It’s been two weeks since I’ve been back from Sacramento, where I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference, and I’ve been struggling with some new thoughts on food, flavours, and authenticity. sacramento all spicery

Over the last five years food has played such a huge role in my life, and has shaped the direction of my career, so obviously I think about (and eat) food a lot. When I made the switch from blogging exclusively about fashion to including culture and food, I was determined to share only authentic Indian, and mostly Punjabi recipes. The idea was to capture and record the spirit of my grandmother and mother’s cooking – which I understood to be authentic, home style Punjabi food. View Post

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Blueberry IdliHappy BC Day! I absolutely love my home province and wouldn’t want to live anywhere else in the world, so I’m excited to share a BC Blueberries inspired recipe today. (Ironically, I’m sitting in a hotel room looking out at the Coos Bay in Oregon as I write this post – but I’ll share more about that next week!)

bc blueberriesA couple of weeks ago our family took a trip to a local berry farm, and I’ve been itching to try a recipe with our u-pick bounty every since. I’ve had this idea to do a stuffed idli banked in my file filled with random blog post ideas for nearly a year, and I finally found the perfect filling – blueberry jam. 
Blueberry IdliAn idli is basically a steamed rice cake, and the blueberry jam is the perfect compliment to this basic snack item. I have high hopes of this becoming a school lunch option in the fall, and am already planning some fun new filling ideas. 
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diy travel tumblers for chaiRecently I was talking to a friend of mine about ideas for party favours. We were trying to come up with an idea for something easy to put together, not too costly, and useful for a family wedding. There’s nothing worse than spending time and money on putting together party favours and having people toss them out as soon as they get home.   View Post

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I’ve always had a strong connection to agriculture and farming because of my family history, but my personal interest in the ‘farm to fork’ lifestyle really came about after I attended the International Food Bloggers Conference in 2014.summer squash{Summer squash make a great seasonal sabzi}

At the conference hosted in Seattle, I heard Audra Mulkern speak about her love for agriculture, eating local, farmers markets, and perhaps most importantly; her desire to give a face and voice to female farmers. It was actually the first time I heard someone speak with so much passion about farming that it actually pulled at my heart strings. It reminded me, that I too am a ‘farmer’s daughter’, even though my dad and grandfather left their farms back home in India. It’s in my genes, and my family history to grow our food, eat seasonally, and share the harvest with others. 

Over the last two years I’ve gotten to know the farmer’s markets in my area, and really started thinking about the quality of the fresh food I bring into my home. I can’t say that everything I buy is organic, but quite a bit of it is local. We’ve started visiting Two EE’s farm market for our produce in the summer because they post signs that show us exactly where in the world our food comes from. The best part is, thinking about our fresh fruits & vegetables has even got the kids thinking about what is in all the other food we eat. They read labels and avoid processed and packaged foods whenever possible.local saag{Local saag grown here in Surrey}

I think for many people (myself included) the farm to fork lifestyle can be intimidating. There is a strange fear about never being able to eat our favourite foods, or at our favourite restaurants again. The thought of trying to get our picky, fussy kids to eat only fresh and healthy foods can be overwhelming, and perhaps the scariest thing for a young family – the expense of a farm to fork diet. 

We felt all the same anxieties that I’ve listed above when we started moving this way a couple of years ago, and I’m here to tell you – a farm to fork lifestyle doesn’t mean you have to change your entire outlook on food. My kids still love the occasional fast food run, and my daughter is probably never going to give up Bear Paws, but we are taking baby steps everyday. We try to eat at local restaurants when we go out, we buy BC tomatoes at the grocery store, and visit local cheese and wine producers to buy ready made products. These little changes are progress for our family.

Now that we have started embracing a local and healthier diet, I cannot wait to go on the Farm-to-Fork adventure in Sacramento on Friday, where I’m attending the International Food Blogger’s Conference again! I’m told Sacramento is the Farm to Fork capital of the United States, and I can’t wait to tour the farming regions here. (Make sure you are connected with me on Instagram: @pinkchai if you want to follow along).

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You guys…I’m one of the strangest people I know. Seriously, I have more weird quirks and habits than anyone I’ve ever met. One of my trademark habits – trying to cook/recreate foods I’ve never eaten or seen anyone make. Usually followed by lots of freaking out and cursing. Enter: baraf ka gola aka the Indian snow cone.

So I saw this video on YouTube and figured ‘I could do that’. Mistake number one; never assume you can do anything an Indian street vendor can do. Jokes apart, after much trial and error, I did finally create this delicious & refreshing beauty.

how to make baraf ka gola

how to make baraf ka gola pink chai

How to Make Baraf Ka Gola

Ingredients:
Shaved ice
Flavoured syrups (I used store bought, but you can make your own if you like)
Food colouring (Optional – see note below) 

Tools:
Small glasses for shaping and serving golas
Spoon
Popsicle stickshow to make baraf ka gola pink chai{These Monin syrups are delicious, but they were not bright like a traditional barf ka gola, so I did end up adding a 1/2 drop of food colouring to the golas. You can see the colour difference in the pics below}.

Procedure:
how to make baraf ka gola, pink chai

Start by packing the shaved ice into your glass about 3/4 of the way to the top. You need to work quickly and really pack the layers hard. Once the ice is packed in, add a popsicle stick to the centre and place in the freezer for 30-40 seconds.

how to make baraf ka gola
Remove your gola from the glass and add flavoured syrup in different layers and combinations. 

how to make baraf ka gola

how to make baraf ka gola

As you can see I wasn’t getting the vibrancy and intensity of a traditional gola so I did add a 1/2 drop of food colouring to each section. Be very careful (and stingy) when you do this or you will end up with a mess all over your lips and tongue! 

how to make baraf ka gola

Serve immediately – enjoy the chuski!how to make baraf ka gola

how to make baraf ka gola

Text: Raj Thandhi
Photography: Aziz Dhamani

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