How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)

This is my cleaned-​up home­made ver­sion of how to make the pop­u­lar Ribena black­cur­rant syrup. I sure have enough black­cur­rants to go around! If you asked where we were last week, chances are it was in the yard pick­ing them. Hard work, let me tell ya! We didn’t weigh the result, but I think it came to about 15lbs — that’s a lot of hunch­ing over and pick­ing! The berries are way too tart to eat, but make great jam, or syrup, that’s exactly what I did!

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)We always had Ribena in the fridge in my parent’s house, and some bot­tles found their way into my cur­rent fridge by way of my mom. Since I have all these black­cur­rants, I can make my own, and with­out any arti­fi­cial preservatives.

Here is what you do. Pour your black­cur­rants into a sink filled with water. This will make all the impu­ri­ties, leaves, and stray spi­ders, etc… rise to the sur­face. Skim them off, then drain the water. Trans­fer the black­cur­rants into large cook­ing pots, fill­ing about 3/​4 of the way up. Don’t worry about the lit­tle twigs and papery ends on the berries, because it will all get sieved.

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena) Con­tinue Read­ing…

#cleaneat­ing now faints:

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)Yes, sugar, lots. If you have the means, feel free to sub­sti­tute coconut palm sugar, sucanat, or rapadura, all of which are great unprocessed white sugar alter­na­tives that you can swap on a 1:1 ratio. You can also use honey, but keep in mind that it doesn’t have the same thick­en­ing prop­er­ties and the syrup would be very runny, more like juice.

Black­cur­rants are very tart, so you def­i­nitely need a sweet­en­ing agent, but not just for taste. Sugar also acts as a preser­v­a­tive by lit­er­ally suck­ing mois­ture out of microbes. This will make sure you can store the syrup in the fridge for weeks. I give a rough guide­line for how much sugar you need in the recipe, but the rule of thumb is to use less and add more as you taste test to make the black­cur­rants palat­able. It’s always eas­ier to add than sub­tract later.

Now the siev­ing. See, I told you not to worry about stray twigs and ends on the black­cur­rants — after you cooked down the fruit and sugar mix­ture and it cools a bit, you sieve it through. The more vig­or­ous you are, the more fibre will sieve though, mak­ing the syrup richer and tastier. So put your arm into it!

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)End result: LOTS of black­cur­rant syrup. This is not a small bowl, about 5 litres:

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)Now how to store all this. I have more than I will use in the next few weeks, so I poured off a small batch into jars for imme­di­ate use/​gifts, and poured the rest into freezer bags. You can also freeze in plas­tic con­tain­ers, but remem­ber to leave enough space at the top for expansion.

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)Note: It’s a good idea to steryl­ize your jars with boil­ing water prior to use. It will make them very hot… so what­ever you do, don’t cool them down with cold water. This makes them ker­plode. I know how stu­pid it sounds, but that’s pre­cisely what I did. I just shake my head!!!

Pretty syrup in the only jars I had left:

How to Make Your Own Blackcurrant Syrup (Ribena)Com­ments, ques­tions? Let me know and I’ll do my best to answer.

How to Make Your Own Black­cur­rant Syrup (Ribena)
Serves: Makes approx 750ml syrup
  • 1lb black­cur­rants
  • ½lb white sugar, or alter­na­tives: coconut palm sugar, sucanat, or rapadura (use slightly more, or less sugar accord­ing to your taste)
  • 1 cup of water
  1. Pour the black­cur­rants into a sink filled with water and skim off impu­ri­ties like leaves and float­ing twigs, then drain the water. Trans­fer the black­cur­rants into large cook­ing pots, fill­ing about ¾ of the way up. Pour in the sugar and water and mix. Set the heat on medium and cover. Cook for 5 min­utes, then reduce the heat to low and sim­mer for another 10 min­utes, until all the juices run.
  2. Remove from heat and let cool enough to han­dle com­fort­ably. Pass the mix­ture though a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. Pour into steryl­ized bot­tles, or freeze in plas­tic bags, or con­tain­ers for later use.
  3. Will keep in the fridge for 2 – 3 weeks. Use frozen syrup within 3 months.
  4. To serve, dilute the syrup in water, to taste.

Teriyaki Pork Noodle Bowl

I’ve been neglect­ing my love for Asian cook­ing in favor of quick sum­mer meals… so why don’t we marry the two? I love Thai and Viet­namese fla­vors, and I’ll make Chi­nese once in a while, too. If you shy away from these cuisines because some ingre­di­ents are unfa­mil­iar to you, or worse, because you asso­ciate Asian cook­ing with pre-​made sauces from a bot­tle, then this quick recipe will debunk those fears!

Teriyaki Pork Noodle BowlNoth­ing arti­fi­cial from a bot­tle here. Do you still buy pre-​made teriyaki sauce? You don’t need to! It’s just one part honey, one part soy and you can make it in 30 sec­onds. Not only do you make sure that those are there are no other mys­tery ingre­di­ents, you get to choose what soy to use. So make your own teriyaki sauce! I mix mine with my favorite brand of honey from British Colum­bia, and a low sodium organic Tamari soy sauce. Because it’s so quick to make, I mix just enough that I need for a recipe.

The rest? Just as easy. Con­tinue Read­ing…

Slice the pork ten­der­loin into thin medal­lions, then chop up your veg­gies: onions, car­rots, red pep­pers, cel­ery, and bok choy. Hav­ing every­thing ready is the key, because it will be very quick to cook.

You’ll stir fry this dish in a wok, or a large skil­let over high heat. Brush the cook­ing sur­face with an oil that has high smoke­point — peanut oil is great and will add an authen­tic Asian fla­vor. Don’t use olive oil, it will heat up and smoke before it gets hot enough to sear the food.

It’s not nec­es­sary to mari­nade the pork beforehand.

Teriyaki Pork Noodle BowlI used buck­wheat (soba) noo­dles for my recipe, but feel free to sub­sti­tute other noo­dles, or even rice. Sprin­kle with sesame seeds and enjoy!

Teriyaki Pork Noo­dle Bowl
Cui­sine: Chi­nese Canadian
Serves: 4 – 6
  • 8oz soba noo­dles (buck­wheat noodles)
  • For the teriyaki sauce:
  • 1 cup chicken broth, prefer­ably homemade
  • 2 tbs soya sauce
  • 2 tbs honey
  • the stir fry:
  • 2 tsp peanut oil
  • ½ cup sliced sweet onion
  • 2 cloves gar­lic, minced
  • 1 lb pork ten­der­loin, sliced into thin medallions
  • 4 cups chopped baby bok choy (leaves and stalks)
  • ½ cup sliced carrots
  • 1 red bell pep­per, sliced
  • 2 stalks of cel­ery, sliced
  • sesame seeds for garnish
  1. Cook noo­dles accord­ing to direc­tions, drain and set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, mix together the chicken broth, soya sauce and honey. Set aside.
  3. Heat oil in a wok or large skil­let on high heat. Add the onions and cook for 2 min­utes, stir­ring fre­quently. Add the gar­lic and toss around until fra­grant, but not burned, a few seconds.
  4. Add the pork and cook for a cou­ple of min­utes until browned, stir­ring the entire time. Trans­fer the pork and onion mix­ture to a sep­a­rate plate and set aside.
  5. Add more oil to the pan if nec­es­sary, and add the car­rots, red bell pep­per and cel­ery. Stir fry for a cou­ple of min­utes, until soft­ened. Add the bok choy and stir fry for another cou­ple of minutes.
  6. Return the pork mix­ture and all accu­mu­lated juices to the pan. Add the teriyaki sauce mix­ture. Mix again and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the veg­eta­bles are soft, but still crunchy.
  7. Serve over the soba noo­dles and gar­nish with sesame seeds.

Grilled Summer Corn and Quinoa Salad

Quinoa sal­ads have been my favorite this sum­mer, same goes for new pota­toes, and I prob­a­bly con­sumed so much salmon while it’s in sea­son that I could grow fins. This salad here is awe­some - left­over cooked quinoa I had sit­ting in the fridge, and what I found at the farmer’s mar­ket — kale, red pep­pers, onions, and fresh corn.

Grilled Summer Corn and Quinoa SaladSum­mers are so short here in Cal­gary that I end up over­whelm­ing myself with things to do. It’s like every moment of each day needs to be stretched for max­i­mum use of the out­doors, and that gets really tir­ing. I still like my lame rou­tine and prob­a­bly spend too much time flip­ping between BBC and the Pol­ish news (the lat­ter read solely for the enter­tain­ing non-​PC com­ments, Pol­ish peo­ple say it like it is!) I also admit to wast­ing a night or few on the couch — House of Cards these days, because no more 24, booo! I mean, no TV all sum­mer? Come on.

At least I’m not slack­ing with sum­mer pro­duce. Let me in to a farmer’s mar­ket and I turn into a demon - buy buy buy! I have to get very grown up about it before check­out, because how much veg can 2 peo­ple pos­si­bly get through in a week?

Btw, I’m so happy we have farmers…If I were to farm my own veg­eta­bles we’d starve. Here’s my beau­ti­ful kale just a cou­ple of weeks ago:

IMG_20140720_121408Here’s my beau­ti­ful kale after the cater­pil­lars had their way with it:

IMG_20140812_124653I hate them with the heat of a mil­lion suns.

Con­tinue Read­ing…

Grilled Summer Corn and Quinoa SaladAny­way, enjoy this salad as is, or top with grilled chicken, or fish. It might also be nice to add some avo­cado, or crum­bled feta.

Grilled Sum­mer Corn and Quinoa Salad
Serves: 6
  • 2 ears of corn
  • ½ cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 medium red bell pep­per, chopped
  • ½ small onion, finely chopped
  • 4 – 6 medium leaves of kale, chopped
  • salt and pepper
  • optional: ½ cup crum­bled feta, ½ sliced avo­cado for garnish
  1. grill the corn over medium heat until done. Let cool slightly and shuck the ker­nels. Set aside.
  2. Com­bine ½ cup quinoa with 1 cup of water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low, and sim­mer until quinoa is ten­der, about 15 minutes.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the chopped red bell pep­per and onion and cook until soft­ened and the onion is translu­cent. Add the kale and toss around to com­bine. Cook until the kale is softened.
  4. In a large bowl, com­bine the shucked corn ker­nels, cooked quinoa, and the bell pep­per, kale and onion mix­ture. Sea­son with salt and pep­per to taste. Option­ally, add crum­bled feta cheese and sliced avo­cado to garnish

Farmer’s Market Zucchini and Sausage Pizza

Farmer's Market Zucchini and Sausage Pizza

I don't know where my week went. It started at 4:30am on Monday when I grabbed my backpack and flew back to the Island for a record breaking 1 day there & back trip. I was dead tired by the end of it, especially since I sat in the very last row of a small prop plane, meaning I staggered off with a headache and bleeding ears.  Still much better than driving. It's not easy trying to buy a house long-distance, but if all goes well, we might take the plunge. If not, then at least I hit … Continue Reading...

Easy Quinoa Vegetarian Salad


Welcome to the easiest, healthiest salad in the world.  Uh... laziest salad in the world.. Have a heap of vegetables and no time to cook?  Set some quinoa on the stove as you prepare your veggies - red peppers, red cabbage, kale and green beans.  Be encouraged to freestyle it with your veg selection - whatever you find in your CSA box.  This is a dish that comes together in minutes - keep it vegetarian, or top with some grilled chicken, or sliced pan-fried beef, and you're set.  Make a … Continue Reading...