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…

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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!

Love
Rebecca
xo

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,
Rebecca
xo

Friday Food: CHORIZO SCOTCH EGGS WITH PEPPER CHUTNEY

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.

CHORIZO SCOTCH EGGS WITH PEPPER CHUTNEY
Created by Simon Rimmer especially for the One Brand

Ingredients

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 :)

Method

  • 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: latartinegourmande.com

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.

    Enjoy!

    Love,
    Rebecca
    xo

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: Nigella.com

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.

Ingredients

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)

Method

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: DashingDish.com

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

Ingredients

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

Method

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.

Ingredients

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

Method

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 hello@florencefinds.com

Love,
Rebecca
xo

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

Friday Food: Gemma’s Grandma’s Butternut Squash Soup

Happy Friday readers! Whoop whoop!
This morning we have a guest post from the very lovely Gemma who deserves an intro all of her own for 2 reasons. Not only am I delighted to have snaffled her to write the occasional blog post when she finds the time, because she is absolutely hilarious, but she has actually been doing rather more than that. Gemma has the super important role of editing Florence Finds. My spelling/grammar/typing is notoriously bad and I didn’t want that putting you off all the lovely finds we have to share with you, so each and every post has been edited by Gemma behind the scenes. I hope you’ll all join me in saying a big Florence Finds thank you. Gemma has also been my personal cheerleader of late for which I’m ridiculously grateful. :) A big heartfelt thank you from me too Gemma!

So without further ado, I’ll hand you over to the fabulous lady herself!

Hi everyone, Gemma here. I’m a friend of Florence. In fact, you could call me the founder of the Florence Fan Club because I have been lucky enough to see some bits of this lovely blog behind the scenes while Rebecca’s put it together, which has been like being invited to a premiere screening of an incredibly cool movie. I’ve unashamedly loved it but also been a tad worried about what shoes I should wear. Anyway, I’m going off the point. In true we-heart-it-when-it-begins-with-an-F style, today is the best day of the week. Make sure you nip back for your fashion fix later on, because today is Friday! Friday is for Frock O’clock and Friday is for (fantastic) Food. Which is where I come in.

Another reason (as if I needed one!) that I am a wee bit envious of Mrs Norris is that she has an allotment. The woman has an Important Grownup Job, (capital letters entirely intentional) runs this brilliant blog in all its many-faceted stylish glory in her spare time, and grows her own food. I can’t even keep a tub of coriander from Sainsburys alive long enough to last the journey from the checkout to my flat.

Said allotment is thriving apparently and has produced some butternut squash just perfect for lovely Autumny things.

Here’s the first one:

This recipe for butternut squash soup was originally my grandmother’s, but I’ve added more vegetables to it over the years because, well, I’m lazy. I like to boast that this soup is your 5 a day, but my husband pointed out that the 5 a day concept is to have 5 servings of fruit and veg, not 5 different types of fruit and veg in one serving of soup. Whatevs.

Ingredients:

1 onion
1 smallish cluster of garlic
2 butternut squash (or more if you have a fancy allotment and want to use them up)
1 head of cauliflower
3 or 4 tomatoes (I normally skin these before I put them in the soup and if that’s too much of a faff for you, a tin of peeled tomatoes with no added salt or sugar is just as good)
3 or 4 carrots, peeled
2- 3 litres of stock (once, and I mean once, I was organised enough to use chicken stock I’d made myself but normally I use vegetable bouillon powder so that it’s vegetarian friendly, or chicken stock cubes, and ham flavoured ones work well in this soup too)
1 bunch of fresh coriander
2 teaspoons of cumin powder
1 tablespoon of curry powder (that’s grandma-style, bright yellow curry powder)
A pinch of chilli and/or garam masala powder if you like them/have them kicking around
1 cup of apple juice
A dash of olive oil

How to do it:

Cut the squashes lengthways, brush with olive oil, and put them in the oven at about 180 degrees for 2 hours or so. I’ve left them for 3 and a half on a slightly lower heat too, and if you want to be environmentally friendly and you’re baking cakes or a roast and have an oven rack free, you can always do your squash the day before. Pour a cup of boiling water over the garlic to soften it and stop it from burning and then pop it onto the tray with the squash.

Once the squash has baked it will be incredibly soft – just scoop out the seeds etc and then the flesh will be almost a puree.

In a big soup pot brown the chopped onion with some olive oil and then roughly chop the carrots and cauliflower and toss them in with the onion, coriander, cumin and mustard powder before adding the tomatoes and apple juice and about a litre of stock and simmer for 10 minutes on a low heat.


*Image Credit

After simmering, add the squash and garlic (which should also be pleasingly squashy and not too pungent) and you’ll be able to see how thick your soup will be – add more stock to get it to the consistency you like, and then blend in a blender or with a hand held ‘stab mixer.’

Serve with a little bit of coriander on top, and if you’re feeling naughty, a swirl of sour cream and/or some crispy bacon. (ie, put a couple of bacon rashers under the grill until they’re brown and crumbly)

Give it a try and see what you think!

Please do leave Gemma a comment below if you’ll be trying this one at home this weekend and if you’re feeling particularly technical, tweet us a picture of your creations! @FlorenceFinds and @prettiesthobo

Love,
Rebecca
xo