Friday Food: Sweet Potato Gnocci

Images by Simone Anne Lang

Todays recipe comes from Design Sponge where it was submitted by Simone Anne Lang. I love this new take on the classic comfort food that for me is right up there with mashed potato and ice cream, Gnocci. Instead of being made from ordinary potato however, it’s made from Sweet Potato, naturally higher in vitamins. It’s all about the five a day people!

Images by Simone Anne Lang

I really like simple, wholesome recipes and whilst this one isn’t easy, I’m sure it could be adapted to using shop bought gnocchi (although that’s not quite the point…) In my kitchen there’s definitely a repertoire of easy quick week-night dishes and also few favourites that require TLC and friends to chat with whilst cooking. This one definitely falls into the later category but I’m pretty darn sure if you can master it, you’d be feeling pretty proud of yourself!

Have you ever made your own Gnocci? I’d love to hear if anyone has a fool proof recipe for regular Gnocci – send it in!


PS – Just a reminder, its a new season and I’m waiting to hear from any of you who might have a recipe to share, something light and fresh, a favourite salad, barbecue goodness, or just a tried and tested family favourite. Please drop me an email on with the subject titled SUBMISSIONS and if you’re interested in any other ways you could get involved check out the other submissions I accept here.

Friday Food: Smoked Haddock and Leek Risotto

This week’s Friday food has been sent in by Laura, who teased us with her plans for haddock and leek risotto in last week’s comments section. I love Italian food and there’s something so soothing about risotto, the comfort carbs and strong flavours, yet this take on it is perfect for this time of year. Greens for spring and fish to keep it light, yet it’s like a big hug in a bowl for the still-cold winter nights.

Although risotto takes a bit of time for a midweek meal, I find you can make it in about 30 minutes and if you’re happy to chat to your other half with a glass of wine in hand, time passes quickly enough 🙂

Florence’s tip: Stir the rice lots, it helps bash the grains about and makes the sauce thicker.

Image Credit: Annie Eats

400g smoked haddock
4 leeks – thinly sliced
300g risotto rice (my favourite is carnaroli)
1 glass dry white wine
Jug full of vegetable stock (or chicken stock)
Couple of handfuls of peas (optional)


  • Put the haddock in a deep frying pan, cover with water/milk (depending how you like yours poached). Bring to the boil and then turn off the heat and leave it for 5-10mins. Take out of the liquid and flake into decent-sized chunks.
  • Meanwhile, put a large knob of butter in a saucepan and add the leeks. Cook slowly for 15 minutes until completely softened.
  • Turn up the heat, add the rice and stir to coat the grains.
  • Pour in the wine and stir until absorbed.
  • Add the stock, a ladleful at a time, stirring each lot in, until the rice is just tender and creamy (you might not need to use all the stock).
  • About 5 mins before the end add the peas.
  • Just before serving add the haddock and stir through to heat.
  • Serve with chopped parsley on top.

Once you have mastered a basic risotto base you can switch it for all kinds of ingredients too. Some of my favourites include smoked mackerel, prawns, bacon lardons and roast chicken sliced on top, or asparagus or mushroom for veggies.

As always, do send in your Friday Food recipe suggestions to marked SUBMISSION and thanks Laura!


Friday Food… Rob’s Mac’n’Cheese with a twist.

Today is a momentous day on Florence Finds as we have a bona fide Friday Food submission from a man! All for equal opportunities here, we realise that the concept swings both ways and interestingly I get a lot of comments when I’m chatting to men about Florence Finds about the Food section. So male readers, please feel free to contribute, women haven’t got the monopoly in this department!

I’m pleased to say I have road tested this recipe since receiving it (delish!) and here it is…

I love all things Italian and nothing reminds me of the amazing times I’ve spent in Italy more than a good pasta dish. I also love cheese (in vast quantities) so I wanted to create my own take on the classic macaroni cheese recipe. The breadcrumb topping is a pretty standard (but really effective) addition for a lot of people so I’ve simply taken the basic macaroni cheese with breadcrumb topping and added some of my favourite ingredients from other pasta dishes. I’ve never seen anyone do basil breadcrumbs before so I’ll gladly take full credit for that idea (although I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it before me!)

*Image Credit: Verses from my Kitchen

Rob’s Mac and Cheese with Spinach, Pancetta and a Breadcrumb, Pine Nut and Basil topping.

Serves 5-6 people

500g dry macaroni

120g dry bread (any kind, stale is fine)
50g pine nuts
25g fresh basil
olive oil

olive oil
100g diced pancetta or bacon lardons (or chopped bacon is fine)
a few handfuls of plain flour
approx 1 pint of milk
100g ricotta
250g strong mature cheddar
good couple of handfuls of fresh spinach

1) Start the macaroni cooking as per the packet guidelines. Keep an eye on it and remove from heat and drain when ready.
2) Preheat the oven to a moderate temperature – gas mark 5 or equiv.
3) Put the bread, pine nuts and basil in a food processor until finely chopped/blended. Pour in a little olive oil to bring together.
4) In a large pan heat some olive oil and cook off the pancetta.
5) Remove temporarily from heat and stir in some flour to soak up the oil – start with 3-4 tablespoons.
6) Return to heat and stir in some milk. Start with around 1/4-1/2 pint. Continue stirring until the sauce thickens. Use a whisk if the sauce goes lumpy.
7) Continue adding milk until you have a good amount of thick sauce – you’re aiming for enough to thoroughly cover the macaroni. If the sauce goes too thin or you don’t have enough, make a paste from some more flour and boiled water in a cup and add this to the sauce. DO NOT add flour directly to the sauce – it will go lumpy.
8) When you’re happy that you have enough sauce with a good consistency, add the ricotta and (grated) cheddar. Stir well.
9) Stir in the spinach until it starts to wilt.
10) Add the (cooked) macaroni to the sauce and mix together.
11) In a good sized baking dish, spread the macaroni and sauce mixture out. Sprinkle the breadcrumb mixture over the top and spread evenly across.
12) Bake in the oven for around 25 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are nicely brown and crisp.

Rob Riley (You might know him as Tiffany Grant-Riley‘s husband.) 😉

So will you be trying this one at home over the weekend readers?


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