Tom and Katie Gullick’s house was built six years ago on perhaps the only hill in the middle of these plains, a five-acre plot called India Alta. In typical Spanish Cortijo style, it is set around a courtyard and has II bedrooms for cookery course guests. The house also has a large sitting room, DINING ROOM IDEAS BETTER HOMES which doubles as a dining room, and a kitchen and breakfast room that were designed by Katie, herself a cordon bleu cook. Thick walls, shutters, tiled floors and heavy wooden doors keep the interior cool. A long, shaded terrace where lunch is served every day is another refuge from the intense heat. But once outside there is no escape from the gleaming white light that bounces off the dry plains and the poppy fields. Each day begins with a leisurely breakfast, made all the better by knowing that Berit is preparing the next demonstration. Berit, who was bom in Sweden, has developed an eclectic collection of recipes that use Spanish, Middle Eastern and Italian flavours. She has written two books, Picnics and Canapes (Little, Brown, £6-99 each), and contributed to many magazines, so she is a great source of advice. Her classes are often sidetracked with discussions about the best garlic crusher and where to find rosewater.