Latest Posts

Contemporary African Cookery Classes Now in London

Join me in my kitchen for a culinary adventure as I share my secrets to cooking vibrant and sumptuous feasts with seasonal produce inspired by cuisine from Africa and beyond.

Inspired by rich African culture and vibrancy, my recipes are celebratory and reflective of our modern eating ways and produce. I am passionate about seasonal cooking as a way to eat better, using the best of the season, supporting local produce and also to keep being inspired to eat more greens, fruits and vegetables.

See the vibrant menu below including most requested recipes from my recipes, supper clubs and pop-ups; such as non-sticky and flavourful JOLLOF RICE stuffed in peppers, SUYA SPICES for delightful appetizers, PLANTAIN PIES and more.

My contemporary African cookery classes will suit a host of people with all diets, from lovers of African food to curious cooks and adventurous cooks, to those who will love to learn to adapt traditional African foods and recipes into daily feasts for family, friends or parties. In true African spirit, we will enjoy all the wonderfully cooked food together on one feasting table.

You can also cook along with videos on my YouTube channel. I hope to be able to squeeze more time to film and produce more videos.
Our February class is almost fully booked, more dates to follow. I am excited to see you all in the kitchen, sharing African warmth as one, through food.

Lots of love!

Lerato x

FEBRUARY – ‘VEGAN AFRICAN’ – Sunday, 11th February 2018
Venue: London Cooking Project, 1 Ethelburga St, London SW11 4AG
My cookery class is very hands-on, as we peel, chop and cook together. After cooking, you will sit to enjoy your meal.
Included is the use of apron, all cooking equipment, ingredients and recipes of the day, and your sumptuous cooking to enjoy.
Limited spaces are available for each class to ensure a bespoke lesson so it’s a good idea to book early before they sell out. Write to me if you will like to join us and chose your preferred date. Once booked please send any dietary requirements. You can also book online as seen below:
Write to:
Private, Corporate Events & Gifts
My cookery classes and events are a special treat and can make for the perfect presents. You can book a single cookery class for yourself, as a gift for friends, family or for a group.
To book a private African Cookery Class, write to me stating your prefered date, number of people and requirements. A voucher can be provided for your gift purchase.


Lerato London Cookery Class Blog Poster

Date: Sunday, 11th February 2018.

Time: 2pm – 6pm

Price: £65 per person 





See terms and conditions here:


2018 Cookery Class Dates

Location: London (London Cooking Project, Battersea)

FEBRUARY – ‘VEGAN AFRICAN’ – Sunday, 11th February 2018




Write to me if you will like to join us and chose your preferred date.

Classes also available in Sussex. Click here for more.

Comfort & Joy, This Christmas…

As you tuck into your festive feasts and toast to a wonderful season, we wish you comfort and joy. Find happiness in the little things this Christmas, and always.

Thank you for a fabulous year of food and friendship.

Merry Christmas and a joyous new year to you all.

Thurston & Lerato

See you at my meat-free VEGANUARY COOKERY CLASSES in Sussex and London in January 2018. See more here to book online  or contact me for more details:

For unique and delicious recipes to try this festive season, see my recipes for

NEW VIDEO: Hibiscus Champagne Cocktail,

Lemon & Onion Roast Chicken / Yassa Poulet Roast

Moroccan Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps


Hibiscus & Clementine Champagne Cocktail / Zobo Cocktail

Watch how I made this on my youtube channel

With crimson-hued petals and measured tartness that perks up your palate, hibiscus flowers are as seductive to me as my favourite Chanel rouge noir lipstick. Hibiscus cocktails never fail to fill guests at my dinner parties with intrigue and I never tire of serving them with various accompaniments like zesty fruits, berries, and herbs, champagne, wine or spirits.

I am particularly obsessed with clementines and when in season I eat, drink and cook the hell out of them in drinks, salads, and desserts. At my Christmas party at the Groucho Club, we served a Hibiscus cocktail with elderflower, vodka and hibiscus syrup created by the club to match my poached clementine dessert. At my Christmas parties at home, I am adding clementines to my hibiscus cocktail for a zesty zing.

Hibiscus Clementines with Chocolate & Gold

Hibiscus Clementines with Chocolate & Gold

A popular brew across Africa, in Nigeria, they are typically drunk as a tisane, or as a refreshing drink called ‘Zobo’, brewed with fresh ginger for a spicy hit. What do you call it in your country?

 In England, I know I am incredibly lucky to have access to great produce, spices, herbs and such flowers. If you cannot find whole dried hibiscus flowers, use the ready-made teas. Dried hibiscus flowers are readily available in Nigeria in the markets of big cities and in rural areas. It is a delightful drink enjoyed by all. In England and other parts of the world, you can buy ready-made hibiscus teas in supermarkets and organic health shops, they also come in syrups in glass jars. This recipe is also great with chocolate, berries like blueberries and blackberries to replace the hibiscus.

Hibiscus & Clementine Cocktail

My preferred method of brewing hibiscus flowers is to bring the pot to the boil and then take it off the heat, leaving it to steep. Think about it like tea, you wouldn’t boil tea, otherwise, the tea leaves would burn, thus producing a bitter brew. Treat these flowers delicately and you will be rewarded with a fabulously festive drink.

Hibiscus & Clementine Champagne Cocktail / Zobo Champagne

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Brewing time: 15 mins – 12 hours (overnight) 


1 tbsp grated ginger

1 cinnamon stick

2 star anise

A handful + 1/2 dried whole hibiscus flowers

1.5 ltr water

zest of 1 lemon + whole lemon, sliced

Juice of 1 lemon

Juice of 5 clementines

1 clementine, sliced for garnishing

1 lemon, sliced for garnishing

5 tbsp sugar, or preferred sweetener, to taste

Champagne or white wine


  1. Into a large pot, add all your spices and aromatics, water, hibiscus flowers, lemon, clementine juices and zest.
  2. Place on low heat and slowly bring to the boil. Once the liquid starts to boil, take it off the heat and leave to steep. The longer it steeps,  the stronger the colour and flavour of the drink.
  3. Strain using a fine mesh colander. Discard the aromatics and fruits.
  4. Add five tablespoons of sugar or your preferred sweetener to your taste.
  5. Pour into a jug garnished with slices of clementine and lemon and keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or if drinking immediately, add ice to cool.
  6. Enjoy alone, or mix with your choice of drinks like elderflower or, and champagne, vodka, white or red wine for a unique alcoholic or non-alcoholic drink to jazz up your party any time of the year!


Cin Cin! Like the Italians say!

Check out my youtube channel, LERATO LOVES FOOD for more recipes. I have just launched the channel and I hope to share lots more videos.

If you enjoyed this recipe, like and share with the world. I love reading from you and sharing recipe photos, so do share yours on twitter @leratotomato or Instagram @lerato_tomato
Remember to use the hashtag #leratolovesfood so I can find your posts.

Happy Christmas with lots of love and hibiscus kisses from me to you!


Lemon & Onion Roast Chicken / Yassa Poulet Roast. An African inspired roast for Christmas.

This Christmas I am serving four roasts with chicken, beef, butternut squash and seafood. You don’t have to be complicated like me, but I hope to inspire you to add a taste of Africa to your feast.

My chicken roast is a combination of some of Thurston’s favourites; chicken and roasted onions. For a unique roast that can easily become a family favourite, try my Lemon & Onion Roast Chicken inspired by the Senegalese Yassa Poulet.

Lemon & OnionRoast Chicken / Yassa Poulet

Lemon & OnionRoast Chicken / Yassa Poulet

Yassa Poulet is the all singing Senegalese dish with pieces of chicken stewed amongst sweet caramelised onions, sharp mustard, and tangy lemons, creating such rich flavours that only time and patience can achieve. This recipe is a wonderful marriage of Senegalese and French cuisine and reminiscent of sauce a l’oignon.

A bed of onions and shallots for the bird.

A bed of onions and shallots for the bird.

The large amount of onions used is the key to a moist and flavourful roast and a rich sauce. I decided to marinate my onions overnight to give it time to break down in the acids of lemon and cider vinegar, before adding the whole chicken to marinate for 4 hours. I am not a fan of marinating chicken in acidic fluids for longer than four hours because acids tenderise meats and if overdone you risk turning your chicken into a tough sack.

Although Yassa Poulet is typically cooked with peanut oil which is very flavourful, I have used sunflower oil because of my allergies. Any vegetable oil will do. I have adapted the recipe to suit a roast, and instead of caramelising the onions first, they create a bed for the bird to roast on, and rich drippings for a sauce or gravy.

29cm oval Le Creuset cast iron casserole

29cm oval Le Creuset cast iron casserole; a treat from my favourite cooking brand

I was lucky to be sent some treats from the new Marine collection from Le Creuset. The first of my Christmas presents this year. I have been a very good girl!
The oval cast iron casserole was the perfect tool for my roast. Nothing stuck to the bottom, the entire roast was moist and cooked to perfection. Basting the chicken two or three times throughout the roasting process is the secret to cooking a moist roast but with my Le Creuset casserole I didn’t need to, as the moisture transported to the top of the lid traveled back down onto the roast.

Once cooked, I placed the chicken on a serving dish to rest while I finished off the sauce and gravy in the same casserole.
Anything for reduced washing up and I’m all in. Le Creuset is such a dream!

Lemon and onion chicken roast

Pro chef tip: Grill for 15 minutes opened for crispy skin

We haven’t gone through Christmas yet and I am already yearning for naughty leftovers, many of which this dish will serve to be exquisitely useful. Healthy lettuce wraps, a late night sandwich, a quick salad with chicory and roasted nuts or mini pies with fluffy mashed potatoes on top. This is a roast that just keeps on giving.

Try it this Christmas!

Lemon & Onion Roast Chicken / Yassa Poulet Roast


Preparation time: 4 – 12 hours; Cooking time: 1hr 45 minutes
Feeds 4-6 people


For the marinade
2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 medium scotch bonnet, pierced or finely minced
4 tbsp. of vegetable oil, peanut oil, sunflower or rapeseed
1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
4 tbsp. lemon juice
4 tbsp. cider vinegar
6 cloves of grated garlic,
2 tbsp. grated ginger
1 tsp. paprika
2 tsp. cayenne pepper
2 tsp. black pepper
1 bay leaf
1 tbsp. fresh thyme
3 tsp. salt

For the roasted chicken and onions
1.5 kg free range & corn fed whole chicken (use what you wish)
Fresh herbs to stuff the chicken, 3 thyme sprigs, 2 rosemary, 1 bay leaf, 1 sage
1 whole lemon, sliced into two, skin pricked with a fork
2 tbsp. vegetable oil
3 carrots, washed and halved
100ml water
6 chili peppers

For the gravy
4 – 5 heaped tbsp. roasted onions, carrots and drippings
200ml stock or a diluted cube mixed with warm water
100ml single cream
Salt or to taste
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Mis-en-place! Prepare all the ingredients ready for the marinade. Lay the sliced onions, shallots and pierced or minced scotch bonnet in a non-reactive roasting dish such as glass, ceramic or a Dutch oven like I did with my oval Le Creuset cast iron casserole.
2. Mix the remaining ingredients for the marinade in a separate container.
Add half of the mixture to the onions and mix well. Cover your casserole with the lid or wrap your roasting dish tightly with cling film and keep overnight in the refrigerator, or at least for four hours. The longer the onions are left to marinate the sweeter they will become. Reserve the remaining half of the marinade for the chicken.

3. If your chicken is frozen be sure to defrost it properly before roasting in order to achieve an evenly cooked roast. Brush the reserved marinade onto the outer layers and into the cavity of the chicken and then stuff with the lemon halves and fresh herbs. Drizzle 2 tablespoons of oil onto the chicken and place on top of the marinated onions. Cover with your casserole lid of wrap tightly in clingfilm and keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours.

4. To roast, preheat oven to 200C/180C fan.
Take your marinated onions and chicken out of the fridge, take the lid off or remove cling film if used. Add the whole chili peppers and chopped carrots to the marinated onions. Pour 100ml of water around the sides of the roast. Roast covered using your casserole lid or foil at 200C/180C fan for 1 hour and 25 minutes. A larger bird will require more time. Increase your roasting time by 30 minutes for every 500g.

5. For restaurant-style crispy skin, turn on the grill for the final 15 minutes and grill the roast unopened. Make sure your chicken is well cooked by using a thermometer to check for 75C – 80C or by pushing a skewer through the thickest part of the thigh. The juices will run clear when ready.
6. Once cooked, remove from the oven, and using two wooden spoons or lifting forks, carefully remove the chicken along with some roasted onions and carrots. Place on a serving plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
7. Place your Dutch oven on medium heat or transfer the remaining onions, carrots and all drippings into a pot. Cook for 5 minutes before adding 200 ml of stock. Cook for 10 minutes to reduce the sauce and then add 200 ml of single cream. Stir and cook for another 5 minutes or until lightly thickened. Add a pinch or two of salt if needed and freshly ground pepper. Black pepper makes everything magical.
8. If using a glass jug or an immersion hand blender, you can blend immediately, if using a plastic jug, leave the sauce to cool down slightly before blending into a silky smooth gravy.

9. Carve your roast and serve with your favourite accompaniments such as rice, potatoes, plantains, it will even do wonders stuffed in a sandwich or piled onto a salad for Christmas leftovers.

Cook’s tip: This marinade is wonderful for roasted vegetables especially the likes of aubergines, potatoes, and cauliflower that cook well in sauces. Fabulous for fish and if using beef, marinate for 24 hours for tender succulent steaks and fillets.


Check out my youtube channel, LERATO LOVES FOOD for more recipes. I have just launched the channel and I hope to share lots more videos.

If you enjoyed this recipe, like and share to the world. I love reading from you and sharing recipe photos, so do share yours on twitter @leratotomato or Instagram @lerato_tomato
Remember to use the hashtag #leratolovesfood so I can find your posts.

Happy Christmas with lots of love and scotch bonnet kisses from me to you!

An African Festive Feast


So many are, and I cannot imagine what it is like for those without family or friends to share a toast and a roast. We can do a little to change that! 💖

COME ONE COME ALL to our family Christmas Feast. 🥂 As you may or may not know, I host supper clubs and dinner parties where strangers come together and enjoy a feast of vibrant African inspired food as friends. 🥂

For Christmas, I will like to invite those who are alone, those who have no chance of celebrating with Christmas cheer, for a warming roast on Dec 22nd, with African warmth and hospitality in our home on the southern coast in Eastbourne.

Tickets are available here for those who can afford to book tickets. This way we can welcome as many as possible to dine with us. BOOK HERE on WEFIFO.

You can also write to me at to nominate yourself, refer others or of you have booked a place, bring someone in need for a special treat at no cost and we will treat them to a wonderful Christmas lunch! ☃❄🍽🎄🎁🤗

Christmas is very special to many of us, and I cannot think of a better time to share what I and many of you cherish so dearly, good food with friends and family!


Vegan Moroccan Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps


My Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps is just perfect for the season with warming and aromatic spices, and crispy sweet plantains. All lovingly and easily homemade. This is a great recipe to customise with more chilli if you want more heat, and with coconut cream for a lighter and creamier texture. This soup is on my winter cookery class menu, and at my dinner parties, I often serve Pumpkin Pepper Soup, my Nigerian version of this using pepper soup spices. I will share this recipe soon. This is fabulous served as a starter, a soup course or in cute little cups as canapes. Plantain crisps make these a wonderful marriage of North African and West African flavours and I love any excuse to enjoy them as crouton substitutes in salads, soups and in baked goods. The list is endless!

Click here for the recipe for my healthy baked plantain crisps and use it in this soup and in all your other favourites.


Baked Plantain Crisps


Sumptuous blended soup

My secret to enjoying seasonal cooking is using the best of the season. Picking the right produce makes all the difference in your roasts, soups and stews. Like kids in a candy store, Thurston and I went to Sharnfold Farm, a lovely farm and shop in Hailsham, just a few miles from Eastbourne where local produce and seductive pots of condiments are just waiting for food lovers to enjoy.

Pumpkins picked, now let’s get cooking!

Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps

Cooking time: 60 – 70 minutes

Feeds 4 – 5 people


1 – 1.5 kg pumpkin

120 ml olive oil

1tsp cumin

1tsp coriander

1tsp cinnamon

1tsb turmeric

1tsp paprika

1 tsp cinnamon

1 tsp ginger

½ tsp nutmeg

1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped

2 shallots,

4 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced

1 celery stick, chopped

2 carrots, chopped

2 red chilies, destalked and chopped

800 ml vegetable stock, or 1 stock cube dissolved in water

1 tsp fine sea salt

Plantain crisps  (see recipe here)

1 tbsp pumpkin seeds


1. Pre-heat the oven to 200C. Cut off the top and bottom of the pumpkin so that it sits flat on your chopping board. Cut into 4 – 5 wedges, pull apart and scoop out the pulp and seeds using a spoon. Save the seeds and roast later at 180C with olive oil. Since my pumpkin is about 2 kilograms, I’ll use about half, while I peel and chop the rest into cubes and freeze for another delicious recipe. Place your pumpkin wedges in a baking dish or baking tray lined with greaseproof paper, brush the fleshy part with olive oil and turn skin side up to roast. This way the fleshy part of the pumpkin steam cooks without browning excessively. Roast for 40 minutes in the middle of the oven.

2. While the pumpkin is roasting prepare the base for your soup. Chop one onion, three shallots and mince the garlic. I like using both onions and shallots as they have varying flavours and I particularly love shallots for their sweetness. Chop the celery, carrots, red chilies and set aside.

3. Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil, on low heat sweat the onions, shallots, and garlic for 5 minutes. As they turn a light golden hue, add the dry spices but leave out the salt for now. Add the chopped carrots and celery and red chilies, stir and add a splash of water, cover and cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

4. Once the pumpkin is roasted, check for doneness by poking into it with a small knife. If it goes in and out with no resistance, it is cooked. If not cooked through, not to worry, you can finish it off in the pot. Peel and discard the skin of the pumpkin and add the roasted flesh to the pot.

5. Add 800ml of stock and bring to the boil, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Take it off the heat and taste for seasoning. Add a teaspoon of salt if required. I left salt for last because sometimes the salt in the stock is just sufficient. Carefully transfer to a blender or using a hand blender, and whizz until silky smooth. Pour your soup back into the pot and serve to your heart’s delight!

Serve with a final flourish of crumbled plantain crisps and pumpkin seeds. You can roast the seeds from your pumpkins for 15 minutes at 180C or use store-bought seeds which are perfectly alright.

Now tuck into this warm hug in a bowl!

Cook’s tip: Add more chili for a hotter soup and after blending add 200ml coconut cream or for a creamier texture, although this soup is quite creamy already! 

If you enjoyed this recipe, do like and share it with friends and family. I love reading from you and sharing recipe photos, so do share yours along with questions & ideas in the comment section below and on twitter @leratotomato or Instagram @lerato_tomato

Remember to use the hashtag #leratolovesfood so I can find your posts.

Happy cooking! x

Enjoy a Vibrant Contemporary African Feast at Home with my Private Dining Experience



Jollof Quinoa, Salmon with Grains of Paradise, Radish, Red Chicory & Kale Efo

For a special treat this season, book my PRIVATE FESTIVE DINING EXPERIENCE with a 4 Course customised menu including Canapés & Cooking Demonstration for £65pp.

Exclusive vegetarian, vegan and pescatarian menus and options are available at your request.

Please send an email to with your request or fill out the form below and you will be contacted as soon as possible to plan your special treat.

*This package is for a minimum of 10 people. Bookings for a lower number of people can also be discussed.

*Price excludes service charge, any additional hire of crockery, special menu with more courses or entertainment requests. Subject to availability and location.*

Recipe on Youtube: How to make healthy plantain chips

I am yet to meet anyone who does not love plantain crisps or chips! A joy to eat, they are so delicious and are a popular street snack in West Africa. They can be fried or baked and seasoned for both sweet and savoury snacks. Plantains are in the banana family, but they have a much higher starch content and need to be cooked in order to be properly digested.

For this recipe, I used ripe plantains which are yellow and softer than the unripe green variety. These are dehydrated for up to two hours at 100C (fan). Yes, two hours! Low and slow will produce the perfect crispness. Be prepared to use more than one tray for two plantains. Unripe plantains take less time to dehydrate but are not always easy to find or to keep unripe for too long.

Plantain crisps are just wonderful as snacks, as croutons in soups and salads for a lovely sweetness and a light crunch. You can also try this recipe for my Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps, ( coming soon). A hearty seasonal soup that is a hit at my dinner parties.

Let’s get cooking!

Cooking time: 1 – 2 hours

For 0.5l jar


2 large ripe (yellow) plantains 

1 tsp fine sea salt 

Freshly ground black pepper 

1 tsp paprika 


1. Pre-heat your oven to 100C.

2. Cut 1-2cm off both ends of the plantain. Using the tip of your knife, lightly cut into the skin from the top to the bottom. Use your thumb to pull the peel apart and discard.

3. Use a mandolin to cut the plantain into thin rounds or use a knife if, like me, you are terribly old-fashioned.

4. Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper, place the cut plantains onto the tray and bake for 2 hours at 100C. Watch careful every 30 minutes and turn if one side is sufficiently browned. 10 minutes before end of cooking time, crank up the heat to 110C to brown the plantain crisps.

5. Once ready take out of the tray to cool. Season whilst still warm, with sea salt, freshly ground pepper and paprika for extra heat. You can spray a bit of olive oil onto yours before seasoning if you wish.

Cook’s tip: Season your crisps with a variety of spices for a different treat every time. Try nutmeg, cinnamon, and cloves for a Christmassy treat or olive oil, fresh rosemary and thyme for a wonderful herb infusion. 


If you enjoyed this recipe, do like and share it with friends and family. I love reading from you and sharing recipe photos, so do share yours along with questions & ideas in the comment section below and on twitter @leratotomato or Instagram @lerato_tomato

Remember to use the hashtag #leratolovesfood so I can find your posts.

Happy cooking! x

Lerato Loves Food Channel on Youtube

Hurrah! Finally I am so excited to share my new channel on youtube. There will be lots of cooking, eating and sharing African vibrancy with you all.

I hope you enjoy this journey with me as I will not only share recipes but also my relationship with food and what it means to me, Thurston, my husband, family and friends.

In the midst of my work and life running my food company I often forget to eat. Imagine that! Join me on this culinary journey to good health and a wealth of delightful food inspired by my beautiful continent shared with loved ones.

For new recipes each week, subscribe to my channel and click on the bell for instant notifications.


Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup with Plantain Crisps

I’ve got a glowing recipe for Moroccan Spiced Pumpkin Soup and the perfect Plantain Crisps coming up, quite the marriage of some of the best of North and West African cuisine. Don’t miss it!

So exciting!

Happy cooking! x

African Festive Feast with Pumpkins, Plantains & Spices in Brighton & Hove



Thursday, 2nd November 2017

7.30 pm

Address: Old Albion. 110 Church Road, Hove BN3 2EB

Book your tickets on Wefifo by clicking here

Join us this festive season in our private room at the Old Albion in Hove for a pumpkin inspired feast. In true African spirit, we will feast on sharing plates at the center of the table.

Pumpkins are a popular produce in Senegal and a much-loved produce of the autumnal harvest in England. Expect vibrant flavours of autumnal organic and Sussex grown pumpkins, squash, kale and apples with plantains and organic free range lamb cooked in wondrous African spices. It doesn’t get better than getting Sussex grown organic produce delivered from by Fin and Farm, from local farms to my kitchen.

This is a feast for all with sumptuous plant-based dishes enjoyed by our many vegan and vegetarian guests.

There are limited seats available with advanced booking required. Come with family, friends or alone for this wonderful opportunity to meet different people and to experience passion on a plate!

See you at the table.


Never been to a supper club or to my supper club and you will like to know what to expect? Please see press clippings and guest reviews here.

Also read these glowing reviews of my London supper club by celebrity Chef Lorainne Pascale & Brighton supper club by Muddy stilettos.

See more about my events and terms and conditions here 

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