Tuesday, 17 November 2009

One Day Like This

Auntie Sarah came with Zoe on Friday! It was so great. I bumped into Emma right before they arrived at the Student Union building, so they met, which was lovely. We went for lunch at this Italian place (we just decided on a whim to go in). It was so yummy, but there was a mistake in the bill (charging $17 for a half portion of a $20 meal) so we made a stink about the bill and saw the manager and got a reduction and then tipped the waitress extravagantly.  Then we went looking for the really fancy department store Holt Renfrew.  We found it eventually, and it was bizarre being in a shop like that where sweaters cost as much as two months' worth of my budget... There were hilarious Christmas window displays, of swans in tuxedos.

The next morning I went for breakfast with them and the friends they were staying with - Sarah's friend, her daughter who's Zoe's age and her newborn son. It was delicious, I had blueberry pancakes, sausages and an apple pie smoothie which was insanely good. The restaurant was decorated like a 50s diner with the perfect amount of kitsch, I loved it. Then we said goodbye... and I really did nothing all Saturday. Saturday night was just regular, watching bad tv and walking for hours with Emilio, Emma and Mayumi looking for a bar. We got all the way into Mile End, before coming back to the Plateau. We ended up in a place called Barfly with a really amazing piano player, I haven't enjoyed live music so much for a while, and I'd forgotten how much I love ragtime.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Mowgli's Road

So I fully intended to study on Saturday. I got all my books together and went to the cafe attached to a funeral home, but it was all full up, so I wandered around looking for an empty place. But I couldn't find one, and ended up walking and walking and taking pictures, and I got as lost as it is possible to get in the Plateau (all the streets are on a grid, so you can always find a road you know and walk down it until you recognise where you are) and ended up at Parc LaFontaine, where Emilio and Blair and I picnicked back on Labour Day. The pond was empty, the trees were almost bare, the ground was orange...

Saturday, 7 November 2009

The Circus

Yesterday evening I studied in the library from 4-8, which drove me sort of insane. I chatted to Peter via facebook though, that was fun. He told me some very offensive jokes. I went home and ate more lentil/rice patties, then went over to Blair's house and we made smores under the broiler, and I met a couple new people from different residences which was great. We watched this movie:
and then I went to bed. It's 9:40am now and I've had a very productive morning reading a whole novella I have to be familiar with for a test on Monday. It's sort of grey outside, but I'm going to go get some milk and syrup because I feel like pancakes.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Sweets for my sweet

Yesterday was Guy Fawkes, of course, so I brought the celebrations across the ocean :) I couldn't get hold of any fireworks. But Emma, Emilio and a girl called Kathleen with whom we've been hanging out more gathered in Emilio's kitchen and made toffee apples. It was quite an undertaking, hot melted sugar everywhere! My feet got really really warm because my aunt Marina sent me amazing sheepskin-lined boots, which are too cosy to take off, so I'm all set for the snow that isn't here yet.

Today I went to work in the Midnight Kitchen again, as per. These new people were in making Kenyan food, which was amazing, and I helped start a lemon and poppyseed cake that was not very good at all. We haven't made good cake in a while. It's hard without eggs or butter.

Now I'm off to study - a test on Monday and another one on Wednesday! It doesn't stop. But no big plans for the weekend.

Thursday, 5 November 2009

This is Halloween

My first North American halloween! It was a big deal. Saturday morning we went for a walk - a miserable walk, it was so rainy - and so many houses were full-out decked in cobwebs and pumpkins and stuff. We went to a great cafe about a mile away called Cagibi, because we had wanted to go to this jumble sale where you buy a bag for $3 and fill it up with anything you can find, but it wasn't on. Then I went to a second-hand store (called 'friperies' here) which had a special rental section open for costumes, because two friends needed them. One was the Picture of Dorian Gray, the other was Margot Tenenbaum. I went home via the grocery store and bought a squash because they were out of pumpkin :( but someone in my house had a pumpkin and gave it to me, so I made my mum's pumpkin pangrato recipe really nicely. It's such a comfort food.

1kg pumpkin or butternut squash
3 cloves of garlic
5 tablespoons of olive oil
a mild red chilli
1 tablespoon finely chopped rosemary leaves
the zest of half an orange
a handful of roughly chopped parsley leaves
4 handfuls of fresh white bread crumbs
40 g butter and a tad more olive oil

set the oven at 180 C/gas mark 4
Peel the squash discarding the seeds and fibres.
Cut the flesh into large bite-size bits and steam for 15-20 mins till tender (nb it never takes that long in the steamer)
Finely chop the garlic and put it in a shallow pan with the olive oil over a moderate heat (nb son’t leave the oil to long to heat up or it will be too hot and the garlic will burn on contact!)
Thinly slice the chilli and add to the pan with the rosemary and orange zest.
Tip in the parsley and breadcrumbs and stir while they colour lightly – no darker than a pale biscuit.
Put the pumpkin in a shallow baking dish or roasting tin, salt and pepper it, then add the butter in small knobs.
Tip the breadcrumbs over and drizzle with olive oil. Bake for 35-40 mins until the crumbs are deep gold and the pumpkin meltingly tender.

(originally from here: http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2007/nov/25/foodanddrink.recipes) everyone in my house was really surprised I was making a savoury pumpkin dish, it's really more of a dessert thing here.

I got dressed up in my costume! I was Charmander the pokemon:

because Mayumi and I had found pokemon costumes at a halloween warehouse next door to a cinema when we turned up really early for the Keats biopic, Bright Star.

This is what we looked like:

We all gathered at Rue Clark and hung out for a while, eating incredible pumpkin cheesecake that Sheehan had made. Then we went out to a loft party but it was kind of dull, so I left and Emilio came with me but then he moaned for a bit about wanting to go back. I said he could but I wouldn't, and unintentional reverse-psychology seemed to work because he came with me. It was only 1am and we wanted to do something, so we climbed the mountain. Or rather, scaled, because we didn't use the path but hauled ourselves up a steep incline by grabbing on to trees and rocks. But we got all the way to the cross at the top, the first time I have, and we were the two highest people in Montreal because no building is allowed to be built higher than the summit of the mountain. The view was incredible. Here's me and the cross.

We came down after a while, and the hour had gone back (a week later than in England, yes) so we went to Second Cup for hot chocolate. Then we were tired, and went to bed.

The next day I set out for a walk because it was so beautiful outside. I really wished I had a camera. I walked to a second hand clothing store that was highly recommended, and bought a cardigan. There was a really nice tam-o-shanter, but it was $25 and I could knit it myself. When I mentioned this, the owner of the shop got really excited and started drawing up a business plan for how I'm going to make tons of them and sell them on campus. Whizzer. I sat in a square entirely carpeted with yellow leaves and read three chapters of my environment and culture textbook, and felt very virtuous. On my way back, almost right outside the friperie, I ran into Emilio and Emma. So we joined forces and went to a second-hand French bookstore and a really really yummy vegetarian restaurant where you fill up a plate at the buffet and they charge you by weight. After that, we hit up the army surplus stores. Lots and lots of funny hats.