Snuggle up with a good (local) book

From cooking to wilderness, local authors bring good things to read

Daksha Narsing began cooking with her mother before she was a teen.

“My mom was an amazing cook. She learned from my grandmother who taught us how to clean the spices as well as how to grind them. I could make full meals by the time I was 10, my sister could as well,” she says.

Now a mother herself, Narsing has been sharing her secret spice mixes since the early 1990s when she and her family lived in Williams Lake.

“It started when my neighbours came over, they said, ‘We can’t stand it anymore, what smells so good? What are you cooking?’” she laughs.

From then on she began to teach Indian cooking and share her spices and recipes, and in 1996, stapled some together in Ziploc bags and sold them at a neighbourhood craft fair.

“That’s where it all began. People loved it.”

She brings in whole spices, cleans and grinds them together which blends the oils, creating the unique taste in Daksha’s Gourmet Spices.

Daksha and her husband Bhaskar were both born in Africa but are of Indian descent. The pair met in England where they married, and settled in Canada to raise their family.

All three children attended the University of Victoria, and Narsing said with each visit, she and her husband were drawn to the area. “Every single time it felt like home.”

So when the time came to take their business to the next level, they had to choose a life in Calgary or Victoria, although the business opportunity seemed brighter in the east, Victoria had won their hearts.

Over the years, the pair have created a variety of delicious spice mixes. They also make chai spice – a recipe that has been in their family for more than 300 hundred years.

Recently Narsing released her fourth cook book, Daksha’s Gourmet Kitchen: Indian Fusion Cuisine. She says it’s the best of traditional recipies along with new creations. “My daughter mixed vegetables with dahl and created a dahl strew, it’s nice for cold, fall weather … comfort food,” she says. “My son and his girlfriend created a butter chicken pizza – it’s really good. We are really pleased with the recipe.”

With beautiful colourful photography to go along with the nearly 100 recipes, this is a cookbook that won’t just sit on the shelf. Meet Narsing at the Last Chance Christmas Craft Sale in Sidney, Dec. 12. Narsing’s spices and books are available at Save-On-Foods. spicesgourmet.com

•••

To thumb through Lorna Crozier and Ian McAllister’s new book The Wild In You: Voices from the Forest and the Sea, is to take a journey to the heart of the coastal rainforest and feel its call.

Crozier, professor of poetry in the University of Victoria’s department of writing, and an Officer of the Order of Canada, has written 16 books, The Wild in You: Voices from the Forest and the Sea, is her first collaboration.

“I’ve had my poetry set to music, everything from classical and jazz to honky-tonk and I’ve had various artists use my poetry for inspiration in painting or pottery but this is my first time collaborating on a book,” she says.

It began with a trip to the Great Bear Rainforest where she met McAllister, his wife and mother. “Ian is a very busy guy but his wife and mom are big fans of my poetry and my husband Patrick Lane – the fact that he would give up time to see me was remarkable – and we hit it off.”

Crozier was “blown away” by the beauty and majesty of the area. “I’ve taken a couple of trips to Africa to read my poetry, while I was there I went on the typical safari and saw elephants, lions, cheetahs, wild buffalo and I thought that would probably be the most thrilling natural setting – but this is better,” she says.

She was eager to collaborate with McAllister and to call attention to the area. “To know that this is one of the last, large, pristine rainforests left on the planet makes the place even more special.”

Crozier’s poetry accompanies McAllister’s 32 full-size photographs, capturing the raw emotion of the coastline including many rare and endangered species.

 

 

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Braden Holtby’s new mask designed in collaboration with Luke Marston and David Gunnarsson. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Vancouver Island Coast Salish artist unveils new mask for Canucks goalie

Braden Holtby’s new mask features artwork by Luke Marston inspired by the legend of the seawolf

Alan Tudyk stars as Alien Harry Vanderspeigel in the new series Resident Alien (Photo by: James Dittinger/SYFY)
Resident Alien brings Vancouver Island to the small screen with January premiere

Quirky series shot in Ladysmith will air every Wednesday on the CTV Sci-Fi Channel

Comox-based cinematographer Maxwel Hohn’s new documentary captures the lives of Vancouver Island’s coastal wolves. Photo courtesy Maxwel Hohn.
New mini-documentary shot on Vancouver Island echoes the ‘call of the coastal wolves’

Photography heavyweights from B.C. come together for Maxwel Hohn’s second wildlife documentary

The 2021 Victoria Film Festival includes Vancouver Island produced feature film All-in Madonna. The festival looks a bit different this year, but film-lovers can still expect a full and diverse lineup. (Courtesy of VFF)
Victoria Film Festival returns with virtual viewing

Lineup features 50 films including Vancouver Island-produced All-in Madonna

Joy Sharpe holds a picture of her late husband Ray while posing for a photograph with the Sybil Andrews painting ‘hauling’ before donating it to the Campbell River Hospice Society. (Submitted photo)
$6 painting turned into $10,000 charity windfall

A 1952 original Sybil Andrews painting donation fetches Campbell River Hospice Society a nice return

Victoria artist Noah Layne is conducting online workshops on portrait drawing as part of the Metchosin ArtPod’s About Face portrait show. (Photo courtesy of Noah Layne)
Metchosin Art Pod doing an about-face

Renowned artist Noah Layne hosting online classes in portrait drawing

This weekend Amy Pye is holding a virtual book launch for her latest children’s book, <em>Bruce the Silly Goose</em>. (Photo courtesy Amy Pye)
Victoria writer and illustrator pens children’s book about COVID-19 safety

Amy Pye to hold online book launch for ‘Bruce the Silly Goose’

The pantomime ‘Snow White and the 5 Dwarfs’ has been cancelled due to COVID-19 restrictions. (Submitted)
Pantomime cancelled in Cowichan due to COVID restrictions

A partnership of the Cowichan Musical Society, the Shawnigan Players, and the Mercury Players.

A rendering shows the entrance planned for the Hornby Island Arts Centre. Image supplied
Work on Hornby Island Arts Centre to start this month

Community worked with award-winning architectural firm on design

Western Edge Theatre artistic director Brian March and local theatre artists Brianna Hamilton and Daniel Puglas (from left) make up Western Edge’s new team of “artistic associates.” (News Bulletin file photos/Courtney Harder)
Nanaimo theatre company adds younger, diverse voices to artistic team

Western Edge hopes new ‘artistic associates’ will help form new ideas, reach new audiences

Sara Lopez Assu says she’s relatively happy with how the Campbell River Art Gallery team managed to weather the storm that was 2020. File Photo by Mike Davies/Campbell River Mirror
Campbell River Art Gallery director reflects on ‘maybe our hardest year ever’

‘It would be easy to look back and be disappointed … but that’s not going to get us anywhere’

Jean Crowder, former MP for Nanaimo-Cowichan, is the CVPAG honourary chair. (Submitted)
Art gallery group becomes registered charity in step towards realizing Duncan dream

Becoming a registered charity enables the CVPAG to greatly expand its potential donor base

From left to right; Jessica Kelly; Allaina Moore; Ben Rosnau; and Isaiah McAleese. Members of the ECHO Players Youth Group after they performed ‘Words, Words, Words’ by David Ives, in May 2019. (submitted photo)
Qualicum Beach youth theatre group looks at more livestream performances in 2021

Members stay active during pandemic with playwriting competitions and online play readings

Most Read