pumpkin and red pepper soup

I really love soup! So now that it is getting colder I am pulling out all the soup inspiration. I like to experiment with new recipes and almost every week try some new combination or dish.

As it is pumpkin season around here (as you can tell by our visit to the festa della zucca) and I had bought the world’s butternut last weekend I thought a rich butternut soup would be good. I wanted something slightly different but also quick as I decided to make the soup in the morning before work (the crazy ideas I have at 6am) so I would have some warming soup for lunch. I stared into our fridge for a few minutes and then pulled out the jar of grilled peppers sitting in there. Perfect.

Honestly the 20 minutes doesn’t include the cutting up of the butternut which can be a bit time-consuming wrestling with the pumpkin seeds but that aside it really is a quick one. Obviously if you wanted to prepare the peppers from fresh it would be a bit longer too but sometimes you just want the easy option in life.

Plus pumpkin is really healthy for you apparently so you could have this a lot while it is around for the season!

Another bonus is that it is a pretty hearty soup so you don’t really need to have bread with it. Unless you really want to in which case don’t let me stop you!


  • half a giant butternut or 1 medium sized butternut
  • jar of grilled peppers (probably totalled 3 peppers)
  • can of cannelini beans
  • red onion, chopped
  • stock cube or two
  • seasoning: paprika, nutmeg, salt


  • fry the onion gently for a few minutes
  • add the cubed butternut and stir for a few times before adding stock
  • lightly boil until butternut cooked
  • add red peppers (chopped) and beans. allow to heat through and then blend with a handblender

Makes: 4+ big bowls

how to peel a pomegranate


Have you ever tried to peel a pomegranate? Not too easy, right? A little while ago I read this handy trick which makes it much less laborious. So when I was making my breakfast on Sunday I asked Tim if he wanted to make a little video so I could share it with you.

What do you think? Does this make life easier for you? Or do you have an even better trick?

all-antica-vinaio-best-sandwich-florence-mycreative all-antica-vinaio-florence-foccaccia-mycreative all-antica-vinaio-florence-interior-mycreative

So you find yourself in Florence heading towards lunch time. You are getting hungry and you pass a gentlemen eating the most amazing looking sandwich made with creamy fluffy focaccia stuffed with quality looking fillings. You kindly ask him where he acquired this amazing sandwich and he points down to a road to a long queue and tells you it is worth it. It is worth it. You wait in the queue but it moves pretty quickly – only about 10 minutes. This gives you time to scout out whether there are some vegetarian options and a man from across the road walk over with a pile of fresh focaccia. You smile to yourself knowing you have made a good decision.

You get to the front and order a ‘vegateriana’ (with a question mark at the end). A friendly nod and a piece of fresh focaccia is grabbed, a sandwich size negotiated and fresh tomato, rocket, some vegetables and beautiful mozzarella piled on top. You hand over €5 for the biggest sandwich you have ever been given.

You walk happily down the street and find some free pavement to sit on and thoroughly enjoy what must surely be the best sandwich in Florence.

Maybe next time you will get a glass of wine from the help yourself counter.

If you haven’t eaten your whole sandwich (saving some for supper is a good idea) you might want to get some Gelato from Gelateria dei Neri

All’antico Vinaio, via dei Neri 74

Gelateria dei Neri, via dei Neri 22r

eat | the best tomato soup

roasted tomato soup roasted tomato soup roasted tomato soup roasted tomato soup

The changing season means soup are going to start coming back into my life. One of my favourites is a classic tomato soup. I have to say I quite miss the lentil and tomato soup from M&S, although it might be more from the convenience than the actual soup. So I have been experimenting with my own, last winter and again in the last few weeks.

Although everyone has their go to recipe, I thought I would share some of tips for making a fool proof delicious tomato soup.

1. good quality tomatoes

For a good tomato soup you want a bright red, fresh tomato. I like cherry tomatoes in particular for their sweetness.

2. roast the tomatoes

Roasting the tomatoes gives them a great depth of flavour. Get them to where they are just getting blackened. Yum. If you are roasting bigger tomatoes you can pop a clove of garlic in too

3. the secret ingredient

Red peppers! They makes the soup even sweeter. I chop up the peppers put them in a large pan or soup pot and pop a lid on top for the first ten to fifteen minutes to soften it up, stirring occasionally. I then take the lid off and fry until they are caramelising. Everything is better caramelised. Right? You can add some red onion too if you like.

4. optional extras

For this soup I added some red lentils. Fresh herbs are also a goody

Then blend it up. As smooth or as chunky as you like. Add some final seasoning to taste. Serve with a rustic loaf or even better a toasted cheese sandwich.

Do you have any special tips for a good tomato soup? You know what to do …

read ‘em and eat

kranz dal ciocolato from Dal Mas Pasticerria in Venice

This week was mostly about working at my new job. I am working some extra hours to start as some things need to get done before the kids roll in on Tuesday. It is really great been back in an environment where I actually get to speak to people every day (Tim aside). I am looking forward to getting into more of a routine though once the school year relaxes into ‘normality’ (whatever that is).

Yesterday we went to the Venice Film Festival which is where this breakfast shot is taken. Need to work on food photography that is taken while eaten while walking to catch a waterbus.


READ ‘EM >>>

No ‘real’ reading this week. Hopefully I will get back into my Gabriel Garcia Marquez book this week.

EAT >>>

Generally the first thing I know do when I arrive in Venice (okay this is only the second time I have done it, but still) is turn left out the station, walk for about 5 minutes and on your right you will find a, likely busy, Pasticerria called Dal Mas. Inside order a kranz dal ciocolato. You pay by weight and it is a little pricey. One of these bad boys rocks in at about €4.50 to €5.00 but they are good! Like seriously good. We ate ours at the Vaperetto stop waiting for a waterbus to the LIdo before 10 in the morning and it did keep me going until we had dinner at 7pm.


I saw a post over on ‘Cookies and Kate’ about what she eats in a week as a (mostly) vegetarian. I am pretty nosy and intrigued by what people eat and thought that others might be too so I thought I’d share a week in my ‘kitchen’.

I have been vegetarian for almost nine years now. I’d never been a big meat eater but when I moved to London I realised that being vegetarian was actually a thing. When I studied my degree in Environmental Studies the environmental benefits of a mostly plant based diet were solidified in me.

With a move to Italy I have lost out on a lot of the convenience vegetarian foods you have in London and have had to adjust to that. Also I am now not so strict about ‘vegetarian cheese’. The items in stores just aren’t labelled like they are in England.

Also after 8 years of not buying leather shoes I have given in slightly. I am just tired of not having comfortable shoes that last. Sadly, as much as I eye out leather tote bags I don’t feel they are essential and will not be buying one. I hope one day I might come across a beautiful second hand one though.

Here is what I ate a couple weeks back. I think generally since the move to Italy my cooking is a lot more homemade and colour is a big player, although I kind of had a lazy week in the cooking department. I am also trying to eat healthier but my snacks are definitely still an area to work on. I tried to take pictures of all my meals but I am afraid they didn’t all make the cut or were forgotten. But you get an idea from those above.


Breakfast | fruit salad with banana, pear, nectarine, greek yoghurt and hazelnuts (I think they are my new favourite)

Lunch | salad with half and avocado, couple sliced radishes and couple spoons of cannelini beans. I also had a small chunk of baguette left over from the weekend.

Dinner | a light spring mac and cheese.

Snacks | a few too many tastings of carrot cake that a friend was experimenting with.


Breakfast | vegan nutty apple fritters

Lunch | left-over half apple from breakfast, salad with beetroot, cannelini beans, grated carrot and two artichoke hearts (from the jar), plus a piece of Slovenian smoked cheese.

Dinner | veggie burger topped with beetroot and a tomato salad side. We don’t eat these often as the veggie burgers cost twice as much here as they do in London.

Snacks | dark chocolate topped rice cakes. I would have stopped at three but Tim took so long to come home I ate six! Once a bag of something is open in the house it is dangerous.


Breakfast | strawberries, nectarine, greek yoghurt and left over raspberry coulis

Lunch | ricotta, tomato salad and herbed warm spelt flat-bread. Seriously this is like heaven in your mouth.

Dinner | Tim tutors and only gets late home on Wednesdays. I made another lazy meal which still needs work. Corn and zucchini fritters made with chickpea flour. Not even anything with it! But at least they are vegetables inside.

Snacks | I found the biscuits in the cupboard that a friend had brought over on the weekend. Oops. One too many of those.


Breakfast | I had a craving for peanut butter. Vegan pancake for one with peanut butter and banana on top.

Lunch | half avocado, handful of radishes and some more spelt flat-bread.

Dinner | polenta (made it too runny, oops), with a bean, tomato, zucchini ‘sauce’.


Breakfast | oats with a grated apple and almond milk

Lunch | left over beans and veg from last night

Dinner | half a mushroom pizza (Roman style pizza which is a thinner base) and then a scoop of gelato for dessert

Snacks | 2 nectarines.

Evening | Went out for drinks with friends. Had 2 prosecci and some snacks at the bar. Apertivos are supposed to be before dinner but you get snacks in the bars with your drink: crisps, bread sticks, sundried tomatoes, cucumber, nuts etc.


Breakfast | A pancake is sometimes the perfect carrier for jam. It is just like eating toast and jam, no?

Lunch | A sandwich from a coffee shop – brown bread with grilled vegetables and cheese

Dinner | Store bought mushroom ravioli with tomato sauce (‘home made’ with can of tinned cherry tomatoes, garlic and a spoon of red pesto) and peas. This is my version of super lazy food.

Snacks | Afternoon apertivos (mini gherkins, sundried tomatoes, pickled onions and tomato, crisps and prosecco of course

Sunday I totally forgot to take note or capture anything. I think it was pretty much a repeat of Saturday except I probably had some cereal for breakfast.

So what do you think. Are your eating habits similar? Anything you are going to try? Why don’t you share what you eat. I’d love to find out.