive breads, cupcake masterclass, vegetarian Christmas, fresh pasta making – any comments welcome below. I’m also on the hunt for talented co-tutors in brewing, dairy, butchery, and preserving, so we can put together a nice programme for you in 2010. I have a few ideas for tutors, but if you do too, please leave a comment below. The British and vegetarian cooking will certainly feature, probably as evening workshops to start with, and wildfood and cooking will feature too, but probably not until summer 2010.

I’m also thinking about offering vouchers soon, in time for Christmas – what do you think? Make a nice prezzie?

I’ve also been wondering whether ‘Cookery School at Home’ might be an interesting thing to do. You invite a bunch of friends round to your kitchen, we lead an evening of cooking/bread/pasta etc. What do you think? Something you’d go for, or would you rather come to us? Any ideas/comments on the above or generally on the cookery school, are extremely welcome!

Better get ordering the matching aprons…

[poll id=”5″]

Loaf Cookery School – poll results and plans!

bread ovenThanks to everyone who voted in our recent ‘what cookery skills you’d like to learn’ poll. The full results are at the bottom of this post, and they’ve been really helpful for me in planning what courses to start delivering. Coming out top is home brewing (you boozy lot!), near behind is breadmaking, dairy skills, and butchery, closely followed by preserving, british classics, vegetarian cooking, and wildfood. The results seem to have confirmed my hunch that there is a desire to learn forgotten traditional food skills – is this a sign of the recession, or is it just because they’re damn good fun?!

Breadmaking dates are already in the diary, so that’s a relief! There may also be a couple of evening workshops before Christmas too – I’m thinking maybe festive breads, cupcake masterclass, vegetarian Christmas, fresh pasta making – any comments welcome below. I’m also on the hunt for talented co-tutors in brewing, dairy, butchery, and preserving, so we can put together a nice programme for you in 2010. I have a few ideas for tutors, but if you do too, please leave a comment below. The British and vegetarian cooking will certainly feature, probably as evening workshops to start with, and wildfood and cooking will feature too, but probably not until summer 2010.

I’m also thinking about offering vouchers soon, in time for Christmas – what do you think? Make a nice prezzie?

I’ve also been wondering whether ‘Cookery School at Home’ might be an interesting thing to do. You invite a bunch of friends round to your kitchen, we lead an evening of cooking/bread/pasta etc. What do you think? Something you’d go for, or would you rather come to us? Any ideas/comments on the above or generally on the cookery school, are extremely welcome!

Better get ordering the matching aprons…

[poll id=”5″]

Loaf Cookery School – what would you like to learn?

Loaf is gearing up to launch Loaf Cookery School with our first breadmaking course in November, but we’re also hatching plans to offer a wider variety of courses, getting local artisans in to share their oft-forgotten skills with people eager to soak them up. We’d love to know what you’d most like to learn to help us plan for the future, so please take a moment to answer the quick poll below. If you have any other ideas for courses please do leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

[poll id=”5″]

Loaf Cookery School – what would you like to learn?

Loaf is gearing up to launch Loaf Cookery School with our first breadmaking course in November, but we’re also hatching plans to offer a wider variety of courses, getting local artisans in to share their oft-forgotten skills with people eager to soak them up. We’d love to know what you’d most like to learn to help us plan for the future, so please take a moment to answer the quick poll below. If you have any other ideas for courses please do leave a comment, we’d love to hear from you.

[poll id=”5″]

Daylesford Organic Cookery School – Exclusive Preview!

daylesford organic cookery schoolBefore any big-media even got their quills inked to review this new foodie destination, Loaf had the privilege to preview the hotly-anticipated Daylesford Organic Cookery School. Through the generosity of an old Uni chum, Loaf managed to wangle itself an invitation to the first trial day of the brand-spanking-new cookery school.

The cookery school has been 9 months in the making and is the brain child of Vladimir Niza, a passionate and extremely talented chef-nutritionist (and said Uni chum), who was senior tutor at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School until recently. Vladimir has expertly directed this project from it’s very inception and has taken care of every detail from floor (Cotswold-stone tiled), to ceiling (oak-beamed), and secured a bunch of sponsorship to boot.

The place is absolutely stunning (this iPhone photo doesn’t do it justice); a converted barn on the Daylesford Estate, adjoining the butchery and fishmonger, and adjacent to the restaurant and farm shop. Loaf saw it when it was an empty shell just 3 months prior: the architect, a co-pupil, threatened to get his own back on Vlad for the last two and a half months of stress in converting it to this! Strung-up onions adorn the walls, and wicker baskets full of herbs and cresses are always at our finger-tips. Infact a lot of the produce we use during the day was grown about 500yds away, as we discover on our lunchtime garden-tour with head gardener Jez. The place is packed with state of the art equipment, and has a nearly-complete library as an entrance lobby (next to the famous Daylesford cheddar maturing room), complete with shelves of normal books, and macbooks for guests to surf the net or do some research.

The food, of course, is stunning too. The twelve of us ‘guests’ pack out the room as Vladimir talks us through the ‘Seasonal Dinner Parties’ programme. We cook, or are demonstrated, gazpacho, salad nicoise, pan fried pollack with chorizo oil and borlottis, bean soup, roast shoulder of lamb, raspberry tart, summer berry crumble, and poached flat peaches. Everything breathes freshness, and the cooking and eating is interwoven with nuggets of Vladimir’s encyclopaedic knowledge – from the nutritional value of eggs to who invented custard (the English of course!). Vladimir is an enthusiastic and inspiring tutor – his eyes literally glint with passion. And for a moment he is able to make you believe that with a little guidance, you too can be a Michelin-starred Chef. Of course you can’t, but who cares, for a day it’s a great feeling!

The cookery school launches on the 17th of September. There’s an exciting programme of courses coming up – everything from Field to Fork to Classic English Cooking to Butchery. Much more information can be found on the cookery school website.

Daylesford Organic Cookery School – Exclusive Preview!

daylesford organic cookery schoolBefore any big-media even got their quills inked to review this new foodie destination, Loaf had the privilege to preview the hotly-anticipated Daylesford Organic Cookery School. Through the generosity of an old Uni chum, Loaf managed to wangle itself an invitation to the first trial day of the brand-spanking-new cookery school.

The cookery school has been 9 months in the making and is the brain child of Vladimir Niza, a passionate and extremely talented chef-nutritionist (and said Uni chum), who was senior tutor at the Raymond Blanc Cookery School until recently. Vladimir has expertly directed this project from it’s very inception and has taken care of every detail from floor (Cotswold-stone tiled), to ceiling (oak-beamed), and secured a bunch of sponsorship to boot.

The place is absolutely stunning (this iPhone photo doesn’t do it justice); a converted barn on the Daylesford Estate, adjoining the butchery and fishmonger, and adjacent to the restaurant and farm shop. Loaf saw it when it was an empty shell just 3 months prior: the architect, a co-pupil, threatened to get his own back on Vlad for the last two and a half months of stress in converting it to this! Strung-up onions adorn the walls, and wicker baskets full of herbs and cresses are always at our finger-tips. Infact a lot of the produce we use during the day was grown about 500yds away, as we discover on our lunchtime garden-tour with head gardener Jez. The place is packed with state of the art equipment, and has a nearly-complete library as an entrance lobby (next to the famous Daylesford cheddar maturing room), complete with shelves of normal books, and macbooks for guests to surf the net or do some research.

The food, of course, is stunning too. The twelve of us ‘guests’ pack out the room as Vladimir talks us through the ‘Seasonal Dinner Parties’ programme. We cook, or are demonstrated, gazpacho, salad nicoise, pan fried pollack with chorizo oil and borlottis, bean soup, roast shoulder of lamb, raspberry tart, summer berry crumble, and poached flat peaches. Everything breathes freshness, and the cooking and eating is interwoven with nuggets of Vladimir’s encyclopaedic knowledge – from the nutritional value of eggs to who invented custard (the English of course!). Vladimir is an enthusiastic and inspiring tutor – his eyes literally glint with passion. And for a moment he is able to make you believe that with a little guidance, you too can be a Michelin-starred Chef. Of course you can’t, but who cares, for a day it’s a great feeling!

The cookery school launches on the 17th of September. There’s an exciting programme of courses coming up – everything from Field to Fork to Classic English Cooking to Butchery. Much more information can be found on the cookery school website.