Things of old,a little poll(I need your help) and some of my new favourite bloggers
As my palate matures there is still a part of me that misses the first dishes I grew up eating. These foundation flavours have moulded my cooking style today. Some of my favourite things vary from very sweet and acid fruits to deep spicy stews.
Rice and Peas
Pigeon Peas (Barbados, Trinidad, St Lucia, St Kitts and the rest of the English-speaking Caribbean,Gungo Peas (Jamaica) Gandules (Spanish speaking islands)
This is made with fresh pigeon peas. The only substitution for fresh pigeon peas are fresh frozen peas. I learnt my lesson from developing recipes for my book. A fresh pigeon peas has a very woody, rich flavour that is worth talking it. When these peas are sauteed the process is calling “doveing”. If you live outside of the Caribbean you can find frozen pigeon peas and these are just as good as the fresh. Try to saute them first in onions, garlic and thyme before adding your rice. The classic Caribbean staple rice and peas looks like this and it is eaten on Sundays or on special occasions. This rice dish may look boring to some of you but it has so much flavour even if it may look bland. Fresh pigeon peas are like gold to me and if I see anyone on the side of the street selling it I usually buy all they have. For many of us in the Caribbean shelling these peas were something our parents made us do and let me tell you they sometimes had these worms inside that were the same colour of the peas. If I came across one with a worm I would run away and the pea shelling activity would be finished for me because I was scared of those things. I know it makes the dish sound less appetizing but this is all a part of the culture behind the food.Also, picking rice was the worst chore I got at a child. In the Caribbean back in the 80’s the rice that was imported was not perfect and had a whole bunch of bad rice inside. We would sit at the table as a family and remove all of the bad rice and maybe some stones that use to come in the rice. In the modern-day Caribbean communities people do not buy this rice anymore unless they cannot do better so picking rice is a dying family tradition. Even if it sucked then I kinda missed it now because we would talk around the table as we picked the rice. Going into a West Indian market you would see the vendor shelling the peas between customers and measuring them out and putting them into a clear bag. Pigeon peas are seasonal and you only find them in the winter months. Pigeon peas are used in rice mainly, but there are used in this dish in Barbados called Jug- Jug which some people claim is a derivative from Haggis which were brought to the island by the Scottish that were exiled to Barbados. I cannot wait to make this dish soon and share it with you. If you really want to try these peas I suggest sourcing them in the frozen area of your nearest ethnic market. They are sold dried and in cans as well but I do not like the flavour from the canned variety at all so I do not recommend them.
Gooseberries (Gourmet Pancake Syrups)
Many of my friends told me about their childhood where they use to eat these bright green gooseberries with salt. Esshhh.. These gooseberries are the most tart fruit you would ever come across so I could not imagine eating them with salt. I love acid fruits but this is too much for me. What I miss though is gooseberry syrup which is a simple syrup made with these gooseberries. Do yo notice how the gooseberry is bright green? Well, when you boil it in sugar-water and spice the colour goes from bright green to reddish-brown. I boiled these gooseberries for 1 hour until I was left with a rich flavourful lip smacking syrup and the tartness was gone. A friend suggested I use this as gourmet pancake syrup and I did and the taste is really good. My husband enjoyed them on his pancakes. I also suggest using them on vegan cheesecake or in oats. Click here for the recipe. You can substitute gooseberries with a tarte fruit or orange rind to make orange pancake syrup. You can use spices that go with the fruit of choice. If I was making orange syrup I would use nutmeg and coconut extract to flavour my syrup. What are you waiting for make some syrups.
As you guys know already I am writing a cookbook. I did not know what I got myself into but I am going ahead with it. I got a comment yesterday that kinda peaked my curiosity. The reader told me they made a recipe of mine but they cannot stand that I use Texture Vegetable Protein. I was like oh….well…ok….. The person meant well but I felt embarrassed somewhat because I do not want to be stepping on anyones toes or not being a “good vegan” through my food.
I noticed that only British blogs use this and not many American bloggers. If you do not use this ever tell me why. I want to know if it is because it is soy, if it i strange, if it does not taste good, and if you think it is a mystery food that comes from the ends of all the vegan hotdogs. I want to know as I go forward with the book because I have two recipes using TVP and the last thing I want to do is have people saying crap about my book on Amazon so let me know.
Also what kind of faux meats do you like. I noticed a lot of American bloggers use tofu and I do not. I do not love seitan that much but I tend to use it in some recipes. When purchasing a cookbook what meat like things do you like to see if at all. Please get back to me. I am counting on everyone to answer this because I find ppl are getting too lazy to comment these days and I understand. The forms you have to fill out and stuff are so tedious!
Now to the BEST part of this post, the new blogs
Even if these two bloggers are not vegans per se they are two inspirational and determined women:)
I am starting to dabble in art.. I know gasp….and I met Tracey Chan who is a West Indian artist born and grew up in Trinidad and Tobago.I was blown away with her photography and art work. Tracey happened to be transitioning to a meat free diet with a big interest in raw food so any of you that would like to get to know Tracey and her art I will not talk too much about Tracey here as it would go straight to her head but you can check out her two sites at http://www.inspiritus.org/ and Tracey Chan Art . You can look at her art esp when you had that long hard day and you want to unwind. Keep up the great work Trace and you have a great future ahead of you.
I recently met Shelley and I had no idea that this blog and company she owns existed. Shelley is a personal chef, she is an entrepreneur and a whole lot of things in one person. Her blog has some professionally made cooking videos that showcase some vegan recipes and overall it is a good read. Shelley also is a traveller and aims to do more travel and globally oriented post on her blog in the future. What got me hooked on Shelly is that she has her own hair care products that are made with natural ingredients. She also is an advocate for black natural hair which is something I am trying to transition back to natural hair again and I will be using her services in the future to help me in my journey. I do not know how many black people read my blog but for many black women hair is always a struggle and natural hair care is at the forefront of trying to help us grow our hair naturally without depending on toxic products that we use to tame our tresses. Go to her blog and check it out also check out if some of her natural hair care products are for you
Here is a throwback pic of me with my natural tresses 1 and half years ago with my natural textured fro…
Gosh I miss it….. are my eyes freaking out any of your cuz I can crop out my eyes…lol
I am currently transitioning to this afro again and it should take a year and a half to have 8 inches of afro loving. I am very anti hair chemicals but I succumbed to them because I could not style my own hair in its natural form. As a vegan I always felt bad about relaxing my hair because these products could be tested on innocent animals and that guilt follows me whenever I relax my hair.
Disclaimer:Note I am not getting any free art work or hair products from these sites. I am just sharing my new favourite sites with you and I plan to continue highlighting interesting blogs and people as time goes on.
So that is it for this weeks post. Please comment even if you feel it would use up your energy sources for the day.