at a Sikh Langar (free food kitchen for all regardless of background) in Delhi – photo – Pauli-Ann Carriere
This will be the fourth time I’ve lead cuisine and culture journeys to India. It gives me great joy to share this year’s itinerary here.
This year’s trip is all about #EatPrayPlay.
#EAT – because this trip is for food lovers and our shared passion for the mouth-watering cuisines of India.
#PRAY – because India’s religions are so much a part of the vibrant daily life of her people – we make an effort to learn about them and the culture that forms around them.
#PLAY – because, though we’ll see lots of “life in our face”, India will surprise you with the joy and love in most of her people. We make sure to play, have fun, join in festivals and unwind with a restorative form of yoga that anyone can take part in.
Let me share some photos and highlights from trips past and plans for this year’s custom tour designed by me and my partners at Indus Travels.
Edgar Farms of Innisfail Growers
I woke up to find a message from my friend Elna Edgar of Edgar Farms in Innisfail today. She asked if I would share the news that they’ve had to cancel their annual Asparagus Festival which was to be held on May 31, June 7 and 14.
I’m sad for my friends. They’re passionate farmers and they love to share that passion for all they do with visitors to their farm.
I hope you will support them more than ever this year. Read about one of my visits to Innisfail Growers, visit their stall at the Calgary Farmers’ Market, participate in their annual Country Drive or Open Farm Days and let them know we’ll all be waiting to celebrate a bumper crop of asparagus next year.
Sometimes having to wait a bit for something we love helps us all the more to savour it all.
Read on for the full press release.
Mr. Abraham’s cheery home – photo – Karen Anderson
Coconut is a great ingredient and though I love coconut, I think spices are perhaps the greatest ingredient ever given to a cook.
This post allows me to share another savoury coconut recipe but it also satisfies my longing to share my journey to a very special place in Kerala, South India.
When I planned my first trip to India, I planned it around two equally passionate quests; I wanted to meet India’s people and I wanted to go to where the spices grow.
Both of these desires were fulfilled when I found myself at Mr. Abraham’s Spice Garden in a quiet, lush corner in the Cardamom Hills near Periyar. I fell in love with the garden and of course with the garden’s caretakers.
Mr. Abraham’s garden was included in a BBC TV show and book by Monty Don called Around the World in 80 Gardens. I think it’s as close to the Garden of Eden as I’ll ever get. Read on, for the recipe and a virtual tour of the garden and you’ll see why I’ve been back and will keep going back as long as I’m able.
Me and one of my closest farming friends – Penny Marshal of Highwood Crossing Farms presenting at The Calgary Stampede Calgary Coop Showcase Kitchen in 2011 – I’ve learned so much about farming and cooking from Penny!
photo credit – Adam Chiasson
Visiting Alberta’s farms and farmers – whether urban or rural – has always been a big part of my life in Alberta and summer is the prime time to make a visit. If you’d like to meet some farmers here’s some ideas I’ve collected to help you be “Outstanding in a field” this summer.
I was born to grocery shop
Some people are born to shop but I was born to grocery shop. I love it.
I am delighted that I get to write about the great ingredients and cool things I find in local grocery stores, markets and kitchen shops. I do this for my Get This (must have kitchen stuff) column in Calgary’s City Palate magazine.
I’ve been writing Get This since the fall of 2010 and I am inspired by the fun things I find for each and every issue. I respect that my publisher and editor never tell me what to write about. They trust that I will write about things City Palate readers will be interested in. That is what City Palate is about first, last and always…for over 20 years…what readers will find interesting.
Thinking about our readers motivates me every time. Along with the products I love to squeeze in a few recipes and news about local farms and businesses, and great chefs and designers.
In this issue I wrote about the following products which will qualify for this blog’s cool things category:
Cool thing #17 – Ruckles – groovy goat cheese from Salt Spring Island
Cool thing #18 – Spiegelau’s balloon decanter and tumbler set – a darling with great hand feel
Cool thing #19 – Tartufo nero – black truffle oil that I think is asparagus’s taste soul mate
Cool thing #20 – DaVinci orange syrup – agent orange as an asset
Cool thing #21 – Lemonaise – lemon lending flavour potential
Cool thing #22 – Village Brewery Growlers – the most chillin’ beer for summer.
You’ll find the full story in this May/June issue.
I have a fridge, freezer and pantry stuffed to the gills with great ingredients and cool things. I wouldn’t have it any other way. It’s truly a part of what helps me savour it all.
My April column for CBC Radio One’s Alberta at Noon was all about a new website called Soil Mate.
The Soil Mate website acts like a match making service between consumers and farmers. Just as internet matchmaking services helps people find their soul mate, this site will help you find your “soil mate”. But, it’s all brand new and Soil Mate needs help building a directory of farmers, farmer’s markets and wineries that will span North America. We can all help. Here’s a bit more information and my podcast.
Here’s a few videos highlighting last year’s host farms.
Chefs, restaurants, caterers and culinary tour operators can design and offer culinary events to celebrate our Alberta farms on Saturday, August 23, 2014. Fees will apply for these events.
Farms willing to host a free admission open house of their farm on August 24 have the opportunity to engage and enlist direct market support of their enterprise through this annual event.
Both culinary event operators and farmers can download the participation form here.
Taking time out to celebrate our amazing Alberta farms and farmers is a great way to savour it all.