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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. 

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