Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Black Bean Salsa

One of my favourite things about living in this part of Australia is our summer thunderstorms. The dark clouds roll over head in the early afternoon and then just about three or four o’clock the first rumbles begin, swiftly followed by fat raindrops and wind that pushes the trees to and fro. These violent tempests usually don’t last long, and in the clearing of the clouds they leave the world shiny, washed clean, and you can smell the heat of life rising from the ground. I love running after a rainstorm. I love splashing through the puddles and seeing teardrops fall from the leaves. All the colours seem brighter, everything seems more alive, after a summer thunderstorm. After I get back from a run in the post-storm world, I love nothing more than a hot shower, and climbing into a comfy chair with a big bowl of spicy soup. Something fragrant that captures the spice of the ground outside, something thick and warming to my belly.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A big bowl of soup might seem contradictory in the summer heat, but the trick is to match the heat outside with the heat in your bowl, and then add a dollop of something soothing and cool. This thick sweet potato soup has all the heat of a lightening strike thanks to a generous amount of chipotle, garlic, and ground spices. Before your eyes water too much, after ladling this soup into your bowl you add a generous spoonful of cooling black bean salsa. This avocado, coriander, and black bean salad will soothe your chipotle stimulated taste buds.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

If you are searching for an easy make ahead meal for the week, this soup is your answer. You can easily make this up to two days ahead. I would recommend making the salsa fresh on the day though. You want really fresh flavours from the avocado and I have found that even with the presence of lime juice, the salsa is best made just before serving. Even if you were to make the soup after getting home from work, you would get change from 60 minutes, which is exactly what I want when I get home from work after a long day!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made this soup a few weeks ago, and my mouth is watering just looking at the photos again! I think you can all guess what’s on the menu for dinner tonight at our house! I can’t wait to get home from my run tonight and put a pot of bubbling soup on the stove. I love the heat of a spicy summer dish paired with a cooling garnish. For my northern hemisphere friends, this soup is a perfect reminder of the heat of summer and a celebration of fresh autumn produce!

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup with Black Bean Salsa

Serves 4 generously | Vegan | Gluten Free | Leftovers will keep for up to 2 days stored in an airtight container in the fridge

Note: When it comes to pureeing the soup you have two choices: 1) Use a stick blender to puree the soup right in the pot; or 2) Cool soup to room temperature and blend in batches in your blender. WARNING: DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP.

Ingredients

For the soup:

  • 2 large sweet potatoes (~800 grams / 1.7 pounds total)
  • 1 medium purple onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed coriander seed
  • 1 tablespoon vegetable stock
  • 3-4 cups boiling water
  • 1 1/2 tablespoon of Alana’s Spicy Mexico sauce (you could use 1 chipotle chilli in adobo if this sauce is unavailable where you live)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk (you can use dairy/soy if you prefer)

For the salsa:

  • 1/2 cup black beans (1/2 400g can)
  • 1/2 medium avocado
  • 2 stalks spring onion
  • 1/3 cup (packed) chopped fresh coriander leaves
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Peel sweet potato and dice into 2cm (~1 inch) cubes. Peel and dice onion.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or small stock pot over a medium heat. Add crushed garlic, diced onion, cumin, and coriander. Saute until onion is transparent and spices are fragrant.
  3. Add sweet potato and stir until the cubes are well incorporated and coated with spices and garlic.
  4. Dissolve vegetable stock in 3 cups of the hot water. Add to sauce pan. The stock should just cover the sweet potato. If required, add up to an extra cup of water.
  5. Stir in Spicy Mexico sauce and tomato paste.
  6. Turn heat up to high and bring to the boil. Once the liquid is boiling reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the sweet potato cubes are tender when pierced with a fork. This should take about 30 minutes. While soup is cooking, make salsa. See below for instructions.
  7. Add the lime juice, stir well.
  8. Remove soup from the heat and puree (see head note).
  9. Return pureed soup to pot and place on a low heat. Stir in milk and heat until gently bubbling.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls, top with a generous dollop of black bean salsa.

Making salsa:

  1. Place well rinsed black beans into a small bowl.
  2. Peel and dice avocado. Add to bowl.
  3. Thinly slice white and light green parts of spring onions and add to bowl.
  4. Gently stir in lime juice, salt, and pepper.
  5. Serve with soup.

Chipotle Sweet Potato Soup | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Nine

To a certain amount my life is divided into spheres: the work sphere, the relationships sphere. the my needs sphere, the professional development sphere, the exercise sphere – you get the picture. Sometimes one of those spheres spills over into another and disrupts the delicate ecology. You know the feeling: kind of itchy, out-of-sorts, just not right. I tend to pick fights over little nothings or become snappy and sarcastic to the ones who deserve my tenderness. Acknowledging the spillover is the first step; being present and remembering to show love and tenderness is the next and most important thing. This week there have been challenges, but there has also been much to be grateful for. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Nine:

ranunculus 1

Monday: Today was ‘one of those days’ at work where I just couldn’t make people happy. Coming home after a run at the gym I remembered that there were still a few hours left in the day to turn it all around and end the day on a happier note. Chris and I ate a delicious dinner of homemade red Thai curry stir-fry (new addiction) and watched our favourite Monday night shows. I am grateful for the days that remind me that despite an awkward beginning, there is always a chance to experience happiness and really notice something to be grateful for.

Tuesday: Today I was pleasantly surprised and grateful when my friends at Generation Better featured another of my recipes on their website too! I also tried out my first Kayla Itsines’s workout because I’m trying to shake up my routine. Whoo boy was I sweating by the end. Grateful for sore muscles and a smile on my face.

Wednesday: Today after work Chris and I headed down to the bay for a run along the water. We treated ourselves to some healthy takeaway and snuggled in bed watching ‘The Mindy Project‘, which we have become addicted to, and just let ourselves relax. Today Chris also finished another big training course for his work. I am so proud of him for making the most of all the opportunities presented to him, and grateful to have a partner who loves learning as much as I do.

takeaway date

Thursday: Today was an uncomfortable day. I just had a case of the ‘icks’. There were some uncomfortable situations at work, and I picked a fight with Chris when I got home because I was tired and had been sitting down all day. I put on my running shoes and headed out onto the streets. They were empty after the afternoon’s down pour. Somewhere out on those streets I found my heartbeat and my rhythm again. I was grateful for the peace and to come home to Chris, talk calmly through our little tiff, and make us something delicious for dinner.

Friday: Ah, Friday. Jess and I had our usual lunch date. Every week it feels great to get out and have a lunch date and let the worries go and let the weekend in. Tonight Chris and I met up for dinner at one of our favourite Italian-style restaurants, and then we went to see one of my favourite comedians – Gabriel Iglesias. If you haven’t partaken of this ‘fluffy’ dude yet, you are in for a treat. Grateful for so many moments of relaxation at the end of the week, and for a good old fashioned laugh. It’s the best medicine after all.

Saturday: This morning I met up with Mum and Jess for a morning at the markets. Chris and I explored a new restaurant for a delicious lunch (if you are a Brisbane resident, you should try out Hatch & Co. highly recommended, especially the aioli with chips) before catching Denzel Washington in ‘The Equalizer’. A perfect date for us. Then we hobbled out for a run this afternoon before a glorious lightning show lit up the sky over the harbour. I am grateful for days like this. So many good things to explore and be grateful for.

Hatch and co

Sunday: Today I got to go for a long walk along the water, which is my favourite way to start a lazy day, and then I came home to bake up some cookies for all of you, and now I am headed off to celebrate my cousin Grace’s 17th birthday! It only feels like yesterday that I was waiting in the hospital for you to be born and meeting you for the first time.I can’t believe what a generous, lovely, smart, and beautiful person you have become. I am grateful for such an awesome young woman as a cousin.

harbour walk

Also this week:

Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread

Meet my latest quick bread creation – a combination of mandarin, strawberry and crunchy chia seeds!

I love quick breads. When you need something easy, sweet and not-too-fancy a quick bread is the perfect solution. Quick breads easily adapt to the season at hand and make a great breakfast, snack, or dessert solution. At the moment my inbox is being flooded with amazing pumpkin and sweet potato creations from my northern hemisphere internet friends, and I am trying to stave off seasonally-inappropriate cravings by focusing on the fresh spring flavours that are appearing in my local markets. It’s all about focusing on being grateful for what nature is laying down right in front of you.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread is what happens when you combine the freshest spring strawberries with peak of the season mandarins. I think we already know that I love any citrus and poppy seed combination (see here, here, or here), so chia seeds are a fresh new take on my seedy trend provide the subtle crunch I crave among the fluffy moist crumbs.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeQuick breads are one of the easiest gluten free treats to make too! If you are new to gluten free baking I would definitely recommend starting off here. When you take away the gluten present in wheat flour structure and sustained rise can be an issue: quick breads still contain eggs for binding and structure, and baking powder for rise. When you use the right combination of gluten free flours (see my preferred mix below) your end product will be just as fluffy and moist as a gluten-containing product. No soggy, gluggy messes here! Just fresh mandarin flavoured batter studded with sweet strawberries with the crunchy goodness of chia seeds.

Of course, if you are not baking for gluten free tummies then you can substitute the total weight of gluten free flours for plain flour.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mandarin Strawberry Chia Bread

Gluten free | Makes one 9 x 5 inch loaf tin | Leftovers will keep well-wrapped at room temperature for up to three days, or well-wrapped in the freezer for up to two months

Ingredients:

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 60 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons chia seeds (I had white ones, but black would work too)
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • Zest of 1 mandarin
  • Juice of 1 mandarin
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 250 grams small strawberries, hulled and quartered
  • 1 tablespoon white rice flour

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a 9×5 inch loaf tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together the brown rice flour, almond meal, white rice flour, buckwheat flour, salt, baking powder and chia seeds.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together buttermilk, eggs, rice bran oil, vanilla, mandarin juice, mandarin zest and caster sugar until completely smooth.
  4. Whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until just combined.
  5. Toss strawberries with white rice flour, this will stop them from sinking in the cake. Gently stir strawberries through batter.
  6. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place in oven and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.
  7. Remove from oven and take out of tin. Allow to cool completely before slicing.

Strawberry and Chia Bread | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad

Have you ever had one of those nights where you end up talking to friends for so long over a glass of wine that you don’t get to eating dinner until 10pm? A night where the conversation flows like the wine and you realise that the new addition to the group fits in perfectly and you just want to keep talking and getting to know them? On Saturday night Chris and I met the new girlfriend of one of Chris’s cousins – she fit into our quirky little group perfectly and it was kind of nice to have another girl at the table.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Despite the chilly spring night we rugged up in cardigans and sat out on the verandah talking for hours. There were grilled steaks and sausages for the omnivores, and as my contribution I brought along two side salads. I find that it eases my anxiety over my food requirements if I contribute one or two things to the dinner table that I can eat, and everyone else can enjoy as well.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis pasta salad dismisses the traditional gluggy, mayo-heavy, soggy, monochrome pasta salad. It’s nearly summer people! I want colour, texture, vibrancy, flavour in my pasta salad. I want something that holds it’s own at the table with a bit of spicy bite that displays some of the best produce of summertime. In Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad the pasta plays a supporting role to the bright raw veggies who take centre stage. The fresh sweetcorn is cut straight from the cob and mixed with jewel-bright capsicum, enticing coriander, and a spiced olive oil dressing.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis salad is your perfect summertime side: you can make it ahead of time, once the past is cooked everything comes together super quick so fabulous flavour doesn’t have to mean hours spent in the kitchen, and it lasts well in the refrigerator so leftovers are perfect for lunch or dinner the next day! Say hello to your time-saving summer meal for any occasion, from barbecues to quick after work family dinners. And with all that time saved you have more time to spend talking to friends old and new!

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad

Serves 6-8 | Vegan | Gluten Free | Leftovers will last in the fridge for 2-3 days

Adapted from ‘Spicy Corn, Tomato, Avocado Salad’ on Shutterbean

Note: If you do not require this to be gluten free you can use wheat pasta instead of gluten free pasta.

Ingredients:

  • 340 grams (~12 oz) dried medium-shape pasta (I used Heinz Gluten Free Mini Rigatoni)
  • 1 small clove garlic, crushed and minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried cumin
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • Juice of 1 large lemon (~3 tablespoons)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 medium red capsicum
  • 3 cobs fresh sweet corn, shucked
  • 3 green (spring) onions
  • Large handful fresh coriander, roughly chopped

Method:

  1. Cook pasta until al dente according to packet instructions. This seems like a lazy recipe instruction, but each pasta brand/type will vary. Once cooked, drain, rinse and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. While the pasta is cooking whisk together garlic, cumin, paprika, salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil. Set aside until needed.
  3. Core capsicum, discard centre, top and seeds, and then dice capsicum into ~1cm cubes. Place in a large bowl.
  4. Cut kernels off corn cobs and place kernels in bowl with capsicum.
  5. Thinly slice the white and light green parts of the green onions and place in bowl too.
  6. Add cooked and cooled pasta and dressing to bowl and toss thoroughly.
  7. Finish by tossing fresh coriander through the pasta salad.

Spicy Corn and Capsicum Pasta Salad | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

 

 

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Eight

I have just come back from a big walk along the water. The waves were whipped up by a strong bay breeze today and there were windsurfers and and yachts enjoying a sparkling spring day  out on the water. Chris and I have a busy week of work, professional training, cooking, running, and entertainment ahead of us (all things we are looking forward to) and today I am grateful for a moment to reflect on the week that was and all that I was grateful for. Here is is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2014 – Week Thirty-Eight.

Monday: I am the type of person who spends half her day staring at the sky. Even when I was in school, the lure of the blue, grey, cloudy or clear sky outside was hard to resist staring at. I am grateful for the big wide open windows in my office and for the chance to walk outside at lunchtime and just soak in the sun.

sky

Tuesday: I started this morning with a sunrise run by the harbour, and it was a good omen for the rest of the day. When our evening run got cancelled due to a thunderstorm, Chris insisted that he would make me dinner. The man has a hidden talent for making perfect mashed potato – my love language. I was grateful for this act of delicious kindness and a night off from kitchen duty.

harbour run

Wednesday: Tonight Chris and I headed down to the harbour after work for a run together along the slow winding footpath from the mangroves and out onto the pier where you can see the lights of our bayside suburb and out into the inky black bay. I was grateful for the wind down after a busy day at work, and for the time together with Chris.

Thursday: Today we had a big project due at work and thanks to the help of my colleagues, and a little butt-in-chair action from me, we had it out the door before lunch time! I was grateful for their help and for getting the project off without too much fuss. When I got home I went for a celebratory run and I was grateful to watch the sun dip behind the city and feel the freedom of being out in the night air.

Friday: Tonight I went home for a sleepover at Mum and Dad’s place while Chris was out having fun with some friends. Mum made wonderful mushroom omelettes and a crunchy cucumber and cherry tomato salsa for dinner and then we laid on the couch with full bellies (and a few squares of mint chocolate) and watched British murder shows. A classic night at home and I was grateful for puppy snuggles and big chats with Mum and Dad.

be magazine

Saturday: This morning Mum and I went out for a market date just the two of us. I had a deliciously chewy gluten free chia seed bagel (thank you Bagel Boys) and Mum had her customary pancake with warm cherries. I was grateful to spend a long morning wandering the market stalls and talking to Mum about life. I headed out for a run before Chris and I had dinner with some friends and talked and played boardgames late into the night (and early into the morning). Grateful for a day of fun.

ranunculus

Sunday: Today has gotten off to a great start: a sleep in, a long walk, a big slice of raspberry coconut bread and some watermelon for breakfast, and now I am off to do some baking, some writing, and perhaps indulging in some afternoon napping. Grateful for a whole day of blue skies and relaxation in front of me.

Also this week:

Tell me dear readers, how has your week been? What are you most grateful for this week?

Thoroughly Nourished Finds – Inspiration and Escapism

Things in the world are getting really real at the moment, and because I don’t listen to the radio, or watch the news I find out about them on the internet, or through friends (and then end up trawling the internet for more information). Bad people, bad things, big decisions about the future of countries and people, all of these things are flooding the pages of this big wide web world. In these times we can only reach out to each other, give a kind word, a kind touch, try to spread a message of hope. Without the intention of belittling the problems of the world, perhaps we can all share in some good things on the internet, some support for our fellow humans. This month my Thoroughly Nourished Finds are about inspiration and escapism and just a little hope that the end of 2014 will find the world walking a more peaceful track.

Inspiration

After reading this article in The Atlantic about Afghan girls who live as boys for a few years I cannot wait to read the forthcoming book.

Somedays I feel like I am too old (I know, I’m only 27 Mum) to start something new and creative like writing that book I’ve always wanted too, but this Manifesto for the Late-Blooming Writer is consolation and inspiration.

I want to gather my friends together in the summer light for feasts where I can  wrap myself in the protection of their laughter and light. I would serve them Baked Almond Pancake, or perhaps Grilled Eggplant Rolls with Cream Cheese and Herbed Millet, or Veggie Chilli with a big pitcher of Fresh Honeydew Margaritas. Nourish them while nourishing my soul.

Thank you Ben and Jerry’s. Love does come in all flavours.

Escapism

Burning Man 2014 Artworks. I love ‘The Embrace’ although I don’t know where I’d put it in my tiny backyard, and the ‘Hayam Sun Temple’ is strikingly designed and perfect as a reflective space.

Wonder if they’d set up one of these mobile pools in my office car park this summer if I asked really nicely? I’ll bring the sangria.

The kick-butt princesses that Disney will probably never touch, but oh wouldn’t it be awesome to see some of these strong women on screen someday! (more here)

I dare you not to cry at this story and beautiful photo shoot for a single Mum with cancer.

Hope

Martin Luther King Jr once said “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” Mahatma Gandhi said “Be the change you wish to see in the world.” I wish to see light and love change this world, so I will practice light and love in my life. Perhaps it’s naive of me, but if we all practiced being the light and the love, each little corner of the world would have light up with a spark, and slowly that would become a fire of light and love, tolerance, peace, justice, hope, creativity, that would consume all of humanity. That is my hope.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

It has come to my attention that in the two and a half year life of this blog I have never posted an appetiser recipe. Please don’t think I am anti-appetiser. Quite the opposite in fact. I fully acknowledge the power of an interesting and palate delighting appetiser to help stimulate conversation between dinner guests and bring people together over a new flavour experience. The corks are popped, the first glasses of wine are poured and just like magic the veil of the night is drawn over the party and conversations, laughter, and friendly arguments begins.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Appetisers are a welcoming gesture to your guests. They set the dinner party apart from an every night meal. They show that you have given extra thought to what might delight their senses and relax them into the evening.

When I saw these miniature sweet peppers at the markets the other weekend I knew they would make the perfect base for a summertime appetiser. The first stalks of sweet corn have been showing up in our markets and grocery stores lately too, and rather than just eating them all quickly steamed and greedily devoured in a shower of corn juice, I decided to celebrate these two heralds of summer with a recipe perfect for long hot evenings filled with cool glasses of sparkling wine, and the sparkling company of my friends.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The best part of this appetiser is that it will not have you stressing out. These boats of summery goodness can be prepared in advance, and they are just as good served hot, cold or anywhere in between. If you have an eclectic mix of dietary requirements at your dinner party (which is increasingly common nowadays) you can rest assured that these are gluten free, vegetarian, and can be made dairy-free/vegan by omitting the cheese. I do love the addition of the cheese to the sweet thyme, smoky paprika, and slight bite of chilli flakes.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers

Makes 20 halves | Easily multiplied | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Vegan variation: leave out mozzarella. Otherwise prepare as directed.

Ingredients

  • 10 mini sweet peppers (capsicums)
  •  2 large cobs of corn, outside layers removed
  • 1 small red onion
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoke paprika
  • Small pinch chilli flakes (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  •  1/3 cup grated mozzarella

Method

  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper. Set aside until needed.
  2. Halve mini peppers from top to bottom. Remove white ribs and seeds from the inside. You can leave the green stalk on for decorative purposes, or remove if you wish.
  3. Lay halved peppers on the prepared baking sheet.
  4. Cut kernels from each corn cob. The easiest way to do this is to cut each cob in half and place the flat (cut) section on the chopping board and then cut down, keeping close to the cob, removing the kernels.
  5. Finely dice red onion.
  6. Heat olive oil over a medium heat in a medium frying pan. Place corn kernels, red onion, paprika, chilli flakes (if using), fresh thyme, salt, and pepper into pan. Cook until the onion is translucent and the corn has turned a darker yellow. Remove from heat and place in a bowl. Cool to room temperature.
  7. Mix grated cheese into cooled corn mixture.
  8. Using clean hands scoop corn mixture into the prepared sweet peppers. Press down slightly to ensure the mixture is packed inside. Place stuffed peppers back onto baking tray. Repeat until they are all filled.
  9. Place peppers into preheated oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. Remove and serve. Leftovers will keep up to two days in the refrigerator. They are an excellent addition to a lunchtime salad.

Paprika Corn Stuffed Mini Sweet Peppers | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

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