Two creative foodies out to discover enticing flavours and food ideas. When we aren't tucking into our latest delicious find, we're photographing and designing our hearts out.
Published February 20th 2015
Learn to prepare delicious gluten & sugar free recipes
Rilka's Real Food Cooking School is owned by talented author and radio presenter Rilka Warbanoff. The cooking school and commercial kitchen (for baking delicious gluten free products) are both located within a converted 'barn' at number 91 Mount Barker Road, the main street of Hahndorf. Whether you've been diagnosed with gluten intolerance, need to prepare gluten free food for loved ones or just simply want to enjoy a fun cooking experience, then Rilka's Real Food Cooking Classes are for you.
Rilka is passionate about sharing her knowledge and her table while educating people about 'real' food - using fresh produce and products without gluten, wheat, yeast, sugar or preservatives. Her goal is to spread the word that gluten free food can taste great and with a little knowledge you can prepare delicious meals that everyone will love.
Using ingredients as local as Rilka's kitchen garden, you can't beat fresh produce like this.
A range of classes are available covering various cuisines such as Modern Italian, French Flavours, Mediterranean and Middle Eastern Flavours and Spanish Colours, depending on what piques your taste buds. There's even a whole class devoted to Gluten and Sugar Free Cakes and Desserts, if you're a sweet tooth at heart.
All classes are interactive, hands-on cooking experiences - if you don't cook you don't eat. Over three hours and three delicious courses Rilka will take you on a journey of food and culture while learning new techniques and tips for gluten and sugar free cooking. Along the way you may even learn a few professional tricks of the trade to take on as your own.
Launching our hands straight into the mix, Rilka was there to guide us at every step of the way.
After a warm welcome from Rilka, one of the first things you'll notice as you walk inside the barn is the striking artwork surrounding the kitchen and dining areas. It's a nice mix of professional and comfortable - the cooking class and dining areas are separated from the commercial kitchen facility by sheer curtains giving these areas a more intimate feel. Long stools are placed adjacent to the kitchen benches for observers to take everything in, and a large dining table takes pride of place just waiting for everyone to settle down to their well-earned meals.
Artwork adorns every wall, each with it's own story to tell, adding character and interest to the interior.
We were lucky enough to have a private cooking experience with Rilka to try a range of dishes across the various classes that she has on offer, including a Mediterranean entree, a Middle Eastern main and a classic Bulgarian dessert from one of her treasure trove of family recipes. Rilka's teaching style is quick and very well organised. She knows how to balance her time well across all dishes and steps while making the experience great fun and full of conversation; her rich family heritage seeping through at every stage.
With a glass of sparkling wine in hand we jumped straight into preparing our dishes, multitasking across several processes at once. Initially it was fast-paced to get our main course of duck tagine prepped and in the oven as it would take the longest to cook. While one of us was learning about Middle Eastern spice blends the other was chopping away to prepare the fresh vegetables at the other end of the spacious kitchen. (Fun Fact Number 561: Cook with your carrot skins ON to retain the nutrients in your dish.)
Seasoning the duck legs is a must - there should be salt, salt and more salt. Yum.
Once the duck was fried off and the stock added, it was ready to slow cook.
Once the tagine was nicely tucked into the oven we started on the entree salad of crumbed goat's cheese on a bed of roasted capsicum and fresh tomato. While coating the cheese in a mixture of gluten-free bread crumbs and herbs we learned a handy tip: Use one hand to coat the cheese in flour and egg and the other hand to coat with the final layer of bread crumb mixture. That way we avoided ending up with crumbed fingers instead of crumbed cheese. The cheese was then fried together with a sprig of rosemary and a few chillis to infuse added flavour. A few more steps followed before the end result reached the table bursting with colour and flavour and ready to be devoured.
Flavour infusing while shallow frying is a great way to enhance a meal.
The contrast of the crunchy coated soft cheese served with a cooling salad was a pleasant start to our meal.
Entree was quickly consumed and then it was time to finish preparing the main course. The tagine came out of the oven with a burst of spicy Middle Eastern aromas. It was served on a bed of quinoa mixed with a few other delicious ingredients, the most intriguing being pomegranate seeds which we had not used in cooking before.
Sweet and savoury delights were a magical combination in our main.
Finally it was time to prepare the much-anticipated dessert, the famous Drunken Sponge cake. Along with all of Rilka's recipes it's made with gluten free ingredients. Originally one of Rilka's grandmother's recipes, this cake is immensely popular and one that Rilka frequently makes when entertaining lots of guests. When cooled, a syrup made using an entire bottle of sauvignon blanc is gently ladled over the sponge which is left for a few hours to soak. It's full of intense flavour and according to Rilka is a great hit at parties. A small dob of cream mixed with mascarpone cheese on the side goes perfectly.
The sauce is slow poured over and soaked through a cool sponge, best made the night before.
The best part about a cooking class has to be eating the results, and we enjoyed each dish at Rilka's table with a lovely glass of wine and great conversation. We'll definitely be using these recipes again to impress our families and friends, but we think the Drunken Sponge is going to be a winner.
According to Rilka, this one is a great hit with the men at dinner parties.
Whether you're looking for something fun to do with friends, want to learn about cooking delicious gluten free foods, or looking for something novel to do for a corporate group, then Rilka's Real Food Cooking School has something for you. Classes are suitable for groups of four to ten and can be held either for lunch (commencing at 10.30am) or dinner (commencing at 6.30pm). Each participant will receive:
Hosted and tutored experience with Rilka Warbanoff
Three course meal included
Adelaide Hills wines
Rilka's Real Food Apron
Signed copy of Rilka's Feasts Recipe Book
Rilka's Feasts recipe book is available for sale through the website if you need to grab a few more copies for your friends. Be sure to keep a look out for her next recipe book which will be coming out in about a month for more great gluten free and sugar free recipes.
As well as cooking classes, Rilka along with her partner Barry also prepare delicious gluten free products such as pies, cakes and breads in their on-site commercial kitchen. These products are available for sale at selected Foodland stores, so keep an eye out during your next grocery run.
After a day of honing your culinary skills, you'll be ready to take home Rilka's book to try a few more recipes for yourself.
For more information check out Rilka's Real Food website. All of Rilka's scheduled cooking classes can be booked through Eventbrite or get in touch by email to arrange your own cooking class at firstname.lastname@example.org. Gift vouchers make a great gift for a loved one and are also available. Rilka is happy to arrange one on one sessions for those who have been recently diagnosed with gluten intolerance, who may feel intimidated in large groups or who need help learning all there is to know about gluten free cooking. This can also include a shopping trip to help you find the right ingredients and the most economical brands available. Please contact Rilka for more information.
Look out for Rilka's school on the main road at Hahndorf, right next to Udder Delights.
On-street parking is available close by, we recommend parking on Hereford Avenue if you can. When you arrive, head down the driveway behind the main house and you'll see the main entrance to the barn and cooking school.
Head down the driveway, around the back to the cooking school entrance.
We give Rilka's Real Food Cooking Classes 5/5 Wanders for providing a fun and insightful glimpse into gluten free cooking. This is something that we had not experienced before but will take with us through our future culinary adventures.
Where 1 Wander isn't worth getting off the couch for and 5 Wanders should leave a trail of dust in your wake: it's that good.