Tomato & Orzo Soup

Tomato and Orzo Soup // Amy Elizabeth

It’s soup season. I like to think I’ll be sipping my soup from a mug whilst dressed in autumnal knits and staring out over a beautiful foggy landscape, but more realistically I’m eating it al desko because it’s too cold to go on a walk at lunchtime. But, however you’re eating it, this soup is delicious and warming. It’s got all the classic flavours of a good tomato soup, but with the addition of some orzo for a bit of texture and some more substance. Orzo’s a bit of a new obsession of mine; I’ve been using it instead of rice in risottos and it’s kind of the best. As with all soups, it keeps well in the fridge or freezer until you need it, and is best served with plenty of cheese on top, and crusty bread to dip. It’s almost enough to make these colder temperatures worth it, isn’t it? 

Tomato and Orzo Soup // Amy Elizabeth

Tomato and Orzo Soup
Serves 6
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  1. olive oil
  2. 1 onion, finely chopped
  3. 3 gloves garlic, crushed or finely grated
  4. 3 x 400g can chopped tomatoes
  5. 1 tbsp. dried oregano
  6. pinch dried chilli flakes, to taste
  7. 1 tsp. caster sugar
  8. salt and pepper, to taste
  9. double cream, to taste
  10. 150g orzo
  11. parmesan, to serve
  1. Heat the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat. Add the onions and fry until soft and fragrant.
  2. Add the garlic and fry for a minute more, stirring regularly and checking the garlic doesn't start to brown. Lower the heat, if needed.
  3. Add the chopped tomatoes, oregano , chilli flakes, caster sugar, salt & pepper. Mix together and simmer for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, cook the orzo according to packet instructions. Drain and set aside.
  5. Stir the double cream into the tomato soup - a generous swirl should sort you out but taste as you go so it's just how you like it!
  6. Stir in the orzo and serve with freshly grated parmesan and black pepper.
Amy Elizabeth

Tomato and Orzo Soup // Amy Elizabeth

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November Goals


So, I didn’t exactly plan my NaNoWriMo novel like I had anticipated. October ran away with me, and November is shaping up even busier, so I think I might have to leave it for this year. I still have a few ideas so I might have another look at it another time. But 50,000 words in a month? So not going to happen when I’ve got four different sets of guests over November (not panicking…). I did manage to finish my 101 books challenge, though! 

So… what will November have in store? 

Have A Relaxing Week Off 

I have a week off work in the middle of November and absolutely no plans. I don’t want to waste it trying to be productive; I am going to watch Gilmore Girls, read books, bake pies and explore a little bit more of Yorkshire. Some low-key staycation fun to gear me up for all of the festive fun coming up. 

Finish A Blanket 

All the babies are making their way into my life over the next few months (by which I mean that friends are due, not that I’m about to have triplets!) and I’m halfway through a baby blanket for one of them. So this is a pretty easy goal, but one I need to keep! 

Be The Hostess With The Mostest 

As I mentioned, we have four sets of guests coming to our house in November. I’m also hosting a bonfire night bonanza on Saturday, and Friendsgiving later in the month, so we’ll be inundated. Nothing makes me feel happier than feeding my favourite people, and organising fun things for them to do. So my aim is to make sure everyone leaves the house feeling happier than they entered, and well-fed to boot. 

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Watching early morning movies with my favourite little people. 

Relaxing at the spa. 

Eating a whole lot of tapas on date night (Pintura Kitchen is a must-visit, Leeds friends). 

Helping a friend choose her wedding dress and celebrating with bubbles.

Picking apples and baking an apple pie.

Learning how to hygge with Signe Johansen.

Dining at Norse – another absolute must-visit for foodies. 

Singing the Chicago soundtrack on work road trips. 

Going on puppy walks! More, please. 

Starting my Christmas planning (first presents have been bought!). 

Moving friends into their beautiful new home. So exciting! 

Cooking plenty of warming soups and stews.

Baking toffee apple muffins and a few loaves of bread.

Putting up shelves and unearthing my cookbooks at last. 

Gearing up for two excellent final months of the year. 

Finishing my reading challenge – 101 books in 2016! 

Worrying a little about our damp problem… 

Photographing every pretty tree I come across. Autumn is the best.

Getting a bit giddy at how beautiful the new Victoria Gate is – so pretty! 

Hoping for some Trick or Treaters to visit tonight… 

How about you? 

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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Kristofer Selbekk]

Hey pals! Happy Sunday, as always. I’ve been most lax on the blogging front this week, but things have been rather hectic. After a lazy Sunday with friends walking their puppy, having tea parties with their kids and eating a delicious roast dinner, it was all systems go for the rest of the week. And yesterday we helped some different friends move house; they got the keys last minute on Friday so it was all systems go! So I’m glad of that extra hour of sleep, for sure. Today I’m going to bake some bread, knit a blanket and go on a run in anticipation of the Abbey Dash next weekend. I’m not sure I’m going to be able to run all the way around but it’s the participation that counts, right? Right? Let’s hope so. 

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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Denys Nevozhai]

It’s been a weekend of highs and lows. Or rather, highs and one low. The high points being finally fitting the shelves in the dining room, tidying the house from top to bottom, having some lovely visitors and watching ‘How To Be Single’ on Saturday night (Rebel Wilson is amazing, as always). The low being my laptop deciding to give up on me after 3 years of loyal service. I’m taking it to the Genius Bar this week, so hopefully they can resuscitate it. You can’t have everything in life, can you? And when you have a clean house, some lovely new shelves and a pile of freshly baked toffee apple muffins to contend with, you can count the weekend a good one. 

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The Pink Spritz

In Collaboration with Crock-Pot 


One of the best things about our new house is the bar cart. A little copper cart in the corner, stocked with our favourite booze for making cocktails. Our friends have kindly gifted us some little bits and pieces, from match cocktail shakers to all the fancy bar tools you need to mix up a little something of an evening. Which is a good thing, because we’re staying in a whole lot more because this new house needs paying for (… especially now damp is starting to come through the walls…). 


So, when Crock-Pot asked me to shake up a little spritz appropriate for a night in, I luckily had almost everything I needed on hand. The best thing about a spritz cocktail is that it always feels a little bit fancy (it’s all those bubbles) and you can adjust them so easily; this recipe makes two but if you like yours a bit stronger, keep all the gin mix to yourself and just top it off with the bubbles. Or swap out the elderflower cordial for elderflower liqueur. 


You don’t have to use pink bubbles for this cocktail, but it’s just a bit more fun when things are pink, isn’t it? Especially for a night in with a little bit of pampering involved. Maybe a face mask. Maybe a home pedicure. Maybe just a giant bar of chocolate and a whole lot of Gilmore Girls. You do you, and let the spritz do its thing. I used a dry-ish Rose Brut but anything sparkly and pink will work. 


Pink Spritz
Serves 2
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  1. 1 shot gin
  2. 1 shot freshly squeeze lemon juice
  3. 1 shot elderflower cordial
  4. Sparkling Rosé
  5. Ice
  1. Shake the gin, lemon juice and elderflower over ice.
  2. Strain into two champagne flutes and top off with the Sparkling Rosé.
Amy Elizabeth

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The Very Best Way to Make an Apple Pie


Like every other pumpkin-spice-loving basic bitch on the Internet, I have fully embraced the concept of ‘hygge’ this season. This Danish concept of ‘cosiness’ is having a big impact on how much I can embrace the darker days and colder temperatures of autumn.  There is no literal translation for ‘hygge’ in English, but it amounts to living simply and seasonally, finding ways to enjoy the chilly winter days rather than just endure them, and encouraging community rather than isolation. There are copious amounts of candles and hot chocolate involved, and plenty of blankets, but more than that, it’s about spending your time meaningfully, getting outdoors when you can, and spending quality time with your nearest & dearest in a low-key and switched-off sort of way. 


And so it came to pass that we spent an afternoon making an apple pie in the very best way possible. In the morning, I prepped the pastry so it would be ready, using my trust Four and Twenty Blackbirds cookbook (seriously, this recipe has never failed me and makes the most perfect crust for your pies). With the pastry chilling in the fridge, we pulled on our walking boots and our snuggly scarves and headed over to Lotherton Hall for Apple Day! 


Because, of course, picking the apples fresh from the tree and squirrelling them home to bake your pie is the pinnacle of pie-making perfection. Armed with a couple of apple-picking contraptions, a leaflet full of apple information, and a whole lot of enthusiasm, we plundered the orchard for the very best cooking apples. It was no mean feat, let me tell you! The birds and the bugs had had their pick of the apples (not to mention the toddlers who were far more skilled at this apple picking business than us!) but we walked away with a haul of 26 apples ready for baking. 


With cheeks rosy pink from all that fresh air (we’re all office workers, we’re not used to such things…), hair slightly damp from the rather abrupt rain shower and arms full of apples, we headed back to the house for the next stage of the operation. One of my favourite parts of hygge is sharing the cooking; entertaining becomes more a communal activity than a fancy dinner party. And many hands make light work – especially when it comes to pie baking. So everyone played a part; from peeling and cutting the apples to mixing them up with spices & bitters, to rolling the pastry and pouring over the caramel and assembling the lattice on top. It was truly a group effort, and it tasted all the sweeter when we divvied it up and poured over copious amounts of cream. Truly, the best way to make (and eat) an apple pie is with friends.


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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Brooke Lark]

Hey there! Hope you are having a wonderful weekend, as always. I have spent the weekend relaxing at the spa like the luxury bitch that I am, and I came home to a tidy house with fresh sheet on the bed – so basically I’m living the dream. It’s been a busy week – but isn’t it always? I’m full of the joys of autumn today – the trees along our street are a plethora of beautiful colours, I’ve just eaten a leftover pumpkin muffin and I have my snuggliest pyjamas on. If every day could be a little like today, I would be a very happy woman. 

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[Photo by Luca Upper]

Melted cheese, in all its forms. Really, really cold white wine. Perfectly ripe raspberries. Hot buttered toast. Hot buttered crumpets. Really, anything that’s hot and buttered. A pile of mussels cooked in white wine with salty chips to dip in the sauce. Preferably to be eaten close to the sea. Crispy roast potatoes. A really fudgy brownie. The crack when you tap your spoon on top of a perfectly cooked creme caramel.

The true, gurgly laughter of young children. The true, raucous laughter of adults. 

Tiny baby socks and tiny baby toes. Giant puppy paws and giant puppy licks. 

Bubble baths on a cosy winter night. Showers after a long summer day.  

An unopened book. The smell of new books. The smell of old books. A finished book that stays with you for a long time. A book passed to a friend because you know they’ll love it. The text message they send you when they’re at the cliffhanger and know you’re the only one who will understand their pain. Buying books as gifts. Receiving books as gifts. Discussing books for hours on end. Bookshops. 

Cheesy 90s and 00s pop music on the radio at work.

The moment you first turn on the heating in autumn. The moment when you turn the heating off for good in summer. 

A bed made with freshly laundered sheets; ones that have been dried on the line so they smell a bit like softener and a bit like fresh air. 

Those nights with friends that you know you’ll remember forever. Those moments with family when you realise that you have the very best family, no matter that everyone else says the same. When friends become family, and you make plans for your lives together as if you were all just one giant married couple. 

Baking a pie. Baking brownies. Decorating a cake. 

When bus drivers wave to each other as they pass each other on the road. 

When you get to the bus stop at exactly the right time so you don’t have to wait but you don’t miss the bus. 

An Old Fashioned that is orange-y enough to take out the sting of the bourbon, but not completely. A cold gin & tonic on a warm summer’s day, but only when shared with friends. The bitterness of an Aperol Spritz and the sweetness of a glass of Pimm’s. The fruit you fish out of your glass of Pimm’s when you think no one is looking. Spaghetti aglio olio. Fish & chips by the beach, with liberal amounts of vinegar. Really good pizza. Really dirty pizza. 

Realising you really live somewhere when you can’t go to the shops without spotting someone that you know. 

Getting proper post. Writing letters. Sending cards. 

Writing in a brand new notebook using my best pen and my best handwriting. 

Roof gardens. Roof gardens with a view. Roof gardens with a view over Manhattan, in particular. Briggate on a Friday night. Roundhay Park when the sun is shining (especially when there are lots of dog-walkers about). The Mustard Pot on a summer afternoon or a winter’s evening. Chapel Allerton on Saturday morning. Leeds Town Hall lit up at night. Spotting the Candle House from the train and knowing you are so close to home. The ‘nearly home’ bridge on the way to my grandparents’ house. My aunt’s kitchen. My best friend’s childhood bedroom.  Yorkshire villages. Yorkshire countryside. 

Spotting a woman who is dressed outlandishly but so well you can’t help but grin and wish for some of her pizazz. 

People who are passionate about a really niche subject that I have no interest in. 

Twitter, when it’s at its very best. 

Fluffy peonies. Roses that actually smell like roses. Very bright daffodils. 

A really good sunset. 

Inspired by The Dolly Mail

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Weekend Link Love


[Photo by Luca Bravo]

What a beautiful day it is today! I hope it is similarly sunny where you are, and that you are able to make the most of all this autumn-ness. After I type this up, I’m heading to Lotherton Hall with some friends to go apple picking, before coming home and cooking up a giant roast dinner. It’s my first time trying to roast beef properly, so wish me luck! I’ve also prepped some pastry ready for us to make an apple pie with the literal fruits of our labour, so excuse me whilst we all don our flannel shirts and step into a glorious autumn catalogue scene. It’s been a busy couple of weeks for me, but something about the autumn just makes me happier than ever. Maybe it’s the crunch of leaves underfoot or being able to wear snuggly jumpers or maybe it’s just that things are going really well right now. I know that is rather sickening to read, and I apologise. I think it’s just that the sun shining in through the window really puts me in a good mood and it’s hard not to share that. I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday! 

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