Katherine MacAlister sings for her supper – or at least helps cook it – when she samples the exotic wares of a new cookery class

The first cookery class of Emma Collen’s brand spanking new company Jericho Kitchen featured Vegetarian Street Food, a hard sell you might think but not when headed up by Madhy Tavakkoly of the Hayfield Road Deli, Oxford.

Hailing from Iran, his Middle Eastern food is second to none and yet its simple make-up means that it’s easier to make than say a cordon bleu dinner, relying on traditional recipes and top-notch ingredients rather than essential cooking skills, luckily for us.

Because although Madhy is a stalwart in the kitchen, the motley collection of pupils gathered in Warborough on a Sunday night had an enormously varying degree of skills and ages.

In fact a more diverse group, one couldn’t have imagined – from me the journo, to a city councillor, a mother and her young daughter, an Indian chef, a teenage girl and her dad and a housekeeper, all making for a fascinating night.

All spaced around the large open plan kitchen, the ingredients were laid out on the large wooden dining table and we all gathered around the massive kitchen unit to watch Madhy talking and demonstrating his way through an extensive menu, helping with the sous cheffing along the way; chopping, mixing, peeling and cooking the various exotic ingredients which slowly transformed in front of our very eyes.

Middle Eastern cooking is incredibly trendy at the moment, so a canny choice for Emma to kick off with and it was wonderful learning how to put together what is essentially a tapas style feast.

Slowly but surely, as dish after dish was completed and placed on the table, our feast emerged.

Because part of the lure of the Jericho Kitchen’s cookery classes is that when we had finished several hours later, the guests/pupils, all get to sit down together, and try out the feast they have just helped create.

This included flatbreads, Koko Sabzi (like a Middle Eastern tortilla), a warm mango and chickpea salad, some falafel whose mix needed a day to settle before we were allowed to make them at home, spinach, feta and cinnamon pastries and a wonderfully rich Mirza Ghassemi, which was a take on the more well known baba ganoush – a smokey aubergine dip, all of which work beautifully together as we gorged on our creations.

The price includes the class, dinner with wine and a goodie bag to take home after of everything we tried and tasted, so that we were then able to go home and show off what we had achieved.

And with a fantastic and colourful programme planned which includes Mumbai street food, a Persian dinner party, bread and gnocchi with Ursula Ferrigno, barbecuing, Indian pulses and dahls and Tamarind summers, you will be spoiled for choice.

My class set me back just £50 which for an education into such a special and easy to make cuisine was invaluable.

Go to www.jerichokitchen.co.uk/our_classes/ for more details