Beetroot Soup and #JanuaryJoy roundup!

One of the things about starting to wean Bea is that it has made me re-evaluate my own diet. That and New Year optimism made me think I should be making more soups and when my friend Jess said she had made beetroot soup I thought I’d give it a go too, fascinated by the idea of the colour it would come out. I really enjoyed it and as they say it’s good to include a variety of different coloured vegetables in your diet, I think this will cover pink and red for a while. ;)

Adapted from this Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall recipe

Makes 1L soup

4 large beetroot, cut into chunks
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
500ml low salt stock
1 can of plum tomatoes

1. Chop the beetroot and throw into a roasting tray with the garlic clove and some olive oil. Roast at 200 degrees for 30 minutes or until soft.
2. Dice the onion and soften with some oil in a large pan.
3. Add the beetroot and garlic, then the tomatoes and stock.
4. Simmer for ten minutes
5. Blend or blitz to a smooth consistency before storing in the fridge or serving with crumbled feta cheese on top or a dollop of creme fraiche.

Let me know if you try it! Now lets recap #JanuaryJoy so far…

So far I have done:
(Another) new recipe (for Gingerbread!)…
Talked about a few of the smaller projects I plan to tackle this month/year…
and I have embarked on learning a new skill with the Pen and Peplum #52handlettered challenge.

Erin also talked about your style updates for January (see how she’s wearing them here,) and Esme shared how she gets organised as a working mother.

Other posts from around the web:
Sarah from Glasgow Mummy set some health and fitness goals
Sian from Little Star & Me captured the memories with a round up of baby books.

How are you getting on – please do leave a link to your #januaryjoy moments (- even if they are just photo’s, it doesn’t have to be a whole blog post!) Or tell me about what has been making your January Joyful in the comments box!


How to Create Your Own Smoothie

I am always trying to get more fruit into my diet – veg I am good at eating, fruit not so much, so I loved this post that Katie sent in on DIY smoothies…

Florence Finds, Michelle Kelly, Pocketful of Dreams

Summer may be almost over after a sweltering July, but come sunshine or showers I think that smoothies are the perfect summer beverage. Indulgent enough to be a treat, but packed full of nutritious goodness. Filling enough to be a snack, but light enough to not feel heavy. #winning

The best part about them? How ridiculously easy they are too make.

Avocado, Blueberry & Ginger

With that in mind it seems daft to give you a smoothie recipe – instead here’s my formula for creating a delicious smoothie every time.

What you need:

Something creamy – bananas, mangos, or yogurt all work here.
Something liquid – apple juice, milk, coconut milk
Something sweet – honey, syrup, strawberries
A little something something – oats to provide a little more energy, cocoa powder to make your drink a bit more indulgent, your favourite spice… Whatever makes you happy.

Banana, Cocoa and Honey

You don’t have to use all four – ripe bananas are often both creamy and sweet, or maybe your fruit is so good it doesn’t need that something extra – but generally with this combination you’re sure to get good results. Equally, the exact proportions depend on how you like your smoothies – I try to use about half liquid to give a thick but easily drinkable consistency but you can use more/less.

Once you have your ingredients, just chuck them in a blender and whizz until smooth.

Banana, Peanut Butter & Honey

Here are a few of my favourite flavours:

Avocado, blueberry, ginger and apple juice
Banana, peanut butter, honey and milk
Banana, cocoa powder, honey and milk

Although really any combination of fruits will probably taste just great! Have you got any favourite smoothie flavours?

Katie x

PS. Find Katie on Pinterest and Instagram

Friday Food: Asparagus and Gruyere tart

I am quite obsessive about cooking seasonally, particularly when entertaining. I hate eating stodgy winter food in summer, yet I lust after a crumble come Autumn. Of course, I’m also a fan of simple food and when we had friends over this week as a belated birthday dinner after work, the food needed to be easy. I chose this Asparagus and Gruyere tart as a starter that I have been meaning to make forever. You can find versions all over the internet but with 3 ingredients I don’t feel it really warrants a recipe.

  • Roll out a sheet of ready made pastry (there’s a time and a place for making your own pastry, this isn’t it.) Trim it to fit your baking tray. Use a knife to score a line about an inch away from the edge on all sides making it look like a frame and then score the interior too in a cross hatch pattern.
  • Bake according to the manufacturers instructions – usually about 20 minutes until risen and golden.

  • In the meantime grate your Gruyere, (I actually substituted for Emmental on this occasion, any sweet nutty swiss cheese will do.) When the pastry is done, squash the central area of pastry within your crust edge and fill the space with grated cheese.
  • Lay your asparagus on top of the cheese, packed in close to each other.
  • Return to the oven and bake for another 20 or so minutes until the asparagus is cooked and the cheese is golden.

One rectangle could serve 6 but we were greedy and shared it between 4. Enjoy! Love, Rebecca xo

Friday Food: Frozen treats

This week, I have developed a bit of an unhealthy magnum obsession. It has happened before, I buy a mini magnum box and slowly work my way through them, whether on the sofa with a good episode of Greys Anatomy, or simply for lunch if there’s nothing else in the house (like yesterday for example.)

This got me thinking, there must be healthier and DIY options for frozen treats, particularly if any sunny weather makes an appearance…
(For the record if you’re wondering why I’m writing about frozen food in the middle of the worst summer ever here in the UK:
a. I can’t refrain from doing summer stuff forever and
b. it was pleasantly warm and humid here yesterday, although not exactly sunny.)

There’s even the grown up option of cocktail ice pops or gourmet recipes.

So here are a few recipes that tickled my fancy…

Have you made DIY ice lollys? Any ideas that I have missed? Let me know if you’re going to try any of these out…


PS. Wondering where to find an ice lolly tray? Try this Ice Lolly mould from Amazon.

Friday Food: Beetroot, Goats Cheese and Walnut salad

Today’s Friday food is inspired by a dish I ordered at Gordon Ramsay’s Plane Food restaurant in terminal 5 at Heathrow, on route back from my last holiday. After too many hours to count in the air, tons of crappy plane food and feeling sleep deprived, I wanted something light and clean and fresh but still filling enough that I didn’t need to bother with dinner later that evening.

This beautiful dish fit the bill perfectly and I snapped it to remind me to make it again!

It’s not an official recipe, but here goes…

  • Take a couple of handfuls of rocket (or other green leaves like spinach and watercress) and dress with a splash of olive oil and a sprinke of sea salt. Toss to coat the leaves.
  • Chop 4 beetroots (not the pickled kind) into quarters and throw on.
  • Roughly chop and add to the salad, half a handful of walnut halves – don’t make them too small.
  • Crumble over some goats cheese – amount to taste, and toss the whole salad again.

Consume in the sun preferably, with a chilled glass of white.

Happy weekend readers!


Friday Food: Margarita time!

So, I’ve had this particular blog post up my sleeve for a couple of weeks and thought it would be perfect for a sun soaked weekend with BBQ’s planned and other forms of fun in the sun. Since it’s looking less and less likely that that kind of thing is in store for us all this weekend, I’m getting to the point where I’m needing a margarita to get me though the rain. Anybody with me?

Image credit

I started drinking margaritas well before I should have done, and although I know lots of people can’t face them because of the tequila, I’ve never been big on tequila shots (sambuca was my poison,) so don’t have that association. Since then I’ve moved through Cosmo’s (SATC years,) Mojitos (University and beyond,) and most recently Caipirinhas, for that extra sour hit. When we were recently in the US again I re-discovered Margaritas and loved them, so I thought I’d share. This is my original recipe, (made by my Uncle Gene) and you can have it on the rocks, or like I prefer it, blended with ice, or frozen.

Today, I’d like to distract you from work and hear about your favourite cocktail. Have you ever had a margarita night? And if you’re really in the mood to distract yourself properly, let’s hear your cocktail timeline ;)

Lots of I’m-praying-for-some-sunshine love,


Hi guys, Gemma here, with another installment of thank-god-it’s-Friday food. And actually, I can’t really take personal credit for these recipes and I wouldn’t even want to, seeing as they’re the product of Simon Rimmer (yes, from the tele Simon Rimmer) using super exciting Onebrand ingredients.

Simon Rimmer, all images courtesy of OneBrand

I was lucky enough to be able to head along to a Onebrand bloggers event a couple of weeks ago on behalf of Florence Finds and learn the upcoming recipes from the master himself, and I have to say there’s a reason I’m laughing in each and every photo – I had a ball. Pop back on Monday for a more indepth look at Onebrand, a company who are supporting communities in the developing world through their products, which are available here in the UK and make it ridiculously easy to consume ethically and ‘give back’ as a part of your routine trip to the supermarket. Not only that, once you crack a Onebrand egg, you’ll never switch. Honestly, they have such an intense, glossy yellow yolk and if you whisk one up in a cup with a pinch of salt, pepper and fresh basil and then toss it, with a knob of butter, through steaming fresh tagliatele…. ahem. Sorry about that.

Chorizo Scotch Eggs with pepper chutney, by Simon Rimmer for OneBrand

But speaking of phenomenally delicious things you can do with eggs, here is Simon Rimmer’s twist on the Scotch Egg, accompanied by a chutney that is so zesty and rich it’s like a sock to the head. Except, you know, awesome and not at all painful.

Created by Simon Rimmer especially for the One Brand


6 hard boiled One Good Eggs – cooked 6 mins max
175g sausage meat
75g finely diced/blended chorizo
tbs chopped parsley
tbs finely chopped chives
Plenty of salt and white pepper

75g breadcrumbs
75g polenta

Vegetable oil to deep fry

Another blogger and his giant scotch egg

Pepper chutney – 1 red onion, sliced
4 red peppers, finely sliced
Clove sliced garlic
8 gherkins, chopped
tbs capers
100g demarera
100ml red wine vinegar
1 finely chopped birds eye chilli

Gemma enjoying the class :)


  • Mix the sausage meat, chorizo, herb, chives and plenty of seasoning
  • Divide into 16, press flat, then flour each egg, then egg wash and wrap the meat around.
  • Deep fry at 180c for 4 mins, turning regularly
  • CHUTNEY – fry onion, garlic, chilli for 3-4 mins to soften
  • Add peppers, cook 2 mins
  • Add sugar and vinegar, boil 10mins, take off heat, add capers, gherkins, season and cool. Serve with scotch eggs and a little pretty salad garnish

So findettes, who’s tempted? Has anyone eaten at a Simon Rimmer restaurant (Greens, Didsbury & Earle, Altrincham) or already discovered the Onebrand range?

As always we love to hear your comments,
Love Gemma C-S

Ps. The reason we’re laughing in the photo? Weeeeell, I may have been a little over-enthusiastic in coating my egg with the sausage mix. To the point, actually, where it looked like a dinosaur egg about to hatch. And where it looked like picking it up would have snapped my wrist. But in the interests of honest reporting I have to admit I scoffed the lot ;)

January Food: Delia’s Slow-cooked Root Veg Soup

So why has a bog standard root vegetable soup made it into the best healthy recipes I have to offer you to start 2012? Firstly, because it is fat free. Completely fat free. However, if you think it’s boring you’ve got another thing coming. It’s super tasty and it’s filling, what more can you ask for?

Image Credit:

Serves 6
225g peeled carrots, chopped into chunks.
225g peeled celeriac in 2 inch pieces.
225g trimmed washed leeks, halved and cut into chunks.
225g peeled swedes, cubed.
1 small chopped onion.
2.5 pts of Swiss Bouillon stock
3 bay leaves

  • There’s no science to this recipe. After chopping all the veg, throw them in a an oven proof pot with the stock and bring it up to a simmer.
  • Put the pot into the oven at 140 degrees and leave for 3 hours.
  • When you take it out, the veg will be soft and all the flavours intensified.
  • Take the bay leaves out and liquidise the veges to a soup, then reheat to serve as required.
  • The soup can also be served with a swirl of fat free Greek yogurt, or a blob of creme fraiche if you’re feeling less virtuous.

    It’s a perfect Sunday afternoon make, can be left in the oven while you get on with your day, and sets you up with healthy lunches for the rest of the week.



Friday Food… Phoebe’s Party Bites

Good Morning Readers and Happy Friday! This morning we’re having a bit of a Friday Food Party special. Next weekend I’ll be holding a Christmas drinks party as I do every year and so I was keen to get some recommendations for new recipes. Enter Phoebe from Miller Weddings with some fabulous suggestions that I’ll definitely be trying this year. :)

I adore Christmas. Capital letters, underlined…adore. I love dark days, twinkling fairy lights, snow, and mainly the food. The fact you can eat more without being socially lambasted is always a bonus. There are always copious amounts of parties to attend, and the expanding waistline doesn’t help when slipping in to a party dress but I just don’t care. I will lose it at New Year. Here are some simple party food ideas. There are many variations of the mini pizzas and I would love to hear yours!

Halloumi Bites from Nigella

Image Credit:

I am a cheese fiend and halloumi is one of my favourites. This recipe is exceptionally simple and the halloumi can marinate hours in advance in the fridge. It works best done in a skillet or non-stick frying pan.

These are quite a slippery so best served on cocktail sticks or at a “table to plate” scenario.


250g Halloumi – each block roughly makes 12-14 bites
A handful of chopped parsley (I have used basil, tastes just as yummy)
Lots of black pepper
15mls lime juice (or lemon)
30ml garlic oil (increase by 20 for each extra block)


Slice the halloumi into bite size pieces, try for 6mm wide.
Add everything together in a large shallow dish (can be left)
Heat a heavy based pan and fry the cheese until golden on both sides, roughly takes 2 minutes
Put the fried halloumi back in to the shallow dish, mix and serve!

Chorizo and Chilli Mini Pizzas

Image Credit:

This is a great little recipe to have because you can add so many variations. This makes 20.


A pack of flatbread or wraps
100g manchego cheese
100 chorizo
1/2 a red chilli


Heat to 200c/180c for fan oven
Use a pastry cutter to cut out 6cm circles from the bread/wrap
Grate the cheese and scatter over the circles
Add the chorizo (pre cook if needed) then top with chilli
Bake for 10 mins till the cheese is bubbling.

Orange and Cinnamon Mince Pies

Image Credit: BBC Good Food

These are wonderful! I can’t remember where I even found this recipe but they are a festive twist on the everyday mince pie and exceptionally simple to do. These have a delicious crumble topping instead of pastry but you can still add whatever jazzy decor you’d like. Brandy butter is optional.


375g shortcrust pastry (shop bought unless you are inclined to make it yourself)
250g mincemeat (make your own, it really is easy. I have a recipe if you’d like it!)
50g plain flour
4tbsp demerara sugar
40g butter
finely grated zest of 1/2 orange ( I always add a little more)
2tsp ground cinnamon


Preheat the oven to 200C
Thinly roll out the pastry. Using a 8cm pastry cutter, cut out as many discs as you can.
Grease a muffin tin and press the discs into the holes. Make sure they come up quite high at the sides
Spoon 2 teaspoons of mincemeat into each case.

Crumble topping

Rub together flour, demerrar sugar, butter, orange zest and the cinnamon until you have a chunky crumble mixture.
Scatter over the top of the mincemeat
Place in the oven and cook for 15mins until they are golden and crisp (mine only take 10 often)
Remove from the oven and leave to cool. Dust with icing sugar to serve.

Merry Christmas!

Are having a Christmas Party this year and will you be trying any of these recipes?

Don’t forget, if you have a recipe you would like to share please send it in to


Friday Food… Alexandra’s Sausage Rolls

Happy Friday readers! It’s almost the weekend and apart from my high spirits for that reason, I’m also starting to get excited about Christmas festivities. I always plan a Christmas drinks party and this week’s recipe is definitely going to make a star appearance – it looks simple, delicious and perfect for soaking up the booze! Thank you so much to Alexandra for sending it in and as always let us know if you’ll be trying this one at home?

Hello, ladies and gents of Florence Finds! It’s a pleasure to be here and I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you all a Happy Friday. There are just a few short hours until the weekend, and thank you to Rebecca for inviting me to spend those hours with you.

As the days darken, the lamp posts sprout fairy lights and the familiar tones of Slade start to swoop through the shops, my thoughts turn to unhealthy party snacks. Specifically, sausages. Little cocktail sausages. Sausages wrapped in bacon. Sausagemeat stuffing balls. And, my new obsession, home made sausage rolls.

Image Credit: Alexandra from Dine At Mine for Florence Finds

These burnished beauties come from Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals. He presents them as part of a summer picnic – and that’s how I first tried them – but I think they’ll really come into their own as party food. The perfect two-bite size for juggling with a glass, they’re fatally delicious and if you’ve only ever eaten bought sausage rolls, I implore you to try them. Forget dog-food-style filling inside bland, soggy pastry,these are a total revelation. Crunchy, flaky, melting, meaty, cheesy, savoury and delicious. I know that’s just a list of adjectives but the sausage rolls remove my capacity for coherent thought.

Ever since I tried these, I am resolved never to buy sausage rolls again – not when these were so easy and so good. For bonus points, you can make them up in advance and keep them in the fridge until you want to cook them, giving plenty of time to deck the halls and get out the booze. But whether you’re planning a big party or looking forward to a cosy night in with Strictly and the sofa, I guarantee you won’t regret giving these a go. Along with our “Real Fireplace” DVD (complete with a disembodied hand poking the embers!), these will definitely be making a star appearance at our Christmas party. Although, if the test batch was anything to go by, I have a sneaking suspicion that they might not stick around for too long.

Image Credit: Alexandra from Dine At Mine for Florence Finds

Sausage Rolls
(From Jamie Oliver’s 30 Minute Meals)
Makes 20 mini rolls

- 1 sheet of ready-made, ready-rolled puff pastry
- 12 chipolata sausages
- an egg, beaten
- a teaspoon of fennel seeds (please don’t leave them out if you don’t like fennel – I don’t like it either, but these are just perfect here)
- a chunk of parmesan
- a few spoonfuls of sesame seeds to sprinkle on top

Preheat the oven to 220C and line a baking tray with parchment or something non-stick.

Unroll your pastry and cut it in two lengthwise so you’ve got two long rectangles. Brush them both with beaten egg, then arrange six sausages down the middle of each rectangle, slightly overlapping as you can see in the photo. Sprinkle over the fennel seeds and a hefty scattering of grated parmesan.

Fold the pastry over the sausages to make two long rolls and squish down the seam with the tines of a fork to make a crimped pattern. Then brush the whole lot with beaten egg, scatter over the sesame seeds and cut each long roll into 10 mini ones.

Image Credit: Alexandra from Dine At Mine for Florence Finds

Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until golden and crunchy, and serve hot. I guarantee you won’t have any left by the time they’re cold.

Find Alexandra on her blog, Dine At Mine