Before I proceed I must say something is wrong with my camera. Anyone that knows how I can change settings to get rid of this horrid white wash on my photos (which makes my blog too soft) let me know.
I love lemon poppy seed anything..I love the light citrus flavour and the non intrusive bite of the poppy seeds. When I took up the offer to do lemon pepper ice cream I wanted to see if a lemon poppy-seed would have the same flavour profile as the lemon pepper..it did not. It was totally different even if they were made from the same batch of lemon ice cream. The lemon poppy-seed ice cream tastes like a rich but light comforting lemon cake which pairs well with a red fruit sauce. I had raspberry jam( not shown in photo) which I drizzled over the top but it ended up looking like ketchup! I usually do not care for sweets but, when I tasted this flavour I really wanted to finish the entire bowl. Fortunately I did not but I could have as this ice cream is low in sugar as you would see in the below recipe but it satisfies the sweet tooth. How did I do it? I used a little agave nectar to bump up the sweet and paired it with low sugar fruit sauce.
I am still playing with xanthan gum this week and hope to put it down for next week flavour pineapple coconut with chocolate shell topping. Xanthan gum with the combo of arrowroot really gives a nice mouthfeel and the ice crystal formation was really low with this flavour. My hunch is that when you add lemon to soy milk you make a buttermilk and that is what really made this ice cream light yet satisfying at the same time. In comparison to last weeks pumpkin pecan this is very light.
Again, sorry about this photo. Hopefully next week I would have back my bright eye-popping photos again. I am having heart palpitations with this one. Everyone who follows this blog knows I am a big fan of black pepper ice cream which I usually serve alongside Caribbean desserts so when I was talking to one of my followers on Facebook I said I would do my black pepper ice cream recipe but they suggested I add some lemon to it and wow..really you have to try this. This ice cream is walking on a thin line of sweet and savory and I kept it on the line by pairing it with a basil mint coulis. To make this I grabbed some basil from outside and added some brown sugar and olive oil and blended it well and added a little fresh mint and blended it again and put it in my squeeze bottle. It can last for a good week and a half and it pairs well with the lemon pepper ice cream. I added some extra pepper on the top of my ice cream to increase the “back throat” burn one gets from eating pepper ice creams. This is a really fine dessert even if my plating did not portray this but if you want a sophisticated flavour and you are a big foodie do the lemon pepper with the basil coulis.
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 with full fat coconut milk alternatives full fat coconut milk or soy milk with 1/2 cup vegan butter
Result Light creamy ice cream. Ten minute wait to scoop
Extremely low in ice crystals
Sugar sources: West Indian light brown sugar, agave nectar alternatives only agave or only sugar
Flavour profile of star ingredient: medium high…did not have a tart overkill it was just right
Kid Friendly: Lemon poppy-seed (Medium High) Lemon Pepper with Basil Coulis (Low)
Lemon poppy-seed pairs well with fresh red berries or any red fruit jam would work well in a sugar cone. Lemon Pepper works well with extra pepper on top and basil sauces
Additional Info: Cook this ice cream on low heat as you are cooking acid and any high heats can really change up the flavour profile to something unpleasant..watch that HEAT! The ice cream will curdle slightly dont panic.
Recipe ( I made one batch of Lemon custard and split it in half and added 1 tablespoon poppy seed to one and 1 tablespoon of freshly ground black pepper to the other)
If you want to do full batch of one flavour just double your pepper or poppy seed.
Vegan Lemon Ice Cream
1 cup soy creamer
1/2 cup full fat coconut milk or soy creamer
1 1/2 cups soy milk plus 1/4 cup soy milk (to mix in with arrowroot
2 heaping tablespoons vegan butter
Juice from 4 lemons ( meaning an extra lemon with the 4 you already have)
1 tsp vanilla extract or half vanilla bean
Zest of 3 lemons (1 1/2 tablespoons)
1 heaping 1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp xanthan gum plus 2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/4 tsp arrowroot flour
1 tablespoons of agave
a few drops of vegan friendly yellow food colouring ( since you are not using eggs you wont get that light yellow hue), optional
1 tablespoon for split 2 tablespoons for whole recipe black pepper (after ice cream has churned)
1 tablespoon for split 2 tablespoons for whole recipe poppy seeds (after ice cream has churned)
Make custard by combining soy creamer , coconut milk, butter, lemon juice vanilla, zest, and sugar.
Cook on medium low heat until there is a faint simmer then reduce heat to low and add in the xanthan gum mixed with sugar slowly whisking carefully but well.
Mix 1/4 milk with arrowroot flour and bring back the mixture to a faint simmer, take the mixture off the heat and add in arrowroot mixture. Stir well and you would feel mixture getting thick. Add colouring and agave nectar and let cool.
Add mixture to fridge and chill for up to 6 hours.
Add to ice cream maker .
Split mixture in half and add 1 tablespoon poppy seeds plus 1 extra tablespoon agave for poppy seed ice cream
Add 1 tablespoon black pepper plus 1/2 tablespoon sugar for lemon pepper ice cream.
Remember to join the facebook page to request a flavour.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Later that night the Anchorage Hotel in Dominica served vegan snacks using some of my recipes and their existing vegan options.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
and one more because I know you are curious to see the inside..
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.
Here are some photos from the pool
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
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!
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.
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…..
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