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Things of old, a little poll (I need your help) and some of my new favourite bloggers – THIS SITE HAS MOVED

January 28, 2010





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

Bajan 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)

West Indian Gooseberries

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.

Vegan Pancakes with West Indian Gooseberry Syrup

The Poll

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 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.


23 Comments leave one →
  1. January 28, 2010 12:33 pm

    I wish I could find both pidgeon peas and West Indian gooseberries. You made me very corious. I like those stories behind the food.
    I think people don’t like tvp because it is a highly processed soy product. And some people find it hard to digest. I don’t mind it and use it from time to time. Seitan is a great substitute. Don’t let people discourage you, I’m sure there are many people who like tvp and you could always include a substitute in your recipe.

    • Taymer permalink*
      January 28, 2010 12:37 pm

      Yes I use it about 5 times a year to be honest because I have so many other things to eat. Thinking of what you said about digestion I need to see if the next time I have it if I find it hard to digest. I have some issues with seitan that gives me problems to digest so I try to keep my use of seitan low. The problem for me is that I need to feed my muscle protein and most of these beans are quite carby so I never have a shred toned appearance by eating vegan. I would have to use tofu everyday. I think using things in moderation is the key.

  2. Suzi permalink
    January 28, 2010 12:39 pm

    Do your thing! We all have a variety of cookbooks. What makes a book good is not the ingredients, but the style and tastiness of the recipes. I say use what you like and what you know- the recipes will speak for themselves.

    (I use TVP rarely, for amusement, tofu more often, and seitan sometimes. I like dishes with real, unprocessed food the best.)

    Have fun with it!

  3. January 28, 2010 1:19 pm

    TVP is great. we use TVP, seitan, tofu, beans, everything. Please let us know if you need recipe testers for the book!

  4. January 28, 2010 2:35 pm

    Check out this Company

    They teach you how to do Braids, Cornrows and Weaves the Fast and Easy Way! They even teach you what you need to do to start your own business. I promise you, you want be disappointed. I have their DVD’s and they are great and easy to learn.

    • Taymer permalink*
      January 28, 2010 2:39 pm

      Thank you I really need to start learning how to deal with my own hair… I am going to check it out

  5. January 28, 2010 3:20 pm

    I’m intrigued by those pigeon peas and I will be on the lookout for them. I think most of use still enjoy some of those simple meals from our childhood. It’s fun we can veganize them.

    As far as your cookbook goes, I personally haven’t used TVP, not that I won’t, I just haven’t. I think Mihl is right about TVP, I think people tend not to use it because of it being overly processed but I’m sure it won’t hurt to use it every once in a while. I tend to use tofu and tempeh more than seitan because my son can’t handle too much wheat. Just remember this is your cookbook so what you want to have in it you should. There are always going to be those few people who have negative comments, it’s just the way it is. It’s nice to see variety in a cookbook. Also there is no “perfect” vegan. We all are just trying to live a life that is less cruel and unharmful to all, right? I’m looking forward to your cookbook!

    • Taymer permalink*
      January 28, 2010 3:26 pm

      No I just want to clear up the issues about tvp use by vegans…. In the Caribbean the Rastas use it sometimes.. I really cannot handle too much seitan in my diet either… Thanks for your input. I really appreciated it.

  6. jocelyn permalink
    January 28, 2010 3:36 pm

    I can’t find pigeon peas at all here–it makes me so cross! I don’t like TVP much, but tons of other Americans that I know use it. I LOVE seitan, but only if it’s made in Lachesis’s Seitan o’Greatness method. I especially like it “beefy” flavored. I’m also a big fan of tempeh.

  7. bajangyal permalink
    January 28, 2010 3:52 pm

    I have no problems with TVP although I am not a fan on the brands available here in the UK. Love your natural hair …it was gorgeous!

    • Taymer permalink*
      January 28, 2010 4:11 pm

      Lol I growing back now I gine see how long I last this time around… There is this brand from trinidad I think that is already seasoned I find the brands from overseas are not flavoured so I usually have to do more work with them

  8. January 28, 2010 4:04 pm

    What’s so bad about tvp? I’ve never had a problem with it.

    Although I must say that I don’t use much fake meat in general, and the one I use the most is probably tempeh. I eat a lot more veggies and beans.

    Also, cool blogs!

  9. January 28, 2010 4:55 pm

    Thanks for the feature 🙂 As far as your TVP issue goes. I think most foodies/cooks/culinary connoisseurs understand that recipes are adaptable. If I read a vegan recipe that utilizes wheat flour but I prefer spelt, then I will simply substitute. If I prefer tofu or seitan over TVP, again I will substitute. It does not take away from the value that your recipe brings, it’s simply another way. That is the beauty in the culinary arts, is having an eye to approach a dish with a twist. You needn’t worry about the preferences or disparaging comments from others. Suit your pallet, live your dream, contribute your gift and I promise the world will follow 🙂

  10. January 28, 2010 4:57 pm

    I’m a vegan in the US and I happily use tofu, tempeh, seitan, soy curls, and TVP. For some things, TVP works really well. Some people will pick at your ingredient choices no matter what you do. Pay them no mind. Just choose what you think works well and tastes best, and it will be great!

    • Taymer permalink*
      January 28, 2010 5:02 pm

      Lol oh goodness do not do that to the person. They were only sharing their opinion and I am here to please my readers and find out what vegans and foodies really eat. Just some private market research the person meant well and I know it:) They substituted and love the recipe otherwise

      This is the first time I got so many comments on the blog. Thanks to everyone that commented so far.

  11. January 29, 2010 12:17 am

    I use TVP all the time and actually just got some in bulk today. I think the reason why people might not use it so much here is because the frozen alternatives are so readily available (ie Boca Burger or Morningside Farms here in the States). It’s easy to just depend on those products, but it’s soooooo much cheaper to buy TVP and reconstitute them. It’s probably less than a dollar with TVP, but $3 or $4 for the package of burger crumbles. With TVP, you just need some good recipes, and then you’re all set! One of my favorite books that includes TVP recipes is the Native Food cookbook. Tacos, nachos, “meat sauce”, chili – they’re all delicious!. Good luck with your cookbook!

  12. January 29, 2010 9:30 am

    I rarely use TVP, and never do seitan (can’t handle wheat gluten). I have absolutely nothing against it however…just don’t do a lot of fake meats around here. If you have 2 or 3 recipes that use it, please go ahead and publish those too- geez, it would be sad to limit a cookbook because someone somewhere didn’t like a certain ingredient. I think in a cookbook, variety is everything – I never ever like every single recipe in any cookbook, so it’s ok. Looking forward to your book!

  13. January 29, 2010 1:38 pm

    Hmmm, I like tvp but understand that some people don’t like overly processed food, which it is. But, every once in a while, why not!?! And it is YOUR cookbook, you are a fantastic cook with a beautiful eye for flavors and combinations. I will be fist in line to buy it!

    • Taymer permalink*
      January 29, 2010 1:47 pm

      lol thanks Tasha… It will be out soon hopefully

  14. January 29, 2010 2:47 pm

    As you know I am not a vegan so please clarify for me. Is that what Trinidadians call Soya chunks – you soak it in water first and season it?

  15. January 29, 2010 5:25 pm

    The only complaint I’ve heard about TVP is that it is really processed. I personally don’t mind using it occasionally (I wouldn’t eat it everyday, but mainly because it’d be boring). I think two recipes in a whole cookbook isn’t a big deal at all.
    That said, I love tofu. I also enjoy seitan quite a bit. I’m pretty iffy on tempeh most of the time, mainly because I don’t use it often. But I also really love recipes that don’t rely on any meat analogues. I say, go with what you love and people will adjust to meet their own preferences.

  16. February 1, 2010 6:12 pm

    Love pigeon peas– your dish looks delicious.
    As a kid, I remember foraging for gooseberries, even in the concrete jungle that’s Bombay. One of our neighbors had a huge gooseberry tree and we kids would be under it practically all summer, picking up and eating the very sour but very delicious berries. Yum.

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