Sophie’s Cookery School Website Has Moved


Sophie’s Cookery School is a pop-up cookery school, led by Sophie Grigson. This was the cookery school's website for several years.
Content is from the site's 2013-2016 archived pages.

The current website for Sophie’s Cookery School is found at where you can find the most up to date information.


Welcome to Sophie’s Pop-up Cookery School

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Our nomadic style gives us the freedom to offer an exceptionally wide variety of courses, from basic pasta making to constructing glamorous gateaux with our experienced tutors.

We all cook together (hands-on is our middle name), then we sit down to taste the fruits of our work, washed down by a glass of wine. Our style is informal, enjoyable, enthusiastic and full of delight in the pleasures of the home kitchen. 

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Our classes pop-up regularly in venues across Oxford. You can find the full schedule on the Classes & Booking page. Most classes last for around 2 1/2 to 3 hours, and are suitable for anyone, from beginner to confident cook. We provide all the ingredients and equipment so you just need to come and enjoy the lesson!

We've got bread baking, pie baking, Korma cooking, sauce simmering, sausage making, lemongrass loving and general finger-lickin' goodness all coming up soon.


Absolutely wonderful evening last night! Thank you so much for all the preparation – the flavours were astonishing! People were so pleased at the results and getting to cook together… can’t say enough about the whole event. You were all very patient with us, handled our funny group very well with continual directions… and you all had such great attitudes. Excellent menu selection, fun times, fresh ingredients, professional instructions, cool location, SWEET people. What more can I say?? This has set the bar extremely high for future company Christmas events.


"I really enjoyed the class on Friday. I think I may be becoming a groupie! You both manage to appear super casual and informal while still being very professional and organised. It's quite a balancing act. As with the last course, as if by magic, everything comes together at the end and not only looks amazing but tastes really good and the company is good too."
Another happy customer!




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November 6, 2013


Believe it or not I have never been to a cookery school. That’s quite an achievement for someone who writes about food and loves eating. Considering all of this, I was delighted to be invited to Sophie’s Cookery School, popping up at Jacobs Inn. However, my cooking ignorance also extended to not actually knowing who Sophie was. So, without knowing too much, but always remaining enthusiastic, off I headed to Jacobs Inn to cook outside.

We were to be using organic produce courtesy of Riverford Farm, and Jake from Riverford was on hand to talk us through all of the ingredients we were to be using. Our venue for the evening was the outside cooking area at Jacobs Inn, including their magnificent wood burning pizza oven. Tools, Venue and Teachers sorted, we were all set, and with a lovely mug of mulled cider courtesy of Jacobs Inn, enough to warm the heart of a novice chef like me, off we went.

Initially, half of me wanted to stand, observe and learn, but the other half of me was urged to get stuck in and chop, stir and just generally have a go at everything we were to be doing. I was gently cajoled in to stepping out of my comfort zone and into a place where working with fresh, vibrant ingredients, with a dash of love (and a glass of mulled cider!) is commonplace to prepare the ingredients for the following menu:

Lisbon-style Chestnuts with Red Wine and Fennel

Chicken, Chickpea and Spring Green Stew

Roast Cauliflower with Date Syrup and Tahini

Turkish Candied Squash

Pizza  – potato pizza

The highlight for me was the roasted cauliflower, prepared in some salt and olive oil and cooked in the wonderful Jacobs Inn outside pizza oven. Accompanying this was the date syrup and tahini. This was a wonderful dipping sauce to accompany the brocolli and this for me was the star of the show. It wasn’t the hardest thing that we cooked all evening, but boy was it the most rewarding. Why should complex dishes be the most rewarding? I am far (miles) from being a top chef, so any quick win tips like this show me that cooking simply can be very, very rewarding.

The potato pizza was a first for me having never prepared anything like it before, but using the Jacobs Inn pizza oven meant this was destined to go well. The result was simple excellence, marscapone cheese and anchovies, on top of thinly sliced potato on a brilliant dough cooked to perfection in the fire.

The Candied Squash was also an eye opener for me. I was given the (extremely) important task of stirring the mixture of chopped squashes with enough force to keep them going but with enough love to stop them crumbling, a position of great responsibility as the evening’s pudding fortunes depended on me (or so I liked to think!). For a while, as I stirred away, part of me was thinking this would make a fantastic savoury course. I didn’t have time to ponder for long, as we served up and up popped Sophie to add some finishing touches, including clotted cream, to turn this in to a winter warming desert. Again, simplicity in a dish, but one touch of magic from our teacher and it was transported into a dish of class.

Finally, we had the chicken dish. Jake from Riverford talked us through the differences between their chickens and those of the supermarket, and whilst price plays a big part, flavour is the key here. I am not a huge chicken eater, but Sophie took us through how to joint the chicken and then this was cooked to perfection providing yet another hearty dish in the form of a stew.


More important than all of the food was Sophie Grigson and her support staff. As you may have noted earlier, my ignorance extended to not knowing who Sophie was. Sophie’s teaching style is very relaxed, informal, but educational and with just enough direction to get you to where you need to be without feeling like you are being dictated to, and she knows how to cook, and some, which leaves you feeling confident and informed. It’s now fair to say I know know who she is! Her business partner, Emma Collen, was also on hand to ensure we all had everything we needed in terms of tools and information, ensuring that this was a relaxed, hands on and fun evening. Sophie and Emma form an excellent team and it is not hard to see why their events have received rave reveiws. Once you hade chopped, learned, prepared, cooked, tasted and served the dishes you then get the chance to sample the fruits of your labour. It struck me that on arrival everyone was a little sheepish, but ten minutes in the ice was well and truly broken when we were split into teams and herded into getting on with the task in hand. By the end of the evening I felt like I had made friends for the future, and enjoyed great food with them to boot. It goes without saying that Jacobs Inn, as always I must add, came up trumps with owner Johnny on hand to give us some tips on making pizza, provide us with mulled cider and just generally ensure we had everything we needed whilst also getting involved and making sure the evening went as well as it could.

All in all, I felt like I learned about, experienced and enjoyed cooking with Sophie and the rest of her team. I would recommend this for novice chefs all the way through to experienced chefs because there is something for everyone here. For those of you interested, get in touch with Sophie and her team via the website here: – get cooking!


Out & About: Cooking up a GRATE night out at Sophie Grigson’s cookery school

5:00pm Thursday 17th October 2013

By Marc West in the Guide, The Oxford Mail  – Cooking up a GRATE night out

I’ve spent most of my years so far being quite frankly a hopeless cook.  But last week I got well and truly bitten by the culinary bug.

I’d never made fresh pasta from scratch before, but my goodness what a sense of satisfaction – let alone the freshness.

If I’m honest, I was hoping to hide somewhere near the back of the class, but Sophie’s Cookery School is all about getting well and truly stuck in and not being afraid at having a go for yourself – believe me, the reward is well worth it.

For their first birthday celebration at Will’s Deli in Jericho, Sophie and her team – assisted by a well-lubricated bunch of their closet friends – served up an array of delightful dishes in homage to their best creations from the last highly successful 12 months popping up around the city.

“It’s all getting a bit grown-up now,” said Sophie. “We just ran a few little courses to begin with, but we’ve had such nice customers (who just want to keep coming back) that we’re expanding, honing it and looking for a permanent base, so watch this space!”

It’s obvious that Sophie loves passing on her knowledge of food and cooking. Her springboard was a youthful enthusiasm for making fudge in a teaspoon over a Baby Belling somewhere in the back streets of Oxford. She’s come a long way since then, having written about 20 cookery books spreading the pleasure that creating great meals brings.

Her courses are friendly and informal with everyone sharing the work – chopping, peeling and stirring – but, thankfully, not the washing up! When the dishes are ready, there’s a chance to sit down and enjoy the fruits of your labour… with a glass of wine or two.

If you too fancy rolling up your sleeves, donning an apron and picking up your wooden spoon, there are plenty more opportunities coming up at Oxford’s only pop-up cookery school. You can learn to make bread, try your hand at the art of Pakistani cooking or forage on a farm before taking the ingredients home to cook up a hearty treat for all the family. Most classes last two to three hours and are suitable for anyone – from a total beginner (like me) to the most confident of cooks (my mum).

In the Oxford Mail Thursday 22nd August 2013

Nibbles: Sophie Grigson’s cookery school, cheese awards and news from The Chester

3:25pm Thursday 22nd August 2013 in Nibbles – Food Briefs By Katherine MacAlister, covering theatre and food. Call me on 01865 425366

Tasty news from Oxfordshire’s foodie front line

  • Sophie Grigson is holding a pasta course on Friday, August 30, in her new pop-up Cookery School teaching you how to master the art of making perfect pasta. Start by making your own pasta dough and then create beautiful dishes such as potato, goat’s cheese and rosemary tortellini with saffron cream sauce, stained glass tagliatelle with figs and chilli or the basic classic tomato sauce that can be adapted into several other sauces including the tangy puttanesca sauce. Finish the evening by sampling all the dishes you have created with a glass of wine.

The class costs £60 and is held at Teddy Edwards Kitchen Showroom, Woodstock Road Oxford, OX2 6HJ. See sophiescookery

Get Cooking with Sophie Grigson

Put on your apron and pick up your wooden spoon. Sophie’s Cookery School is run by celebrated cook Sophie Grigson and offers one-off evening courses in venues in and around Oxford.

Courses generally run from 6-9pm and there are a range to choose from. You can learn to make bread, or about the art of Pakistani cooking; or choose a course that focuses just on soups, or another where you pick your own ingredients on a farm before using them.

There are also survival courses in cooking aimed at children and school leavers – a brilliant idea. The list of courses grows organically with new courses regularly being added. Other talented chefs are often brought in to share their expertise.

Courses can take up to about eight people, and are friendly and informal. Everyone shares the work – chopping, peeling, stirring – but, joyfully, not the washing up. (Sophie Grigson’s teenage son very helpfully did this). When the dishes are ready, there’s a chance to sit down and taste them with a glass of wine.

Where are they? Courses are held at a variety of venues around Oxford, including Will’s Deli on the Woodstock Road and Jacobs and Field in Headington.

“I took a course on a Friday evening that focused on Neopolitan cooking,” said a friend. “We cooked four dishes, including a fish dish, a pasta dish and a custard pudding. I’m not the world’s most confident cook, but I came away raving about a dish for a zuccini salad. I did it the very next night and it went down a storm. I also learned a few small tricks that make life in the kitchen much easier – how to chop garlic and onion more efficiently and the easiest way to stone olives. I’ll definitely keep an eye on future courses and do another one when I can find time.”

Sophie Grigson’s Cookery School

by Silvana de Soissons•29th December 2012

Author of twenty food and recipe books, television presenter and cookery teacher, Sophie Grigson has recently set up a pop-up cookery school which organises courses in and around Oxford. After a career spanning thirty years it seemed she had abandoned the limelight, but in fact Sophie has been quietly working away at what she enjoys doing most: teaching others how to cook with confidence.

In the Woodstock Road Delicatessen she explained her reasoning behind the cookery school, which meets at Worton Organic Garden Café and The Vaults in Oxford as well as Will’s Café.

The pop-up idea came to me when I realised just how prohibitive the costs are for opening a cookery school in and around Oxford. The great advantage of a pop-up is that you are using “dead time” in the evenings when the premises are not being used and you can bring people together for a few hours when they are not at work. We can afford to experiment with different courses and repeat the ones which are the most popular, it gives us a much greater degree of flexibility.”

Sophie has teamed up with Emma Collen, a fellow Oxford foodie who previously worked at La Cucina Caldesi Cookery School in London and was head of front-of-house for Jamie’s Italian restaurant in Oxford. Together they have created a schedule which focuses on hands-on, home cooking with recipes, menus and ideas from all over the world, inviting specialist cookery teachers to share their expertise in Italian, Indian, Japanese, French and Middle Eastern cuisine as well as baking, patisserie, pasta making, butchery, sausage making and preserving.

Courses are scheduled between 6/6.30pm and 9/9.30pm, cost £50 per head and include eating the prepared food with wine, or taking it home for family and friends. The work stations are laid out before the start of the course and the students work together in small teams, chopping, slicing, mixing, stirring, pouring and frying. The main attraction, of course, is Sophie herself and her relaxed, informal, didactic style.

For me, the cookery courses are all about sharing the knowledge I have gained throughout my cooking career and travels, as well as providing encouragement and inspiration for those who do not feel confident enough to cook a whole family meal or a dinner party from scratch,” she told me. “There is a whole generation of people in Britain who have grown up watching competitive cookery on the television or reading about recipes “with a twist” in magazines. What we really need instead is real cooking, done with generosity and a sharing spirit, with no gimmicks.”

Her mother, Jane Grigson, Britain’s most important food writer of her generation, instilled in her a respect for good ingredients, simple techniques and local traditions and artisans, as well as a curiosity for international food and customs. Despite their scholarly edge, Jane Grigson’s books are still purchased by cooks of all abilities and ages for their thorough research, comforting tone and practical guidance.

Sophie was brought up in Wiltshire and went to the Oxford High School for Girls as a weekly boarder, returning home to Broad Town, north of Marlborough, at weekends and holidays. She remembers her parents entertaining endlessly, the cooking and preparations going on around her all the time. She studied for a degree in Mathematics at the University of Manchester, and it was a subject she enjoyed excelling at.

I come from a very literary family, both my parents were writers, but I found maths, patterns and numbers really intellectually stimulating. It was a subject I could do, it was my territory and I really enjoyed it. It has not really spilled over into my food writing and cooking career because I never trained as a Home Economist. I am much more intuitive. I use a little bit of this and a little bit of that rather than totally precise measurements.”  

To add to the pop-up events, Sophie’s Cookery School also creates bespoke courses for both corporate parties and private individuals, at their business premises or homes, designed around the needs of small groups of between eight and twelve people. Oxford is the ideal location for this new venture and the creation of this mobile cookery hub is a much needed community offering. I will be writing more about it in the second print edition of The Foodie Bugle, published at the end of April 2013.

In the meantime, to find out more about Sophie’s courses, you can visit the website at Her Facebook page is: /SophieGrigsonsCookerySchool


A big thank you for the Lemongrass, Lime and Chilli class last Sunday. A superb evening, relaxed, informal, educational and fun. Will definitely be back.


More Testimonials

I recommend this to anyone who is looking for something different for themselves or as a present, believe me it was great. I was a bit apprehensive before I left home but I am so pleased I went.
Something different
I was given a couple of vouchers as a Christmas present from my son and his wife. Attended one of the classes on Friday with a friend and we thoroughly enjoyed the evening. It was such a relaxed evening and a great social interaction with a bit of fun and creativity. What a great way to spend an evening!

Gift Voucher


I just wanted to say what a fantastic evening we had. Everyone really enjoyed themselves. I had lots of brownie points, so I felt I should pass them on to you, your team, and of course Sophie.
Harley Davidson , Corporate Event


Everyone at the hen do had the most amazing time learning how to make pasta, (and of course the bellinis!) and you were so efficient at tidying everything away my kitchen and conservatory had never been so spotless! One of my friends has already made pasta for her family (show-off!) and everyone felt inspired by Joss' calm and straightforward teaching.
Hen Party


"I really enjoyed the class on Friday. I think I may be becoming a groupie! You both manage to appear super casual and informal while still being very professional and organised. It's quite a balancing act. As with the last course, as if by magic, everything comes together at the end and not only looks amazing but tastes really good and the company is good too."
Another happy customer!



Hen Parties

As our Hen Parties continue to be a massive success and fueled by such positive comments from the girls – we think we should do more of these!!  So if you would like to organise a hen party then why don’t you get in touch.   We will arrange everything for you to have the perfect evening and if you don’t know Oxford that well we can point you in the right direction for anything you would like to do here.



We will kick start the evening off with a complimentary glass of Prosecco and freshly baked focaccia to aid you through the evening until the food arrives! As you leave you will receive free complimentary recipe packs too – although more and more of you prefer us to email them to you after the event – whichever you prefer we will do!

We have the following options that might help you make a decision for what is best for your party but equally if you know what you want then just let us know! Minimum group size 8 and maximum 20.

Pasta Frenzy!

Our most popular course by far with you hens. Make your own pasta from scratch with the help of Sophie and/or Amelia.  After creating your own tagliatelle and/or ravioli choose from a myriad of sauces to accompany your pasta.  Then you can sit down with a glass or two of wine and enjoy what you have cooked with your friends.

We have lost count of the number of people who leave saying that they will be taking their pasta machine from the back of the cupboard and giving it pride of place somewhere nearer the front. Cost per person £60

Puddings and more

Fast catching up on the popularity stakes due probably to the increasing interest in the Great British Bake-off!  Sophie will guide you effortlessly through making 4 different desserts.  You will find something for everyone on this course.  Decide between (and these are only a few options!) Flambeed Apples in Butterscotch sauce, Torta Caprese, Chocolate Truffles, Caramel Nut Tart, Brown Bread Ice-cream or huge fluffy meringues. Cost per person £65

Italian Islands

Nothing can be more romantic than the Italian Islands and the unique food they produce.  Become an Italian at heart for the night and recreate dishes such as modizzosu – potato focaccia from Sardinia, caponata from Sicily or Ischian Mushroom Salad. Our favourite and that of previous classes Tonno alla stemperata – pan-fried tuna with capers and olives.  Finish off with with a deeply indulgent Torta Caprese – melt in the mouth chocolate and ground almond cake.  Only ideas – we have loads more where that came from – just ask!  An authentic Italian three course meal for £70 per person.

Middle Eastern Magic

This one has been popular with you more experienced cooks out there.  Sumac, date syrup & pomegranate molasses – learn what to do with this exciting ingredients and how to avoid the once-used bottle gathering dust at the back of the cupboard. Learn how to incorporate these into recipes such as giant couscous with clams in a saffron broth, orange grilled chicken with sumac and mint and amardine cream with pistachios and rose petals.  A memorable three course meal for £85 per person.

Chocolate Making 

Got a sweet tooth?! Master the art of chocolate making in one lesson with our own chocolate expert.  She will impart her knowledge on tempering, dipping and moulding.  Learn the art of making the perfect ganache and personalise your own truffles to take away with you. This is not only a fun course but will arm you with the necessary information to make your friends the most delicious and professional looking presents too!   Cost per person £80 (unfortunately good chocolate is expensive…)


Corporate Events


Cooking and eating together is an extraordinarily powerful way to connect people of all sorts, breaking down barriers, building confidence and opening new avenues of communication and understanding.   And we make sure that it is fun, and satisfying in every sense of the word.

Sophie Grigson’s Pop-Up Cookery School is a unique concept, a nomadic cookery school that can come to you, wherever you want to be.   We can run classes in your workplace, in a venue chosen by you, or in one of our own portfolio of venues around Oxford.   Our style is informal, enjoyable, enthusiastic and full of delight in the pleasures of home cooking.    Our courses are very much hands-on, and are suitable for anyone, from beginner to confident cook.   Omnivores, vegetarians and food-excluders are all welcome.

Each course  lasts 2 ½ – 3 1/2 hours, and includes a welcoming glass of Prosecco, 2-2 ½ hours preparing and cooking  a 3 course meal, and then finally the chance to sit down and enjoy the fruits of  your labour.

Choose one of our classic company classes, below, or let us tailor an event to match your  particular requirements  and budget .    Our maximum class size is 20 people.  We provide all ingredients and equipment, as well as clearing and washing-up.


Pasta Power

A course which involves preparing pasta from scratch and creating three different types of pasta –  ravioli, tortellini and stained glass pasta – with simple  sauces to match  – £65 per person, excluding cost of venue and transport

Wok & Roll

Learn how to use a wok to its max, introducing proper stir-frying know-how, cutting and marinating techniques,  and more.   Recipes may include  stir-fried Beef with Basil, Stir-fried Lamb with Sweet Potatoes and Green Beans, Pad Thai, Vietnamese Sweet and Hot Aubergine with Prawns, or even simple stir-fried garlic stems with shitake – £70 per person, excluding cost of venue and transport

Full  English

Rediscover some of the hidden gems of English cookery such as Salmon in Pastry with Ginger and Currants, alongside a watercress, orange and chicory salad, Glamorgan sausages (leeks, breadcrumbs & Caerphilly cheese) with tomato and plum sauce followed by the sublime Lemon Surprise Pudding  or Apple & Sloe Gin Brown Betty with Custard – £75 per person, excluding  cost of venue and transport

Middle Eastern Greats

Concoct an Arabian feast, full of  warm spices and fresh flavours, starting perhaps with spinach and sumac pastries, then moving on to  a silky salade mechouia , a tagine of chicken with olives and preserved lemons, and a syrup drenched orange and almond cake – £75 per person, excluding cost of venue and transport

A Tavola!

Think you know Italian food?   Think again.   On this course we challenge the pesto with everything  image of Italian food, and introduce you to dishes you may not have come across before, but will definitely want to encounter again.   Try  out Agnello Brodettato (lamb casserole thickened with lemon and egg yolks), sciumette (Italian floating islands), caponata (Sicilian relish of sweet sour aubergines and celery)  or Ischian mushroom and pecorino salad.   £75 per person, excluding the cost of venue and transport



Children’s Cooking Parties

Our Cooking Parties make for a fun and memorable birthday or special event for anyone so we’re pleased to announce that we are now offering Children’s Cooking Parties as well!

Parties are roughly 1 ½ hours long and can be arranged for Saturdays or Sundays.

£25 per child.  Party size to be between 5 and 12 children.

We work on the basis of one to eat now and one for later so there’s always something to take home and show off their newly found skills!

Popular themes are Pasta, Narnia with the incredible Sticky Honey Buns, Just Williams Picnic with giant marshmallows or feel free to suggest a theme and we will see what we can do.

We provide all ingredients and equipment and are more than happy to help find a location if we can, we often use The Story Museum in Oxford.  Likewise if you’ve got the venue (large kitchen, village hall, local school or anywhere else with electricity, running water and tables) then we’re happy to turn up to you!

Please contact us through the website if you’d like further details.


Cook Your Own Christmas Party


Unwrap a whole new take on the office Christmas Party.

Book time off work with your colleagues to cook and create your own Christmas meal, guided by Sophie and her festive team (tinsel not compulsory, but it helps), washed down by a glass (or more) of Prosecco.

Each Cook Your Own Christmas Party runs like this:

On arrival you will be greeted with a glass of Prosecco and winter-spiced cheese sables

followed by 1 ½ – 2 hours of communal cooking, working together with Sophie and her team, to create your very own Christmas Feast.

And then time to relax and tuck in to all that gorgeous Christmas food. Crackers and party poppers included.

Cost:   £90 per head

(You are welcome to bring your own beverages or we can arrange drinks for you. Just let us know in advance)



Choose from one of our festive menus, select a venue and we’ll do all the rest:


  • Dishes may include:
  • Potted Turkey Toasts with Candied Kumquats
  • Smoked Salmon with horseradish pea puree on Pumpernickel
  • Roast Sesame Butternut Squash Cubes
  • Spiced sausages with Cranberry & Port Sauce
  • Mince meat Filo Rolls
  • Chocolate and Chestnut Truffles



Dishes may include:

  • Smoked Salmon with Horseradish Cream, and beetroot puree
  • Turkey Ballotine, with Chestnut and Apple Stuffing
  • Vegetarian Options: Wild Mushroom and Thyme Brioche
  • Mince Pies & Flaming Christmas Pudding with Brandy Butter



Dishes may include

  • Tortellini in Brodo
  • Partridge with Cavolo Nero, Grapes & Chestnuts
  • Budino di Natale – Panettone Bread & Butter Pudding



Dishes may include:

  • Julskinka – Christmas Ham
  • Jansson’s Temptation – devastatingly good gratin of potatoes, anchovies and onion baked with cream
  • Kottbullar – Swedish meatballs, served with lingonberry sauce
  • Beetroot Salad
  • Potato and Dill Marinated Herring Salad
  • Cardamom and Almond Tart



Sophie Grigson

Sophie just loves passing on her knowledge of food and cooking, and spreading the pleasure that creating great meals brings. Her springboard was a youthful enthusiasm for making fudge in a teaspoon over a Baby Belling somewhere in the back streets of Oxford. She’s come a long way since then, having written around 20 cookery books, including SPICES, published in 2011 by Quadrille. Her latest TV series is Sophie Grigson in Jordan, for the Travel Channel, but her first venture into television was Eat Your Greens/Grow your Greens (Channel 4), celebrating the joys of vegetables. To this day, she still gets a buzz from a beautiful bunch of fresh beetroot. Her teaching style is fun, down-to-earth and informal. She hates ironing, liquorice and margarine.

Emma Collen

Emma Collen comes with a great pedigree, an infectious energy and an over-flowing allotment. She is a devotee of simple food made with the freshest ingredients and cooked well. Her love affair with food was kick-started by the writings of Elizabeth David and her first trip to Italy where she succumbed to the gastronomic magic of Osteria Bancogiro in Venice. Her first job in the food industry was at the Italian cookery school, La Cucina Caldesi in London, which is where she met Sophie. A few years later she moved to Oxford to help launch Jamie’s Italian, becoming Front of House Manager. Her favourite meal of all time is the Ribollita made for her by Gennaro Contaldo – and who can blame her?


Our French “find” Joss hails from Perigord in the south west of France.  Luckily for us he arrived here in Oxford to work at Gees and then on to Gatineau in Summertown making the most delicious croissants!   Previously in France he trained as a chef and worked for various restaurants there and in London. Whilst working here in Oxford he decided to retrain and now works for the University as a gardener!    We managed to persuade him to come back and teach courses with us – so lots of regional cusine and fabulous patisserie courses will follow, as well as a popular teacher at our hen parties!


Ursula Ferrigno is a talented cook and a prolific food writer with a deep love of Italian food. She is half-Italian and learned to cook as a child by assisting her grandmother preparing the traditional family dishes. She returns regularly to Italy, to visit family and to teach cookery.

She writes for numerous food magazines including Taste Italia, American Gourmet, Olive and Good Food, RSJ Restaurant, Books for Cooks, Caldesi and pertimenti. Ursula is also a passionate baker. She teaches both professionals and amateurs to make an array of national and regional breads from ciabatta and focaccia to volcanic stromboli.


Hello. My name is Momo. I’m a mother of two who is passionate about home-made, Japanese cooking. I come from a small village in Japan where everything moves very slowly, where everyone knows everybody else and everyone else’s business, and where everyone seems to grow their own vegetables!

I grew up eating seasonal vegetables donated to my father’s temple, and they were cooked beautifully by my mother (an experimental cook) and grandmother (a traditional cook) who is now 98 years old! They are the ones who taught me how to cook and present food.

I love what food brings to families – conversation, laughter, debate etc. It’s the place where a family gets together, which has always been a big part of my life.

All my products, where possible are locally sourced, organic, free range and environmentally friendly.


Amelia first came to Oxford as a student of Italian Renaissance Literature.  While her academic days may be behind her, she couldn’t resist the lure of staying in Jericho.  After getting her Cordon Bleu diploma at Tante Marie Cookery School, Amelia spent a couple of years in gastropub kitchens but soon decided it would be more fun to teach cookery instead.  She teamed up with Sophie’s Cookery School in March 2013 and has been loving popping up with them all over the place!  Amelia is particularly keen on coming up with recipes to work around dietary restrictions and is looking forward to teaching a class on dairy and gluten free recipes.  Amelia also does private catering, from canapé parties to college events tying food to the topic of graduate presentations. Her favourite moment with Sophie’s Cookery School so far has to be the evening that they popped up in her living room


Food is such a wonderful way to people’s hearts, and I love both food and people, so following on from many years of entertaining guests, requests for recipes, being asked to cook for various events, teaching small groups how to cook Indian food, and being inspired by the beautiful unspoilt surrounding of Herefordshire, I thought maybe this could be something I can do for a business. So having two very distinct elements here, a peaceful and traditional English farmhouse setting and authentic and mouth-watering Indian food, put them together and you get “Rayeesa’s Indian Kitchen”.

I love food and like most passionate cooks I learnt everything I know from my wonderful mother. (She is from Hyderabad in India.) Hyderabad is known for its wonderful aromatic and excellent cuisine, the food of the “Raj”. This is predominately the type of food I was exposed to and enjoyed as a child. My mother in my opinion is “the best cook ever”. Despite the numerous cookery books on my shelf I always go back to the methods and techniques she taught me all those years ago, and now so can you!


Sumayya Jamil is a freelance cookery teaching and food writer specialising in Pakistani cuisine and culture. She based in London but travel frequently for guest chef positions in various cookery schools across the country. Her mission is to highlight the differences of Pakistani cuisine from other South Asian ones. Growing up in Pakistan to a family of accomplished home cooks, she is a self-taught cook and her passion is to share her country’s distinct and haunting flavours with an already spice loving country.

Sumayya also teaches at pertimenti Cookery School London, Rachel Demuth’s Vegetarian Cookery School, Bath and also holds her own group and private classes in London. She have written for well known publications such the The Foodie Bugle, Delicious, Vegetarian Living and Crumbs magazine and has been featured in Good Housekeeping UK. Additionally she has also worked with and been published in Madhur Jaffrey’s Curry Nation cookbook. Sumayya is also a member of the Guild of Food Writers and is currently working on her memoir based cookery book on Pakistani cuisine.

Thank you so much – I absolutely loved last night and I am inspired to do more!


Summer Pasta Recipes

June 25, 2014
by Sophie




All ingredients should be at room temperature.


Enough for 3 hungry people or 4 more restrained eaters as a main course, or 6-8 people as a starter.

  • 300g pasta flour

  • 3 large eggs

  • loads of extra flour for rolling


Tip the flour onto your work surface in a mound.  Make a well in the centre, plumbing right down to the work surface and pushing the ‘walls’ of flour out.  Break in the eggs.  Whisk the eggs together lightly with a fork, then gradually draw in flour from the inside of the ‘well’ until the eggs have taken in all that they can easily contain.  Now go at it with your hands, working the flour and egg mixture into a soft barely sticky dough – you may need a little more flour.  Knead the dough until is smooth and even.  Roll it back into a ball, wrap in clingfilm and set aside at room temperature for a good 20 minutes.

Clean your hands, the work-surface and the rest while the dough rests.   Get out 3 trays (or large baking sheets) and line each one with a clean tea towel.   Dust each tea towel with flour to prevent the finished pasta from sticking.  Now go back and unwrap the dough.  Divide the dough into 3 pieces if rolling by hand, or 4 if using a pasta machine.   Wrap each piece individually in clingfilm.

Take the first piece, flatten slightly and dust with flour.   If using a pasta machine, follow the manufacturer’s instructions, being sure to dust the pasta with flour (and shaking off the excess) between each rolling.  I find that for most purposes it is enough to take the pasta down to the penultimate setting – the final one makes for very thin pasta which is more inclined to clump as it cooks, and has a less pleasing, somewhat insubstantial texture.

If you are rolling by hand, dust the work-surface liberally with flour, then roll the dough out as thin as you can, then roll a little bit more, regularly dusting the dough with flour to prevent it sticking to rolling pin or work-surface.

Cut the pasta into whatever shapes you fancy, then lay the pieces on the floured tea towels, dusting with more flour to prevent pieces sticking to one another.   If not using immediately, leave out covered with more teatowels – fridge storage and clingfilm make for sticky dough.  The prepared pasta can also be frozen.






  • Loads of  really ripe, sweet tomatoes

  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed

  • finely chopped red onion

  • Basil, roughly torn up

  • Extra virgin olive oil

  • Salt and pepper


To serve:

  • freshly grated parmesan

To make the sauce,  chop the tomatoes fairly finely.  Mix with the remaining sauce ingredients, adding a good slug or two of olive oil   Stir, then chill until needed.



Ravioli with Ricotta, Mint and Lemon




Serves 4-6

  • 1 quantity pasta dough

  • Filling:

  • 250g ricotta

  • 100g freshly grated Parmesan

  • finely grated zest 2 lemons

  • a big handful of mint leaves, finely chopped

  • freshly grated nutmeg

  • a little salt and plenty of pepper

To serve:

  • 4-6 courgettes, depending on size

  • a splash of olive oil

  • 100g butter

  • a  handful of mint leaves

  • juice of 1/2 lemon

  • a little grated Parmesan

  • freshly ground black pepper


Beat all the filling ingredients together thoroughly.  Taste and adjust seasoning, making it fairly punchy, but not too salty.  Trim the asparagus, shave finely, then blanch for about 30 seconds in boiling salted water.   Drain and plunge into iced water to set the colour.

Divide the dough into 4 pieces.  Wrap 3 of them in clingfilm.  Take the remaining portion of dough and roll out as thinly as possible, by hand or by machine.   Place scant teaspoons of the filling at regular 5 cm intervals over half of the dough.   Fold the other half over the filling and press down between the mounds of filling to seal the two layers of dough together.   Using an old-fashioned pastry cutter or a pizza wheel (or a knife), cut between the mounds to make square ravioli.   Place on flour-dusted tea towels and repeat the whole process with the remaining portions of dough.


For the sauce, begin by cutting the courgettes into 1 1/2 cm dice.   Pile into a colander, sprinkle with salt, turn to coat nicely then leave to drain for at least 30 minutes and up to an hour.   Pat dry.   Heat the olive oil with about a third of the butter in a wide pan until the butter foams.   Add the courgettes and and fry until golden brown.   Take off the heat and set aside until needed.

To cook the ravioli, bring a wide pan of salted water up to the boil.   Add the ravioli and cook for 2-3 minutes until tender.  Drain and pile into a serving bowl.   Stir mint leaves and lemon juice into the buttery courgettes and pour over the ravioli.   Turn carefully and serve at once, with extra parmesan for those who need it.


Croute aux Prunes

April 15, 2014
by Sophie

Sophie’s recipes for Oakleigh Fairs – Spring/Summer 2014

Croutes aux Prunes
From Elizabeth David’s French Country Cooking



For each person cut 1 or 2 slices of new bread into slices, half an inch thick, leaving on the crust. Butter them on one side and on this side put 5 or 6 half raw plums, stoned, pressing them down and into the bread with a knife; put a little butter and brown sugar into each half plum, and put the slices into a generously buttered fireproof dish, plum side up; put them into a moderate oven (Regulo 4) near the top, with a piece of buttered paper over them, and in about 30 minutes the bread will be golden and crisp and the plums cooked with a coating of sugary syrup on top.
Apricots, or thickly sliced peaches or nectarines can be cooked in the same way with good results.

Gnocchi with mushroom & sage ragout

April 15, 2014
by Sophie

Sophie’s recipes for Oakleigh Fairs- Spring/Summer 2014

Gnocchi with Mushroom and Sage Ragout
Serves 4-6

For the gnocchi:

  • 1.5 kg (3 1/2 lbs) floury potatoes, boiled in their skins

  • 1 egg

  • 250g (9 oz) sifted plain flour, plus extra for trays

  • salt, pepper and freshly ground nutmeg

For the ragout:

  • 11g (1/2 oz) dried porcini mushrooms

  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped

  • 1 onion, chopped

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil

  • 225g (8 oz) button or chestnut mushrooms, cleaned and quartered

  • 6 large sage leaves, shredded

  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

  • 1 tin chopped tomatoes

  • 1 tablespoon caster sugar

  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree

  • salt and pepper

To finish:

  • freshly grated Parmesan

For the gnocchi, peel the potatoes while still hot, then rub through a ricer, a mouli-legumes or a sieve while warm. Weigh out 1 kilogramme (2 lb 4 oz) of the purée. Make a well in the centre and add all the remaining ingredients. Work all of them together thoroughly to make a soft, warm dough. Cover with a tea towel.

Flour three baking trays generously. Break off tennis ball sized knobs of the dough and roll out to form long sausages about the thickness of your thumb. Cut into 2.5 cms (1 inch) pieces. Take a fork, and hold it with the tip of the tines down on the work surface, their outer curve facing upwards. With the tip of the finger, lightly press a piece of the dough against the tines, right at the bottom. Now in one swift movement, roll and flip the dough up and off the fork, so that one side is ridged from the tines, while the other has an indentation from the tip of your finger. You don’t need to take the piece of dough far up the tines – we’re talking just enough to imprint the ridges on one side only. As you make them, spread the gnocchi out on the floured trays. Once made, cover with a clean tea towel until needed.

Now for the ragout. Begin by soaking the porcini in warm water for half an hour. Pick out of the water and chop roughly. Let the soaking liquid to settle until needed.

Fry the onion gently in the oil until tender, then add the garlic and sage. Fry for a further minute or two. Now add the chopped mushrooms and the porcini. Fry together, over a high heat, until the mushrooms are tender. Pour in the tomatoes, add the tomato puree, sugar, parsley, salt and pepper. Carefully pour in the mushroom soaking liquid, leaving the grit behind at the bottom of the bowl. Now simmer everything together gently for half an hour, adding a dash more water if the sauce threatens to catch. Taste and adjust seasoning.

Put a large pan of salted water on to boil. When it is at a rolling boil, carefully drop the gnocchi into the water, not too many at a time. When they bob back to the surface, check one to make sure it is cooked, then quickly lift the rest out with a perforated spoon. Toss the gnocchi with the hot ragout and serve with freshly grated Parmesan.


Pad Thai

August 28, 2013
by RbDa_studio
Comments are off

Sophie’s recipes for Oakleigh Fairs – Spring/Summer 2014

Pad Thai
serves 2-3

  • 250g (9 oz) dried medium rice noodles

  • 4 tablespoons sunflower or vegetable oil

  • 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1/2 teaspoon chilli flakes

  • 3-4 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 1/2  tablespoons caster sugar

  • juice 1-2 limes

  • 110g (4 oz) small peeled cooked prawns

  • 85g (3 oz) beansprouts

  • 4 spring onions, sliced

  • 4 tablespoons roasted unsalted peanuts, finely chopped

  • small handful of roughly chopped coriander



Prepare the noodles according to packet instructions, and drain thoroughly.

Heat the wok until it begins to smoke.   Add the oil, swirl briefly to heat through, then add the garlic, and half the spring onions.  As soon as the garlic begins to brown, add the egg and cook for a few seconds until it begins to set.

Add the noodles and stir well, scraping down the sides and underneath so that they mix evenly with the egg. Now add the remaining ingredients in the order they are given (except coriander), stir-frying the noodles briefly between each addition – it’s easier to turn and toss them with a pair of forks, than with the spatula.   When you get to the peanuts, add just half of them to the pan.  Toss and stir fry everything together for another 30 seconds or so.

Divide the noodles between 2 or 3 bowls or plates and top each portion with some of the remaining peanuts and spring onions and the coriander.

Patatas bravas with alioli

August 28, 2013
by RbDa_studio
Comments are off

Sophie’s recipes for Oakleigh Fairs – Spring/Summer 2014

Patatas Bravas/Alioli

Serves 4

  • 2 medium-large potatoes (around 550g (1lb 4 oz)), peeled and cut into 1 1/2 cm (3/4 inch) cubes

  • extra virgin olive oil

  • a little chopped parsley, to serve

  • salt


Alicia’s Patatas Bravas Sauce:

  • 5 tablespons olive oil

  • 1 tablespoon tomato puree

  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

  • 1 teaspoon hot smoky Spanish paprika (or at a pinch, 1 teaspoon mild paprika and a few drops of hot chilli sauce)

To make the sauce, mix all the ingredients together.

Either sauté the potatoes, or roast them in the oven. To roast, preheat the oven to 200C/400F/Gas Mark 6. Toss the potato cubes with 3 tablespoons olive oil and some coarse salt. Spread out in a single layer in a baking tray, and bake for about 30-40 minutes until cooked through to a soft centre, but crisp on the outside.

To saute, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a wide frying pan over a moderately high heat. Add the potatoes, and saute, keeping them moving most of the time, for about 15 minutes, until crisp on the outside, tender on the inside. Drain briefly on kitchen paper.

Serve the potatoes as soon as they have been cooked: pile them onto a warm serving dish, then spoon about half of whichever sauce you’ve made sauce over them. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley and perch a pot of cocktail sticks on the side of the dish, so that people can spear chunks of potato, bathed in prickly hot tomato sauce.




  • 3-5 cloves garlic, crushed

  • 1 whole egg

  • 1 tablespoons very hot water

  • 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice

  • 250 ml rapeseed or sunflower oil

  • 50 ml extra virgin olive oil

  • salt

Whizz garlic and egg together in the processor or liquidiser. With the motor still running add the hot water, then the lemon juice, and salt. Trickle in the rapeseed or sunflower oil, and then the olive oil. Taste and adjust seasoning, adding more salt or lemon as needed. Serve with roast potato cubes.

Torta Caprese

August 28, 2013
by RbDa_studio
Comments are off

Sophie’s recipes for Oakleigh Fairs – Spring/Summer 2014

Torta Caprese

Serves 8-10 (at a pinch)

  • 200g (7 oz) dark chocolate

  • 250g (9 oz) ground almonds

  • 4 eggs

  • 170g (6 oz) caster sugar

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence

  • 200g (7 oz) butter, melted and cooled until tepid

  • icing sugar


To serve:

  • raspberries

  • icing sugar

  • vanilla mascarpone (see below)



Line the base of a 24 cm (9 1/2 inch) cake tin with non-stick baking parchment and grease the sides. Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4.

Process the chocolate until finely chopped, but still retaining a little texture. If you don’t have a processor, chop the chocolate finely with a large knife. Beat the eggs with the sugar and vanilla essence until the mixture is pale and thickened a little. Fold in the chocolate and almonds and the butter. Spoon into the prepared cake tin, and bake for about 50-60 minutes, until just firm to the touch. Leave to cool in the mould, then turn out. Dust the surface with icing sugar before serving.

Serve wedges of the cake with raspberries and a spoonful of vanilla mascarpone

To make VANILLA MASCARPONE, beat mascarpone with vanilla extract and icing sugar to taste. Go easy on the sugar – all you want is enough to support the vanilla, but not too much as the cake is already sweet enough.