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
2 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
2 tbsp olive oil
400g peeled and chopped tomatoes
1/2 tsp caster sugar
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano
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.
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.