Ottolenghi cooking course (and how to make seafood stew)

My Ottolenghi obsession has reached new heights and so on the weekend I attended a cooking course at Leiths hosted by Sami Tamimi, one half of the Ottolenghi duo. Regular readers will be well aware of what a fan I am of Ottolenghi’s cafe and cookbook so I was a little star struck to meet Sami in person and even got him to sign my copy of the book. Sami told me that he and Yotam Ottolenghi are planning a new cookbook (yay) but it won’t be finished for another year (boo). The book will feature lots of aubergine recipes because apparently that is what Ottolenghi’s customers are really into at the moment. When I told Sami that I had posted copies of the Ottolenghi book to friends in Australia he explained that there wasn’t sufficient interest in overseas publication as in the USA they are not interested because there is no TV show that goes with it. USA you are missing out.
The clams once they had opened up
As for the course itself, it has to be one of the best cooking courses I have done (and I have done a few!) We worked our way through five recipes during the course of the morning and then proceeded to consume a huge feast of our cooking along with a glass of wine. The Leiths set up is very professional and hands on so rather than just watching demonstrations you cook the entire recipe yourself along with a partner. Sami strolled around the room giving tips and helping out and there were also plenty of Leiths staff on hand to assist. Cooking is so much easier when someone has assembled all the ingredients for you and whisks away your dirty bowls as soon as you have finished using them.
The star recipe was for a seafood stew of prawns, scallops and clams. I have adapted the recipe below.
Simmering the sauce ingredients
150ml white wine
550g clams
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
400g peeled and chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
1 lemon
200g tiger prawns, peeled and de-veined
150g large scallops, cleaned
70g fetta, crumbled
2 spring onions finely sliced
Salt and pepper to season
The finished stew
1. Preheat the oven to 220C.
2. Rinse the clams and check the clams to see if any have holes in them, if they do, discard them.
3. Place the wine in a saucepan on a high heat and reduce to one quarter. Add the clams, cover with a lid and cook, shaking occasionally for two minutes or until the clams open. Transfer to a fine sieve to drain and keep the cooking juices.
4. Once the clams have cooled down remove the clams from their shells, discarding any which have not opened. Keep a few in their shells to finish the dish.
5. Fry the garlic in oil for one minute or until golden overa medium heat. Add the tomatoes, clam liquid (avoiding any grit), sugar, oregano and season with salt and pepper.
6. Shave off two strips of lemon skin and add them and simmer gently on a low heat for about 20 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
7. Add the prawns and scallops, stir gently and cook for a minute or two. Transfer to a small ovenproof dish. Crumble the fetta over the top and sprinkle with the spring onion. Garnish with the clams in their shells.
8. Bake in the oven for 3-5 minutes or until the top colours a little and the prawns and scallops are just cooked.
9. Serve with a drizzle of lemon juice.
Serves two.
Details: Leiths runs courses by Sami or Ottam a couple of times a year, there is always a waiting list so get in quick. Leiths is located at 16-20 Wendell Road, London W12 9RT (Ph 020 8749 6400)
Damage: Budget breaking at £140 for a morning class
If you liked reading this you might be interested in my review of Ottolenghi’s cafe in Islington or in this recipe for fresh berry tartlets inspired by the Ottolenghi cookbook.


  1. Their new book is due out later this month – do you mean their 3rd book?

    Great to go on a cooking course with them, I’m never as adventurous as this at home.

  2. Gourmet Chick…I love ottolenghi! since i have moved out of london I have missed it so so so much! good for you for doing the course, i am tres jealous! 🙂

  3. I too love Ottolenghi and have been lusting after the cookbook for a while – I think I’ll just give in and buy it now. That sounds like a fantastic course, and that fish stew looks sooo yummy. Well done you!

  4. I bet this course would be amazing! I only wish I could get a seat at their gorgeous cafes more easily.

  5. What a fantastic course – love Ottolenghi’s food! But yes, as you say, oof, what a price to match!

  6. How wonderful. I am ottolenghi mad too. Just did a post on their restaurant. I’ve wanted to get into these leiths courses but it seems like they are always booked. Any tips?
    Have pre-purchased their newest book on amazon. Cant wait to get it.
    *kisses* HH

  7. Sarah – I think the book coming out next month is just by Yotam – the next Ottolenghi (with both Sami and Yottam) book won’t be for another year

    Victoria – It was fab

    Skirmish of Wit – It is one of my favourite cook books worth the investment

    Greedy Diva – I know the seats are hard to get

    Su-Lin – I got given it as a birthday present by my parents so I was pretty lucky

    Heavenly House wife – they are bringing out a new Ottolenghi course in the next day or two so try ringing them to get in straight away

  8. I have their book on shelve with the meaning to use it but time flies.. I will use it.. soon!

  9. I too am obsessed.
    I sent the book to my mum in Australia too and she LOVES it.

  10. Mathilde – you will love it

    Lex – I was trying to convince Sami it would be a big hit in Australia but he was not convinced – all those amazing salad recipes go so well with Aussie BBQs!

  11. Thank you so much for this recipe! A fabulous friend lives in London & sent me the Ottolenghi cookbook; I can’t wait to visit the restaurant for myself (I love in Sydney, so it really isn’t that handy for brunch).

    So many of my friends adore the cookbook: there would certainly be a strong ‘international’ market here in Oz!

  12. Miss A – I agree every friend I have sent it to in Australia loves it – the style of food really suits the Australian lifestyle.

  13. aah, bring on the ottolenghi love! I must admit, i’m smitten. their upper street restaurant is just down the road from me so i take every opportunity to go there. so jealous you got to go on the cookery course!

  14. Hi there, I enjoy reading all of your post.
    I wanted to write a little comment to support you.

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