It’s been a strange month. I actually wrote a large part of this post a while ago but never finished it after being distracted by numerous events (Catering for friend’s parties, Mother’s Day, Instagram meetings, Slow Food Montréal, Terra Madre, etc) but mostly because of my Canada spousal visa.
Here’s what I wrote a couple of weeks ago..
“As some of you know, I haven’t been able to work since moving to Montréal because of continued delays from Immigration Canada. The situation has been really making our lives, and thousands of other families, a complete nightmare. It’s been so frustrating seeing the current government here completely disregard and ignore the families of their own Canadian & Québecois citizens. Without diving into our whole depressing story too much, it’s now been 16 months of waiting for the 1st stage of our application. When we applied, it was supposed to be 7 months and what’s worse is that they aren’t processing things chronologically. There are numerous people in exactly the same position as us that have been issued their open work permit and given healthcare already, even though they applied up to/more than a year AFTER us. As of today, I’m still unable to work here, study, have healthcare or visit home, as it may invalidate our application if I leave the country. It’s all just … frustrating. “
But coincidently, I received my open work permit that week! Then a week after I received my CSQ and the day after that we applied for my RAMQ healthcare card. Now I’m still not covered for another 3 months, and we are still waiting on our 1st stage approval and residency interview etc, but things are finally moving with our application!!
It feels good but weird. At times it’s been difficult to stay positive & hopeful when our situation has been placed out of our control, then now all at once everything is happening. We are back in the driving seat, which is both exciting and nerve-wracking! These last weeks I’ve started looking into ways for me to bring in some income again and am hoping that some doors open with the contacts I’ve made through my volunteering & networking. Who knows what path I’ll end up going down but I’m sure food will play a role one way or another!
So following on this happier note of food, positive news and our warmer weather bringing lots of colourful summer produce, head down to your local market & pick up some lovely fresh & seasonal tomatoes. Or even better, get some tomato plants to grow on your balcony and in your garden with these tips from the River Cottage. Your plants will of course need some love and attention but overall I’ve found them pretty easy to grow in the city. My only word of warning (at least in Montréal) is watch out for those pesky squirrels who’ll take a bite from them all!
TIP: Supposedly squirrels bite & bury tomatoes because they’re thirsty so leave a bowl of fresh water nearby and it should stop them..otherwise, you will have to go for the less pretty look of covering your plants in a protective mesh guard.. advice I was given by the lovely & informative folk at Concordia Greenhouse.
Sliced Heirloom Tomato Salad
This is one of my favourite (& extremely simple) ways to eat tomatoes when they’re in season. It doesn’t really matter what colour or size, but just try to cut them at a fairly equal width. Serve it as a colourful side salad or with lots of bread to mop up the garlicky juices.
Per 500g tomatoes (any size or variation)
1 large garlic clove
Sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
Olive oil, a big healthy drizzle – about 2 tbsp
Handful of fresh basil leaves
- Slice all the tomatoes to a thickness of about 1cm and put them into a large bowl or dish.
- Crush the garlic and mix it into the tomatoes with salt, pepper and the olive oil.
- Leave it for about 5 minutes at room temperature.
- Serve with torn up basil leaves and ideally.. lots of crusty bread!