My 30 minute Spanish Style Tomato and Chorizo Pasta is a delicious fuss free midweek meal. This crowd pleaser is packed with fresh ingredients making it under 500 calories per serving. Grow Your Own Food I perfected this recipe last year using fresh tomatoes which …
Goat’s Cheese Sourdough Toast with Herby Mushrooms is a healthy breakfast best served with deliciously crisp Ocean Spray Cranberry Juice. Toasted sourdough smothered in tart goat’s cheese topped with buttery mushrooms. The ultimate breakfast to win your Valentine’s heart. Happy Valentine’s Day Lovers. This year …
Refreshing Lime Long Drink with Gin is a thirst-quenching Finnish alcoholic drink. I would describe the local drink as a popular alcopop. Using freshly squeezed lime juice and good quality gin turns my version of the Refreshing Lime Long Drink into a sophisticated cocktail.
Pyhä Ski Resort
Last week the hubby and I went on a last minute snowboarding holiday to Pyhä in Finland. Pyhä (pronounced Poo-ha) is a winter wonderland situated inside the arctic circle. This little gem is often overlooked, by skiers and boarders, for Lapland’s larger resorts. Perched on the slopes, surrounded by the enchanting pine forests of the Pyhä-Luosto National Park, Pyhä, offers the ultimate back to nature break. Clean air and minimal light pollution guarantees spectacular sunrise and sunsets, along with the chance of seeing the magnificent Northern Lights.
Ski resort comparison sites are good for a general resort review and piste stats. On paper Pyhä doesn’t look so impressive, when compared to Yllas or Levi. What the comparison sites fail to do is describe what makes a resort so special.
In this small resort everyone is made to feel welcome. Faces soon become familiar and very quickly it starts to feel like a friendly place to be. A ski break in Pyhä is a chance to escape and steal back precious time, time to reconnect with loved ones and nature. Its laidback atmosphere, and respect for skiers and boarders at all levels, make Pyhä a peaceful place to develop technique without pressure.
On The Slopes
Pyhä really is a one boot fits all resort. It’s particularly good if you want to develop your skills. The wide, quiet slopes of Pyhä are the perfect place to practice.
Ski and snowboard lessons are available for first timers, young and old. The gentle blue runs are ideal to learn and build confidence.
For the more advanced, challenging blue and red runs offer perfect conditions to work on their technique. There are near vertical black runs for the adrenaline junkies, who appear to have a death wish. There is also a snow park for those who want to practice jumps and freestyle.
Then there is the main attraction, an endless nature playground that is the Pyhä-Luosto National Park. Locals and tourists main reason for visiting Pyhä is the off-piste action. 142 km2 of rugged hills, ancient pine forests, treeless fell-tops and virgin snow. This off-piste paradise is the main reason for the slopes being so quiet.
There are also 150km cross-country ski trails in Pyhä-Luosto National Park. With 14km in both Pyhä and Luosto illuminated.
Fun off the slopes
Not a skier or snowboarder? No problem, Pyhä has enough to keep you entertained for the week. There is so much to do I will list the majority and highlight some of my favourites.
Pyhä-Luosto National Park trails.
Strap on a pair of snowshoes and head out into nature. Trails are well maintained and signed. There are toilets and rest huts along the way. The rustic wooden rest huts have a fire pit and log store. They are a cosy place to escape the harsh winter weather and to cook up a sausage or two after a long hike.
Visit the reindeers
You have to stop half way down run 8 to say hello to some of Santa’s reindeer. It feels magical, you just have to do it!
Sunrise & Sunset
Luckily you don’t have to get up early or stay up late to see the spectacular sunrise and sunset in winter. A burning amber sky starts around 9:00am and mellows into soft hues of pink and purple until the sunrises at 10:30am.
Sunset starts around 2pm and you need to head to the top of the mountain or run 13 for the best views. Like sunrise, sunset, floods the sky with colour and is truly breathtaking to watch.
I was lucky enough to tick one of my bucket list items off in Pyhä, seeing the Northern Lights.
Before I went I assumed that they would be pretty easy to see being inside the arctic circle. As it turns out it’s not that straight forward, even in a resort with minimal light pollution.
You need all the conditions to be aligned to stand a chance of seeing them. There needs to be a high KP index rating, higher the rating the more visible they will be. The lights need to be in the vicinity, they move around the globe and can be unpredictable. You also need a clear sky, free from clouds and light pollution. I recommend downloading a tracker app to predict the possibility of seeing them.
When you do, the waiting and anticipation is worth it. I’ve seen some spectacular firework and light shows, but nothing compares to this natural phenomenon. Green lights swirling and pulsing across a moonlight sky that’s sprinkled with starts is incredible. To think it’s a natural occurrence is mind blowing.
Other fun activities on offer; Husky rides, Snowmobile safaris, Ice climbing, Ice fishing, Sledging and sporting events throughout the season (check out Pyhä ski resort website for details).
Pyhä’s night life is pretty lowkey, with a handful of bars to serve the whole resort. The bars are generally quiet but have enough people and music to create a nice atmosphere. They are a place to relax and enjoy a Refreshing Lime Long Drink with friends after a busy day on the slopes. Bingo and live music nights are fun and very popular with locals and tourists. Some nights it was nice to just chill out in our private sauna and enjoy a couple of drinks by the log fire in our room.
Food and Long Drink
Food is typical bar food, pizzas, wings, fried chicken basket, burgers and other types of fast food. Nothing fancy but tasty and has enough calories to hit the spot after working up an appetite in subzero temperatures. Our studio, like most accommodation in Pyhä, was self catering so I made a few home cooked meals through the week.
At -15oC Tsokka Cafe, situated at the top of the mountain, is the cosiest place to stop for the worlds best hot chocolate. A bold statement, backed by 6 days of consecutive research.
I’m always keen to try local delicacies, however I could not face eating Rudolf or any of his reindeer friends. Thankfully I discovered Lonkero, a popular Finnish long drink typically make from grapefruit soda and gin. Lime and cranberry version were equally refreshing after a day of snowboarding.
With wine being an expensive game of roulette, the Refreshing Lime Long Drink became my regular tipple. The Finnish language is a joy to listen to and felt impossible to replicate. I had fun trying to pronounce Lonkero, but I was relieved when I realised they also referred to it as Long Drink.
We stayed in a wonderful studio in the PyhäLinna apartments. Our studio was possibly the most luxurious and well equipped self catering accommodation I have ever stayed in. It had everything you could need, from the smallest kitchen appliance, to a log burner and private sauna. Only a few years old, they still feel brand new.
PhyäLinna are situated in the perfect location for slope access and views of the National Park. Our morning ritual was my favourite part of the day. It started with breakfast watching the sunrise over the snow covered pine trees. After breakfast we had a 20 metre walk to the slopes. We’d strap on our boards and head off for the day.
We booked a last minute ski deal with Crystal holidays. Our week holiday to Pyhä included a free 6 day lift pass. This offer was unique to the resort of Pyhä and was a huge saving compared to resort lift pass prices. The free 6 day lift pass offer is available through Crystal holidays on 2021 winter packages to Pyhä. Crystal fly to Finland from Birmingham, Manchester and London Gatwick. The free lift pass offer and flight information is correct as of January 2020.
Refreshing Lime Long Drink
Refreshing Lime Long Drink with Gin
- Cocktail Shaker
- 20 ml Fresh lime juice
- 10 ml Fresh lemon juice
- 30 ml Gin a herby gin is best
- 15 ml Sugar syrup see 'how to' link in post below
- 150 ml Soda water
- Add all the ingredients, apart from the soda, into a cocktail shaker. Pop in some ice, close the lid and shake.
- Pour into a glass. Add some ice and top up with the soda water. Garnish with a slice of lime and sprig of rosemary or thyme from the garden.
Sugar syrup is cheap and easy to make. It’s used in most cocktails so make up a batch to keep in the fridge. Follow this link to my Sugar Syrup recipe.
My Refreshing Lime Long Drink contains alcohol and is only suitable for 18+ years. Please drink responsibly.
If you have any questions about any of my recipe or travel posts please get in touch.
Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip with Sweetcorn and Kidney Beans is super health and delicious with any Mexican meal. This easy salsa recipe is a perfect mix of spice, chilli, lime and coriander to tantalise your tastebuds. My Smoky Tomato Salsa Dip recipe is quick, healthy …
My rich and creamy Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip is the perfect centre piece for your Christmas gathering this year.
The flavours from the creamy gruyere cheese and nutty artichoke hearts, when roasted into a bubbling molten dip are insane. Having a freshly baked bread, that’s soft and fluffy on the inside and crisp on the outside, to tear and dunk is mind blowing!
Wine and Cheese Christmas Eve
Every Christmas Eve the Breakfast Club members gather round my cousin Jo’s house for the annual Wine and Cheese Christmas Eve. It’s become one of my favourite traditions. It doesn’t quite feel like Christmas until I’ve eaten my weight in cheese and played party games all night. We each bring the most interesting cheese we can find, this year I plan to bring the Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip. I know it will go down a treat, who can resist tearing off chunks of freshly baked bread and dipping it into melted cheese?
Make my Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip the highlight of your Christmas. Serve as the centre piece at your festive family parties, or when your friends pop round for a glass of wine to exchange presents.
Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip
Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip
- Stand mixer
- Ovenproof dish
Gruyere Cheese Dip
- 130 g Gruyere Cheese, grated
- 130 g Creme fraise, reduced fat
- 20 g Mayonnaise, reduced fat
- 160 g Artichoke hearts (I used Tesco’s antipasti section in oil), drained and roughly chopped
- 30 g Baby spinach, finely shredded
- 15 g Curley kale, finely shredded
- 1 pinch Pepper
- 1 pinch Cayenne pepper
Festive Bread Wreath
- 500 g Strong white bread flour, plus extra for dusting
- 7 g Fast acting yeast
- 300 ml Tepid water
- 30 ml Olive oil, plus extra for rolling
- 10 g Runny honey
- 1 tsp Fine sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 220C, 200 fan, Gas mark 6.
- Pop all the bread ingredients into the bowl of your stand mixer. Roughly mix the ingredients together with a spoon. Attach the dough hook and knead on a low speed for 5 minutes, until you have a soft, smooth and stretchy dough.
- Cover the bowl with cling film and leave in a warm place for an hour, or until the dough has doubled in size.
- When the dough is ready, tip it onto a lightly oiled surface. Knock the dough back by punching it flat.
- Cut the dough into three equal pieces. Use the palm of your hands to roll the dough into three uniform strips. The strips should be slightly longer than the circular dish you are using for the cheese dip.
- Line a large baking tray with baking paper. Lightly flour the baking paper and place a circular ovenproof dish in the centre. Plait the three strips of dough. Carefully lift the plaited dough and wrap around the dish. Cut off any overlapping dough and match up the two ends. You want a continuous circle of plaited dough. Don’t worry if the joint looks a bit messy, the dough will rise and fuse together.
- Cover the dough with an oiled piece of cling film. Place in a warm place for 30-40 minutes until it has doubled in size.
- Meanwhile mix 100g of the Gruyere Cheese with the rest of the cheese dip ingredients together in a bowl. Tip the cheese mixture into the oven proof dish and sprinkle with the remaining Gruyere cheese.
- When the dough has doubled in size lightly dust with flour. Place in the oven for 20-25 minutes, until the dough is golden and sounds hollow when tapped. Festive Bread Wreath with Gruyere Cheese Dip Is best served straight away.
My top tip to a successful, stress free Christmas is preparation. My light, fluffy and Crisp Make Ahead Christmas Roast Potatoes will save you time on the big day!
Have a wonderful Christmas and Fabulous New Year.
The Gelato Experience at The Delectable Garden. Join me in my kitchen for a deliciously interactive day of authentic Italian gelato making and tasting. Gelato Love Gelato is an incredibly creamy Italian frozen dessert. Compared to traditional ice cream, gelato, has a thick and silky …
Blackberry Crumble Sundae. Favourite British dessert, meet my Italian obsession. Creamy vanilla gelato rippled with blackberry coulis, topped with buttery crumble.
I’m making the most of late summer by creating different gelato flavours using seasonal produce from The Delectable Garden. Every visitor is having gelato forced on them so I can clear the freezer to create more and more gelato. I’m at a point where the husband is actually complaining about the amount of gelato in the freezer, a very nice problem to have! I understand that not everyone wants to make their own gelato, so I have created this recipe using store bought ice cream, or gelato. Use good quality ice cream if you can’t find gelato. If you are interested in authentic Italian gelato making and tasting, visit Experiences at The Delectable Garden for more information.
The inspiration for Blackberry Crumble Sundae came from my love of crumble. A fruit crumble with vanilla ice cream is my go to dessert in a restaurant, I can’t resist it. With it being the start of blackberry season, Blackberry Crumble Sundae, was on my list of gelato to make. So when friends came to stay with us recently, with a punnet of freshly picked blackberries in hand, I took it as a sign and started experimenting.
Blackberries are ripening all over the UK right now. Don’t pay for expensive flavourless berries from the supermarket. Whilst the sun is shining grab a lunch box, go for a walk and start foraging.
Blackberry Crumble Sundae
Blackberry Crumble Sundae
- 500 ml
vanilla gelato (or good quality ice cream)
- 250 g
blackberries, plus extra to garnish
- 30 g caster sugar
- 60 g cold unsalted butter, diced
- 85 g plain flour
- 30 g porridge oats
- 30 g light muscovado sugar
- Preheat the oven to 190C/170C fan/Gas 5
- Rub the butter and flour together until the mixture resembles breadcrumbs, then mix in the remaining crumble ingredients using a fork.
- Line a baking tray with greaseproof paper. Spread the crumble mixture onto the lined tray and bake for 20 minutes until golden.
- Whilst the crumble is baking. Pop the blackberries and caster sugar in a pan. Cook on a medium heat until sugar dissolves. Turn the heat down and simmer for 5 minutes until the coulis has thickened. Push through a fine sieve into a jug, discard the seeds and remaining pulp. Allow to cool.
- When the crumble is golden remove from the oven and allow to cool.
- Once the blackberry coulis and crumble have cooled you are ready to create your Blackberry Crumble Sundae. Start by adding a scoop of gelato to each sundae dish, drizzle with some blackberry coulis and top with crumble, repeat and garnish with a couple of fresh blackberries.
Simple, Fresh and delicious, Nonna Ciana’s Tuscan Tomato Bruschetta is a perfect example of The Delectable Gardens principles. Bursting with colour and flavour, these little bites of Tuscany will not disappoint. Tuscany After 7 long weeks I finally have a kitchen, it’s so good to …