Cookery Lessons

Private sessions

Spend a fun session cooking one-to-one with Laura in your own kitchen, or in her home kitchen in Hildersham, Cambridgeshire — or at your event venue. Lessons are tailored for you, and Laura provides all ingredients and specialist equipment.

The goal is to have fun, learn a lot and be inspired. Lessons are tailored for you to match your interests and experience levels.  

I can also work with you to set up a cookery session for your group, and can make suggestions to suit a range of experience levels and interests.

Private workshops have recently included:  Dobosh Torte Workshop; Healthy Eating (Fish); Healthy Eating (Salads);  Healthy Eating (Chicken).  Other hands-on workshop ideas include:  baking and decorating your favourite cake; homemade pasta and sauces; great braises; summer fruit desserts; cooking with herbs and edible flowers;  recreating a menu from literature; dinner party cooking ahead; and children’s pizza, cookie and cupcake workshops. I also do classes focussed on imaginative Scandinavian, French, Italian, traditional English, and California themes.

Classes can be a full day, or 2-3 hours, depending on what you want to cover.  Students bring home their creations and either eat some of what is prepared on the day, or enjoy a lunch prepared by Laura.

As well as private lessons, Laura in 2015 and 2016 taught some exciting hands-on cookery classes at Baythorne Hall Cookery School, in the scenic area of Halstead, Essex, five minutes’ drive from Stoke-near-Clare in Suffolk. Designed by Laura using some of her most treasured recipes and useful techniques for the home cook, these fun and imaginative courses aimed to inspire, inform and delight.  These all-day and evening classes includes all recipes, generous tips and a delicious lunch or tasting of the dishes we cooked; and students brought home something special that they made.

Courses for 2016 included fish, shellfish, three pastry workshops, and casual entertaining French bistro style.  For more information on each class, including the day’s full menu, please follow the links below to the Baythorne Hall web page.

LauraDonohueFishwCukeFish Fundamentals

Saturday 21st May 2016 

This all-day hands-on class will give you the skills to prepare fish confidently and cook it to perfection.  I will teach a variety of versatile oven and stovetop methods that can be adapted for many types of fish, to ensure moistness and flavour. The class also covers exciting sauces that will dress up any week night fish supper or make a special occasion meal. Dishes include: red mullet or gurnard with beurre blanc and grilled cucumber; oven-baked bass or bream on a bed of potato and tomato with herb and olive tapenade; plaice meuniere; and a salmon curry gratin that students bring home.


Tamarind, chili, fresh coriander and lime make these prawns with mint and watercress pretty irresitible to those partial to shellfish.  They can serve as a bright, fresh summer starter or part of a buffet table. [Food made and photographed by Laura Donohue, Cottage Garden Cookery]

Shellfish Cookery

Saturday 11th June 2016 

This full-day hands-on class will give you the knowledge and confidence to buy shellfish, store it safely, prepare it for cooking, and cook it to perfection using techniques and exciting recipes you can use again and again as you expand your seafood repertoire. Dishes include: tamarind prawns with sweetcorn and coriander-lime salsa verde; individual crab terrine with avocado; spaghetti con vongole; and an indulgent lobster tail thermidor to take home.


cheat's aubergine parmesanHealthy Eating: Great Meatless Meals

Saturday 30th July 2016 

This all-day hands-on class offers a selection of outstanding dishes for days when you want something delicious, quick, wholesome and meat-free. Whether you are a meat-eater looking for satisfying ways to eat less meat, or you need inspiration to cook for vegetarians, or whether you are a committed vegetarian looking for new ideas, this class will give you some keepers that you can use again and again to make part of a healthy diet.  All are straightforward dishes you can put together with a few easily available ingredients. Dishes include: Chicory boats with beetroot and walnut paté; stuffed winter squash with tomatoes, onions and Camembert; 20-minute aubergine parmesan; courgette fritters; and fennel and tomato tart with tapenade dressing, to take home.

lemon curd tart tea tablePastry Skills, Class 1: Tarts, Sweet and Savoury

Thursday, 1st September 2016 

This is one of three evening classes on the classic techniques of pastry, where the focus is on mastering a range of techniques that will equip you to create some spectacular sweet and savoury creations.  This class teaches you the principles of that most fundamental and versatile pastry, the short crust pastry: the foundation for pies and tarts we know and love, and for a world of others you’ll want to explore and invent. You will make two of the most useful types of short crust pastry and create a pair of masterpieces to bring home:  indulgent savoury crab tartlets with a savoury herb and cheese crust; and a beautiful tart au citron – the classic lemon tart that endures as one of the most irresistible pastry desserts in the classical pastry canon.

Pastry Skills, Class 2: Choux pastry

Thursday, 8th September 2016 

This is one of three evening classes on the classic techniques of pastry, where the focus is on mastering a range of techniques that will equip you to create some spectacular sweet and savoury creations.  In this class you will master the magic of éclairs, cream puffs and profiteroles, learning how to shape these wonders of gastronomy, and making two fillings – a crème mousseline  (a lighter crème patissière) and a chantilly pralinée  (lightly whipped cream with caramelised nuts), as well as a delicious chocolate sauce.  You will taste the difference with these homemade creations.

Pastry Skills, Class 3: Puff pastry

Thursday, 15 September 2016 

This is one of three evening classes on the classic techniques of pastry, where the focus is on mastering a range of techniques that will equip you to create some spectacular sweet and savoury creations. This class demos how to make this super-light and flaky pastry from scratch, and gives you time to make two wonderful creations to take home, using good ready-made all-butter puff pastry: fabulous tomato, herb and prosciutto tartlets; and a fresh plum tart: two absolute showstoppers you can vary endlessly.

Duck legCasual entertaining, French bistro style

Saturday, 15th October 2016 

This all-day hands-on class will give you some ideas for easy entertaining around a French-inspired menu of delicious foods that people really enjoy getting together to eat.  Convivial, colourful and comforting, these are inspired do-ahead dishes that leave you time to enjoy your own party.  Practical tips on freezing, storing and prepping like a pro will be covered so you can apply that knowledge to constructing other easy entertaining menus as well as today’s feast. We’ll also look at wines, constructing a cheese board, and a few extra touches that make your party that bit more special without the need for heroics. Menu includes: green bean, roasted beetroot, walnut and soft cheese salad; duck legs braised in red wine with nasturtium; potato and celeriac gratin; and to finish, the famous Chez Panisse caramelised almond tart, which students will take home.

Previous classes included:

Pictures of Laura’s private classes and ideas, below:

Click on pictures for more


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