Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake

Thoroughly Nourished Home Update: Our house is now officially a cleared piece of dirt! This is exciting news friends because only a few weeks ago there were still a few old houses and some scrubby trees in the place where our new townhouse will stand next year. It was a little disheartening to see no progress over the past few months, but then suddenly we have movement! I can’t wait to share some photos with you all when there is finally something more than dirt to see. Today I’d rather show you photos of this gluten free Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake.

Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chris and I took this cake to Mum and Dad’s on Sunday where we spent most of our visit measuring out our new house from the plans. Mum helpfully moved couches and stood on the tape measure so that I could get a clear vision of exactly what our home will look like. After all her hard work it was all I could do to reward her with a generous slice of this spiced cake and a dollop of whipped cream. The special thing about this cake (that you will love) is that the moist berry-studded cinnamon tea cake is topped with a crunchy, buttery, lemon-infused crumble. I could eat handfuls of this crumble on its own. I have fantasies about this crumble topping being acceptable on top of my yoghurt for breakfast.

Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Allowing the crumble to bake though is a worthy sacrifice; after baking the crumble becomes a slightly crispy shell for the soft cake underneath. A perfect contrast of textures. I wanted the cake to be moist, so I used all brown sugar for sweetening, a larger proportion of almond meal in my gluten free flour mix, and moistened the batter further with buttermilk. The slight acidity of the berries combined with the crispy crumble and the cinnamon crumb had me thinking of pie. This cake is like a pie, only easier and faster. Pies have their place, but when a quick morning tea is called for, this cake is your friend combining the ease of a cake with the familiar flavours of a summer berry pie.

Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

When you make this your home fills with the scent of lemon, butter, and cinnamon. You won’t be able to resist picking little bits of the topping off the cooling cake (or maybe you have more self-control than I do). I can’t wait for Mum and Dad (and many others) to visit us in our new home, and stay for a slice or two of this homey crumble-topped cake.

Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake

Gluten Free | Serves 8-12 | Leftovers keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days

Ingredients

For the crumble

  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon brown rice flour
  • 1 tablespoon almond meal
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 30 grams butter, melted
  • 1/3 cup flaked almonds

For the cake

  • 90 grams white rice flour
  • 90 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 cup blackberries, frozen (or fresh)

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Grease the sides and bottom of a 9-inch cake pan. Line the bottom with a circle of baking paper to make removal easier.
  2. Make the crumble first: In a small bowl mix together white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, caster sugar, and lemon zest. Mix in melted butter until large crumbs form. Mix flaked almonds through the crumbs. Set aside until needed.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.
  4. In a large bowl beat softened butter, brown sugar, and vanilla extract until light and creamy. You can do this with a wooden spoon (work those muscles) or using a handheld mixer.
  5. Add eggs and beat until smooth.
  6. Add whisked flour in two lots, alternating with the buttermilk.
  7. Carefully fold the blackberries into the batter. Only use a few strokes so that you do not break up the berries and stain the batter.
  8. Spoon batter into prepared cake pan and smooth the top carefully. Sprinkle crumble mixture over the top.
  9. Place into oven and bake for 45-50 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Cool, slice and enjoy. Goes well with whipped cream (or so I’ve heard).

Lemon Crumble Blackberry Tea Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Seven

This week has been full of precious moments with friends old and new, and time with my family. I have also been thinking about taking opportunities when they come knocking. Sometimes you have to take the leap, you have to chance the fall in the hope that you might fly. The comfort of staying the same, of continuing to loop in the same behaviour pattern is a strong draw, but somewhere underneath that anaesthesia lies the temptation of dancing to a new tune and being rewarded with success. What do you think, dear reader?

manly waterfront

Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Seven:

Monday: I started this week with a day full of activity. An early morning Jillian Michaels’ workout and an afternoon run. I was grateful to sleep well tonight, and grateful for this body that carries me through each and every day.

Tuesday: Today I had a text message cartoon conversation with Caroline about grammar. I am so grateful for these tiny points of connection to the important people in my life in the simplest of ways, and for the laughter and smiles they bring.

Wednesday: Today I wasn’t feeling the best, and when I came home this evening I was grateful to just rest and recharge with Chris. We even made it out of the house for an evening run along the water.

stuffed capsicums

Thursday: Today I had a bad low blood pressure day. They happen once in a while, and while I relaxed and concentrated on getting my stress levels down (one of my biggest triggers) I realised that I was grateful for the chance to step back for a moment, and grateful that my body has ways of telling me to slow down and look around at the wonderful things in my life that I have to be grateful for.

Friday: Recently I connected with bemagazine: an online magazine from Generation Better by Medibank and they are featuring two of my recipes over the next few weeks. Today they published the first recipe! I am so grateful for this opportunity to connect with an initiative that is supporting and rewarding people who are making healthy changes in their lives.

coriander salad

Saturday: Tonight Chris and I got all fancied up and went to my ten year high school reunion! I cannot believe it has been that long since I donned my uniform every day and spent my hours doing math problems, writing speeches in English, and huddling over a Bunsen burner with Caroline, Josie, and my other high school friends. Although it has been a long time, and time does leave some cobwebs over connections, I was grateful to see the people who shared some of the most important years of my younger life.

Sunday: This morning Chris and I went over to have morning tea with Mum and Dad. We sat and chatted and Dad and I washed my car. I was grateful to start a relaxing Sunday off with a quiet moment with my family and some hugs and kisses from my favourite malamute.

mum and molly

Also this week:

Peanut Butter Doughnuts with Chocolate Peanut Glaze

Are you a doughnut lover? I have long been a lover of doughnuts especially the hot cinnamon covered doughnuts that are so common in every food court around Australia. When I was little and Mum and Dad would take my sister and I to the small local shopping centre I would stand with my nose pressed against the glass of the small doughnut stand. My wide eyes would watch as the attendant pressed a button to dispense a perfect ring of dough into hot oil, after a minute or two she would flip the doughnut over to fry on the other side. The doughnut would then be drained and flipped into a shimmering bucket of cinnamon and sugar before being slipped into a paper bag and then placed in my hands still warm and fragrant with the comfort of all that is good in the world.

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Although that doughnut stand is no longer there, and I can no longer belly up to any doughnut counter I want and order a ring of cinnamon-sugar coated warm carbohydrate comfort, I still love doughnuts and they still mean comfort to me.
I have yet to try making a fried version, but for now I am happy playing around with my mini doughnut pan and the many flavour opportunities provided by being able to bake doughnuts at home – and I can easily make them gluten free too!

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeYou will love how easily these peanut butter and chocolate treats come together. The ratio of flavour pay off to actual work is high here. Meaning: you get delicious home-baked treats for less than twenty minutes of work.
When you remove them from the oven I dare you not to sneak one out of the pan for a quick taste test! These make your house smell like warm melted peanut butter and brown sugar. There is nothing but comfort and sweet memories there. Once they are cooled you dip them into pure melted chocolate and then quickly into chopped salted peanuts. You can eat them warm with chocolate dripping down your chin, but they are just as enjoyable once they have cooled and the chocolate has set. I boxed these up quickly after they set to gift Dad for Father’s Day, but I did manage to steal one. (For quality assurance of course.)

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I can promise if you present a tray of these to your loved ones, or your colleagues, you will be met with awe and then a frantic scurrying for people to get to the tray first. Just don’t tell them how truly easy they are. Sometimes comfort is only a mixing bowl away.

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePeanut Butter Doughnuts with Chocolate Peanut Glaze

Gluten Free | Makes 15 Mini Doughnuts

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams peanut butter (crunchy or smooth)
  • 30 grams butter
  • 60 grams (1/3 cup + 1tbs) white rice flour
  • 60 grams (1/3 cup + 1tbs) brown rice flour
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup + 1tbs) almond meal
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup) buckwheat flour
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • ¼ teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 100 grams (1/2 cup) brown sugar

For the glaze:
150 grams semi-sweet dark chocolate
½ teaspoon vegetable oil
¾ cup salted roasted peanuts, roughly chopped

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and thoroughly grease two twelve hole miniature doughnut pans.
  2. In a small bowl melt peanut butter and butter together by microwaving in short 30 second bursts. Stir in between. Once completely melted, set aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl whisk together white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, buckwheat flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon.
  4. In a separate bowl whisk together milk, eggs, vanilla extract, and brown sugar.
  5. Whisk melted peanut butter mixture into milk mixture slowly until completely smooth.
  6. Whisk wet mixture into dry mixture until smooth.
  7. Spoon mixture into a large piping bag fitted with a round tip. Pipe mixture into doughnut pan. Remember to fill the holes only 2/3 full as the mixture will rise.
  8. Bake in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes or until the tops are lightly golden and spring back when gently pressed down.
  9. Remove from oven and place on a cooling rack. After five minutes turn the doughnuts out onto the cooling rack to cool completely before glazing.
  10. To make the glaze: chop chocolate into small pieces and place in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in short bursts in the microwave and stir in between. Once completely melted and smooth mix in vegetable oil. Dunk one side of each doughnut into the glaze and then into the chopped peanuts. Place on a line baking sheet for the glaze to set. You may wish to place this tray in the refrigerator once all doughnuts have been topped.
  11. Keep stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for two to three days. Bring to room temperature before eating for maximum enjoyment.

Peanut Butter Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

Quick announcement: Thoroughly Nourished Life now has a Facebook page. Come and join me at the table for the latest updates, interesting articles, and recipes.

On Saturday I went to see The Hundred Foot Journey. In addition to being a great story about love, family, and the power of the human spirit, this movie made me want to do nothing but cook for a week. The wide panning shots of fresh market vegetables, and watching the characters prepare and devour delicious dishes with the same intense love I feel for food got my cooking brain hungry for some time in the kitchen. Having this in my head when I went grocery shopping after the movie may have been a bad idea. I ended up with a basket overflowing with lush spring vegetables and fruits. Luckily I have so many ideas for recipes to enjoy them in, and share with you.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I couldn’t resist this beautiful eggplant while I was shopping on Saturday, especially after the French market scenes of tables laden with eggplant and its summertime brethren. Eggplant is one of those foods that falls into the ‘love it or hate it’ category of vegetables. I’m a lover. I’m hoping that after you try this salad you will be an eggplant lover too.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The first important step to take when approaching an eggplant dish is to pick out the perfect eggplant. You want to find one that has tight shiny skin with few marks and no soft spots. Eggplants can vary in skin colour from dark purple to the stripy version I found in the fruit market on Saturday. They are all tasty and delightful. I think there’s a metaphor there somewhere. Our eggplant is cubed and coated in a mix of warm spices and oil and then spends some time roasting in the oven before meeting our other ingredients: roasted almonds, brown rice, and mixed green leaves. The whole bowl is then coated generously with a paprika and roasted garlic dressing. The honey and garlic based dressing is worthy of the hearty ingredients in this salad.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

If you are searching for a sturdy salad to fill your lunchbox throughout the week then you have found it. I found that the flavours of the dressing developed and intensified over the week. You can also leave the dressing separate and add it just before eating if you are worried about the greens becoming soggy. I’m hoping that once you take a bite of crunchy toasted almonds, nutty brown rice, crispy fresh greens and olive oil softened eggplant you will fall in love with this salad, and make room for some eggplant in your next dish.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad with Paprika and Roasted Garlic Dressing

Serves 3-4 | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Vegan option: replace honey with maple syrup or agave nectar

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 400 gram tin chickpeas, rinsed thoroughly and drained
  • 4 cups mixed baby greens
  • 3 stalks spring onion
  • 1/4 cup (packed) basil leaves

For the dressing:

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoon white balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 200C (400F). Line a baking tray with baking paper and set aside.
  2. Top and tail eggplant and dice into two centimetre (1 inch) cubes. In a small mixing bowl mix eggplant with olive oil, paprika, salt and pepper. Place on prepared baking sheet. Wrap the cloves of garlic in aluminium foil and place on baking tray too. Bake for 45 minutes or until eggplant is softened.
  3. In the last ten minutes of baking spread almonds across another baking tray and roast. Remove from oven and cool then roughly chop.
  4. While the eggplant is cooking, place brown rice and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Bring to the boil. Once boiling, cover with a lid and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer rice for 30 minutes or until all water is absorbed and the rice is cooked but still firm to the bite.
  5. In a large mixing bowl toss together eggplant, almonds, brown rice, and rinsed chickpeas.
  6. Finely chop spring onions and basil and add to the bowl along with the mixed greens. Toss well.
  7. To make the dressing whisk all ingredients together. Add to salad and mix well so that the dressing can permeate every bite.

Spiced Eggplant and Chickpea Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

So, dear reader, have I convinced you to try eggplant in your next salad? Have you seen The Hundred Foot Journey yet?

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Six

The rain is coming down outside in the dark, dark night. I am curled up on the couch listening the drops hit the roof. The lights across the bay are obscured from vision by the driving rain. Perfect weather for reflecting on all I have been grateful for this week. Here, I present to you all my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Six:

Monday: Tonight after work I headed into town to meet up with my friend Megan for a walk around the city. It was exactly what the doctor ordered. We wandered and talked and by the end my mind, heart, and body had gotten a workout. Thanks for a great evening Megan. I am grateful that we have been able to stay friends even though we don’t work together any more.

brisbane river brisbane river 2

Tuesday: Today was just one of those days when I needed a run. I had a challenging experience at work today, which I am not proud to say may have prompted me to act less than adult. These are the days I am grateful to step back and step out onto the pavement (or the treadmill as the case may be) and pound out my worries to the sound of my heartbeat.

Wednesday: Tonight Chris and I went for a great walk after work. We watched the harbour lights come on and the dusky night settle in. We talked and argued and talked some more. We might not always agree, and we might not always be peaceful in our conversations, but I am grateful that I have found someone as passionate and convicted as I am.

postcard from mike

Thursday: Early lunch date for this week! Today I was grateful when my friend Jess walked by my desk and asked if I wanted to escape for my lunch. So glad I said yes after I took a breath of fresh air outside the office and a bite of a delicious gluten free bagel. Then after work Chris and I went to check out the block that our townhouse is going to be built on! Finally our own little cottage is underway. So grateful for this patch of dirt to build our dreams upon.

Friday: Today I was glad to burst out of the door of my office and head off for some quality time with my sister. Jess, Mum and I watched girly movies (‘Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion’ and ‘The Proposal’) and ate great tacos for dinner. Jess was decorating a cake for a job (she is awesomely talented) and Mum and I provided entertainment and moral support. I was grateful for some catch up time with my ladies and a night in to lounge around and watch movies and eat way too much off Jess’s frosting leftovers.

Saturday: This morning Jess and I started the day with a long walk with the gorgeous Storm before we headed out to the movies with Mum, Aunty Lone, and Mormor. We saw The Hundred Foot Journey (I highly recommend this one especially for foodies) and I was grateful for the cross-generational morning out. Tonight Chris and I lay around and read books, and I took the chance to make him some homemade pizza. Sally’s recipe is my current favourite.

doughnut and smoothie

Sunday: This morning Chris and I gathered together with Jess, Trent, Mum, and Dad to celebrate Father’s Day! To show how grateful we are to have such a wonderful Dad and to thank him for all that he has given us over the years. I am grateful to Jess for making a delicious breakfast, and for the fair weather this morning so that I could go for a walk when we got home. Tonight the rain is coming down and I am going to curl up with a great book before Chris and I have a leftover dinner.

Also this week:

Happy Sunday night readers, tell me, what are you grateful for this week?

10 Gluten Free Sweet Ideas for Father’s Day

Recent weekends with my Dad have included both of us romping with the dog Molly, putting our heads together to design a bar cabinet for the new house, the whole family shovelling dirt to help with my parent’s backyard renovation, and watching Monster Trucks or Austrian detective shows. You could say we are an eclectic pair. (Rocking it old school in the photos below – I would still wear that dress actually…)

Dad and I

Growing up, my Dad was the perfect father for two daughters. He taught us how to make shortbread and how to hold a hammer. He (and my Mum) was a great example of feminism: he taught my sister and I that there is nothing you can’t do as a woman, or as a man. He told bedtime stories (my favourite was Stuart Little); sang us songs that he made up on the spot (I still think of them when I can’t sleep); and fixed everything from broken jewellery to broken hearts. My Dad is my friend as well as my father, and I only hope I can live up to the example of being a great person with big ideas, big love, and a big heart that he has set me. Love you Dada, and Happy Father’s Day.

Another thing my Dad and I have in common is a huge sweet tooth. Put a bag of freckle chocolates in front of us and the only thing that will stop us is the bottom of the bag!

So when it comes to treating Dad for Father’s Day I know that sweet baked goods are the way to go. I’m working on something new for this weekend, but here are ten of my favourite gluten free ideas to help you treat your Dad to something this weekend.

When my Dad says something is ‘terrible’ it means he loves it. These Oatmeal Caramel Cookies earned that label and the batch disappeared very quickly.

Oatmeal Caramel Cookies | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Want to give your Dad something he can enjoy for breakfast the whole week long? Try my fruit studded Breakfast Bread. Perfect with a man-size cup of tea in his new ‘Best Dad’ mug.

Breakfast Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

You might not be able to send Dad away on a tropical vacation, but you can give him all the flavours of a beachy cocktail in Banana and Coconut Doughnut form, which makes it even better in my opinion.

Banana and Coconut Baked Doughnuts | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My Dad loves coconut (can’t you tell) – definitely where my sister and I get it from, and we used to buy him coconut ice every Father’s Day. No need to buy it anymore though with this super special Sprinkled Coconut Ice (Dad tested and approved).

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

My Dad and I can easily inhale a bag of Peanut m&ms while watching car racing, and these Chocolate Peanut Cookies are the spirit of Peanut m&ms in a cookie.

Chocolate Peanut Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Now, take that Peanut m&m and turn it inside out. Add a little extra crunch and now you’ve got these Peanut Butter and Millet Cookies. I ate a whole batch on my own. You need to remember to share with your Dad this weekend!

Peanut Butter and Millet Chocolate Chip Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Are you having an extra special morning tea for Dad? These Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream are a perfect treat for the whole family and there are plenty to share!

Beetroot Chocolate Cupcakes with Golden Syrup Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Dad and I love to share a pot of coffee sometimes when I am home on the weekends. These Espresso Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cookies are perfect for the coffee and chocolate loving Dad and are so easy to make!

Espresso Hazelnut Flourless Chocolate Cookies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Speaking of coffee, these Coffee-Vanilla Sandwich Cookies are an extra special treat if you have a little more time. Bonus points if you find an awesome biscuit tin to present them in!

DSC00804

And for the grand finale, this is definitely what you should bring to the big family party. Impress them with your skills (but keep it a secret that this is super easy), and treat Dad to the perfect springtime flavour combination with my Citrus Poppyseed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting.

Citrus Poppy Seed Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (gluten free) | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I hope I’ve given you a little gluten free sweet treat inspiration for treating your Dad this Father’s Day weekend!

Tell me dear reader, what are some of your favourite memories of your Dad? Anyone else have a special ‘Footloose’ dance or is that just us?

Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Salted Caramel Filling

Now that I live away from home I really look forward to visiting my parents. We have always had a special relationship and I view them just as much my friends as my parents. When I walk through the door it’s like being enveloped in a big warm hug, well usually it involves multiple big warm hugs and lots of slobbery kisses from one three-legged rascal dog. When I come home, I try never to come empty handed because I know by the time I leave the next day I will usually have a bag full of extra groceries that Mum ‘just happened to have’ and useful bits and bobs (like a toolbox) that Dad ‘thought might come in handy’. How do you thank two people who have taken care of you since before you were even in the world and keep doing so every single day?

Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Salted Caramel Filling | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

My  answer is cookies (or cake, or slice – you get the point). I bring my offering to the door of the people who have loved me longest and best because that is all I can do in the face of this enormous love.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Salted Caramel Filling | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Last weekend I brought these buttery chocolate chip shortbread sandwiches along on Saturday night for a treat for the three of us (Chris was out with the boys). I usually enjoy a firmer shortbread but these were slightly softer and oh so cocoa-y. There are only eight ingredients (or six if you don’t need it to be gluten free) in this easy to make shortbread and you will love the fact that you can make the shortbread dough up to a month ahead of time, and freeze it for when you need it. Chilling the dough has the purpose of ensuring the cookies are flaky because of the solidified buttery pockets inside the dough, and also means that you have cookies on hand whenever you require them. On second thought, that could be dangerous knowledge. Like the fact that freezer brownies taste even better. Now that you know it, you can’t forget it.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread Cookies 3

The bitter-sweet shortbread was the perfect foil to the sweet salted caramel filling inside. Speaking of the filling. I could eat this off a spoon by itself. I may have eaten it off the spoon by itself at one point. It’s so easy to make too: I took the caramel from my Salted Peanut Caramel Chocolate Slice, omitted the peanuts, cooled it to room temperature, and then spread it generously between these biscuits. And then I ate them. Well, my fair share at least.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Salted Caramel Filling | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Salted Caramel Filling

Makes 10 sandwich cookies | Gluten Free | Egg Free | Adapted from BBC Good Food

Note: if you do not require these to be gluten free, you can substitute 200 grams (~1 1/2 cups) plain flour for the almond meal, white rice flour and buckwheat flour.

Storage: Unbaked dough can be wrapped carefully in clingwrap and frozen for up to a month. Baked and filled cookies can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Ingredients

For the cookies

  • 175 grams (3/4 cup) butter, softened
  • 85 grams (1/3 cup + 1 tbs) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoon cocoa powder
  • 50 grams (1/3 cup) white rice flour
  • 50 grams (1/2 cup) almond meal
  • 100 grams (3/4 cup + 1 tbs) buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

For the caramel

  • 400 gram tin sweetened condensed milk
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 60 grams (1/2 cup + 1 tbs) butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

Method

  1. In a large mixing bowl using either a wooden spoon or a handheld mixer beat together butter, caster sugar, and until creamy and smooth.
  2. Whisk together cocoa powder, white rice flour, almond meal and buckwheat flour and add to creamed mixture. Mix in well.
  3. Add chocolate chips and incorporate into dough. This will be quite stiff so you may have to use your hands to get the chocolate chips fully incorporated.
  4. Split the dough in half. Roll each into 5 cm round logs and wrap tightly in baking paper and clingwrap. Chill for at least an hour or up to 3 days.
  5. Once dough has chilled, preheat oven to 160C (320F) and line two baking trays with baking paper.
  6. Slice dough into 1 cm thick rounds and place on baking trays leaving 5-6 cm between to allow for slight spreading.
  7. Place cookies in oven and bake for 10-12 minutes. The cookies will still be quite soft so allow them to cool completely on their trays before spreading with salted caramel and sandwiching together.

To make the caramel:

  1. place sweetened condensed milk, golden syrup, and butter into a small saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir until butter is melted and caramel is golden brown in colour and thickened slightly.
  2. Remove from heat and mix in vanilla essence and salt.
  3. Pour into a heatproof container and allow to cool to room temperature before using to sandwich cookies together.

Chocolate Chip Shortbread with Salted Caramel Filling | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coriander Cashew Pesto Quinoa Salad (gluten free, vegan)

Some days, some weeks, I feel like we should all be given awards for being grown-ups. Gold stickers for remembering to put your pants on in the morning. Smiley face stamps for making it home with all everything on the grocery list. A trophy if you make it to Thursday without raiding the secret chocolate chip stash that isn’t for making cookies, but for just those moments when the dark organic “grown-up” chocolate just won’t fill the sugar monster hole inside you. You should certainly receive a gold medal if you pack your lunch and don’t go down the deep-fried temptation rabbit hole.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This salad is the trick up your sleeve for winning that healthy but delicious eating gold medal. Gluten free, and vegan, and packed with good-for-your-body ingredients this salad will have you sprinting over the healthy eating finish line all week long. We’ve got quinoa, chickpeas, vibrant veggies and plenty of greens too.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad 3But, just because this salad falls within the “healthy green” category doesn’t mean it isn’t also packed with some big flavours that take care of nourishing your taste buds too: coriander, spinach, cashews, and a touch of chilli pack a punch in what may be my new favourite pesto recipe. I had to stop myself from just eating the pesto and abandoning my packed lunch project. Seriously, this pesto will be a permanent feature in our fridge throughout spring. Just add rice noodles for an easy dinner.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI’m so glad I didn’t abandon this salad in a pesto-eating-craze though because I will be eating this salad all week long for work. I coupled the flavour-dense pesto with chickpeas, quinoa, soft butter lettuce leaves, cucumber, and bright red capsicum. The pesto to salad ratio is high, which results in each mouthful being packed with vibrant coriander and buttery cashew flavour. You will want to lick the bowl. I did.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCoriander Cashew Pesto Quinoa Salad

Serves 3-4 | Vegan | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 (400g) can chickpeas
  • 1/2 large red capsicum (bell pepper)
  • 1 small cucumber
  • 1/2 head butter lettuce

For the pesto

  • 1/2 cup roasted cashews
  • 1 cup (packed) coriander leaves
  • 1 cup (packed) spinach leaves
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • Sprinkle chilli flakes (depending on your taste for spice)

Method

  1. Spread cashews on a baking tray and bake at 180C (350F) for 10 minutes. Cool completely before making pesto.
  2. Place quinoa in fine mesh sieve and rinse thoroughly. Place in a medium saucepan with vegetable stock and warm over a medium-high heat. Bring quinoa to a boil. Once boiling, place a lid on the saucepan and turn heat to low. Simmer for 15 minutes then place quinoa into a large bowl to cool.
  3. While quinoa is cooking make pesto. Place all ingredients into a high speed blender or food processor and blitz until smooth.
  4. Rinse chickpeas and add to quinoa. Dice capsicum and cucumber into large chunks and add to bowl. Gently tear butter lettuce into large pieces and add to bowl.
  5. Add pesto to bowl and toss salad thoroughly until pesto is well incorporated.
  6. Serve.

Coriander Pesto Quinoa Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSee, grown-up gold medal is in my pocket for this week for sure.

 

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Five

The sky is blue over the bay today, and I am about to go out for a long afternoon walk to nourish my soul before another week at work. There is a lot to look forward to in the coming week, and a lot to be grateful for in the week just passed. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Five.

Monday: Today I was grateful to get a small early mark from work. I got my chore done at the bank and the clerk was really helpful, which was great. Then I headed out for a run and made it home in time to flop down on the couch with Chris and enjoy our new Monday night show ‘The Strain’. I know, a highly unrealistic take on epidemiology and the spread of an epidemic, but it’s pure escapism and has just enough horror for me (no more thank you). I was grateful for an easy night to start the week, and for leftover gnocchi because that does make everything better.

Tuesday: There were a load of important documents due out at work today so I made sure to get up early and head to the gym so that I wouldn’t go stir-crazy sitting in my office chair all day. After work I jumped in my car and headed home for a relaxing night of baking cookies for Chris and watching a new (to us) show VEEP. I love Julia Louis-Dreyfuss so this comedy is right up my alley. I am grateful for the giggle inducing writing of the show and a slow night after a stressful day.

cookies for chris

Wednesday: Today I was contacted by a representative of a national healthcare company offering me a $50 grocery voucher as a reward for a healthy breakfast photo I had posted on Instagram! What a lovely gesture for them to make! I was grateful for an unexpected kindness. I think I’ll be buying some yummy (and healthy) ingredients with that and then baking you all something special.

Thursday: In a relationship I think it is important to notice the little things your partner goes to the effort to do to make you happy. This week Chris has gone above and beyond and today he put the cherry on top by surprising me with a big bunch of flowers when he came home from work. I am grateful for the way Chris listens to me when we have those big, deep honest conversations about our life together. I am a lucky woman.

flowers from my baby

Friday: Today the rain was all cleared and Jess (work Jess) and I went out to lunch in the park. We ate our sushi under the trees and talked about books and life and just enjoyed being under the sunny blue sky. I was grateful for my Friday lunch date with a colleague who has become such a good friend. After work I headed out for a run and then I got to bake pretty pink cupcakes for a little girl’s birthday. I have such fun when I get to pull out all the pink and pretty things from the baking cupboard and let my imagination go wild.

pink cupcakeSaturday: This morning I met Mum at the markets for a breakfast date – just the two of us. Although we missed the littlest member of a trio it was a great morning with Mum. I followed my market breakfast up with a run and then in the afternoon Chris and I headed down the coast to ride the roller coasters for a few hours. I know it sounds very childish, but I am so glad we got our theme park passes so we can pop down and have some fun on a weekend afternoon. Tonight Chris went off for a boy’s night and I had a sleepover with Mum, Dad, Molly (who wanted wants of snuggles) and Toby (who uncharacteristically wanted lots of snuggles too). I was grateful to talk to Mum and Dad about our house (only a year to go now!) and see what they have been up to through the week. Also, my Dad made me a special shelf for my computer monitor to help with my neck pain. Thanks Dad.

smoothie ingredients

Sunday: This morning I walked down to the dog park with Mum, Dad, and Molly and had a great time romping with Molly and we got to catch up with a park friend and her two gorgeous pups as well. Then Mum made me scrambled eggs for breakfast and we shared a pot of tea. Then I picked Chris up and I have spent the day pottering around the house and practising some photography and making a tasty fresh salad to with you tomorrow. I’m grateful for a truly recharging Sunday with some of my favourite people.

Also this week:

Okay, I’m off for my walk! Enjoy the rest of your Sunday friends (or for my other readers Saturday evening).

Thoroughly Nourished Finds: Rainy Days Edition

I had an amazing zucchini and chocolate cake to share with you today. Had. Until I went to turn it out of the pan and my perfect cake became a pile of crumbs, chocolate chips, and devastation. So, I took this as a sign from the universe that I needed to step away from the cake (and the chocolate) for a little while and share something a little different with you all. Perhaps, what I have been wrapped up with on the internet for the past few weeks. Presenting Thoroughly Nourished Finds: Rainy Days Edition. After all, the weather is getting warmer and stormier here, and our rainy days of spring are just starting.

Indulgent Rainy Day Eats:

Let’s start the list with a little chocolate, because on a rainy weekend day I want to be wrapped up on the couch with a book and something indulgent to drink. This Chocolate Iced Coffee from Kare at Kitchen Treaty fits the bill perfectly.

Rainy days are perfect for Thai food in my mind. This Crunchy Cashew Thai Quinoa Salad from Tasty Kitchen Blog looks perfect, and oh that sauce….

Do you remember the Cadbury Mint Patties that came in the gold foil? I do, fondly. These Irish Mint Patties from Clean Eating are like the (almost) guilt free version – and you can make them at home!

Searching for another sweet treat? My new blog friend Lynn at Fresh April Flours shared a recipe for Cinnamon Crunch Scones last week. Now, scones are my perfect rainy day food because they remind me of my Mum. Anyone for high tea?

I know this vegan crumble is supposed to be dessert, but with all those berries, surely it could pass for breakfast too? Can’t wait to make this Raw Berry and Pear Crumble with Vanilla Cashew Cream.

Where I’m Dreaming Of:

If you could choose anywhere to spend a rainy weekend, where would you go? I would choose a lighthouse, right on the edge of a cliff, with the storm howling around me and a fireplace keeping me toasty warm I would be in my own little version of heaven. These lighthouse hotels make that a possibility….

Chris and I both have Scotland on our ‘Must Travel To’ Lists and when we get there The Kelpies sculpture near Falkirk in Scotland are on my list of ‘Must See Architecture’.

Might Be Raining, But I’m Still Training

I have decided to take a break from training for races for a little while. I am still enjoying running, and getting my long runs above 6 miles again, but I just want to be able to enjoy and explore some different ways of moving at the moment. Since my surgery earlier this year I have found it really hard to get my abs firmed up again. I am thinking of trying out reformer-based Pilates to strengthen my extremely weak core. Any thoughts?

I’ve been enjoying some at-home workouts during the week to increase my strength without having to fight the crowds in the weights area at the gym. This Cardio Pilates workout from PopSugar Fitness was an amazing follow up to my run on Saturday. I was starving by the time I got to the dinner party I was going to as well – bonus!

These printed tights from Under Armour are calling my name! Perfect for running and so pretty! Saving up my pocket money for these.

Rainy Retail Therapy

These coral suede loafers are completely impractical for the rain, and I would probably end up carrying them more than wearing them to jump through puddles, but they’re so pretty. Perfect for spring farmer’s market mornings.

A little book retail therapy is always welcome on a rainy day, and these are the latest reads to catch my eye (might need to give our bank account a workout this weekend…): Dear Daughter: A Novel by Elizabeth Little; The Miniaturist: A Novel by Jessie Burton; The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan; and Lisette’s List by Susan Vreeland. Also, I have a Books Worth Reading board on Pinterest and I’m on Good Reads as well if you want to see what I’m reading at the moment!

Okay, dear reader, what have you found around this big ole web recently? Anyone tried out reformer Pilates before? Help!