A couple of weeks ago I was invited to join up with some other bloggers for an evening of pizza making at the wonderful La Cucina Caldesi in Marylebone, courtesy of personalised gifting website “I Just Love It“. This sounded just up my street as not only being a novice blogger, I’m also very much a novice cook and now trying to find my way in the world of food with a recent gluten intolerance diagnosis.
The team from I Just Love It were so helpful when I made enquiries about whether it would be possible to participate with a gluten allergy and I was assured it wouldn’t be a problem but really, at the end of the day, being greeted at the door with a glass of Prosecco makes me happy no matter what (so easily pleased, as long as there’s alcohol involved).
After a chit-chat amongst ourselves, a glass or two of the bubbly stuff and what looked like some amazing Focaccia, it was time to put our eager skills to the test. Stefano kindly explained the basics to us, demonstrating how the pre-made dough balls reached the perfect consistency to be whipped into pizza-base shape before showing us how to use the high-temperature ovens (which I know sounds like nothing but sliding a giant paddle under a wet dough mix and then into an oven and out again without losing it in the process is trickier than it sounds).
The prepared gluten-free dough was much easier to work with than I was expecting and it rolled out beautifully into a thin, crispy rustic-looking base. The difference between this and the regular pizza bases is that once rolled out it required baking first prior to adding toppings, returning to the oven for a second burst. I opted for a tomato base with peppers, incredible buffalo mozarella, some chilli oil and topping it off with fresh rocket and homemade pesto.
I have chosen this as my entry for the Firelabel best dressed dish competition.
It’s rare for me to jump up and down about my infrequent cooking endeavours, there’s never anything to write home about but I was so impressed with how authentic the pizza looked and it tasted amazing, plus huge portion sizes so there was plenty left over for my hungover state at the weekend.
It was such a fun evening which has genuinely encouraged me to be more adventurous with my cooking and the personalised gifts on offer from I Just Love It were gorgeous. The shelves at the back of the kitchen had a beautiful display of gifts available via their website and all looked so high quality – I’ve sometimes been a bit put off by personalised gifts when they’re not done well but I Just Love It were impressive across the board. Here’s my new pizza plate, personalised with my blog name and my pretty tasting spoon.
I’ve got the cooking bug now and will see what else can be rustled up, and if you find yourself in Marylebone then pop over to La Cucina Caldesi for a cookery masterclass. Thank you to I Just Love It for inviting me on this experience and Luke Carey Photography for capturing some amazing photos of the night including the one at the top of this post. All other images my own.