Weeknight Salad

As mentioned in my last post, the previous week was a bit busy.  When things get busy in our house, often things in the fridge get forgotten about.  On Tuesday night last week I found some zucchini and asparagus that were ready to make their appearance on our dinner table.  Truth be told, they were probably ready on Sunday night or Monday, but it just didn’t work out that way.  Thankfully Giada had a plan for our vegetables.  Her recipe for Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi is fast, easy, and really tasty.

Ingredients gathered

Zucchini ribbons

Add in the asparagus

Maybe too much dressing, but tasty none-the-less!

Asparagus and Zucchini Crudi – Based on Giada De Laurentiis’ recipe in Giada’s Kitchen


2 zucchini
1 bunch asparagus, trimmed
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
2 tbsp lime juice (she suggests lemon juice but I had and liked limes)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
Pecorino Romano Cheese (I used Parm)

Using a peeler, shave the zucchini into ribbons.  Cut the asparagus into slices on the diagonal.  Combine the vegetables in a serving dish and toss together.

Combine in a bowl, the olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper.  Mix well, then dress the vegetables to your preference.  Using the peeler, shave pieces of cheese over the salad and serve.



Mum’s Five Star Peach Pie

This past week was a busy one.  Both Mr. 416expat and I had work do’s to attend, our small group to host, and some very exciting visitors from Canada.  It was a busy week but on Tuesday night there were still peaches on the counter, leftovers from the market on Saturday.  There’s only one recipe I turn to in this situation.  My mum’s five-star peach pie is always top of mind.  I don’t know where it originated, but it’s one of the first recipes I copied into my recipe book when I moved out.  It’s the kind of dish I have a hard time saying no to seconds when it’s hot from the oven, and, if it’s around long enough, it tastes great fresh from the fridge the next day.

Peaches ready to go

Mixing in the butter...I soon switched to my pastry cutter

Crust ready for the oven


Topping coming together

Another "Shoot I forgot to take a picture before I put it in the oven" moment

The final product...also - this recipe works with a combo of raspberries and peaches..or blueberries...

Look at those flecks of vanilla-y goodness

Mum’s Five Star Peach Pie – My mum’s recipe box

2 c all purpose flour (you can do half all purpose and half whole wheat if you’re feeling heathy)
2/3 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 c butter

Combine the flour, sugar, and salt.  Cut the butter into the dry ingredients.  If you’ve got a food processor, pulse it all together until coarse.  Press the crust into a 9×13″ pan and bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until light brown.

2 beaten eggs
1/2 tsp almond essence – OR – seeds from 1 vanilla bean OR 1 tsp vanilla
1 c sugar
1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking powder
4-5 c sliced peaches (skin removed)
3/4 c chopped nuts

Beat together the eggs, almond essence, and sugar.  Combine with the flour, baking powder.  Stir in the sliced peaches and chopped nuts.  Pour the fruit filling over the crust, bake for 30-45 minutes at 350.

To remove skin from the peaches

Bring a sauce pan of water to the boil (enough water to cover the peaches).  Cut a small x in the bottom of the peach.  Place the peach in the boiling water for 30 seconds. Remove and place in cold water.  The skin should easily slide off.  This technique works for removing tomato skins too.

Canada Day in London

Mr 416expat and I began our first Canada Day together in Trafalgar Square (after a full day of work of course – no holiday here in the UK!).  By the time we arrived there a huge party was already in motion.  Last years event had over 50 000 people and I suspect there were even more this year.  We caught performances by Alex Cuba, 2010 Polaris prize winners Karkwa, with Canadian music royalty Blue Rodeo closing the show.

A gorgeous evening in Trafalgar Square

I haven't heard this many Canadian accents in one place since well...we were in Canada

Mike Myers reminding everyone to play safe along side Karkwa

Crowd is loving Blue Rodeo. "...and we are lost TOGETHERRR!!!"

Typically this would be where our evening would end having watched a great concert with some amazing fellow expats however, this year was a bit different.  A certain Canadian company had several tickets to the Official Canada Day in Trafalgar Square After Party.  Four of these tickets were given to Mr. 416expat this week.  Amazing.

The party was held at Home House, a private members club in London.  As a sidebar – I think these types of clubs are a bit more common here than in Toronto, but I have no evidence to confirm this.  Mr. 416expat and I weren’t entirely sure what to expect from the party.  We knew it started at 10:30, was an open bar, and from the look of the Home House website, might be a bit posh/fancy.  We did what any good Canadian would do, invited our very best Canadian expat  friends and showed up ready for well, just about anything.  Did you know that a Roots Handbag (a purse is something else in England) can totally fit a spare pair of heels?

I for one, was kind of blown away by this event.  Fellow Canadians in attendance included Justin Hines, who performed earlier in the day, Tanya Kim, who co-hosted the Trafalgar Square event and lost her voice earlier in the day, Mark Tewksbury, and a number of other nifty Canadians.  The canapes passed around were delicious, sliders topped with cheese and bbq sauce, scallops served on shells with a spicy slaw, and ice cream with maple donuts.

We ran out of steam at 2am but left our fellow expats dancing away in the “club room” downstairs.  This was the first bank sponsored event I’ve ever been to in London.  Typically Mr416expat’s bank doesn’t do the whole invite your spouse thing, so it was really neat to experience.  I think we both appreciated what was a pretty crazy experience and were very glad to have two excellent expats along with us.