BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

In support of summer weather I bring you this cooling drink so you can settle into the deep heat. Let if flow over you; welcome it because it won't stay forever and you'll be craving it soon. Sip cold drinks, point fans at your barely clothed body and avoid turning on your oven. This is how I live in hot summer months. 

Pros of Hot Weather

  • No need for a sauna, you live in one
  • A multitude of cold drinks all day long
  • Swimming feels exceptional and necessary
  • Being lazy and not feeling bad about it 
  • Patio drinks
  • Rose wine (or frose)
  • Hair on head grows faster

Cons of Hot Weather

  • Hair on body grows faster
  • Bugs everywhere
  • Hot garbage smell (in the city)
  • Hot manure smell (in the country)
  • Under boob sweat
  • Back sweat pooling in butt crack
  • Chub rub– the struggle is real my fellow thick thigh ladies (and men).
  • It's so hot your drink sweats and slips out of your hand and spills all over your new summer dress. But at least you're cooled off so maybe it's a pro?

I've been obsessed with blueberries lately (see my blueberry tarragon gravlax). They are a classic Canadian summer food and I feel the need to devour them in pies, smoothies, jams, muffins or all on their own. They awaken memories of wandering through forests, swimming in lakes and the sound of cicadas on hot days. 

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
yellow water lily + my bff Alex

yellow water lily + my bff Alex

I just returned from a camping trip with two of my favourite people and we had the most amazing time. We canoed down a river filled with lilies and lily pads, saw blue herons up close, bought doughnut and watermelon floaties and swam in the waves of Lake Huron, made delicious camp food, played cards, sipped on these wine-ciders (half cider + half pinot noir = the perfect cooler), listened to baby wolves howling at night and relaxed into our naturey surroundings. It reminded me how peaceful and calming my mind can be and how connected I feel in the outdoors. It reminded me I live in an outrageously beautiful country with a rich history of people who lived off this land and respected it to the highest degree. It reminded me of the beauty all over the world and how much I still want to see and experience. As much as I tend to dislike winters in Canada (which feel never ending), the summers are so gorgeous that it might make up for it. No Canadian has ever uttered the words “Winters go by so fast!". If they do they're lying and are probably trying to get you to visit when it's cold and dark and all they'll want to do is cuddle and eat bread. Don't. Do. It.

But do come in the summer. It is breathtaking. 

white water lily

white water lily

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Lake Huron at Pinery Provincial Park, Ontario, Canada

Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

Let's talk simple syrup for a hot minute. I want to show you how to make your own easily and with more exciting things than white sugar. This recipe calls for a honey simple syrup. Don't worry, it takes no time and you'll have a new skill to impress people with. 

Standard simple syrup recipes are a 1:1 ratio of sugar/sweetener to water. If you prefer a thinner less sweet syrup, add a bit more water than sugar. If you prefer a thicker sweeter syrup, add more sugar than water. “Rich syrup" is a 2:1 ratio of sugar to water. Usually simple syrup is made by adding water and sugar/sweetener of choice to a small pot and heating to just before a boil until fully dissolved. But there is no need to turn on the stove on a hot day. Below I have included the lazy person's way which is how I usually make drink syrups of all kinds. 

Make simple syrups out of any of the following for subtle but different flavours:

  • Demerara or turbinado syrup– for a deeper more caramel-like flavour. Good for tropical drinks/ rum drinks.
  • Honey syrup– you can use any type of honey you like. Good for iced black/green tea, drinks with jasmine, gin, lemon, or bourbon. 
  • Agave syrup– the lighter in colour the agave is, the more it will taste like classic simple syrup. The darker in colour the more rich the flavour will be, closer to honey. Good for margaritas (lighter agave), tequila or mezcal cocktails, drinks with lime or watermelon.
  • Coconut sugar or brown sugar syrup– for a deeper, more molasses-like flavour. Good for winter cocktails, old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails. 
  • Maple syrup– use real maple syrup always. Good for old fashioneds, bourbon based cocktails, ciders, mulled wine, dark or light rum, any warm winter flavours like allspice, cinnamon or clove. 

One Minute Honey Simple Syrup Recipe

  • Boil water in your kettle. Add equal parts of honey and boiled water to a container with a tight sealable lid. Shake vigorously for 10 seconds or until completely dissolved. Keep in fridge for up to one month. Make as much or as little as you like. 
Blueberry Lemon Mint Soda || Refreshing summer mocktail recipe made with blueberries, lemon juice, honey, sparkling water + fresh mint. No refined sugars and tastes amazing as a gin or vodka cocktail. || creamandhoney.ca

BLUEBERRY LEMON MINT SODA

the magic

inspiration:                         hot summer days in Canada

the feels:                             sweet, tart, fresh, effervescent

eat with:                              barbecued fish, blueberry tarragon                                                    gravlax, a splash of gin, watermelon                                                  feta salad

might like if you're into:      Foraging, fruit galettes, pine forests,                                                canoeing, The Great Lakes, the sound of                                            cicadas, daddy long legs, wading in                                                  rivers

 

the science

ingredients:

                                                                                                                                                                                       blueberry preserves

  • 1 cup blueberries (frozen)
  • 2 tablespoons coconut sugar
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 lemon zested

blueberry lemon soda (one serving)

  • 1.5 ounces (3 tablespoons) blueberry preserves
  • 1/2 ounce lemon juice
  • 1/4 ounce honey simple syrup (see above for easy one minute recipe)
  • 4 mint leaves
  • sparkling water
  • mint sprig or lemon wheel for garnish

method:

                                                                                                                                                                                          blueberry preserves 

  1. Add blueberries, sugar, lemon zest and 4 tablespoons of water to small pot. Stir and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer blueberries for 10 to 15 minutes. Add 1 to 2 more tablespoons of water if thick. The final consistency should be more like blueberry syrup, not thick like jam. Let cool, pour into mason jar  and seal. Keep in fridge for up to one week or in the freezer for up to two months. 

blueberry lemon soda

  1. In a cocktail shaker (or mason jar), add blueberry preserves, lemon juice, honey simple syrup, and mint leaves. Fill shaker or jar 3/4 full with ice, seal and shake for 10 seconds. Fill short rocks glass with ice, open cocktail shaker and strain (with cocktail strainer or hand held strainer) over rocks glass. Top with sparkling water, stir gently and garnish with mint sprig or sliced lemon wheel. If using a bigger/taller glass or making two, double the ratios in the recipe. 

 

STUFF + THINGS

olive fougasse (top left), potato cheddar bread, everything bagels from Fairmount Bagel, white chocolate brioche “mushrooms", chocolate l'ecolier, butter croissants, and and almond frangipane croissant. 

olive fougasse (top left), potato cheddar bread, everything bagels from Fairmount Bagel, white chocolate brioche mushrooms", chocolate l'ecolier, butter croissants, and and almond frangipane croissant. 

V I S I T  || I took a trip this week to beautiful and vibrant Montreal where I stuffed my face with  plates of food and glasses of wine. The bread and pastries (above) are from Guillaume bakery across from Parc Lahaie where you can sit fountain-side and savour your coffee and treat. You must must must try the brioche champignon (“mushroom") with hidden chunks of white chocolate ready to surprise and delight you. My new favourite restaurant is Larry's where I ended up for dinner twice because we were smitten with all their small plates of vegetables, seafood, meats, ciders and martinis. The place is small, the lights are low and the vibe is sexy. Also a great restaurant for a solo meal with many spots at the bar. I am very determined to recreate a carrot and muhammara dish I had there that I would order for my last meal on earth. Carrots! Boring old carrots. Nah uh, not anymore. Carrots are no longer the mushy limp-penis of a vegetable your granny used to roll onto your plate. They're seductive and shameless now. Click here for more places to love in Montreal. 

S L E E P  || I napped daily (important for any vacation) while in Montreal. This article on napping explains how the length of a nap is important for your particular needs that day. I love a good power nap followed by a green tea. #refreshed

D A Y D R E A M  || Can we all just go to Portugal and live a lovely European life for a minute? Olaiya from Milly's Kitchen hosts travel retreats I've been pining over for awhile now. This one to Portugal looks amazing! I love Olaiya and I love this post; she speaks about the transformative power of travel and how we can become preoccupied by work and “real life". Travelling reminds us how diverse and and strange and fascinating this world is. Let's do it more. And then again after that.

R E A D  || This is really great interview with Aziz Ansari. He's chilling in Europe right now enjoying the simple pleasures of life, has completely removed himself from social media and is just going with the flow. We would definitely get along. Yo Aziz, if you read this call me!

E N E R G I Z E  || Being sensitive to other peoples' energy is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes it's hard to cultivate your own energy and not take on the energy of others. This list on How To Stop Absorbing People's Energy has many good practices and reminders for us vibe sensitive humans.

R E L A X  || Have we talked about ASMR? Well it's high time we do. Wikipedia says, “Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is an experience characterised by a static-like or tingling sensation on the skin that typically begins on the scalp and moves down the back of the neck and upper spine. It has been compared with auditory-tactile synesthesia". About 5 years ago I found youtube videos proving more people than myself were experiencing this sensation. I never knew how to put it into words but a head-gasm would be closest. My “triggers" (as ASMR people say) are whispering, speaking softly, the sound of writing, drawing, or typing, and doctor appointments. It may seem fetishy at first because there are many soft speaking ladies running their fingernails along things or pretending to be your nurse, but I swear it's not sexual. Well at least not for me. The world fades away and waves of tingly soft energy flow through my head and spine. It helps people with anxiety, depression, insomnia and with general relaxation. The videos can lead to the deepest and weirdest youtube rabbit hole so here are some of my favourite AMSR artists and videos to get you started.

Maria aka Gentle Whispering ASMR is the queen and I want to be her bff irl. Visit the ASMR Doctor to Test Your Senses. Go for a Suit Fitting Session. Take out books with your local Librarian.

WhispersUnicorn is amazing and recently did this gynecology exam which initially I was like, Whoa! This is NOT going to be relaxing. But it is and I fell into a deep slumber while getting my vulva inspected. 

I love Angelica because besides the soothing voice, she is eccentric and every video she's playing a character. She does ASMR videos from different times in history and she's imitated Sigmund Freud, Frida Kahlo and even Hitler (which I didn't want to get relaxed by but still did and now I feel bad about it).

I'm not usually into males doing AMSR because I don't find them as soothing but ASMR Power Of Sound always relaxes me and he'll draw weird portraits of you and measure your face for a mask. Just what I always wanted. 

May your naps be peaceful my friends.

xx

BLUEBERRY TARRAGON GRAVLAX

Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca

Greetings lovely humans. I've made a purple fish for you because dining on purple and blue foods feels rich and elegant but simultaneously childlike, reminding me of sour blue gum balls and grape jello. It sits between the balance of classy and unrefined and as a person I too reside within that spectrum, sometimes closer to one side or another depending on the day. 

Me: “Am I classy?"                                                                                                                                                             Friend: “Hmmmm. I would say that you always treat people with class."                                                               Me: “Sooooo I'm not classy."                                                                                                                                         Friend: “Well you're not–not classy. It's a good thing. You're very down to earth."                                                   Me: “Yeah, that's good. I still want to be classy though. I think I just trip and fall too much. Classy people are never clumsy. That's what's holding me back. Right?!"                                                                                           Friend: “I think you're great the way you are."   (translation: you are not classy, nor will you ever be. It's okay though.)

This friend is a very classy human which is why she'd never agree with any perceived negative qualities such as my clumsiness. She never talks about poop or periods or burps loud and she always wears lipstick two shades off her lip colour so it looks natural yet polished. I've never been that kind of person, I don't think I was born to be. As a kid I won a milk chugging contest, learned how to burp really loud on purpose and arm wrestled all the boys in my grade beating every single one (because none of them had gone through puberty yet and I was strong from carrying my baby brother and sister around). As a teenager I was always in fiery debates about sexuality, race, women, religion, anything that stirred people up. I was a crusader! Really I just couldn't keep my mouth shut and was trying to figure out the world which seemed cruel and unfair– your typical teenage angst. As an adult I have gained a some classiness. Or maybe peacefulness is more accurate. I focus on accepting what is, not fighting it. I hone my skills on creating a better and more joyful life. And I never chug milk anymore. But I do burp loudly when alone or around people who know me very well. It's part of my charm? In a world so full of social media and it's contrived artificiality I aim to allow my flaws, to be uncovered and exposed. To be me in whatever state of myself is coming forward that day. And to always hold the most compassion for myself and others.

I've been contemplating the thought of becoming the person you dream to be– because maybe that person is who you really are. It's how we move forward and know what steps to take next, to come closer to our truer selves. So who exactly is that person? What do they think about? What do they do in their free time? What kinds of people do they surround themselves with? What do they talk about? What do they wear? What do they eat? How do they feel about themselves and others? How do they love and appreciate themselves and others? I did a journal entry about this person and it has really stuck with me. In the biggest way around how this future me treats herself– without disapproval or being hard on herself. Without investing time or energy into what others think. And always with love and understanding. I encourage you to ask yourself these questions and see what comes up. See what you can change today to become a little more of that person because they are ultimately who you really are. Personality is a bunch of characteristics we have constructed ourselves and we can choose differently if we want. We can't control what happens to us, but we can control how we react and the thoughts we focus on. It just takes some conscious awareness, compassion and desire to move forward into the unknown. These are some things to contemplate over a plate of purple blueberry fish. Sometimes things don't sound like they work... until they do. 

Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Lemon zest || Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca

My aunt Margaret always has the loveliest stories from travelling the world. One of my favourites is her recollection of Swedish Christmas. She told me people get together and go from house to house snacking on smorgasbords and having a drink at each one enjoying each other's company. Everyone has preserves, cured meats, pickled herring, gravlax, rye breads, meatballs, potatoes and glogg for all the indulge in. Apparently you must eat the julbord in certain stages– fish first, cold meats second, warm food third and then of course dessert. Don't even think about taking a meatball before you've had your gravlax. How rude! Doesn't that make you feel all warm and cozy inside? It is very hygge (to know more about hygge click here).

Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca

For these quick + easy pickled onions go here!

Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca

To make your own Montreal bagels click here!

Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca
Blueberry Tarragon Gravlax || Easy curing recipe for salmon that is delicious and a rich shade of purple. Gravlax (lox or cured salmon) is perfect with bagels, rye bread, cream cheese, fresh vegetables, crackers, herbs, pickled things and capers! || creamandhoney.ca

This is a very simple recipe and the preparation time is only fifteen minutes. A few ingredients, a blender, a fridge and voila! Purple brunch–lunch! Just make sure you plan accordingly since it takes 48 hours to cure in the fridge. This recipe is inspired by beet cured salmon which turns the exterior a rich red adding a hint of sweetness and subtle flavour. One of my favourite spots to eat in Toronto is Karelia Kitchen, a Nordic smokehouse and cafe where there are smorgasbords filled with fish, cured meats, breads, crackers, pickled things, and preserves. A little of everything to stimulate the mind and senses.

Now get out all your tiny bowls and mix and match to your heart's desire to create a different tasting bite every time. 

xx


BLUEBERRY TARRAGON GRAVLAX

the magic

inspiration:                      Karelia Kitchen in Toronto

the feels:                          elegant, salty, sweet, chewy, soft

eat with:                           smorgasbords, champagne, vodka,                                                     aquavit, rye or pumpernickel bread,                                                   bagels, crackers, pickles of all kinds,                                                 cheese (cream, goat, ricotta, brie), creme                                           fraiche, capers, lemon, vegetables                                                     (cucumber, avocado, tomato, onions,                                                 radish, sprouts), herbs, caviar, honey,                                               horseradish, mustard, potatoes

might like if you're into:      cold weather countries, Jewish delis,                                                  Swedish Christmas, rolling rivers,                                                    catching crayfish, wild berry picking. 

the science

makes 4 to 6 servings || prep time: 15 mins curing time: 24 to 48 hours

ingredients:

  • 1 fillet of fresh salmon 
  • 1 cup sea salt 
  • 1 cup brown sugar 
  • 1/4 cup fresh tarragon
  • 1 tablespoon lemon zest
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries, thawed

method:

  1. Add all ingredients except the salmon to a blender or food processor. Blend until evenly combined. 
  2. Foil a baking dish just big enough for the fish and have to foil come up the sides. Pour in half the curing mixture. Add the piece of salmon and cover with the other half of curing mix. Cover the top with saran wrap tightly. Cover a couple bricks or heavy books with foil and set them on top of the fish. Put the dish in the fridge with weighted items.
  3. Keep in the fridge for 24 to 48 hours, turning the fish every 8 to 12 hours. The fish will be fairly firm when ready. 
  4. Remove it from the dish when ready and gently rinse the cure off under cold water. Slice gravlax into pieces and serve with bread, crackers and accompaniments. Wrap tightly in saran wrap and it will keep for a few days in the fridge. You can freeze if you aren't going to eat it within a few days but it is always best eaten fresh as freezing will change the texture.

Recipe adapted from Copper River Red Salmon, Blueberry Gravlax.

Everything Bagel recipe + adjustments I used can be found through my last post.

Make your own Quick Pickled Onions ready in 15 minutes.