Going to The Exhibition with Andrea

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This is Part Two of my day spent with Andrea last Monday. (Part One, here, saw the two of us cooking some Jamie Oliver recipes together for lunch.)

For 18 days each year, leading up to Labour Day, the Canadian National Exhibition is on in Toronto. This has happened for the past 135 years, since 1879, so it’s safe to say that pretty well anyone who grew up in or around the city has been going since they were young.

For as long as I can remember, a visit to The Ex has been one of the highlights of summer, and as a kid I had a paper route during the summer months, particularly to earn some spending money for it. As a child, my siblings and I were taken by our mother, and then later I went with my friends as a teen. It has been one of life’s constants and although I don’t make it every year nowadays, I do still really like to go.

In some posts here where I’ve included photos of our dining room, like in this one, you can see that big plant in the corner to the left … I started it from a cutting I bought at the Ex as a kid, so that plant has been with me for most of my life. In retrospect, it was probably amusing to my mother when, as a young child, the souvenir I chose to take home from such an exciting place was a small piece of branch, that was sealed with wax at both ends. Back then one of my favourite stories was Jack and the Beanstalk and I remember being quite enchanted by my purchase and its promise to grow. I’m actually amazed now that my young self was not disappointed by a dud, and that in fact it did grow.

I was glad when I suggested to Andrea that we spend our evening together at The Ex she was keen on the idea.

We walked the midway, went into some of the buildings (I especially liked the Arts and Crafts Building), did some shopping, watched some musicians, and had some food in The Food Building. It’s quite amazing how, while there are many newer things to see, there is also so much about the CNE that just never seems to change at all.

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It was really a lot of fun and the people watching was terrific! So many happy faces.

How about you … Do you go to the Ex or something like it?

Thanks for dropping over to take a look,
xo loulou

Posted in Streets of Toronto | 2 Comments

Cooking with a Friend : Jamie Oliver’s Ricotta Fritters and Zucchini Salad

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A week ago Monday Andrea took a vacation day and we spent the afternoon and the evening together. It was a two part date, the first of which today’s post is about.

When she was over last (seen here) I showed her my new cookbook : Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals. So she suggested that we cook one of the menus together for lunch. We decided on this meal, his Ricotta Fritters and Tomato Sauce, with a side of Zucchini Salad flavoured with fresh mint. To quote him ‘These fritters are an absolute doddle and the crispy creaminess works a treat with the tomato sauce’.

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We had a lot of fun and laughs cooking together and the results were delicious indeed. I was a bit surprised by how tasty the salad was, given that I believed that I didn’t like zucchini.

Even with two experienced cooks at the helm, it took us considerably longer than 15 minutes to make. More like 45 minutes, but that was probably because we’d never tried the recipes before, and now that we have, we both think we could probably do it in the 15 minutes that Jamie thinks we can.

The recipe called for ‘Passata’, which is not a commonly used term here, but we looked it up and saw that it is just tomato purée, so we made our own by putting some of Nick’s home preserved tomatoes in the food processor. Next time we would drain the tomatoes before puréeing them because the sauce turned out a bit more watery than it should have been, but it still tasted good.

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Conveniently, we got the fresh basil and mint that the recipes called for from my herb garden.

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Nick was working from home on Monday so was able to join us for lunch, which we had outside on the deck. Also on the menu were some white wine spritzers for the ladies and a Guinness for Nick.

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Tomorrow I’ll tell you about the second part of our date : a visit to the Canadian National Exhibition. All in all, it was a great day. Not to belabour the point, since I’ve already mentioned my situation a couple of times on the blog, but first thing on Tuesday I was due at the hospital for an operation on my foot, so being able to fill my last day on my feet for a while in such a nice way, made this lady-date with a good friend extra special.

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Thank you for taking a look,
xo loulou

Posted in Dinner Details, Hanging out at Home, Outdoor Living | 4 Comments