Category Archives: Travel

Art Installation #10 – making #TheHumanConnection with photographer @jeremyfokkens

making the coffee connection with Jeremy Fokkens - photo - Karen Anderson

making the coffee connection with Jeremy Fokkens – photo – Karen Anderson

Black and white – these photos look you in the eye. Some of smiles and some of question marked faces, but all with subjects caught fully present in the moment with the man on the other end of the lens. Stark, bold – sometimes bare naked and raw. Joy, bliss, pain, despair; nothing shielded; nothing held back. A journey into life and its balancing forces. Life revealed in Nepal and Bangladesh. Powerful stuff.

Read on for a few photos from Jeremy Fokken’s book The Human Connection and a little bit about the man himself.

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Mr. Abraham’s Spice Garden – cooking with coconut in the Cardamom Hills of Kerala

Mr. Abraham's cheery home - photo - Karen Anderson

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.

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Filed under Farm Tours, food tours, Great ingredients, India, Recipes, Time in Nature, Travel

A lovely bunch of coconut… recipes from #Kerala and #Tamilnadu – a recipe for Fish Moilee from Cochin

fresh local ingredients - including coconuts at Barbecue Restaurant Thekkady - photo - Karen Anderson

fresh local ingredients – including coconuts at Barbecue Restaurant Thekkady – photo – Karen Anderson

I’ve got a lovely bunch of coconut…recipes for you.

From Cochin (Kochi) to Thekkady in Kerala to Mahalamapuram to Chettinad in Tamilnadu I’m going to finish my coconut theme strong. This post will highlight Fish Moilee (Moylee, Molee) – a coconut flavoured fish dish mildly spiced with mustard seeds, turmeric and curry leaves.

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I’m just back from beautiful #SouthIndia and I’m going #coconuts this week

luscious coconut vegetation in the Backwaters of Kerala in South India - photo - Karen Anderson

luscious coconut vegetation in the Backwaters of Kerala in South India – photo – Karen Anderson

Eighty per cent of travellers to India visit the Northern part of the country. They go to see the monumental monuments of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. Old Delhi’s cramped hustle and bustle contrasting with New Delhi’s orderly and broad expanse is amazing. Agra’s Taj Mahal and Red Fort are breathtaking and Jaipur’s Amber Fort, pink palaces, ancient artisanal handicraft traditions and elegant conservatory delight.

So why go beyond? If you’ve seen the Golden Triangle you’ve seen India’s best have you not?

Well, if you are a cook, India’s real hook is less about her monuments and more about the reason that explorers fell at her feet in the first place. India’s spices are what set the world in motion.

When it comes to spices, South India – which is made up of Karnataka, Kerala and Tamilnadu – is a dream destination. Pepper, cardamom, cinnamon, turmeric, ginger, cloves, nutmeg, and allspice thrive here. Cumin, coriander, mustard seeds and saffron are brought in from the North. Garlic, red onions, little shallots and chilies complement add depth and heat when desired. Curry leaves are plucked from bushes that are indigenous to the landscape. I’ll talk more about the spices I’ve found in South India in another post.

South India gave the world spices, Ayurvedic medicine and the star ingredient of this post – lots and lots of coconuts.

Here’s a few coconut basics I’ve found out so far.

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Clear skies on first @WestJet flight to #Penticton – from Penticton Western News

Clear skies on first WestJet flight to Penticton – Penticton Western News.

This is a follow-up to my last post on the inaugural WestJet flight to Penticton that I got to be a guest for on October 26. I had a lot of fun and met a lot of very excited people. Mark Brett of the Penticton Western News took a few fun photos of me and interviewed me for the article above. I met some of the WestJet brass and representatives from Hester Creek winery. That last meeting was very handy indeed because, as it turns out, less than an hour’s flight in beautiful clear skies give a person room to dream big joy-filled dreams.

One of my winter projects this year is to follow-up on the wonderful dreams I so clearly envisioned in the highlighted article above. The photos gallery you’ve just scrolled through, might give you an idea of a future expansion for my company Calgary Food Tours Inc. I’ll keep you posted when that happens but until then, I think you’ll have a pretty good idea of where the inspiration for my dreams of food and wine tours in the South Okanagan came from. This is one of my favourite places in the world to savour it all.

For me, great food and wine – like I find when I travel in the South Okanagan of British Columbia – will always lead to joy.

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Today is a great day! @Westjet begins service to one of my favourite places in Canada – @VisitPenticton (cool thing #28)

Apricot sunset on Lake Okanagan, Penticton, B.C. - photo - Karen Anderson

Apricot sunset on Lake Okanagan, Penticton, B.C. – photo – Karen Anderson


At last there is a direct flight from Calgary to Penticton.

You can read all about it in this press release.

Thank you WestJet.

I live in Calgary so it’s obviously my favourite place in Canada.
It’s where I met my husband and we’re happy to be raising our son here. I’ve loved growing my beautiful business Calgary Food Tours Inc. in this progressive, open-minded and supportive community.

My hometown of St. Andrews, New Brunswick is my second favourite place in Canada because of its spectacular setting on the Atlantic ocean and for my deeply sentimental Maritimer roots (there’s a giant tide that pulls us back).

Canada is a huge country and I’ve explored almost every corner but after my hometown and the place I live and work, Penticton is my favourite place in Canada because…

Penticton is where I go to play, play, play!

Today’s inaugural direct flight connecting Calgary and Penticton will be a game changer for me and my family. Instead of contemplating an eight to nine hour drive through sometimes harrowing mountain passes we’ll be able to access our fun times in Penticton in less than an hour. It also has me thinking as the owner of a food and wine appreciation kind of business of all sorts of growth possibilities and partnerships. I never realized that watching Penticton develop over 15 years of family vacations might lead to this place but these are all fun thoughts indeed. They are thoughts that help me savour it all.

Penticton – I know you are ready with golf, skiing, hiking, cycling, triathlons, water, water, water, farmer’s markets, fruit stands, coffee shops, fun and funky main street shops, hidden gem eateries, micro-breweries, Elvis impersonators, hockey schools, live music, art galleries and a laid back vintage vibe that’s all too hard to find in this fast paced world.

Calgary will be coming to you. I’m filled with JOY to be coming to you today as a guest of WestJet on their inaugural flight.

Off to the airport I go!

Capt. Jaren Belrose and first officer Shauna Epp on the flight deck of the WestJet Q400 look over a map of Penticton on the ground at Kelowna International Airport Thursday while waiting for passengers to start boarding. The same type of aircraft will be used in the direct service between Penticton and Calgary, Alta. which begins Sunday -  photo credit  - Mark Brett/Western News

Capt. Jaren Belrose and first officer Shauna Epp on the flight deck of the WestJet Q400 look over a map of Penticton on the ground at Kelowna International Airport Thursday while waiting for passengers to start boarding. The same type of aircraft will be used in the direct service between Penticton and Calgary, Alta. which begins Sunday – photo credit – Mark Brett/Western News

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a #pintxos primer for San Sebastian, #Spain

Spain's green coast - costa verde - near San Sebastian - photo - Karen Anderson

Spain’s green coast – costa verde – near San Sebastian – photo – Karen Anderson

Pintxos are small appetizers pierced with a toothpick and served from large plates on bar tops. You take what you’d like, order some drinks, take a few more goodies if you have a hankering to do so and pay before you leave. The bartender simply counts up your toothpicks, remembers what you drank and charges you accordingly. Everything is on the honour system. Everything – drinks and food – is priced from one to a few euros. The atmosphere is chilled, relaxed; easy.

This post isn’t about naming names of places you “must try” for pintxos when you go to San Sebastian in Spain’s Basque Country. It’s more about priming your palette and your mind to maximally enjoy the experience. The ritual of enjoying pintxos is a bit about food and a lot about visiting and relaxing.

Read on to see how my family got along on our recent trip to Basque country’s culinary capital.

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