Last month I joined 25 other bloggers at L’Atelier des Chefs to take part in a Christmas event, inspired by the Great British Bake Off and run by Currys PC World, to make a Gingerbread House… Or for some of us at least how to not make a Gingerbread House. Arriving at the venue in St Pauls we were greeted with cheese and mulled wine before the chef explained what we would be doing and talked us through the NEFF Slide & Hide Oven we would be using.
Used on The Great British Bake Off, they are the only ovens with a door that slides away under the oven cavity, giving you better visibility of what’s cooking and better control of how it cooks. The control comes in part from NEFF’s patented fan technology, CircoTherm® which is designed to heat food quicker whilst distributing the heat evenly, saving time and providing the best conditions for baking. Essentially the oven that ever blogger at the event is now aspiring for in their kitchen!
We were separated into three teams of eight and due to Charli’s social anxiety we were lucky enough to be in the same team, along with other friends Vicky and Lucy. We were provided with trays of premade gingerbread dough and stencils to cut out the assembly pieces of our gingerbread houses, and stencils for little gingerbread characters to decorate alongside.
As well as working on the Gingerbread Houses we were tasked with making canapes, so we split the team into a canape team and a gingerbread team. I worked on the gingerbread, cutting and baking whilst some of the girls put together vegetarian canapes using fresh tomatoes and pesto for extra flavour.
After baking the Gingerbread, it was time to decorate and assemble, we had a range of decorations including a chocolate button roof (applied whilst the gingerbread was still warm, so no application was needed) and bright coloured icing. Why go for festive snow illusions when you can have a neon explosion.
And talking of explosions after tentatively assembling our, some may say rustic opposed to my title of Crack Den, house it held up for a few moments with an excited cheer being heard from our group as everyone gathered round to see if it would stand. Followed swiftly by the roof cracking and caving in and finally the walls buckling under the weight.
Despite having a house in pieces, we actually came second in the judging as they based the results on team work and team spirit and we definitely had bundles of that. We were given NEFF aprons and oven gloves to take home, which was perfectly timed as mine had pretty much lost all of their heat protection.
If like me you are not the most skilled person in the kitchen L’Atelier des Chefs hold cookery classes ranging from 30 minutes to 3-hour sessions where you can learn all sorts of skills like pasta making, baking and knife skills, or make specific cuisines like Moroccan, Japanese, Mexican and so many more. Classes start from as low as £15 and the full list of available classes can be found here.