Latest Posts

MAN FOODS with Lerato at Soho House

Lerato Soho House Event listing 1

This Sunday 25th June, I will be hosting the first in a series of talk and taste sessions celebrating all things delicious, and as always with a flourish of African spice.

Soho House theme this June is ‘HIM’ inspiring my talk titled, ‘Man Foods’. We will explore several ideas behind what we think men want to eat, what men eat, and a man’s place or lack of one in the kitchen.

Soho House is quite the charming global private member’s club and it is such a delight to share with members and guests what I love most of all, great food!

I am looking forward to taking over the open plan kitchen and sharing some of my favourite recipes that will help us think about just what we mean by ‘Man food!’

sohohousedean2

Soho House

sohohousedean

If you will like to join us tomorrow or for future events, do subscribe to my website and on my Facebook, Instagram or Twitter, tag a friend you will like to bring along or retweet for a chance to grab two free seats! And if you are a member of Soho House, you can book to attend this event for free.

See you there!

Lerato x

See here for more about my events such as African Summer Roast & supper clubs

 

African Summer Roast featured in Time Out London

“11 non-naff ways to celebrate Father’s Day in London” by TimeOut London 

What a delight it was to wake up to a feature of my monthly African Roast in TimeOut London. The word ‘non-naff’ got me bursting with laughter! Read more about it here: https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/11-non-naff-ways-to-celebrate-fathers-day-in-london

More about my events in London & Brighton.

YOGA BEACH BRUNCH with Eva & Lerato

 

IMG_20170507_204510_333

Roasted Aubergines & Vine Tomatoes with Tumeric, Smoked Paprika

Holywell yoga beach brunch

Holywell Beach in East Sussex

Booking now: June 17th, 9.30am – 11am.

More dates to come 

Coming soon; August 19th – Yoga Brunch in a Yurt.

Join us for an exhilarating day of yoga with a delightful brunch all set on the shores of beautiful Holywell beach on the South Downs in East Sussex.

I am thrilled to be collaborating with my yoga instructor, Eva for a summer of wellness of the mind and body at our Yoga Beach Brunch.

With over ten years experience as a certified yoga instructor, Eva Kristova of the popular Yoga Life in Eastbourne, will lead our yoga session with her usual grace and positivity. After our class, we will enjoy a healthy brunch which I will prepare with lots of love to refresh and replenish with a healthy sweet treat to end a delightful morning.

Holywell Beach also known as Holywell retreat is a quaint beach located on the western end of the Eastbourne promenade. It is a peaceful spot for yoga and is recommended by the Marine Conservation Society in the Good Beach Guide.

I look forward to our class and brunch. This class is suitable for everyone so don’t miss it!

See you on the beach and grab your tickets here: 

https://www.wefifo.com/event/122674450790509/yoga-beach-brunch-with-eva–lerato

 

YOGA BEACH BRUNCH MENU

Grab your yoga mats/picnic blankets and join us for a beautiful spread. You can also bring your favourite treats and superfoods to add to the menu.

REFRESH
with Homemade Hibiscus Flower Mocktail with & Summer Berries

REPLENISH
with Coconut Quinoa, Roasted Aubergines & Plantains, Roasted Cherry Tomatoes

A SWEET TREAT TO FINISH
Chocolate Banana Muffins with Date Purée & Almonds
(Made with fair trade African Cocoa & North African Medjool dates.)

Please state any dietary requirements or allergies and I will do my best to look after your needs. Menu can be changed due to seasonal availability, but will always be healthy and fresh, using the best ingredients.

 

AFRICAN SUMMER FEAST IN LONDON, 18TH JUNE

IMG_20170415_161524_568

7-course sharing plates full of African sunshine and spice at my monthly London Supper Club.

I am so excited its summer and my birthday month this joyous June! From hosting supper clubs to sleepless nights obsessing over the perfect seasonal menu, meticulous planning and finally sharing with you all makes each event a wonderful celebration, one as fulfilling as cutting a giant birthday cake with family and friends!

Our menu is vibrant with jollof quinoa – a delightful nod to the popular West African jollof rice, a trio of roasts with chicken and leg of lamb, sumptuous suya roasted aubergines with vine tomatoes, cooked in a marinade of mangoes and scotch bonnets for our supper club favourites like braised kale, and spiced chocolate with desserts of summer.

At our supper club, I present the menu for the day and share my inspiration behind each dish. We dine together at a long table, sharing food and experiences to the tunes of eclectic African music. There will be live African drums, so come ready to feast as we celebrate summer!

See the full menu below and grab your seats before they sell out! Our supper club will take place in Angel. Full address will be shared with booked guests.

CLICK HERE TO BOOK SECURELY ON PAYPAL

paypal 

OR CLICK HERE TO BOOK ON WEFIFO

wefifo-logo

SUMMER MENU

7 COURSE SHARING PLATES

Our suya roasts have been immensely popular, made with a home-made nomadic spice mix with selim peppers. This summer our mango & scotch bonnet puree is back on the menu and cooked in our trio of roasts. 

Suya Spiced Plantain, Chicory, Mixed Peppers, Red Cabbage, Micro Herbs

Jollof Quinoa cooked in a rich tomato sauce with spices

Roasts with mango and scotch bonnet puree – sweet with teasing heat;

British Spring Leg of Lamb

Free Range Chicken

Roasted Aubergines

Braised Kale, Mixed Peppers & Roasted Shallots

Banana Fritters with Spiced Chocolate Sauce & Summer Berries (using fair trade dark chocolate from West African Cocoa)

Please specify if you are vegan or vegetarian. The menu can be changed due to seasonal availability. A full bar is available to purchase drinks. For more about our supper clubs and future events see the link below. Next date is on Sunday, July 30th.

https://leratolovesfood.com/london-supper-club/

Click here to read more reviews from people & press.

Really good food and great people. Definitely a lovely Sunday afternoon. I strongly recommend it. – Chantal 

“We had the absolute joy of eating Lerato’s food at a Supper club in Brighton – what an experience! The food was absolutely like nothing we’ve ever had before, beautiful ingredients served in creative ways, so flavoursome and filling! A highlight for us was the fact that it was all vegan friendly and any substitutions made were made just as thoughtfully as anyone else’s meal. The vegan chocolate cake pudding was just absolute magic!! Apart from the food being literally one of the best meals we’re ever had, the whole set up was beautiful. Sitting round a table sharing food together, meeting new people and best of all, having the chef herself come and join us in between cooking chatting and telling us about her food, the inspirations etc. Thank you for such a fantastic evening, you’ve inspired us to have a go at making more African inspired food at home! Cant recommend enough xxxx” – Antigone

“Thank you for organising a lovely evening with really tasty food!! I really enjoyed the spices, flavours and great company…Look forward to more dinners!” – Manuela

“A wonderful evening. Great to try a different range of foods and flavours. Lerato and Thurston were so lovely and accommodating – catering to my every vegan need! And with a great bunch of ladies for company what more could I ask for. I look forward to booking on to future events by Lerato as soon as possible!” – Emma

“What a lovely evening! good venue; lovely people and interesting food, just what was needed for a cold November evening…” – Amber

“Fantastic! Thoroughly enjoy last night and it’s good to showcase some African cuisine to non-Africans. Keep up your good work.” – Elizabeth

 

Watch me cooking at GTBANK Food & Drink Fair

It was a spectacular feast in Lagos, Nigeria, where I was invited by GTBank to host a masterclass. This was a special event in its second year, where sme’s and wonderful African and Nigerian made food and drink is celebrated. 

What an honour it was to share my recipes with everyone, especially over five hundred of whom sat in the theatre for my masterclass. It was the perfect season for fresh fruits especially mangoes which starred in my recipe and will star in my menus all summer, as I do love cooking with such wonderful and seasonal fruits.  

with co-chef Brian Malarkey of Top Chef & The Taste 

A host of wonderful Nigerian and international chefs and food personalities like Brian Malarkey, Jehan Powell, Raphael Oduntoye of La Petite Maison on Mayfair, Chef Eros and others hosted masterclasses to the delight of those who got those hot seats!

I cooked steamed fish in green leaves, my African inspired poisson en papillote, with a sweet and spicy mango purée and my ‘skinny’ spinach. I’ll be sharing the complete recipes soon. You will love it especially for a light yet flavourful summer feast. In the meantime enjoy my little video. 

Click here to watch my cooking masterclass on Ndani TV https://youtu.be/D_CYSEl9gTQ

Quinoa Jollof for The Guardian

Nutty & sumptuous, this recipe using wonderful quinoa instead of rice as commonly used in Jollof Rice is a true delight. This is one of my absolute favourites, eaten as a salad with mixed leaves, with a roast or as a vegetable stuffing. A great substitute is couscous or fonio, but couscous is much lighter and absorbs liquids in a different way. Whatever you can do or eat with rice, you certainly can with quinoa. You just might prefer it!

See the recipe in my Guardian ng column and do share how you get on.

https://guardian.ng/features/food-and-drinks/leratos-jollof-quinoa-for-easter/

I also shared this recipe with spiced broccoli, cod baked with grains of paradise in an interview with the BBC.

Listen here:

wp-image-338807051jpg.jpgwp-image-326749903jpg.jpgimg_1487419665811.jpg

IMG_20170415_161524_568

wp-image-1760884088jpg.jpg

 

Cooking on the BBC

Listen to my interview, sharing African delights live on the BBC

Mark Carter of BBC Sussex & BBC Surrey feasting on Jollof Quinoa, Cod with Grains of Paradise & Suya Spice Roasted Broccoli

I was invited as a guest on the Fell Good Friday show on BBC Sussex & Surrey. I cooked and fed the presenter who made me feel most welcome, making it one of the most fun interviews I have had. He said this was the first time they had someone representing African food as it is still regarded as ‘new’. African food is far from being new, it is not widely understood and appreciated, and I hope to feed as many people to seduce them with its rich history and wonder. From influencing food and culture in the Carribean, Brazil and as far as United States of America, African food is at the helm of a lot of modern civilization. 

It feels strange listening to this now, as I cringe when I have to listen to or watch myself, quelles hereur!  It was such fun and as always, heartwarming to feed someone who was meeting me for the first time. My husband listened to it live in his office and my mother couldn’t figure out the app and has been itching to listen. When I was on television in Nigeria, she would wake up at 5am, go jogging and be back in time to catch me on the breakfast show at 6am. She tries to buy every newspaper with my recipes and tells everyone who cares to listen about her child who loves to cook. 

I hope I continue to make her proud, I hope to share more about African food with you all, and I hope you enjoy my little chat! 
Lerato x

Happy International Women’s Day #BeBoldForChange 2017

I love Women! Incredible women like my mother who nurtures me, still, who teaches me to be wise, delicate yet powerful, empowers me to be ambitious…the wonderful women I meet on my journey, from the mango tree market in Kodo village, in Northern Nigeria, to the Shea butter co-operatives I discover and the hardworking women farming and creating foods that inspire and nourish my body, mind & soul!

My mother in the distance, haggling away with these wonderful women. 

She’s an icon!

The woman selling mangoes by the bushes, pounding away to feed her children, to secure their future. 

#BeBoldForChange 

# IWD2017 

I pray for us all to reach within for the incredible strength we were created with to inspire, to teach, to lead and to nurture.

This year the campaign theme for International Women’s Day is #BeBoldForChange

Be the change that you want, by being fair, ambitious, supportive and inspiring. Be bold, be brave and be the strong woman you were born to be!

💓Happy International Women’s Day to all women of the world!

Akara (Black Eyed Beans) Pancakes

One of the joys of cooking is cooking for others. Knowing that someone will be happily fed and nourished by eating something created with such love and attention is ever so rewarding. Passing food around a table, with guests sighing, until that brave person reaches out for more only to realise it’s all gone, these and much more are cherished memories of sharing food with family and friends.

As a child, I did more eating and sharing than cooking, but now I enjoy the best from those childhood days combined with hosting duties as an adult, and no ordinary one, but one who cooks for a living. Much is expected of me and I always look forward to such moments when I can make people happy by feeding them well. I often cook treats that take me back to wondrous childhood days, happy days of innocence and joy. One of such memorable treats is, ‘àkàrà’.

wp-1488133905471.jpg

A bahiana frying akara on the street

These deep fried balls of mashed black-eyed beans, onions, peppers, and spices, are nostalgic of Sunday mornings after church; with its warming aroma wafting around the house. I remember running to the kitchen, impatiently asking, “hmm…where is the akara? stealing one when the cook turned his back and running upstairs to feign hunger, as we were not allowed to have any until they were served on the table. Akara is a popular treat in West Africa, specially made by the Yoruba people in the Southern parts of Nigeria. It is called kosai by Hausa people of the North, and kosee by Ghanaians. Palm oil is usually added or used to fry the batter but more people increasingly use plain vegetable oils. Akara is also a popular street food in Brazil, one of many lasting traditions that migrated with African slaves,  who formed a large part of the Brazilian society. Bahianas, as they are called, women of Bahia dressed in white with lovely head scarfs are famous for serving these, known as àcàràjé which in direct translation in the Yoruba language means, ‘come and eat àkàrà‘ from àkàrà + onje (which means food), while in some parts of Lagos, Nigeria, you can still hear the women calling out, àcàràjé!

wp-1488133136790.jpg

Moi moi with black-eyed bean stew, kale and grilled tiger prawns. A hit at my supper clubs.

Akara is the deep fried version of moi moi, which has more water added and steamed to form a pudding-like texture. This is such a popular dish at my Supper Clubs and a favourite of my vegan and vegetarian family members, friends and guests. I had been making akara pancakes at home but not until I made them as breakfast treats for a radio interview, did I realise they would also be so popular. It was first published in my food column in The Guardian ng. Beans are a great source of fiber and protein that keeps one fuller for longer. I prefer buying the readily peeled beans, which are easy to find in local middle eastern, halal grocers, or online. The flatter, lighter and less oily version of akara is wonderful with a variety of toppings, from roasted peppers, spring greens, salads, and dips. This recipe works a treat, a hearty savoury pancake that pulls at those heart strings, bringing back wonderful memories of a colourful and delicious childhood in Nigeria.

Try this recipe and call on others to share!

Àkàràjé!, Come and eat akara!

Akara Pancake with Stir-fried Plantain, Spinach & Peppers


Pan Fried Akara, Stirfried Plantain, Spinach & Peppers

Feeds 8 tummies | Cooking time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

For the Akara pancakes

  • 400g / 2cups dry black eyed beans
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 scotch bonnet, stalk removed & deseeded for less heat if preferred
  • 1 large bell pepper
  • 1 tsp dried red pepper/ chilli powder
  • 1 tbsp. ground crayfish (optional – African crayfish or dried shrimps)
  • 2 large eggs (optional)
  • 2 chicken or vegetable stock cubes
  • 1/4 tsp salt

For the Plantain, Spinach & Peppers Stir-fry

  • 1 stick of ripe plantain
  • 2 red bell peppers, stalks removed & chopped
  • 1 yellow pepper, stalks removed & chopped
  • 2 spring onions, chopped
  • 2 handfuls spinach, chopped or torn
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1/4 tsp of salt

Let’s get cooking!

  1. Wash the beans thoroughly and soak in a large bowl of water for one hour to overnight if you can, to soften even more. Wash the beans by rubbing a hand-full vigorously with both palms. Fill the bowl of beans with more water and carefully get rid of the skin, most of which will rise to the top of the bowl. Pour out the water, refill the bowl with fresh water and scoop out the skin as they rise to the top. Repeat this process until the beans are free of skin. I prefer to use ready-peeled beans.
  2. Pour the soaked and washed beans into a blender. For most household blenders, it is best to divide the beans into two portions in order to blend it all properly, smoothly and without ruining your blender. Add the onion, crayfish, remove the stalks of the peppers and add. Pour some water into the blender, using 240ml / 1 cup of water for the entire mix, ensuring a thick but moveable consistency in order for the pancake to cook properly. Pour into a large bowl and add the dry spices, and stock cubes. Stir and beat with a wooden spoon to incorporate air into the batter. Taste and add salt if needed.
  3. Prepare a large frying pan by heating it with a tablespoon of oil, well spread around the entire surface of the pan. Scoop a ladle spoon or two of the bean batter into the pan (thicker than regular pancakes). Swirl the pan around to evenly cover the surface and cook on low medium heat for 3 – 4 minutes. Cover the pan as the trapped heat will ensure the top of the batter starts to cook as well.
  4. Use a flat frying spatula to loosen the sides and bottom of the batter in order to flip it easily and successfully. The akara batter is far denser compared to eggs or pancakes so do not try flipping it in the air. Using one hand, tightly hold a round flat plate on top of the frying pan, ensuring it covers the entire surface of the pan. With the second hand, hold the frying pan and carefully turn the batter into the plate. Using a kitchen napkin, clean any sticky batter left in the frying pan, quickly return the pan to heat and add a tablespoon of oil to cover the surface. Carefully slide the batter (uncooked side down) back into the frying pan and cook with the lid on for another 3 4 minutes. Slide a toothpick into the batter to check for doneness. If it is very wet with sticky bits on the toothpick, the akara needs more time.
  5. If you have an oven and an oven safe frying pan, repeat the above steps until step 3, preheat the oven and bake at 200 degrees centigrade for 10 minutes. This way you can make more than one pan at a time and avoid staring at the akara for over 7 minutes each time. I really do not enjoy watching and waiting for food for a long period of time, as Id rather be eating it.
  6. For the topping, peel the skin of the plantain, cut the plantain into cubes, deep fry and set aside. In a large frying pan or wok, add a tablespoon of oil, cook the chopped peppers, onions and spinach for 3 minutes. Finally, add the fried plantain and seasoning. Stir and take off the heat. You can be as creative as want to with the toppings each time by adding your favourite vegetables and sauces to make this the most wonderful treat to remember.
  7. Serve the akara pancake, spread the topping onto it and cut into four to eight pieces just like you would a pizza. Grab a piece quickly because this treat wont last. Not ever in my house and I bet it wont in yours!

Have you tried this recipe? I’d love your thoughts in the comment box below, and do share your food stories with me on social media by tagging #leratolovesfood and if you have not, please subscribe to receive my recipes and more.

Food For Thought

It’s February and it feels like 2017 is only just starting for me. I know you must be thinking, “…how dare she post this when the month is almost over?!” At least I don’t have the guts to say, Happy Valentines’s day! Well…Happy Valentine’s day, today and everyday!

Last month was a bit of a blur as I entered the new year feeling rather poorly – a weak body but an energetic mind! I had eaten a lot of crap over the holidays: home-made french fries, fried sausages, leftover Christmas biscuits and lots of Ribena and not enough water. I was stress-eating and spiraling out of control while my mind was preoccupied planning my colourful menus for the various events and cookery classes I have coming up. Now I know what people mean when they say doctors don’t take their own advice or do they say doctors don’t take their own medicine? I certainly have not been feeding myself the best and starting now, things will change!

Some of us light the flame for the new year in January but fortunately for me, I think I may have lit mine last October when I began planning for the next year. I was eager to hit the ground running in 2017. All that planning paid off and feeling under the weather for much of January hasn’t set me back at all. I find that when we plan with a bit of foresight, we are more likely to be successful, as well as minimize stress.

In 2006 I pushed back a lot of fear and anxiety and embarked on a journey to bring my cooking to the plates and hearts of many. I started supper clubs in London and Brighton, called WILD AFRICA, and cookery classes at the in Eastbourne. They have been a huge success but also a good learning curve. I have to be so much more than the head of my kitchen, but also a great host and after a few bumps along the way I got better at it and this year even better with a great team to support me, wonderful friends, family, guests and clients. I thank you all. I recently got invited to share recipes and tales from the supper clubs on a BBC radio program. I will share more about it and the recipes on another post.

Part of eating well is also enjoying the best of the season. I am loving citrus fruits and have used them in my menus since Christmas. I served a lot of poached tangerines and clementines which are fading out of season making way for oranges. Citrus fruits can usually cope with the same treatment, poach them, bake them in cakes, use them fresh in salads, as long as tartness and sweetness levels are taken into account, with the exception of limes and lemons which are exceptionally tart. Cauliflower has shown its cloudy white head and what a versatile vegetable it is.

I am excited about kale and purple sprouting broccoli, which I intend to steam, grill, roast with every imaginable spice in my arsenal. My husband, Thurston and I do eat spinach quite regularly as seen here in my effortless fifteen-minute Garlic Prawns with Stir-fried Spinach, but I often prefer the coarseness and earthiness of kale, especially the Italian calvero nero variety.

Salmon, Pea & Pepper Puree, Braised Spinach & Lemon Turmeric and Scotch Bonnet Oil

I have a sumptuous recipe of Salmon, Pea & Pear Puree in my Guardian Nigeria column, using grains of paradise, a wonderful West African spice I adore for its spicy, earthy, yet floral bite. You simply must try it. Tell me, what have you been cooking this month and how are you using the seasonal produce wherever you are?

Please share your thoughts in the comment box below. I love and appreciate when you share your food stories with me on social media by tagging #leratolovesfood and if you have not, please subscribe to receive my recipes and more.