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Sweet Peas: First Bloom of the Year...

    “Here are sweet peas, on tip-toe for a flight: With wings of gentle flush o’er delicate white, And taper fingers catching at all things, To bind them all about with tiny rings.”

    -John Keats

    Botanical Name: Lathyrus odoratus
    Family: Leguminosae
    Ruled by: The element of Water and the planet Venus
    Magical properties: Friendship, courage & strength

      This morning I awoke to the sound of rain. Along with the rumbling purr of a happy cat, falling rain is one of my favourite sounds. As I pulled back the curtains to look out on the day I was delighted to see my sweet pea is now in bloom.

      This was especially important to me as last year I bought some sweet pea seeds from a local garden centre. I planted them and was shocked when sweet peas actually emerged! Not knowing how the whole propagation thing worked (duh!) I assumed I would have to buy more seeds this year. Imagine my delight when 2 months ago I started seeing the beginnings of a whole new sweet pea poking through the soil.

      It has now shot up to almost 1.2m and is a beautiful sight in my garden. Basically the seeds from some of the late blooming flowers last autumn went into the soil and presto….a whole new life began. Hurrah…….the magic of nature! Not being much of a gardener I am really pleased at how easy it has been to grow sweet peas. They are stunning plants which can bring magic to any garden.

      Here are some important and interesting Sweet Pea facts:

      • It is an annual climbing plant that can reach heights of 1-2 metres. Make sure you have something to support it. I have a stick but it has also wrapped itself around my Kilmarnock Willow Tree
      • Sweet peas come in a wide variety of colours; pink, red, white, purple and lavender
      • They like full sun and good deep, well drained top-soil
      • They benefit from regular deadheading but towards the end of the season keep some of the flowers to seed for the next year (that’s what I unknowingly did and it worked)
      • Sweet peas have been cultivated since the 17th century and the first sweet pea was introduced to England from Sicily in 1699
      • Their sweet fragrance is what gives them their name
      • There are different varieties including;

      Old Fashioned (these should be very fragrant)

      Spencer Cultivars (hardy with bright, bold colours but not necessarily fragrant)

      Bijou Group (Sweet scented variety that are suitable for containers)

      • Many gardeners call Sweet Peas the Queen of Annuals
      • Sweet Peas are long lasting as cut flowers but personally I prefer to leave mine in the garden!
      • They help attract bumblebees and butterflies to your garden

      IMPORTANT NOTE: Unlike most peas, the seeds of the sweet pea are poisonous, and should not be eaten. Sweet pea flowers are also not edible and are poisonous. According to the brilliant book ‘100 Flowers and How They Got Their Names’ by Diana Wells ( Published 1997 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill) , there is a medical term to describe sweet pea poisoning – lathyrism. Symptoms can include convulsions, paralysis in the legs and unconsciousness.

      So best leave the sweet peas to the bumble bees and butterflies!

      If you are interested sweet peas here are some helpful and informative sites:

    Fried Halloumi Cheese in Pita with Hummus, Salad a...

    Up until a few short years ago I had never even heard of halloumi cheese. For those that know me this may seem strange as I absolutely LOVE cheese. Stilton, Brie, Shropshire Blue, Cornish Yarg, Caerphilly, Roquefort, Mozzarella, Caboc, Gruyere, Double Gloucester, Coeur de Chevre – the list goes on and on and on.

    So how I had missed out on halloumi cheese for so long I will never know. Fortunately a good friend invited me over for lunch and she served a mixed leaf and cherry tomato salad with pieces of grilled halloumi on top. It was delicious and I quickly came to the realization that I had been missing out on something quite wonderful!

    Halloumi is a semi soft cheese made with a mixture of sheep and goats milk. There are some manufacturers who are bringing cows milk into the process as it is cheaper to produce and it creates a milder flavour. This is not true halloumi however and many argue that you can really only get authentic halloumi in Cyprus. As of the 1990’s the USA has registered halloumi as a protected Cypriot product but it still has not achieved this status within the EU. The question of whether cow’s milk should be allowed in the process is at the heart of this debate.

    While it is traditionally associated with Cypriot cuisine it’s also very popular in Greece as well as the Middle East. Halloumi has a strong salty flavour and a firm texture. It comes packaged in brine with mint which acts as an anti-bacterial ingredient – giving it a long shelf life. Although it can be eaten ‘raw’ (directly out of the packet) it is much tastier when grilled or fried.

    If you have never tried halloumi cheese then I highly recommend putting it on your list of ingredients to try!

    Luna Raye’s Fried Halloumi in Pita with Hummus, Salad and Cherry Tomatoes


    • 250 g of Halloumi cheese sliced

    • Handful of fresh salad leaves

    • Handful of cherry tomatoes quartered

    • 1-2 Tablespoons of fresh mint leaves chopped (optional but really tasty)

    • 2-3 Tbsp of flour seasoned with freshly ground black pepper

    • 1-2 Tbsp olive oil

    • 2-3 Tbsp of hummus

    • Pita Bread (this recipe can make 4 sandwiches easily)


    • Heat oil in a frying pan

    • Coat the halloumi slices in the flour and place them in the heated oil

    • Let the slices cook on one side for approx 2-3 minutes. Don’t have the heat too high

    • When the slices are a golden brown colour on one side flip them over

    • Toast pita breads (I like to allow mine to cool a little before cutting them open because they get HOT! If I had a penny for every time I was burned by hot pita bread I would be very rich indeed!)

    • When halloumi is golden on both sides remove from pan and allow excess oil to drain off by placing on paper towel

    • When pita is safe to cut into – go for it! Spread hummus on the inside and place a few leaves and tomatoes at the bottom.

    • Add 2-3 slices of the halloumi and top up with a bit more hummus, salad and tomatoes


    Warning these sandwiches are highly addictive.

    Halloumi cheese coated in seasoned flour and fried

    Halloumi in pita with hummus, salad and cherry tomatoes

    Maple Salmon with Creamed Leeks and Black Pudding ...

    On a recent trip to one of my most favourite places in the world, Edinburgh I was lucky enough to be invited to a wonderful restaurant called The Dome. The building has a fascinating history that is well worth reading. If you plan on visiting the magical city of Edinburgh then definitely take note of this restaurant, located in the New Town on George Street, and make it a ‘must see’ stop on your journey. Not only were the staff warm and friendly but the food was delicious and their pre dinner martinis kicked ass. It must have been the Tanqueray No 10 Gin they used!

    While perusing the menu in The Grill Room, what caught my eye right away was the Fillet of Salmon served on Spicy Black Pudding Mash with Local Mushrooms, finished with Truffle Oil. I adore salmon and mushrooms (never mind the added bonus of truffle oil!) so I knew I was on to a winner, but what worried me was that I had never tried black pudding. Feeling adventurous after the martinis I decided that spicy black pudding mash was something I needed to try.

    It was the right decision!

    The slightly crisp chewy texture of the black pudding worked really well in the creamy mashed potatoes. The slight spiciness also complemented the salmon and mushrooms beautifully. It wasn’t overpowering at all. Honestly it was one of the greatest meals I have ever eaten and it has been on my mind ever since.

    Feeling brave even without the help of a martini (or two) I took a stroll to our local butchers and bought some black pudding. The only tip I was given was to make sure I removed the rind – otherwise I would be extremely disappointed in the overall dish and most likely would still be chewing on it several weeks later.

    The salmon itself is really easy to prepare. Years ago while looking at the All Recipes website I found a recipe for Maple Salmon by one of their members – Starflower. Being a devoted lover of all things maple I knew I had to give this a try. In my recipe book this dish has 6 out of 5 stars. It is amazing. Here is Starflowers recipe for Maple Salmon from the All Recipes website page.

    Maple Salmon by Starflower


    • 1/4 cup maple syrup

    • 2 tablespoons soy sauce

    • 1 clove garlic, minced

    • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

    • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

    • 1 pound salmon


    • In a small bowl, mix the maple syrup, soy sauce, garlic, garlic salt, and pepper.

    • Place salmon in a shallow glass baking dish, and coat with the maple syrup mixture. Cover the dish, and marinate salmon in the refrigerator 30 minutes, turning once.

    • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

    • Place the baking dish in the preheated oven, and bake salmon uncovered 20 minutes, or until easily flaked with a fork.

    Salmon Fillets Marinating in Maple Syrup Mixture

    Salmon Fillets Marinating in Maple Syrup Mixture

    To accompany the salmon try this wonderful black pudding mash.

    Luna Raye’s Black Pudding Mash


    • 5-6 medium sized potatoes (King Edward or Maris Piper are good choices)

    • Black Pudding (I used 3 medium sized slices which added up to approx ½ a cup after I cut them into squares – remember to remove the rind)

    • Knob of butter

    • Splash of milk

    • Salt and Pepper to taste


    • Get some salted water boiling and add the peeled potatoes.

    • When potatoes are about ¾ of the way done (you can just start to get a fork into them) start on the black pudding.

    • Add a wee bit of butter to a frying pan and when melted add the chopped black pudding. (o.k. I was a bit nervous so I think I may have overcooked it a bit as it did start to disintegrate slightly. I wasn’t able to maintain the ‘squares’ and keep the nice, perfectly formed pieces of black pudding that I had at The Dome)

    • Once potatoes are cooked, drain them and put them back in the pot.

    • Add a generous knob of butter and mash.

    • When potatoes are fairly mashed add a splash of butter and season with salt and pepper.

    • Give it a few more vigorous stirs before gently folding in the black pudding pieces. (It actually looked like a scoop of Oreo cookie dough ice cream!)

    Black Pudding

    Black Pudding

    To go alongside the salmon and black pudding mash I wanted to do my old time favourite Creamed Leeks. Tasty and super quick to prepare here is a link to my previous post or you can see the recipe below

    Luna Raye’s Creamed Leeks

    • 2-3 medium to large leeks finely chopped.

    • Add leeks to pan with a knob of butter and stir over a medium heat for 3-4 minutes until the leeks have softened.

    • Add 2 Tablespoons of double cream and salt and pepper to taste.

    Yes it’s that simple!

    Maple Salmon with Creamed Leeks and Black Pudding Mash

    Maple Salmon with Creamed Leeks and Black Pudding Mash

    I will definitely make Maple Salmon with Creamed Leeks and Black Pudding Mash again. It’s the perfect meal for a romantic night!


    Blueberry Pancakes and Country Walks...

    Shorne Woods Country Park

    Shorne Woods Country Park

    This weekend the sun finally came out providing the perfect opportunity for a country walk. My husband and I decided to go to one of our favourite places – Shorne Woods Country Park. It’s a beautiful place for a walk and has a good mixture of trails from gentle and easy going to slightly more rigorous ones including the infamous Cardiac Hill. It really was a joy to be outside in the fresh air listening to the bird song and watching dogs happily retrieving sticks for their owners.

    After a lengthy hike our appetites were in full swing. What better way to ‘celebrate’ our walk then by going home and having freshly made blueberry pancakes with a generous helping of Canadian Maple Syrup. A pot of freshly brewed Kicking Horse Coffee on the side made this a real North American treat.

    Here is the Blueberry Pancake recipe I used courtesy of the BBC GoodFood website.

    American Blueberry Pancakes


    • 200g self-raising flour

    • 1 tsp baking powder

    • 1 egg

    • 300ml milk

    • knob butter
    • 150g pack blueberries

    • sunflower oil or a little butter for cooking

    • golden or maple syrup


    1. Mix together the flour, baking powder and a pinch of salt in a large bowl. Beat the egg with the milk, make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients and whisk in the milk to make a thick smooth batter. Beat in the melted butter, and gently stir in half the blueberries.

    2. Heat a teaspoon of oil or small knob of butter in a large non-stick frying pan. Drop a large tablespoonful of the batter per pancake into the pan to make pancakes about 7.5cm across. Make three or four pancakes at a time. Cook for about 3 minutes over a medium heat until small bubbles appear on the surface of each pancake, then turn and cook another 2-3 minutes until golden. Cover with kitchen paper to keep warm while you use up the rest of the batter. Serve with golden syrup and the rest of the blueberries.


    Shorne Woods

    Shorne Woods

    Canadian Maple Syrup

    Canadian Maple Syrup

    Blueberry Pancakes

    Blueberry Pancakes

    Scrumptious Bread and Butter Pudding with Homemade...

    This weekend I decided to try my hand at making a classic English dessert. Bread and butter pudding is a great (and tasty) way of using up stale leftover bread. Usually it is associated with school dinners but the history of this dessert can be traced back to the 18th century. I decided to use Delia Smith’s recipe for Rich Bread and Butter Pudding but I made a few adjustments.

    This is an easy and fun recipe to play around with. Different types of bread can be used such as a sesame seed loaf (which I used) or regular sliced white or wholemeal sandwich bread. Using something like a chocolate or almond brioche would make this dish extra special. Dried fruits, different spices as well as jams and marmalade can also be used to add extra flavour and textures to the dish. I decided to add a half cup of raisins that had been soaked in Cointreau for about 24 hours which gave the pudding a nice boozy hit.

    It could have been the few boozy raisins I sampled or the glass of Cointreau I had on the side but I threw caution to the wind and decided to make my own custard to go with the pudding. I found a great recipe by Merrilees Parker which looked perfect for a custard making novice like myself.

    While the bread and butter pudding came out beautifully, my first attempt at custard was not a success. I made the mistake of allowing the milk to get too hot. Even though I added it very slowly to the egg mixture it was so hot it actually cooked the eggs, resulting in a scrambled unappetizing mess.

    So I started again (luckily it’s a very quick recipe) and managed to get it right. It was a lovely accompaniment to the bread and butter pudding but to be fair I may add a touch more vanilla essence next time and allow it to thicken just a wee bit more. I was probably being over cautious as the thought of a third attempt was not appealing.

    If custard isn’t your thing then you can always pour double cream over the top or serve the pudding with a generous scoop of vanilla ice cream. Bread and butter pudding is quite moist inside so you can actually eat it without any ‘extras’ on top – it just depends on how decadent you’re feeling!

    So have a go at this easy recipe. It’s the perfect dessert for a lazy weekend!

    Rich Bread and Butter Pudding courtesy of Delia Smith


    • 8 slices bread (from a small loaf) – (I used a sesame seed loaf)

    • Approximately 2oz (50g) butter

    • ½ oz (10g) candied lemon or orange peel, finely chopped – (I didn’t have this so I added zest of one medium sized orange and extra lemon zest. See grated zest of ½ lemon below)

    • 2 oz (50g) currants (I used ½ cup of raisins soaked in generous amount of Cointreau)

    • 10fl oz (275ml) milk – (I used full fat milk)

    • 2 ½ fl oz (60ml) double cream

    • 2 oz (50g) caster sugar

    • Grated zest of ½ small lemon

    • 3 eggs

    • Freshly grated nutmeg

    Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 4, 350°F (180°C)

    Method / Directions

    1. Butter the bread and cut each slice of buttered bread in half – leaving the crusts on. – (I buttered BOTH sides of the bread as well as buttering the oven dish)

    2. Now arrange one layer of buttered bread over the base of the baking dish, sprinkle the candied peel and half the currants over, then cover with another layer of the bread slices and the remainder of the currants. – (I just added my Cointreau soaked raisins at this stage)

    3. Next, in a glass measuring jug, measure out the milk and add the double cream.

    4. Stir in the caster sugar and lemon zest, then whisk the eggs, first on their own in a small basin and then into the milk mixture. – (I added the lemon and orange zest)

    5. Pour the whole lot over the bread, sprinkle over some freshly grated nutmeg, and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes.

    6. Serve warm.

    Homemade Custard Recipe courtesy of Merrilees Parker and BBC Food


    • 290ml/10fl oz milk – (once again I used full fat)

    • 1 vanilla pod, split lengthways or tsp good quality vanilla essence

    • 2 egg, yolks only

    • 1 tbsp caster sugar

    Preparation method

    1. Heat the milk with the vanilla pod and allow it to just come to the boil. In a large bowl, beat the eggs with the sugar.

    2. Pour the hot milk over the egg yolks whisking vigorously. When completely mixed in, return to the pan.

    3. Stir over a low heat until the mixture thickens sufficiently to coat the back of a spoon. This will take 5-6 minutes.

    4. Drain into a bowl, remove vanilla pod (or add essence if using).


    Bread and Butter Pudding

    Sweet, Moist and Scrumptious Bread and Butter Pudding

    Bread and Butter Pudding with Homemade Custard

    Sausage Hotpot With Sweet Potato Mash...


    Sausage Hot Pot

    It has been cold, dark and drizzly here in the UK (no surprises there really!). This type of weather always makes me crave good old fashioned comfort food. Mashed potatoes had been on my mind for sometime and there was a pack of sausages in the fridge. Bangers and Mash – classic comfort food! Somehow though, it just didn’t seem right. I was in the mood for something a little bit different.

    Not being sure what to make I decided to visit one of my favourite recipe websites. The BBC GoodFood website is full of great recipes and ideas. It never fails to inspire my cooking and give me direction in the kitchen.

    Their recipe for Frying-Pan Sausage Hot Pot is on my favourites list. It really is an easy recipe to make and it tastes delicious. I decided to use this recipe as a base for my own sausage hotpot which would help use up some of the vegetables beginning to languish in my fridge. It also gave me an excuse to make sweet potato mash which is always a treat.

    This is a great recipe to play around with so get in the kitchen and have some fun!

    Luna Raye’s Sausage Hotpot with Sweet Potato Mash


    • Drizzle of Olive Oil

    • Drizzle of maple syrup OR a teaspoon of soft brown sugar to help caramelize the onions

    • 2 small red onions thinly sliced

    • 6 plump good-quality sausages (I used English pork and caramelized onion sausages) You can keep the sausages whole but I prefer to cut them into thirds.

    • 1/3 of a glass of good red wine

    • 175ml vegetable stock (My favourite is Marigold Swiss Vegetable Bouillon Powder)

    • 4-6 broccoli spears chopped into halves

    • 1 large carrot chopped

    • 1 can of cannellini beans


    For the sweet potato mash

    (I like to use a mixture of sweet potatoes and white potatoes for this mash – I find it has a nicer texture)

    • 4 small russet potatoes

    • 3 large sweet potatoes

    • 2 cloves of garlic minced

    • Knob of butter (approx ½ Tablespoon)

    • Freshly chopped parsley (about 4 Tablespoons)

    • Season with salt and lots of freshly ground black pepper.



    1. Heat the olive oil in the pan and add the sliced red onions. Add a pinch of salt and either a drizzle of maple syrup OR a teaspoon of soft brown sugar

    2. Cook over a medium heat until the onions are nice and soft. Once soft remove them from the pan and set aside

    3. Get your sweet potatoes and russet potatoes on the boil so they will be ready when the hotpot is under the grill

    4. Place the pan back on the heat and start cooking the sausages. It’s up to you if you want to keep them whole or cut them into pieces. Just make sure they are thoroughly cooked. Usually 8 – 10 minutes is enough

    5. Prepare your grill and turn it to medium / high

    6. Add the following to the pan with the cooked sausages:

    • red wine

    • vegetable stock

    • caramelized red onions

    • chopped carrot

    • broccoli

    • drained and rinsed cannellini beans

    7. Gently stir and allow the mixture to bubble away for about 5 minutes or until the sauce begins to thicken

    8. Remove from the hob and place under the grill

    9. Check to make sure your potatoes are done. Drain and place back to the pot with a knob of butter and the minced garlic

    10. Mash until smooth. Add salt, lots of freshly ground black pepper and the freshly chopped parsley. Stir everything in well to make sure the mash is seasoned throughout

    11. Remove the frying pan from under the grill. The carrots and broccoli should be softened and not overdone

    12. Spoon the sweet potato mash onto plates and serve up the bubbling hotpot!


    Salmon Fillet Wraps with Horseradish Cream and Sal...

    Salmon Wrap with Horseradish Cream

    While talking to my mum over the holidays she happened to mention the lunch she made for New Years Day. The very mention of salmon wraps with horseradish cream got my mouth watering and my tummy rumbling. They sounded so good that I was determined to give them a try and today was the day! So here I am sitting at my desk with a very happy and full belly!

    I don’t know the precise recipe she used but this is my version of the dish. I used a recipe by Mary Cadogan as a base for the horseradish cream. In a previous post I actually made her original recipe for smoked salmon with prawns, horseradish cream & lime vinaigrette which was sensational!

    So if you want an elegant tasty lunch give these wraps a go!

    Luna Raye’s Salmon Fillet Wraps with Horseradish Cream and Salad

    (This recipe will serve 2-3 allowing approximately 2 wraps per person.)


    3 Scottish salmon fillets

    ¼ Spanish onion roughly chopped

    1 cup vegetable stock (I love to use Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder )

    4 Tablespoons crème fraiche

    2 Tablespoons horseradish (or to taste)

    Squeeze of fresh lime

    Salt and pepper to taste

    Selection of salad leaves

    2 Tablespoons freshly chopped parsley (optional but I love it!)

    1 packet of ready made Deli wraps (I like to use Mission Deli wraps)


    Poach the salmon fillets in the vegetable stock and add ¼ chopped Spanish onion.

    Once cooked set the fillets aside and gently flake them.

    Turn the oven on to gently heat the wraps.

    To make the horseradish cream, add the crème fraiche and horseradish to a bowl and blend well with a fork.

    Season the mixture with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lime juice.

    When making the horseradish cream it’s important to keep tasting as you go along. How strong you want the cream is a personal thing!

    Once the cream is made (about 5 minutes) you can start putting the wraps in the oven to gently warm them.

    Don’t overheat them as this makes them go crunchy and difficult (actually impossible) to roll!

    Once warmed through put them on a plate and begin assembling your delicious wrap!

    Add some horseradish cream, a pinch of fresh parsley, some flaked salmon and a small bunch of salad leaves.

    Roll and enjoy!

    Traditional English Parsley Sauce...

    Feeling confident after my triumph with a basic beurre blanc sauce, I decided to try my hand at a traditional English parsley sauce. This is a tasty sauce to have with white fish or salmon cakes and we enjoyed it very much with some smoked gammon. Essentially it’s a basic white sauce with the addition of freshly chopped parsley. When researching recipes I found that many didn’t include a squeeze of fresh lemon juice but it really gives the sauce added zing. I wouldn’t make the sauce without it now!

    There is nothing quite like going out to the garden to gather fresh herbs to cook with. Parsley grows quite easily and makes a lovely addition to any garden. If you don’t already grow your own herbs then it’s definitely worth giving it a go! Check out this site for some amazing gardening tips.

    Parsley, one of my all time favourite herbs is full of taste and great health benefits. Among other things it has Vitamin C, Iron and is also an excellent source of Vitamin K, Vitamin A and Folate. Try adding it to salads, burgers, omelettes, fresh juices and soups. You can even sprinkle it on pasta and rice dishes as well as over pretty much anything!

    So if you want something special to accompany your fish dish or gammon then look no further! This parsley sauce from the Good To Know Recipes website is a real winner!

    Here is the recipe from their brilliant site:

    Parsley Sauce


    • 425ml full fat milk

    • Bunch of flat leaf parsley finely chopped (but keep the stalks)

    • 1 bay leaf

    • 1/4 onion, thickly sliced

    • 5 peppercorns

    • Pinch of nutmeg

    • 20g plain flour

    • 40g butter

    • Squeeze of lemon juice

    • Salt and pepper to season


    1. Put the milk, parsley stalks, bay leaf, onion, peppercorns and nutmeg in a heavy-bottomed pan.

    2. Bring to the boil over a medium heat, then remove from the heat and allow to go cold. This will help to infuse the milk before making the sauce.

    3. Slowly melt the butter in another saucepan. Add the flour and stir continuously for a minute so that you cook out the raw flour flavour. Remove from the heat.

    4. Strain the milk through a sieve to remove the infusing ingredients and slowly add the milk to the butter and flour mixture. Keep combining a little more milk every few seconds until you’ve added it all. You should now have a thin, lump-free sauce.

    5. Return the pan to the heat and stir the sauce until it starts to thicken. This will take about 5 minutes.

    6. Once it’s thick, remove from the heat. Add the chopped parsley, lemon juice, salt and pepper.

    7. Serve your parsley sauce with salty roast gammon and new potatoes, crispy fishcakes or grilled white fish.


    Parsley Sauce

    Parsley Sauce

    Rocket Fuel: Healthy Iced Coffee With A Kick!...

    A few years ago my husband and I were visiting my sister in Toronto. As a special treat she took us to a wonderful restaurant called Fresh and what a treat it was! This has become one of my all time favourite restaurants. Whenever we are back in Toronto a trip to Fresh is always top of our list.

    The first thing I ever had at Fresh was one of their speciality espresso shakes called ‘Rocket Fuel’. This is a healthy (and much tastier) alternative to those incredibly sweet full fat iced coffee drinks you can get now at most coffee shops.

    The original recipe calls for vanilla soymilk but as I was unable to find any I used a chocolate oat based drink instead. Although it does have a different taste to the Rocket Fuel I remember the addition of chocolate is never really a bad thing – is it?

    So here is my slightly altered version of their recipe. This has been a much needed kick in the pants for my husband and I during these cold dark UK mornings.
    (Please keep in mind this for 2 people so I have doubled everything.)


    2 dbl. shot espresso or brewed coffee (My favourite is Kicking Horse )

    10 oz Oatly Healthy Oat Chocolate Drink

    2 bananas, peeled

    2 tsp maple syrup (Canadian is best!)

    1.5 shakes cinnamon

    5 ice cubes


    Brew up the coffee.

    Add the oat drink and bananas to the blender.

    Start the blender on a low setting and gradually add the coffee, maple syrup, cinnamon and ice cubes.

    Put blender on a higher setting for 1-2 minutes to make sure all the ice is blended.

    Pour into 2 tall glasses.


    About my first Visit to Fresh:

    On that first visit I noticed a cookbook for sale by the main till. It was called Fresh At Home. I loved the variety of healthy recipes it offered and the photos were gorgeous! Unfortunately worries about being able to fit it in my luggage with everything else I had accumulated kept me from buying it. Damn my sensibleness! It was a decision that would haunt me until we returned to Toronto 2 years later. Sadly the book was no where to be found in the restaurant so I enjoyed my meal and put thoughts of the cookbook out of my mind.

    Bring on Christmas and Santa had a very special treat for me this year. There, waiting under the tree, was the newest addition to the Fresh library – simply called Refresh. It has some of the old favourites as well as plenty of exciting new recipes to try. I am looking forward to getting stuck into some seriously healthy food!

    If you’re interested in the original Rocket Fuel recipe from Fresh follow the Directions above but use the following ingredients instead. (Please note this is for a single serving)

    1 dbl. shot espresso or brewed coffee

    6 oz vanilla soymilk

    1 bananas, peeled

    1 tsp maple syrup

    1 shake cinnamon

    6 ice cubes

    And of course – Enjoy!

    If you are planning a visit to Toronto or you live in Toronto and haven’t been – then put Fresh on your to do list. You won’t regret it! Check out their site here for more information.

    Rocket Fuel: Healthy Iced Coffee

    Rocket Fuel: Healthy Iced Coffee

    These are a few of my favourite things.

    These are a few of my favourite things.

    Easy Peasy Baked Beans...

    This is an extremely easy recipe for home made baked beans. You can use chopped up bacon if you like but I preferred using the leftovers from the gammon joint we had the night before. The molasses and barbeque sauce really give these beans a wonderful rich flavour.

    They are filling, healthy and delicious. Once you’ve tried these home made beans you won’t want to go back to the tinned ones.

    Luna Raye’s Easy Peasy Baked Beans


    1 Spanish onion

    Drizzle of Olive Oil

    1 orange or yellow pepper chopped

    2 cans Cannellini Beans

    4 tablespoons molasses

    2 tablespoons soft brown sugar

    4 tablespoons barbecue sauce (make sure to taste as you add it as you may want less or more) – I used a honey smoked sauce for extra flavour

    1/2 cup left over gammon joint chopped into bite sized chunks

    1 Tbsp of Worcestershire sauce

    Freshly ground black pepper


    Saute the chopped onion and bell pepper in olive oil until just softened

    Add the gammon and beans. Gently mix.

    Gradually add the molasses, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and barbeque sauce.

    Simmer for 20 – 30 minutes

    Season with freshly ground pepper

    Serves 4 to 6

    Great on its own or with a baked potato.


    Easy Peasy Baked Beans

    Easy Peasy Baked Beans

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