REVIEW: Sophie’s Cookery School Class at Jericho Cheese Company
A few weeks ago, I was invited along to Sophie Grigson’s first cookery class at the Jericho Cheese Company on Little Clarendon Street. I was promised an evening of cheese focused recipes, tastings and cooking!
I hadn’t attended a cookery class before and was heading there on my own so I was bit nervous about what to expect. However, as many who know me can testify, I’m a big cheese fan so any excuse…
I was first to arrive (very unusual for me!) at Adam’s gorgeous cheese shop and was greeted by the wonderful aroma of delicious cheese, a beautiful table full of food and flowers and a welcoming smile from Sophie and her team. After seven other people arrived we ready to get stuck in! Armed with aprons we started with Gnocchi alla Romana with Stichelton and Spinach and worked off any cheese to come by tackling an enormous pot of volcanic semolina. Sophie was enthusiastic throughout and making mistakes was certainly no problem. Some were avid home chefs, others might not have known their curds from their whey. What I loved was that rather than all prepping a dish separately, we were split into two groups and made the dish together – everyone had a part to play and it was a great way to get comfortable with people quickly.
After all prepping potatoes for the Aligot, we went into the shop get the lowdown on the cheese we were using that evening. Adam had prepared for us super little tasting trays and talked us through the reason why he set up shop; he used to work for Neal’s Yard Dairy and quit the London life on his search for what to do next. The creation of the Rollright cheese (which is SO delicious) by his husband David, prompted The Jericho Cheese Company.
Adam then told us the stories and inspiration behind the cheeses and gave us a top tip for cheese storage – wrap them in waxed paper, nestled next to a lettuce, and do not store them in a plastic container… (who knew!). I took far too many notes in this section that if I went through them this post would be 5 times as long. I strongly suggest a trip to the shop to have a chat with Adam all about different cheeses!
Heading back to the kitchen we finished off the cheese laden Aligot, which is effectively half and half melted cheese and mash potato (yum!), and got the gnocchi in the oven. All that was left was to de-stone the local Harwell cherries and infuse the Wild Honey honey for dessert with fennel and orange (see the recipe below).
The next part had to be my favourite of the evening; the table was cleared and places set ready to eat! Now sitting down with a table of strangers may fill some with dread but Sophie and her team made it feel like you’d known these people for ages. We nattered about people’s backgrounds, how people found out about the class and, of course, the abundance of scrumptious food and good wine.
If you’ve not taken a cookery class before, or have been tempted to and not picked up the courage, I strongly recommend giving Sophie’s classes a go. I had a great night and I have my eye on some future classes already…
I’d love to know if you have been to a cookery class before? How did you find it? Have you attended one of Sophie’s classes?
To get you in the mood for some cheesy goodness, Sophie has kindly let us share a super easy recipe from the evening.
Sinodun Hill Goats Cheese with Harwell Cherries and Orange Fennel Honey
250g goats cheese or 1 young Sinodun Hill Goats Cheese (from Jericho Cheese Company)
300g Cherries, stoned
For the Honey:
½ teaspoon fennel seeds, roughly crushed
Finely grated zest of 1 orange
1. Warm the honey, fennel seeds and orange zest gently for 5-10 minutes without letting it boil. Allow to cool.
2. Cut the rinds off the cheese and then cut into six slices.
3. Make a bed of cherries on each plate, lay goats’ cheese on the top then drizzle with warm honey.
4. Serve up and tuck in!