Roasted Smashed Potatoes

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It is said that you can take an Indian out of India, but you can never take India out of an Indian. Many of the habits and passions we develop back home stay with us for the rest of our lives, no matter which corner of the world we end up in. One such passion that every Indian carries in his heart is the game of Cricket. A single game of cricket can last anywhere from 4 hours to five days. Yes, that's right, days. And the country of 1.2 billion people suspends itself in a unison every time the men in blue step out on the ground! My early memories of cricket take me back to the days when the only access to the game was through a transistor radio. My dad would intently listen to the audio … [Read more...]

No Bake Carrot Cake

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Foreign Returned. Even now, some of the matrimonial ads in India use this phrase as a qualification of the prospective bride or groom. The crème de la crème of the society get to visit "the foreign", and it is something to be proud of. उनके फॉरिन मे बहोट कनेक्षन्स हेई - He has a lot of connections in "foreign". English has also been a status symbol in India, I am sure the roots lie somewhere in the British ruling India a few decades ago and how only the elite got to mingle with the white folks. Needless to say, I was enchanted by everything related to this "foreign" culture as a kid growing up in India. My mom worked as a librarian and she would bring books and magazines for me to read. … [Read more...]

Chocolate Truffles

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I don't know if we each have a destiny, or if we're all just floating around accidental-like on a breeze. But I think maybe it's both. Maybe both are happening at the same time. - Forrest Gump When my path crossed with Anup's 20 years ago at a high school in India, I was floating around like a feather in the wind. I was a carefree teenager who didn't know what love was. And yet, love was waiting around the corner for me; my destiny was finding me. Some might scoff at me calling Anup my destiny, but I am glad that I was crazy enough to jump in with both feet in the ocean of love that has swept me away and taken me places I had never dreamed of! What is it to be in love? Where do "I" … [Read more...]

Almond and Coconut Truffles

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Our condo is right across from the Metropolis at Metrotown mall, simply "Metrotown" to the Vancouverites. Wikipedia tells me that Metrotown is the largest mall in British Columbia and the second largest mall in Canada. What I don't need Wikipedia to tell me is that the mall is a zoo around this time of the year. This zoo has all kinds of animals. The Cheetahs who move from one store to the next at dizzying pace, the cute looking Chihuahuas who defend their territory with all their might and the sly jungle cats who will steal your cart - with your stuff in it. Anup and I, we feel like lost puppies when we visit the mall around this time of the year. Remembering each individual that you … [Read more...]

Chai Spiced Pumpkin Crumb Cake

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"Where are you from?" A harmless question, no doubt. But the question is enough to throw Anup and I for a loop. The conversation turns equally painful for the person who asked the question. While he or she might be just making smalltalk; they now have to hear us yap about how we are originally from India, went to grad schools in New York and Texas, lived in California for about a year before moving to Florida and then decided to move to Vancouver. Phew! The brave ones try to keep the conversation going and ask, "So is Vancouver home now?" No, most of our family is in India so we might decide to move back there. But we love the ocean too and have been itching to travel to the Caribbean … [Read more...]

Chocolate Tart

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I was reading the statistics about vegetarianism and I wasn't surprised that India had the lowest rate of meat consumption in the world. India is the birthplace of Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism - the most prominent religions advocating vegetarianism. I grew up in a vegetarian family and didn't eat any meat till I was in my 20s, well after I married Anup. Eating meat was such a foreign concept to us; we didn't even know people who ate meat. Once every winter, when the weather got cold enough and when the stars were perfectly aligned, my dad would ask my mom to make omelettes at home. Omelette making was a covert operation because god forbid if our equally strict vegetarian neighbors found … [Read more...]

Baked Quinoa Fritters

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One of the most overplayed jokes in the western world goes like this - "If you don't like the weather in {your city} now, just wait a few minutes!" The people saying it also invariably act like they just made it up. The joke implies that the weather in that particular city is very unpredictable. The weather in Vancouver changes so much though, this joke is more like a fact of life. Vancouver's coastal location moderates its temperatures, but the sea breezes and mountains all around the valley make Greater Vancouver a region of microclimates. This translates into quite a bit of local variations in weather. Vancouver also gets a lot of rain because of the mountains, and I am yet to identify a … [Read more...]

Quinoa and Almond Flour Cake

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I have been trying to jump start my workout and healthy eating habits after my break in Toronto. The first couple of days were the hardest. I felt like the ice creams and cakes I ate on my vacation were literally padded to my legs making it hard for me to move! I am finally over that hump and doing regular weight training at the gym. I like to end my weight training sessions with a high intensity cardio routine; 8-10 minutes of that last hurrah that jacks up your heart rate and gets you sweating hard. I was recently reading an interview of Mark Harari, a personal trainer. In the interview, he talked about his secret weapon, a routine he calls "The 666 Devil Run". You basically run on a 6 … [Read more...]

Vegan Ice Cream with Papaya and Coconut Milk

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Anup and I went for a run on our favorite trail a couple of days back and we actually got a bit of color on us! It finally feels like we need to shift our focus from beating the cold weather to beating the heat. Compared to India, we certainly have more tools and resources available to beat the weather. It's almost unfair that we get to sit in our air-conditioned homes all day and complain about the heat outside! Summers in India can be lethal, in the literal sense of the word. I looked up the temperatures today in my hometown Vadodara, and its around 108°F. That's almost 40°F more than in Vancouver. And unlike us, most people there will have to beat that temperature without … [Read more...]

Gluten-Free Strawberry Cupcakes

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I wrote about my first day at the culinary school here a few months ago. By the fifth month at the school, me and my fellow wanna-be-chefs had gotten used to the routine of waking up early and dressing up in all whites every day. Our brand new knife bags and crisp recipe books were stained with sauces, and in some cases, with our own blood. Band-aids were to be found in our pockets and on our fingers. Most of us had also started working outside the school to get more practical experience. We were allowed zero creativity at these restaurants and working 8 to 10 hours outside of the school was the new normal. While the TV shows might have you believe that the kitchen is a place where chefs … [Read more...]