July is my favourite month, I’m a Cancer, so go figure! Seriously though, July is my favourite and today is Canada Day.
I was in some valley in Kashmir working on a film when the leader for that year’s Rotary International Group Study Exchange called to confirm my spot on the trip to Canada. It was hard to think about another country against the backdrop of Kashmir’s snow dusted mountain tops, but something told me to go for it.
When I flew here for the first time in 2012 I realised big changes were coming. By the end of that trip, I knew I was moving to Canada. I said, “there’s something in the water here and you can put maple syrup on everything.”
This is where I fell in love with my hubby (three beautiful weeks in fall was all it took), it’s where I continue chase dreams like doing ballet seriously at the age of thirty, where I’ve found an amazing community of bloggers, foodies and nutritionists who inspire me everyday day and make what I do and eating healthy really fun. I also love my TO Family, a bunch of guys and a couple of girls who embrace all my mad ideas (somedays it’s chacuterie, at other times it’s lip syncing battles), but boy do they suck it up.
I miss my family and friends back home in the UK and Pakistan more than anything, I’m a different person without them – something I’m working working on. I still remember the virtual Sims world I built right at the beginning where everyone I loved lived on the same street.
It hasn’t been an easy year, waiting for my permanent residence in Canada has been slow to say the least. I haven’t met baby E, this probably makes me the saddest. The newest and tiniest member of my make-shift Karachi family is growing up quickly – too quickly, I wonder if she even has baby smell anymore? Panny said that she would make sure baby E still did.
Yet, while missing another home, I’m still able to build a home here. That’s the thing with Canada and what my first host mother told me on day one as we drove through the country’s capital of Ottawa. Canada embraces you for who you are and lets you be who are while calling this wonderful country, home.
Celebrate Canada with some red velvet! I love a red velvet cupcake and finally adapted my favourite Hummingbird recipe for a cleaner eat. Here it is!
1/3 cup of coconut oil
1 cup of coconut sugar
1/3 cup beetroot purée (just boil a beetroot until soft and then blend it)
1/8 cup cacao powder
1tsp vanilla essence
1 cup of buckwheat flour
120ml almond milk with 1tbsp of Apple cider vinegar stirred into it
1/2tsp bicarbonate soda
1tbsp white wine vinegar
To serve: a batch of your favourite frosting, I love blitzing a cup of soaked cashews with 1/4 cup goats cheese, 1tbsp of agave and 1/4 cup of water.
Preheat oven to 350F and line a cupcake tin with six cases.
With an electric mixer, whip the coconut oil, sugar and egg together.
Combine the betroot, cacao and vanilla essence in to a paste and mix well with the coconut oil, sugar and egg.
Mix the flour with salt and fold half of it into the wet ingredients. Add half the almond milk, stir and then add the rest of the flour and fold in with the remaining milk.
Add the bicarbonate soda and vinegar and stir into the batter. Pour the batter into the cupcake cases and bake for 20-25 minutes until they are sponge like to touch.
Once cool, ice them with your frosting and they are ready to be devoured!