tropical tamilnadu – photo – Karen Anderson
Mahabalipuram lies about an hour south of Chennai in the state of Tamilnadu in South India. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site because of the sixth to eighth century temples carved in great detail from rock and sand. They’ve withstood time. They’ve withstood Tsunamis.
The beach here is long, curved and cascaded upon by never-ending wave chasing wave. They’ve arrived in this little crook in the Bay of Bengal in a chaotic but somehow predetermined rhythm. They seem to collapse exhausted on the shore after realizing the futility of racing each other across the breadth of the Indian Ocean. Plunging into them at dawn you feel the strength the moon lends them in tidal force. They want to pull you to the ocean’s depths with them but just in time a bigger stronger wiser wave floats you safely to shore.
Temples and beaches are impressive attractions but my reason for being in Tamilnadu was to see a dear friend and meet and cook with his family. Read on for a crispy Tamilnadu lamb fritter recipe and a few photos from my recent visit.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pentiction Hill – photo – Karen Anderson
VQA shop – Penticton – photo – Karen Anderson
blossoms – spring in the South Okanagan comes a full month earlier than in Alberta – photo – Karen Anderson
photo – Karen Anderson
Wistful wisteria – Penticton in spring – photo – Karen Anderson
View from Liquidity Bistro – photo – Karen Anderson
lunch with Ian MacDonald owner of Liquidity – photo – Karen Anderson
steak at Liquidity Bistro – photo – Karen Anderson
Liquidity tasting room – photo – Karen Anderson
desert in bloom – South Okanagan – photo – Karen Anderson
Black Sage Road
Church and State tasting room – photo – Karen Anderson
wines of Church and State – photo – Karen Anderson
Black Sage Road – photo – Karen Anderson
Barrelling through Fairview Cellars on private tour with owner – photo – Karen Anderson
Bill the bear at Fairview Cellars – photo – Karen Anderson
Hester Creek for dinner – photo – Karen Anderson
scallops – Hester Creek – photo – Karen Anderson
Hester Creek cooking school – photo – Karen Anderson
Calm morning at Lake Osoyoos – photo – Karen Anderson
the unexplored Similkameen Valley – photo – Karen Anderson
Similkameen trio – photo – Karen Anderson
South Okanagan vineyard spring cleaning – photo – Karen Anderson
Robin Ridge – photo – Karen Anderson
stopping for lunch – photo – Karen Anderson
to the cave – Seven Stones – photo – Karen Anderson
George Hansen at Seven Stones Cave – photo – Karen Anderson
no matter how you stack the wine barrels the South Okanagan is a great place to visit – photo – Karen Anderson
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.