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7 Flavours of Summer 1. West Indian Pumpkin Butter Pecan Ice cream

June 16, 2011

Pumpkin and summer? Something is not adding up but FYI I live in the Caribbean so there is no fall to be eating pumpkins. Actually West Indian Pumpkin also known as Calabaza squash is quite plentiful during these times and quite cheap so I used what was in season .

This has been my second “summer” experimenting with vegan ice cream and from making over forty batches in my vegan life I had a lot of ups and downs with it. To make  vegan ice cream creamy you need fat may it be from the soy creamer you use to adding additional vegan butter or even using raw cashews you need fat. Soy milk is not fatty so using that as your base would not give you a creamy non icy ice cream. Thickeners and binders are quite important as the mixture needs to be thick when putting into the ice cream maker. Thin ice cream mixtures result in icy ice-cream because most of the time this means there is too much water in the mixture and not enough fat.

Ice cream Profile

For this ice cream I used two thickeners xanthan gum and arrowroot flour alternatives arrowroot alone or cornstarch alone

Base: Soy creamer full fat made in France alternatives full fat coconut milk

Result creamy  and scoopable out of the freezer after a 5 minute wait ( I do have my freezer on high so maybe that is why)

Low in ice crystals.

Sugar sources: West Indian light brown sugar, agave and maple syrup

Flavour profile of star ingredient: medium

Kid Friendly: medium high

Pairs well with brittles, molasses and sugar cones

Additional Info: Get the sweetest pumpkin and steam it, mix in the xanthan gum really well in the sugar and whisk in briskly to avoid clumps of binder forming in the ice cream. Over use of xanthan gum can turn mixture into a slimy mess.

Vegan Pumpkin Butter Pecan Ice Cream Copyright Taymer Mason

Vegan Pumpkin Butter Pecan Ice Cream Copyright Taymer Mason

 

 

Recipe Advanced Prep

1 – 1/2 cups pureed pumpkin

1 tsp pumpkin spice  I used this recipe as who has that knocking around in their home outside of America?

Ice cream Base

2 1/2 cups soy creamer ( If you stick around I am working on a home-made version of this for people who cannot get this)

1 1/2 cups of soy milk plus 1/2 cup to dissolve the arrowroot

1/3 cup of vegan butter

1/4 cup sugar

Scant 1/4 tsp plus scant 1/8 tsp xanthan gum

2 1/2 teaspoons arrowroot

2 tablespoons agave nectar

1 tsp vanilla extract or 2 tsp. vanilla essence

 

Add soy creamer, 1 1/2 cups soy milk and butter to the pot and cook on medium heat. In the meantime mix the xanthan gum into the sugar really well. Grab a whisk. When the mixture starts to bubble slightly turn down the heat and add the xanthan sugar mixture. Whisk gently and you would begin to feel the mixture getting thick. Mix the remaining 1/2 cup milk with the arrowroot flour and turn up the heat until there is a slight bubble again and take the mixture off the heat. Add in arrowroot milk mixture and feel the ice cream mixture get even more thick. Cool and add agave and essence. Refrigerate until very chilled.

 

To make ice cream add the pumpkin until the custard and add to the maker and process as per instructions of the ice cream maker. Put ice cream into container and swirl in butter pecan mixture. Chill overnight, take down for 10 mins and scoop.

Butter Pecan Mixture

1/2 cup vegan butter (margarine without animal products)

1/2 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/2 cup chopped pecan

Toasted pumpkin seeds optional

A generous pinch of cinnamon

A generous pinch of allspice

A generous pinch ginger

A generous pinch nutmeg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Method ( make this when the ice cream has started to churn in the maker)

Add vegan butter, brown sugar, maple syrup and let it simmer on medium heat until it starts to become thick. Watch mixture and still and reduce heat when mixture starts to get significantly thick. Add pecans and stir and spices and cook until pecans are coated with thick syrup. Cool and wait for ice cream to finish  churn before swirling it in.

 

Do submit your ice cream wishes via the Facebook Page. Next week I am leaning towards lemon ice cream and its evil twin lemon pepper. If you have an even more exciting request do submit.

 

 

7 Flavours of Summer Ice Cream Series

June 12, 2011

Hi there,

Next week starts my 7 flavours of summer ice cream series were you would have access to 7 recipes to creamy delectable vegan ice cream and ice cream relatives.

 

I have asked the followers on my Facebook page to request some of their favourite flavours ever and so far I am working on a pumpkin butter pecan praline with edible cup and a pineapple coconut. For me, I am working on a strawberry cheesecake, something I love using cashew cream.

 

Each recipe would teach 7 different lessons on vegan ice cream and you would learn how to use different stabilizers to get creamy ice creams. Some ice creams would be low sugar which is usually the deal breaker for me with ice creams but adjust the sugar as you like. Some will use stabilizers like xanthan gum, guar gum  with arrowroot. Some would just cashew cream…others would rely on simple arrowroot or cornstarch.

 

Do join the facebook page here to get in your ice cream request. As I live in the Caribbean I may not have access to all the fruits as they may be expensive and not fresh enough for my purposes so if your request does not get picked do not take it too hard.

 

 

Dominica Part 5 of 5 Thanking Dominica…

May 21, 2011

When I got back to the hotel I rested for an hour and decided to have some non alcoholic cocktails and thinking about my day at JTAS. It was not what I had imagined in my mind but people left happy, full and with a new respect for vegan food.

Time seemed to fly fast in Dominica when I had things to do and I knew I had to make a cupcake display and also make some of my Caribbean Quiche for sampling at the expo on Sunday.

When I arrived in the kitchen Bernadine, Devon and George were in the kitchen and Bernadine was getting restless waiting on me to start the cupcakes. She told me she was ready at 730 so I rushed downstairs to change into my kitchen gear and we started to make cupcakes. The first batch of cupcakes were chocolate which I went with because many like chocolate. I did a vanilla chocolate ganache and Bernadine grilled some coconut with sugar for me to decorate the top.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Chocolate Cupcake Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Trust me cupcakes go fast and this was not the prettiest of the bunch but you get the idea. I will tell you later about the transport. When people came into the kitchen and looked at the chocolate cupcakes making they were overwhelmed by the richness of the cake and I sent out a few as samples and it brought more faces by the kitchen door. ” There is no egg?” “It is so light and pillowy” No egg…. sorry to disappoint. Finally people started to get rid of the myth that a cake is nice with egg…thank you cupcake.

I then wanted to make a cupcake with the fresh oranges that Terri had dropped off the day before. Now take the image of perfect orange coloured oranges out of your mind. In Dominica the oranges are imperfect some have a bumpy exterior and the skins are usually greenish yellow. The flavour and juice it gives is superior to the oranges most of us know. I wanted the cupcakes to be orange so I used turmeric in the formula and hoped for the best and a few other secret ingredients to really capture the taste of Dominica and the Caribbean. We made a batch of 50 at first and then tasted one hot. Even hot I just heard moans of approval and Bernadine looked at me and said “We making 50 more”. Looking at the time I wanted to get to bed and I still did not start on the crust or filling for my quiches so I left her with the recipe and went on to work on my pastry for the quiche.

Oh before I forget here is now the orange cupcakes worked out. Sorry I did not get an inside shot to show that lightness.

vegan cupcakefloral Copyright Taymer Mason

Here is the same one again with some more edible flowers.

Dominican organecupcake Copyright Taymer Mason

For the actual samples I gave one dot of icing as I do not promote eating mounds of fat and sugar. It was a health Expo anyways not a bakesale but as someone who cooks I think I have a responsibility to cook food that taste good but is not bad for you at the same time. Look out for those later in the post.

I got started on my quiche later in the night and Devon had already chopped all my ingredients including the seasoning peppers/ vegetarian peppers that grow in many islands. I did not even use my recipe scaled up and it still worked out well. I made a short crust that day and made rustic cups in a cupcake mould and baked the pastry blind. The process was quick and painless and I let the staff watch the quiche bake as I got 10 minutes of sit down time. Did I mention there was a party going on at the hotel..the music was great and I never saw people dance so much and have a good time in a fete. I went to watch it for a few minutes and quickly retreated to the kitchen.

Here is how the quiche turned out. I usually seal the cracks with some soy creamer mixed with a little black salt but as I was rebaking them in the morning I did that afterwards.

Caribbean tofu quiche Copyright Taymer Mason

When you are sealing with soy creamer you can carefully colour it yellow the exact shade to hide any cracking. I did not this time around and left the soy creamer as it was. I topped my quiche with one of my favourite herbs for topping quiche, tarragon and stored them. Twice baked quiche is the only way I serve quiche.

Here is how it looked on the day

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Caribbean Vegan Quiche Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

My Saturday night was over, cupcakes made and in a safe place and quiche in the fridge. I went to bed thinking about my final day in Dominica…I didn’t get to see this island that I had fell in love with. My partner still awake the in room decided we could go to the hot springs as everyone was telling me I had to go to feel rejuvenated. I had to get to the expo for noon so I had enough time to get a taxi to spend an hour at the springs and still get back to frost and dress my cupcakes…as I drove to the hot springs I had a guilt within me worrying about the time  but as the driver took me up the winding road and I saw some of the most breathtaking vegetation inclusive of flowers I never saw before I quickly began to relax.

I never been to a hot springs before…I did not know what one looked like what to expect so I decided to leave my camera at the hotel. When I go to Tia’s Bamboo Cottage we paid and I purchased some sulphur mud as advised and I walked down the steps and I was face to face with a hot springs for the first time. Click here to see how it looked but unfortunately the pictures on the site are old and do not do this place any justice. It was so beautiful with fruit trees all around the pools and then a cold river under the pools so you could do hot pool to river. I could not believe there was a place in the Caribbean that was offering all of this and  I felt like if I was like the last to know…..

As the hot but relaxing water streamed onto my back I felt like if I was having a guilty pleasure….

Why didn’t  someone warn me the springs make you sleeeeepy. We rushed out after 45 minutes and I washed off my mud and headed back to the hotel…those springs….

Oh chop chop…cupcakes to package for transport, quiche to reheat and I had to tell someone to decorate the tray…Oh no…I didnt write my speech!!!

Carrying 100 plus cupcakes in a taxi which is a big van plus drinks and quiche is not an easy task. When I watch Food Network I sometimes roll my eyes with the extra drama they potray but it was a little tricky with the food. When I got to UWI Open Campus Terri greeted me and cupcakes were taken from me and I went into a corner to write my speech. I had no time even before coming there to write it and I hated doing it under pressure but when I saw only 6 people waiting for my speech the pressure came off. Little did I know that when I lifted up my head again my lecture was jam-packed with people standing outside the door….did they hear about the cupakes?:) My speech started off very shaky as I sudden  got a spell of nerves but, I put down my paper and spoke from my heart. With my hair wet in a mess and my skin purified from the springs and mud I felt whole and free and even my imperfections on that day did not phase me.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Taymer Mason Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Afterwards, I invited the large crowd that had grown and grown as I got deeper in my speech to eat cupcakes and quiche. I remember having a gentleman come up to me who was allergic to egg asking me for reassurance to have my quiche and cupcake…I told him go on you wont die today:) He smile and went off with his wife enjoying the eggless vegan quiche :)

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI So Pretty Vegan Quiche and Cupcake Display Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

See one blob of icing…not an ice cream cones worth!

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Anchorage Staff Thanking You Always Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

I then signed a bunch of books and then stripped off my clothes and changed into my yoga attire but before that I had to go buy some food..Guess what? Deschamps was there serving all things Ital. I think he really went to he highest level that day because all of my food items were green but I loved them all..my favourite was the green banana pie and my husband loved his green celery juice. Deschamps made that lovely coconut slaw again and he made his coconut dal..green I tell you but I was happy I ate and I was content and full.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Deschamps Rootz and Healing Foods Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Ital Food and all things Green from Deschamps Copyright Taymer Mason

Signing Books Copyright Taymer Mason

So that is it folks, now I am going to share some pictures from the event itself. I was happy my part was over and I could enjoy yoga and lectures and even a Thai Massage that put me to sleep. I also listened to live drums in a room and the passion power emitted from the beating went into my soul and I felt transformed.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Terri Henry Organizer introducing me Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Martha Cuffy at her Booth Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Quantum Leap Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Live Drums Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI The Tents Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Oh there is my abandoned book signing table..people came to find me wherever I was anyways.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Dance with Live Drumming Charity Joy Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

When you are in Dominica find her fax her whatever..I pay a lot for massages in St. Martin but this woman is fantastic! I am not even going to get into what she did to me but I got in the plane still feeling the effects the next day. Check out Charity Joy Movement here.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Yoga for the Back Trudy Prevost Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

We did this class and it was really good. I did not get a lot of time to talk to this self-confessed foodie Trudy Prevost but she attended my workshop at the Anchorage Hotel and I will be back again to do more yoga with her in the beach and in the forest. Click here to go on her site.

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Trudy Prevost Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Rainforest Mushrooms Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Remember those beautiful mushrooms I got?

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Natural Soaps Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Expo 2011 - UWI Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

So that is it folks I would like to take the time to thank the below listed sponsors and let me say something…they did  not have to sponsor this event but they did and growing up in the Caribbean I have always heard cries from people doing positive things not getting any support from government or the private sector. I was amazed of the amount of sponsorship that  came through as I myself always wished to go home to Barbados to do a similar event… I do want the region to look at Dominica and see that they are utilizing what they have and marketing it and they support people from the region and what that did was form a tie within me that would never be broken.

Many things went through my mind that I would not speak about here but THANK YOU DOMINICA FOR BELIVEING IN ME AND SUPPORTING MY WORK.

I have gotten more opportunities to train in Dominica and I will be taking up everyone on their offers slowly:) as I want to help to make this island the best vegan destination in the Caribbean…where you can have your ital food, to raw foods to vegan Caribbean food. You stole my heart Dominica.

I have decided to write a new cookbook and it will be published in the Caribbean but it will be available internationally..it is about a topic that never has been covered before and I hope to go back to Dominica to do some of the writing and testing of recipes. This time I can write in my voice to the Caribbean for the Caribbean. I am carefully seeking a publisher who can respect and understand my work.

I want to finally thank Terri Henry who snagged me 5 months ago for this show and who made sure everything was in place for me. The staff at the Anchorage Hotel…I miss you and we will meet again:), Khatts tours for their safe rides, Martha  Cuffy for showing me my inner peace, Celia Sorhaindo for being there for me and donating these beautiful photos on this blog for the past 3 post.The Discover Dominica Authority for sponsoring this event.

My regrets were that I did not stay 10 days, and that I did not get to show off my refined dishes but since the workshops were introductory I would save my refined dishes for a tasting event somewhere else or in Dominica:)

I hope everyone reading this who loves nature and loves peace visit Dominica soon. You will get your  vegan food, taste fruits and veg you only read about and experience a different side of the Caribbean. I will try to add a mini guide to my Vegan Guides of the Caribbean and write up one for Dominica. One exist for Barbados.

Sponsors

Discover Dominica http://www.dominica.dm

Astaphans http://astaphans.com/

Anchorage Hotel, Whale Watch and Dive Centre http://www.anchoragehotel.dm

Picard Beach Cottages http://www.picardbeachcottages.com/

KHATTS http://www.khattstours.com/

Events and Things http://www.miambs.com/

JTAS http://www.experiencescaribbean.com/

Loubiere Spring water

Ardens Sounds and Lights http://www.ardensounds.com/index.html

Remember there are more photos and also information and sometimes recipes you won’t get here on my facebook fan page. Click here to connect with me instantly!

Dominica Part 4 of 5

May 20, 2011

Friday night I went into the kitchen ready to go into bed but there was so much to be done. I initially wanted to do breakfast for 30 plus lunch for 30 plus. I had less help that night and we worked our way through all the batters and sauces and we finished relatively early.  My worry was transferring my entire kitchen at the Anchorage Hotel to JTAS which is a private residence upstairs and an open air demo kitchen downstairs…take a look at their website here. They also offer cooking classes to tourist and then they serve a Dominican lunch at the end.

The owner of Khatts tours, Kenneth Dill took the liberty of picking me up that day and I was very surprised when he asked me to sign his copy of Caribbean Vegan which he had before the exposition. Remember Khatts tours was also a major sponsor of the event and if you are in Dominica do give them a call. They have many tours tailored for every fitness level, from hikes, to sit down tours to photo tours.

When we got to JTAS we had to unpack equipment, food and try to get sorted before guest arrived. Bush tea and juices needed to be made and pancakes and fritters needed to be made as well…

Here is how that part went

Health & Wellness Event - Pumpkin Fritter Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Learning to Breathe with Martha Cuffy Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

One important thing I learnt in Dominica was to relax and breathe. Here I am taking 5 minutes  to breathe. Martha also conducted yoga on the lawn before breakfast. It was really beautiful. Now I use her breathing methods in my everyday life. Check out Martha’s site relaxing your DNA via your Gene Keys to live a joyous high frequency life.

Health & Wellness Event - Cassava pancakes with nutmeg syrup Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - grounds st JTAS Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

The grounds were lovely, we did have a little rain that drizzled a bit but it went away after a while.

Devon newly appointed assistant cook at Anchorage Hotel making Soupsop Punch Copyright Laurent Guillaume

The punch was very good as he added a touch of lime which really lightened it up. Thanks Devon. The good thing about having Caribbean staff here at the expo was that they were familiar with everything I told them. I would say I want x thing done xyz a way and they would do it without problems.

Terri Henry and daughter handing out fresh local fruit Copyright Laurent Guillaume

Demo on Jerk Tofu Kebabs with Orange Barbeque Sauce Copyright Laurent Guillaume

Pizza Party Copyright Laurent Guillaume

I had to have a pizza party, one where you could pick your topping bake an enjoy. The night before the event I made mini sweet potato crust with organic cornmeal.

Sweet Potato Crust Caribbean Vegan Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Fresh Oyster Mushroom from Rainforest Mushrooms Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Thanks to Terri she devised a way to keep track of the pizzas so that everyone got their own pizza. I even packed some vegan cheese  for fun.

Health & Wellness Event - Pizza Pizza Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

The sauce is a new recipe adapted from my first book Caribbean Vegan and it was very flavouful and rich.

Health & Wellness Event - Pizza Assembly Line Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Then we had audience participation making Barbadian Coconut Turnovers..that was so much fun. Yes we all washed our hands!!!:)

Health & Wellness Event - Talking about Turnovers Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - group participation Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - loved her turnover fever Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Turnover making at JTAS Copyright Laurent Guillaume

Turnovers ready to go in the Oven Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Buffet number 2 Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Caribbean Vegan Macaroni Pie with Crisped Shallots Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

You cannot have a buffet in the Caribbean without this kinda pie..sorry but when I am at a buffet have to have my pie.

Plantains are a given..leave some for me Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Me sharing food Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Double Soaked Rum Cake Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

I ended the day with a quick interview for a documentary for Discover Dominica Authority.

Taymer Interview Copyright Laurent Guillaume

That was the end of day two. I felt great and was looking forward to my final day in Dominica and also wondering how I would do my cupcake display in the morning. I was also excited to teach Bernadine and the others how to make vegan quiche. As my muscles ached I decided to stop by a natural spring when I woke up in the morning.

To be continued.

There are more pictures on my facebook page click here

Thanking Celia Sorhaindo again for these beautiful pictures so full of colour and life… check her out at Tropical Ties click here

Dominica Part 3 of 5

May 19, 2011

So Friday was here and after getting less than 2 hours of sleep I was like a charged battery ready to meet all the invited chefs. I was still running around 30 minutes before start time speaking to my newly adopted staff at The Anchorage Hotel and making sure that everything was close to perfect. Chefs started to file in from all over the island, some from hotels, small restaurants and even Eco Lodges chefs. One of the most funny events were that people were not expected someone so young to be facilitating the event so when I introduced myself I always got this facial expression from everyone…I smiled it off:)

Last minute preparations were made and I was ready to face 30 plus people and cook…I was tired as you can see in the photos but very excited.

Take a look at what happened ..please excuse my appearance I did not sleep that night.

Health & Wellness Event -Astaphans Sponsor's Table Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event -Deschamps arriving greeted by Terri Henry Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Hotel Manager of The Anchorage Yvonne Amour giving opening Address Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - The invited guest Chefs Workshop Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - starting to teach Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event -talking about braggs and other soy masking agents Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - doing seitan demo Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - finished seitan Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Vegan Chef Taymer Mason Cassava Pancakes Ready for Tasting Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - q&a Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Accra Demo Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Eggplant Accras from Caribbean Vegan Styled by the staff at Anchorage Hotel Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Tofish Caribbean Vegan Styled by the Staff at Anchorage Hotel Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

We did the Tofish Demo in detail speaking about pigments and seaweed strength. This was served with a new creole sauce recipe I made which is richer than the one in Caribbean Vegan.

Health & Wellness Event - Chefs Sample Tofish Recipe Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - The ever engaging Martha Cuffy tasting the Sauce Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event -Caribbean Vegan Love in Dominica Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event -The beautiful Debra poses with her copy of Caribbean Vegan Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - signing certificates for the chefs Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

I felt like I was writing lines but to be able to contribute of an event like this was amazing.

The food I choose to make was a mixture of recipes in Caribbean Vegan and new recipes I developed after my book was published. We decided to do a buffet for the chefs as it would be easier and they could choose what they want. I was aided by a 5-7 staff members at the Anchorage Hotel who  came  though for me. As tired as they all were Bernadine and Chef Nelson kept smiling and laughing at my corney jokes as we went in close to 2 am prepping for a buffet for 4o.

Health & Wellness Event -Open face sanwiches Tapenade (new recipes) , eggplant choka and a brushetta with ham Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Vegan Chef Taymer Mason Coconut Rice Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Vegan Chef Taymer Mason selection of chutneys Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Nelly with her plate Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Bara for the Doubles Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Vegan Chef Taymer Mason Tofu Pattys Chopped Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Bellyful o Food Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - chowing down Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event -New Fantastic Recipe a Raw Christophene Salad with Caribbean Secret Sauce Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

I would like to eat this salad everyday seriously it is so good.. Thanking Bernadine pastry chef and cook for following my quick verbal advice on the sauce..people raved about this.

Health & Wellness Event - I LOVE HER you should have been there to see her face Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event -a few desserts you know me all about real food but still Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

That is a rustic coconut and fruit tart at the back and rum cake topped with a pecan Dominican Praline. Bernadine decorated this as I was doing the class.

Here is Bernadine smiling even if she did not have any sleep too.

Health & Wellness Event - My rock Bernadine Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Vegan Brioche New Recipe Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - My support staff and Manager of the Anchorage Hotel making a speech Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

I was exhausted but so happy at the same time. I cannot thank the staff at the Anchorage Hotel enough. Chef Nelson the new chef at the Anchorage is Barbados trained. He really controlled the kitchen and was there for me every step of gthe way. Thanking Devon, Renwar Joseph, organic farmer and cook George, the amazing Elizabeth who smiled for ever demo I called her up to do, Bernadine, my rock and Yvonne Amour a long time vegetarian who opened her hotel to me to do these  events.

Health & Wellness Event - Terri handing out the certificates:) Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Health & Wellness Event - Thanks Guys Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

Later that night the Anchorage  Hotel in Dominica served vegan snacks using some of my recipes and their existing vegan options.

Health & Wellness Event - Vegan Snack Menu Anchorage Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

After this event my night started all over again. I had a big workshop in the forest compliments JTAS and I had even more people to cook for….The chefs workshop was a big success and news was flying fast around the island about what happened at the Anchorage Hotel.

What really made me want to tear up was hearing people speak about food memories as they ate. They were eating vegan food yet it was oh so familiar. Emotions stirred within me and I started to think more deeply about the effect of Dominica  was having on me. I was tired but I felt a calmness within and looking over at Terri smiling about that days success made me want to work even harder for the next workshop.

Before I go take a good look at this amazing woman Terri Henry who has pulled off this event for the last 3 years with this year being the biggest and most difficult.

Health & Wellness Event Terri Henry Event Organizer Copyright Celia Sorhaindo

A big thank you to Celia Sorhaindo from Tropical Ties for donating these photos.

You can also like Taymer Mason on Facebook to see other photos from that day.

Dominica Part 2 of 5

May 18, 2011

So we got into the van and was headed to the Emerald Pool and Carib Territory ( a reserve where the indigenous people still live). I choose Emerald pool because later that night I would be up until 2 am in the morning making dishes and prepping for Friday’s first Caribbean Vegan Culinary Workshop where chefs from all around the island would come to train with me and  do my introductory course on Caribbean Vegan Food. Something struck me when I  was there and it made me feel a little uneasy…it was that this island was filled with all the fruits that are almost “extinct” in many islands including Barbados and I did not use any of these fruits because where I live in St Martin is void of anything fresh and local. I started to sweat a bit as I passed the market in Roseau where they were beginning to set up for the weekend starting on Friday morning. Then my nervousness turned to anger where I thought about all the times I have been chastised for using a local ingredient in my book by non Caribbean people…from when I used bread fruits in 2 recipes to my use of West Indian Pumpkin.. I then started to question everything I did leading up to writing Caribbean Vegan, my choice to publish the book, the market I courted in the past, the attitude of people to me, the content of the book and  I wondered who was my realised audience. I wondered if I was chasing a goal that would never fit with me and a whole rush of thoughts came through my mind at this stage I was overcomed with emotion and started to cry right there and then in the van in front of a complete stranger when he got out and picked me this fruit. After eating this fruit I realised there was time for a change.

cashew whole Taymer Mason

This is the fruit from the cashew nut and I went to secondary school in the countryside of Barbados where these fruits were plentiful. I have not tasted this fruit in almost 11 years and when I saw them on the tree hanging down without name or destination…I knew where I was …I knew I was in a place of inspiration…a place where finding the fruits and veg I longed to cook with were accessible. As I bit into my cashew the juice flowed down my  arms and I pushed my neck forward to avoid it going on my clothes as it stains. I was overcome with emotion again….

Clem also  picked me 3 big white fleshed guavas and I devoured those on the spot. These were not too sweet as I know some guavas to be but it did the trick. Clem knew the trees well and told me the other tree had very sour guavas!

As we drove through Carib Teritory..faces peaked out from small homes and sometimes  mothers and daughters went down the street and some waited on the side of the road for transportation. There was a sense of calm there, a calm I only felt years ago when I was growing up in Barbados. There is still a calm in Barbados but the calm has been destroyed by many other factors. I choose not to take any photos of the Kalinagos without permission as I respect  people and did not want to shoot them like if I was on safari tour or something as I  myself disliked being photographed by tourist without asking my permission.

When Clem made a stop we were greeted by several members of the community who Welcomed us to Dominica and with genuine smiles. This one nice gentleman was selling a giant soursop and a big bags of passion fruit just for 2 usd! It is ok to pay more and I did because as it was off season I was not sure if he would make many sales that day. I purchased a bag  of passionfruit for my husband who can eat up to 7 a day if I let him but I did not have anything to put my lovely fruit in.

kalinago gentlement selling fruit t mason

I was then greeted by this lady who sold authentic Kalinago baskets that were made for carrying heavy loads like ground provisions. I purchased two items, a basket for fruit which was made from the spines of coconut and another large basket for shopping. I love this basket and take it everywhere I go. She also gave me a hand carven spoon and fork. One thing I did not like about Dominica was rthe water in the air which constantly made my curly long afro shrink down to 2 inches! lol

Taymer buying some Baskets

I also purchased Bajan Cherries from the side of the road for around 3 usd for 6 pounds and I  made juice when I got home with the ones that did not spoil. Eating 3 of these cherries gives you the right amount of vitamin C for the day.

bajan cherry t mason

bajancherry copyright t mason

and one more because I know you are curious to see the inside..

cherry bitten copyright taymer mason

Before I got the Carib Territory I made a quick stop at the Emerald pool where I wet my feet and took in the beautiful scenery.

on the way to Emerald Pool t mason

Here are some photos from the pool

getting escorted into the pool to wet my feet

We got back into Roseau around 1pm and I had to meet Terri Henry. Terri had contacted me at the beginning of the year excited that  there was a new Caribbean Vegan book . After hundreds of email exchanges  and the event was confirmed Terri worked day in and day out with the help of her two friends Martha Cuffy and Celia Sorhaindoto pull off this event and it was not all about me and my food…that was just one aspect…there were speakers, tents, a million things to organize and Terri was still up cheering even on the final day. I really saw the true meaning of veganism there finally because all the reading in some magazine  and reading about other people and things I cannot relate to I was able to see a really passionate spirit at work. Terri wanted to me meet one of her friend “Deschampes” who is the chef at his own establishment called Rootz Healing Foods and he is an Ital Chef. When we got there he was still making the special of the day was unknown but we waited patiently and  I was presented with this ital dish. Now ital food is  suppose to be 100 percent natural food…some Rastafarians are vegan but others eat ital foods which can include honey and will wear leather crafts. As I spoke at the event and I was face to face with persons of the Rastafarian faith I asked myself who the hell am I to try to change a religion, a resistance and a culture because I do not eat honey. I

I took a look at where I was coming from and it was from an island that did not grow its own food and it depended on the USA and Europe for everything. Most bloggers write from these places of mass import but many have access to fresh ingredients, I did not. In essence their ideals become the standard for veganism. Were my ideals coming from a privileged place and was I too practicing Western Veganism in the Caribbean or was I just benefitting from some imported health food products that took my dishes to another level? I also wanted some products to be available in Dominica but hoped that it maintained its whole food approach to veganism as well. Things like yeast flakes, and aluminium free baking powder and also some sea vegetables which are processed there but are not widely available. As I stayed longer in Dominica I realized I needed to rethink and redo a few things and I knew I did not want to come across as privileged and ignorant. When I went vegan in Barbados I was a student with not a lot of money and to bake  meant money even apple cider vinegar cost and ground flax and I  grew tired of the rice beans and vegetables or the ground provisions and beans. After moving to St Martin I had access to cheaper health food items and some of the vegan “luxury” items but as I write this there was a part of me that wanted to give up because I longed for the baked  goods I ate before and for other familiar textures and flavours. Knowing what and what was not there Terri and I formulated a list of things I had to bring. I like the fact I can find everything in St Maarten but loath the fact that I cannot find anything completely fresh and nourishing.  At this stage I was rethinking my approach because everything I do had to be from a place of respect. I personally just accept it as it is and try not to force my beliefs on other people’s culture as Rastafarians were living and eating like this for years and I am in no place to tell someone how to live. They are also show good examples in sustainable living.  This is why I always try to tell people to take ital for what is is ital food and that veganism was another aspect but can fit in the Rastafarian faith…yes it is confusing but I don’t cook a lot of ital food but Daja has inspired me to cook more especially when I move somewhere like Dominica with fresh organic vegetables and ingredients because  by the time the few roots get to St. Martin the taste and essence is lost to be honest.

Here is Daja’s dish

Ital plate from Deschamps

Here we have some dal cooked in coconut milk, some root vegetables and fresh vegetables. I could not move after eating this and I love “the fry” at the top which reminded me a little of fried fish I grew up eating even if he did not use seaweed the spices he used reminded me of that. I loved it and it was my first ital sit down meal. Thanks Deschampes!

rootz healing foods taymer mason

chef working at Rootz and Healing

He also sold plantain chips and also nut cake or nut brittle and both of them were the best I ever had. I picked up some raw cocoa and some nutmeg with the mace still intact to make some cocoa tea  when I returned home.

Dominican Peanut Brittle Nutcake

h

Basket of Passion Fruit

rawchocolatennutmeg taymer mason

oyster mushrooms from rainfores tmushrooms

After lunch Terri and I ran to the supermarket Astaphans one of the major sponsors to pick up some items I needed to work with on the Thursday night. I then headed back to the hotel to relax a bit and prep for my big night of cooking and acting an the executive chef for a event at the Anchorage.

Before I end….the hotel offered us a vegan meal that we could have gotten at the buffet like everyone else

Here is it

It is a lentil croquette with vegan mushroom sauce, italian pasta salad…..

Buffet Night at Anchorage with Vegan Options

After eating this I rushed to change into my kitchen gear and take over the kitchen to prep for 14 dishes in 4 hours…..as I walked up the stairs with my non skid Nikes and hair wrapped in a scarf and  makeup wiped cleaned I began to feel a change within me…a fire that I never felt before and a worth that many tried to take away from me due to fear.

Coming up  Event number one ..where I meet the chefs from all over the island, interviews, new found friends and me actually making cupcakes…yeah me!

and why am I sitting like this anyways?

Fin out next time

Dominica Part 1 of 5

May 18, 2011

Hi All

I have been away from blogging for a while as you noticed. I was busy preparing for Dominica’s 3rd Annual Health and Wellness events  sponsored by Discover Dominica Discover Dominica’s Tourism Awareness Month which was three days of  events focussing on health and wellness. This year I was invited as the guest chef for the events and initially getting into it I had no idea what I was in store for but in the end it was one of the most satisfying moments of my life and I left the island with a new sense of direction as I had been looking in the wrong places for guidance and acceptance in the past.

Trip to Dominica…flight and journey

I arrived in Dominica on the 10th of May at 6 pm and was met with some rain.  This is my first time on this island but I had stopped once in transit a few years ago to Guadeloupe. I grew up in flat Barbados so approaching a mountainous island was something that took my breath away the first time I flew into Dominica. Immigration was quite fast and

That is me!

I was outside within 15 minutes. I was greeted with this sign and  a smiling team member of Khatts Tours  greeting me. We were starving as the stop over in Antigua did not provide me with any vegan options so I was ready to  eat in 20 minutes. When I got into the van the driving introduced himself as Johnny and he will be my driver for the next hour and a half to 2 hours!!!!! What!!! Where was I and where was the hotel? Later I found out Melville Hall airport was in the North and we had to make a long  journey to the capital Roseau to get the Anchorage Hotel, Whale Watch & Dive Centre. The drive was beautiful and I could feel a big different in temperature from St Martin and the roads were winding  and both sides were lush sometimes with a few houses peeking out and a slight activity of the late Caribbean evening. I saw lots of people walking with large backpacks on their way home from work and many tried to hail the taxi I was in for a ride as taxi also double as buses. After an hour we came to what I later learnt as Carib Territory and I saw a man placing flat cassava breads on a big metal disk for baking but before I could say stop to let me get out to buy my driving zipped up the road in the thickening dark roads. Hardly any road was straight and one must have great dexterity and experience to master these roads and we watched Johnny drive in admiration. After an hour and a half I started to feel a change a temperature …a drastic one…we were coming out of the mountains and into the city of Roseau and I could see more lights and we met more cars…I was getting excited and nervous and could not wait to get out to see my new home for the next 6 days. Finally we arrived at The Anchorage Hotel and Whale Watch Centre and I was quickly escorted to my room which was one of the biggest hotels rooms I ever stayed in. It consisted of two double beds and the large windows opened up and I was face to face with the sea and a jetty. I loved it. I quickly put up my cold items I was travelling with and made my way to the bar where I was offered a rum punch that was out of this world. A total 360 from the recipe in Caribbean Vegan I loved their rum punch and I crave it even as I write this.

We were then escorted to the restaurant which had a beautiful view of neighbouring hotels and the glittering sea. The waves lapped the shore and the warm sea breeze tickled my face. I was hungry and excited to see what the hotel was going to serve me. I was greeted with a menu which had a section called Vegetarian Selection and there was an Asian Tofu dish. As I had spoken to the hotel before about what I wanted as my first meal I knew that there was something else in the kitchen for me. We were first presented with a

1. Anchor Salad which is a fresh salad with a vinaigrette

2. Creole Red beans, rice and a fresh fresh fresh steamed string bean and spinach warm salad. It was  a great start for the night and the beans were mildly spice and the vegetables were all one dreams of organic vegetable..

3. We were then served with a fruit plate which consisted of Mangoes, watermelon and papaya (or as I saw paw paw)

4. Then!!! yes then they listened to my request and offered a complimentary flask of fresh coconut water….I could not move after this meal. ( Please note I was not a regular guest at the hotel but an invited guest so I  got some extras but this does not mean that the hotel will not provide you with the same)

We got up and perused the menu at the Anchorage and saw they had a Vegan high protein breakfast menu and also offered vegan porridge as well…

It was time to go to sleep and get ready for my only full day of vacation.

The next morning I woke up early as I do when I sleep in a strange bed and we were up at 7 am and I was hungry to say the least. I went up the restaurant and tried to put my meal together. I wanted a heavy breakfast as we were going whale watching later in the day and would be out at sea for a  good couple of hours.

This is what they served us

Breakfast Baked Beans Anchorage Hotel

first breakfast I bought some Vegan Slices with me

Ok so the juice you can see is passion fruit. I got fresh tomatoes every single morning and hash browns. We also got a bread basked which consisted of fresh toasted bread and freshly made bakes.

bakes compliments Anchorage Hotel

The day rolled on and I went on the weekly whale watch where no one saw a whale.  I did get a glimpse of a tail of a whale but it was too fast so I could not alert the other on the boat or snap a photo. Whales come to Dominica to birth and it is common to spot whales off the coast. These whales are not fed or aided to come up, we go out on a boat and watch and wait. For lunch I was given a

Spinach, chickpea and potato roti with sweet mango chutney.

After whale watching I grabbed a pina colada which was not too sweet and I got ready for dinner. Since I was going to be having tofu and seitan later in the week I asked Chef Nelson (Barbadian trained) chef to make me a fast bean  or pea dish and I wanted something spicy.

He made a rustic dish which reminded me of home which was an oven roasted butternut squash with a beautiful chickpea fusion curry.

Chickpea nest with gingered yellow sweet potatoes Anchorage

That was it for the  night and I knew what tomorrow meant..my first test to cook for 40 people and run a kitchen staff to pull of the first vegan training course for chefs in Dominica. I  knew it was a lot of work and knowing that the staff never made my recipes before I did not know what to expect and still I did not see the kitchen…But, tomorrow also meant I had a quickie island tour and I would have lunch with the organizer of the event Terri Henry at one of her favourite Ital restaurants.

To be continued….

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