Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic-Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free

Creamy, curried pumpkin soup will keep out the autumn chills. My Curried Pumpkin Soup is heartily spiced, and the roasted garlic flavoured millet is the perfect compliment. This meal is healthy, hearty, easy to prepare, and the perfect way to warm up at the start of the season.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe first pot of pumpkin soup in autumn is a precious celebration in anticipation of what the season will bring. Autumn is the season of true bounty. We get the best of the final blush of summer – the ripest stone fruits, the sweetest final watermelon harvest, the juiciest tomatoes begging to be made into passata; and we also get the first harvest of the hardy fruits and vegetables that will see us through the cold winter months – creamy sweet potatoes, the crunchiest apples, sweet heavy grapes, and pretty smooth-skinned butternut pumpkins.

My Mum has made a version of this curried pumpkin soup since I was a child. Coming home from school on rainy winter days to a pot of gently bubbling soup and thickly buttered bread was a childhood delight, and something that still warms me down to my soul as an adult. Soup is pure comfort. And making soup from my Mum’s recipe is an extra layer of warmth. I know this soup is going to appear on our table frequently throughout the coming season. I have been coming home to leftovers of this soup since I made a big pot on the weekend. When I walk through the door, I know I am coming home to a bowl of comfort.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMum uses a curry powder mix, but when I ran out and was at home on a rainy Sunday craving this soup, I didn’t want to venture to the shops so I broke the mixture down to its essence and put my own twist on a family tradition. My soup is a little spicier than Mum’s owing to my inclusion of chili powder. If you don’t want the soup too spicy or you are serving it to little kids, you can leave out the chili powder and I can promise you the soup will still be just as flavoursome. The chili powder is joined by ground dried coriander, turmeric, cumin, garlic, and black pepper for a fragrant bouquet of flavours. Along with your spices, butternut pumpkin, carrots, and onion, and a good quality vegetable stock are all you need to create this soup for dinner tonight. The millet is a filling addition, and the roasted garlic and thyme add a soothing element to the spicy soup. If you don’t have or like millet you could use quinoa or rice to the same effect.

Get ready to snuggle up with your beloved and a bowl of soup, and rest happily in the comfort that these bowls are full of thoroughly nourishing ingredients that will keep you healthy all winter long. This soup is creamy, but there is no cream required: butternut pumpkins bring their own special creaminess when simmer low and slow. Millet, as we’ve spoken about before is a buttery ancient seed that provides good amounts of iron and other minerals. This soup is the healthy comfort food answer to lengthening autumn nights, long runs in the drizzle, and a craving for comfort.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic-Thyme Millet

Gluten Free | Vegan | Serves 4 generously | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container for up to three days.
Reheat gently over a low heat, or in the microwave in short bursts

Ingredients

For the soup

  • 1 kg (2 pounds) butternut pumpkin
  • 2 medium brown onions
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 2 sticks celery
  • 1 medium carrot
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon turmeric
  • 2 teaspoons dried coriander
  • 3 teaspoons dried ground cumin seeds
  • 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4-1/4 teaspoon chili powder (optional)
  • 4 cups reduced salt vegetable stock

For the millet

  • 1/2 head of garlic
  • 3/4 cup dried millet
  • 1 1/2 cups reduced sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil

Method

  1. Peel and de-seed pumpkin and chop into cubes (about 2.5cm/1 inch). Peel and dice onion. Dice celery and carrot.
  2. Heat olive oil in a large saucepan or stock pot over a medium heat. Add crushed garlic, onion, celery, carrot, turmeric, coriander, cumin, black powder, and chili powder. Saute until the onions are become clear and the spices are fragrant.
  3. Tumble in your pumpkin cubes and stir until everything is well mixed.
  4. Add vegetable stock and bring soup to the boil.
  5. Reduce to a simmer and cook until pumpkin is very soft and is disintegrating in the stock. This will take about an hour.
  6. While the pumpkin is cooking preheat your oven to 180C. Wrap garlic in aluminium foil and bake for 40-45 minutes or until cloves are softened. Allow to cool.
  7. Rinse millet and place in medium saucepan along with vegetable stock. Bring to the boil over a medium-high heat. As soon as it starts to boil, reduce the heat to a simmer, and cover the saucepan with a lid. Allow to cook for 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, stand for 5 minutes and then fluff with a fork. Keep covered until ready to serve.
  8. Once soup is cooked, remove from heat and allow to cool slightly. Use a stick blender to blend until smooth. Alternately you can puree this soup in a blender. WARNING: ALLOW SOUP TO COOL COMPLETELY BEFORE BLENDING. DO NOT BLEND HOT SOUP. Reheat over a low heat on the stove top.
  9. Mash roasted garlic together with fresh thyme and olive oil. Mix through millet.
  10. Ladle soup into bowls and top with spoonfuls of millet and extra fresh thyme if desired.

Curried Pumpkin Soup with Garlic Thyme Millet | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Twenty-Eight and an Orange Layer Cake | Gluten Free

Twenty-eight candles on my birthday cake today.

Twenty-eight years of breathing the delicately balanced atmosphere of this planet.

Twenty-eight years of wondering why about everything.

Twenty-eight.

Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI am the type of person who grows hideously introspective at any given opportunity. My birthdays have always been especially bad. I’m sure I’ve told you before that I wasn’t the little kid who got excited the night before her birthday. I was the little kid who curled into a sobbing ball on her mother’s lap because to me getting older was too scary to contemplate. I liked my life, I didn’t long to ‘turn 18 because then I can do anything I want’, I just wanted to stay exactly as I was with my Mum and Dad and little baby sister. Getting older meant change. Change meant leaving. Leaving meant saying goodbye. I couldn’t see the adventures ahead, only the darkness. I’ve always been on the melancholic side.

As I got older, these bouts of sobbing transformed into a month or so of depressive self-examination and doubt. I was sure I was lacking. Sure I was lagging well behind everyone else my age. “But look at what they’ve achieved and they are my age – I haven’t done anything!”

Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeEvery year I have wasted the opportunity to celebrate the small moments, tiny adventures, little wins, of the past year in the face of crippling comparisons with my birth-year mates – most of whom I don’t even know. “I’m not working in my dream job, I’m not married, I’m not a parent, I’m not published….” – The list goes on and on.

This year I’m choosing differently. This year I’m making the promise to myself that I am going to celebrate the small moments, tiny adventures, and little wins of the past year rather than lamenting that I’m still in the same job, same place, same routine as last year. Because as much as that is true, I have so many more blessings to count with every year that passes. Every new candle on my birthday cake brings a shower of new opportunities for gratitude. And gratitude isn’t something we ever master, but something we need to continually practice because our frames keep shifting, our circles keep widening and the reasons for our gratitude change.

Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis year I’m going to be grateful for what twenty-seven brought me, taught me, and how it changed me. Twenty-seven brought hard lessons that showed me I am going to have to work on keeping a healthy headspace for the rest of my life. Twenty-seven brought the gifts and challenges of living with a lifelong partner and acknowledging that as much as your souls are mated, you are still quite separate people. Twenty-seven brought nights of deep, indulgent, satisfying comfort in our little cottage by the sea. Twenty-seven brought tears and arguments about our different ideas of adventure. Twenty-seven brought the realisation in the end that he is my greatest adventure. Twenty-seven brought a calmer, more cherished relationship with my parents – the physical space mirrored a mental space that just filled itself in with more affection and greater respect. Twenty-seven brought new friends from all over the world. Twenty-seven brought precious moments with my sister and the realisation that she is wiser than I can ever hope to be. Twenty-seven brought the understanding of my own strength, and that I have the energy to hustle and the wisdom to rest if only I listen to what I really need. Twenty-seven was yesterday and the last year.

Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

This year I’m choosing to blow those candles out with gratitude rather than fear, and with a tingle of anticipation at what twenty-eight is going to hold.

Twenty-eight is our own home, a castle to call our own.

Twenty-eight is an overseas adventure with my dear heart.

Twenty-eight is a million other tiny miracles to celebrate.

Twenty-eight is today.

Orange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOrange Layer Cake with Vanilla Buttercream

Makes one two-layer 8-inch round cake | Serves 10-12 | Gluten Free

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams potato flour (potato starch)
  • 50 grams almond meal
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 225 grams (1 1/4 cups) caster sugar
  • Zest and juice of 1 orange (about 1 tablespoon zest and 2 tablespoons juice)
  • 3 large eggs at room temperature
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 1/4 cup milk

Frosting

  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 3 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons pouring cream (or milk)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and grease two 8-inch round cake tins with extra butter. Line the bottoms with circles of baking paper. Set aside until required.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together brown rice flour, sorghum flour, potato flour, almond meal, baking powder, and salt until well mixed.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large mixing bowl) place caster sugar and orange zest. Use fingers to rub zest into sugar. This releases the oils in the zest and increases the orange flavour in the cake.
  4. Place softened butter into mixing bowl, and use stand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, or hand held mixer, to cream butter and orange-sugar on a medium-high speed until it reaches a light and creamy consistency, about 1-2 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat until just combined. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required.
  6. Beat in vanilla extract.
  7. In a small bowl whisk together orange juice, yoghurt and milk.
  8. Turn mixer speed to low and beat in a flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the wet ingredient mixture. Scrape down the sides of the bowl as required. After the last addition, beat until smooth.
  9. Divide mixture equally between the two prepared tins. Level tops and then bake for 30-40 minutes. Switch the position of the pans every ten minutes. Cakes are done when the tops are slightly golden and they bounce back when lightly pressed. Check the cakes at 30 minutes, and then decide if they need the extra ten minutes.
  10. Remove cakes from the oven. Cool in tins for 10 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting.
  11. To make frosting. Beat butter until light and fluffy. It should be pearly and nearly white. Then add the remaining ingredients and beat until completely smooth and fluffy, about three minutes.
  12. To assemble cake. Place one layer on a plate or serving dish and frost with a third of the frosting. Place second layer on top and cover top and sides with remaining frosting. Use a large flat-bladed knife or a frosting palette knife to make this easy.
  13. Decorate with sprinkles or as desired. Store in fridge, covered for up to three days. Sit at room temperature for thirty minutes before serving.

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Twelve

Dear universe, I could use more Sundays like this, more weeks like this. Tonight the rain is falling over the bay once again, and this morning it felt like autumn was finally finding its gentle way towards us bringing with it more hours for reflection, relaxation, and a softening of our bright and brash summer world. I walked for hours today in the rain and loved every moment of it. Then retreated to my kitchen to test some recipes to feed us all very well over the next few weeks. Today was the perfect day to reflect on all I have been grateful for over the past week. Here is my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Twelve.

sunday morning

Monday: Tonight Chris and I got to work taming the wild garden that surrounds the house we live in at the moment. We have discovered that we are very good at growing things (we must have the verdant vibe) but we are not so good at keeping everything tame. I am grateful to work alongside Chris and grateful that we work so well together. When a job needs to be done, we are both willing to buckle down and do it, and I am grateful that he is by my side.

Tuesday: I was up early for a run this morning and I am really enjoying the extra energy, and sense of accomplishment early in the day, that this small step in a few mornings in the week is giving me. Rather than having to stress about making it to the gym after work, I know I can come straight home and enjoy the evening with Chris. I am grateful that I make this time in the morning for myself.

chickpea saladWednesday: Today I came home and Chris and I got stuck in on the garden again. While I was picking up leaves and dragging branches I got a phone call from my sweet Casey and I was grateful to connect with her in the middle of a busy week. No matter how hectic our lives get (especially hers) we find time to talk or connect, and those moments are so precious to me.

Thursday: I love listening to podcasts on my drive to and from work, and my friend Matt has created an inspirational project that inspires me every week. The episode I was listening to on the way home tonight featured Bob Cirino, a young entrepreneur. He had a lot of wonderful things to say, but one thing that really stood out was his thoughts about love as an ecological thing, not an economical thing. That is, the more love you give, the more you have. Your love does not diminish, but grows. I am grateful for unexpected lessons, and reminders to give my love even more freely.

love isFriday: This afternoon I had the opportunity to visit a close friend and get my hair done at the same time. I was grateful to catch up with my ‘second mum’ and talk about life and leave looking just a little less wild woman, and a little more like Amy. Tonight Chris and I binge watched ‘House of Cards’, which is my new obsession – oh I just love Robin Wright in her role as Claire Underwood.

Saturday: This morning I met Mum and Jess at the markets for breakfast and I bought the most delicious red grapes (there are now none left) and then spent some time this morning talking to some special friends across the world – grateful for Skype! After a run, and some rainy afternoon baking, I crossed town for a farewell party for my sweet friend Megan. Chris couldn’t come as he had a previous engagement, and I was grateful to know that I can still be charming and make conversation in a room full of strangers!

cookies 21-03Sunday: I had the best sleep in today. In fact, all of Sunday has just been wonderful. After a sleep in, I went for a big walk in the rain and then warmed myself by spending the afternoon in the kitchen working on some new recipes to share with all of you. I was grateful for a slow, snuggly day. The rain has pulled a cloak over the world tonight, and we are warm and safe inside. I am grateful for my life. For its small pleasures, quiet moments, and slow Sundays.

sunday walkAlso this week:

  • I made us a ‘welcome to Autumn’ salad with some our favourite simple things.
  • Tofu isn’t very common on our menu, but this stir-fry is a new favourite and sure to be on high rotation for quick midweek meals.

Tell me, dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry | Vegetarian | Gluten Free |

Midweek comfort is a weekly requirement in our house, but instead of turning to the takeaway menu I dig around in our vegetable drawer for stir-fry inspiration. This is my latest favourite full of big fresh flavours. It’s nourishing comfort. Comfort food you can feel good about.

Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOne of our favourite family take-away choices (B.G.F. that is, before gluten free) was Chinese food from the local shop. My sister and I went to school with the owner’s children, and we followed them when they moved stores and expanded into two locations. The China Rose has long been a mainstay at the family table, and they will certainly never forget us after one memorable night… A little background: no-one in the TNL family (save for my BIL Trent) is known for their balance and co-ordination. We are the experts of forgetting that we have things like elbows and hipbones, trying to singe or stab ourselves at nearly every meal, and walking into things… One fine night Mum and Dad went to collect some takeaway, and my Mama decided to walk at full speed into their new, shiny, plate glass window. Down she went like a stunned bird, and home she came with a nearly broken nose and two black eyes instead of the large special fried rice and beef in black bean sauce. Poor Mama. Impressions of the incident may not have helped matters…

Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeToday’s dish takes its cues from those China Rose nights. Flavours that are perfect for those nights when you crave comfort, but with a Thoroughly Nourished Life twist to make them a little kinder to your waistline. These are sucker-punch strong flavours and the sauce is so good I could have eaten it by itself. Bright, fresh broccoli (my favourite vegetable) is stir-fried briefly and then paired with chewy baked tofu and they all get a generous coating of a crazy flavoursome spicy honey, orange, and ginger sauce. Seriously, I want this sauce on everything. Just a few easy to find ingredients can make all the difference to a simple mixture of vegetables and tofu. Make sure you serve it on a bed of rice to enjoy every morsel of sauce. And, if you aren’t that into tofu, this also works wonderfully with chicken (this herbivore hearts her omnivorous friends too).

Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePut away that take-out menu and get into the kitchen! The tofu takes the longest amount of time, but in under 45 minutes(mostly hands-off) you can create your own fresh, easy and healthy version of classic comfort food and with less chance of walking into a glass wall (Sorry Mum) and more chance of feeling good about your dinner choices.

Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 2-3 generously | Time: approximately 60 minutes

Ingredients

  • 300 gram block harm (firm) tofu
  • 1 tablespoon cornflour (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 1/ teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon Chinese five spice (optional)
  • 1/2 tablespoon rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • Large head of broccoli (about 500 grams)

For the sauce

  • Juice and zest of 1 large orange
  • 4 cm (~ 1.5 inch) piece of ginger, finely grated
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon honey

To serve

  • 2 stalks spring onion, thinly sliced
  • Slices of orange and rice to serve

Method

  1. Wrap tofu in several layers of paper towel. Place between two plates and weight the top with several cans or a heavy book. This will help to extract the extra moisture from the tofu so that it gets extra crispy in the oven. Leave the tofu to drain for at least 30 minutes.
  2. While the tofu is draining, preheat the oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together cornflour, salt, pepper and Chinese five spice (if using).
  4. Remove tofu and slice into approximately 1.5 cm cubes. Toss tofu cubes in cornflour mixture and spread out on prepared baking tray. Bake for 30 -40 minutes or until the outsides are golden and crispy.
  5. While the tofu is baking chop the broccoli into medium florets. You can chop up the stems too or save them for another use.
  6. Make the sauce: whisk together all ingredients and set aside until required.
  7. When the tofu is finished cooking stir-fry the broccoli. Heat the oil in a medium frying pan over medium-high heat. Add broccoli and saute for 2-3 minutes or until brightening in colour. Add sauce and reduce heat to low. Cook until sauce thickens slightly and broccoli is bright in colour but still firm.
  8. Add tofu to the broccoli mixture and mix through until coated in the sauce.
  9. Remove from the heat and serve with rice, sliced spring onions, and extra wedges of orange.

Honey, Orange, and Ginger Broccoli and Tofu Stir-Fry | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free

Tender roasted sweet potatoes and chickpeas coated in spice come together in this salad with a sweet mustard dressing for a light seasonal dish with colour and flavour.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day everyone! I don’t have any leprechaun/whiskey/shamrock inspired treats to share with you today, but I do have a big green salad with potatoes. Well, they’re sweet potatoes, but just concede the point to me please. I woke up at 4.30 a.m. and wore my shirt inside out to the gym this morning and didn’t realise until I got home again. In other words, it’s Tuesday. Salad might not be a traditional Saint Patrick’s Day meal, but March in Queensland is most definitely not cabbage and corned meat weather (currently 29C/85F), and stew is still a foreign concept on the faraway winter horizon. Thus, I humbly offer you a sweet potato and spiced chickpea salad.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCubes of sweet potato are transformed into tender roasted morsels in the oven while the chickpeas get rolled with spices and crisped in olive oil on the stove top. Once they’ve both come to room temperature they unite with fresh baby spinach and thinly sliced onion before the whole salad meets sweet and spicy honey mustard dressing. I am not a huge fan of too-sweet honey mustard sauces, so this one packs a double mustard punch with both Dijon and wholegrain mustards and gets an extra flavour boost from a squeeze of lemon.

We enjoyed this as part of our family feast on Saturday night and I had leftovers for lunch for the next two days. I would recommend adding the dressing to each serving as you go so that the leaves don’t get too soggy. The salad holds up quite well for about three days as long as you keep it in an airtight container in the refrigerator. If you are looking for a fresh and light dinner tonight try this salad, I hear it tastes great with a generously buttered slice of Irish Soda Bread on the side and maybe some Irish Coffee Ice Cream for dessert?

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4 as a light meal or 2 more substantially

Make it vegan: replace honey in dressing with maple syrup.

Ingredients

  • 1 large sweet potato (about 750 grams / 1.6 pounds)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 (400g) can chickpeas
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin seeds
  • 1 small red onion
  • 5 cups baby spinach leaves
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 tablespoon wholegrain mustard
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt and black pepper

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (400F) and line a baking tray with baking paper.
  2. Peel sweet potato and cut into large cubes (1.5cm cubed). Toss with 1 tablespoon of olive oil and bake until golden on the outside and soft in the middle. This should take about 30-40 minutes. Remove and allow to cool to room temperature.
  3. Drain and rinse chickpeas and drain well to remove most of the water. Place on several layers of paper towel and pat dry. Allow the chickpeas to dry on towels for about 10 minutes.
  4. Heat remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a heavy bottomed fry pan over medium heat. Add chickpeas, paprika, and cumin and stir well to coat. Fry chickpeas for 10 minutes, stirring frequently to avoid them sticking and burning. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  5. Peel and thinly slice red onion and place in a large bowl with the baby spinach. Add chickpeas and sweet potato and toss well to combine.
  6. To make dressing: combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl and whisk vigorously to combine.
  7. Pour dressing over salad and serve immediately.

Roasted Sweet Potato and Spiced Chickpea Salad with Honey-Mustard Dressing | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Eleven

Autumn mornings are blowing in at the moment, but we are still in for some hot days. This is the time of year I love the most: the changeling weeks between summer’s intensity and autumn’s slow fade into winter. I don’t usually say this but I am really looking forward to winter this year. Perhaps it’s because we’ve had a long hot summer, or perhaps it’s because we are moving into our house sometime in winter, but I am craving cooler days, and cold nights, scarves, jeans, long runs amongst the leaves, hot chocolate, and soup at the moment. I guess I’m searching for a little comfort. There was plenty of comfort, and much to be grateful for this week too. Here’s my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Eleven:

sweet potato saladMonday: Today my body was just not feeling it. I was grateful to come home, defrost some cookies (sometimes, you’ve just gotta lie in bed with a cookie or two), and watch Top Gear and John Oliver Last Week Tonight with Chris. Sometimes I might yearn for adventure, but these quiet moments in the middle of a busy world are the most precious thing, and our life together is the greatest adventure of all.

Tuesday: Today I curled up in bed and just slept all day. I was grateful to be able to give my body the rest it needed and to hopefully prevent the change of weather flu that seems to be going around. I was also grateful to spend some time curled up with some old favourite cookbooks and get some new ideas for autumn and winter recipes. Bring on soup season!

Wednesday: Technology might be intruding in our lives in some ways that aren’t positive, but I am grateful for the connection it gives me to my family even though we can’t see each other every day. My 80 year old grandmother recently learned to text and its wonderful getting her little messages through the week (e.g. ‘Ross River Fever outbreak. Remember to be careful when you are running.). My Mum has mastered the photo message and today’s message will go down in history. After her orange tree sapling was reduced to a stump because of an unfortunate gardening accident (umm…Dad…) new shoots have started appearing. Mum’s photo of the new growth were accompanied by the speech bubble ‘I am Groot!’. Big smiles, thanks Mum.

Thursday: I started the day with a sweaty interval run and it set the tone for an intense, but worthwhile day. A friend from work and I even managed to sneak away for lunch in the sunshine where we chatted about life, musicals, and everything in between. I am grateful to have such a great friend at work, and someone I connect with on so many things.

sunrise 12-3Friday: I’m usually a ‘Fri-Yay!’ type of person, and I had a purposeful spring in my step this morning as a way of warding off the stress demons brought on by a truckload of documents to be delivered. My spring was noticeably less springy when at 4pm I had only been able to deliver a few of them… I was grateful when I finally escaped the cubicle and made for a hard, fast run at the gym to shake the stress of and get the weekend started.

Saturday: Autumn was in the air for a little while when I headed out for a long walk this morning, and after a busy day in the kitchen Chris and I headed over to Mum and Dad’s to enjoy a last summer evening barbeque (before we start the cool weather barbequing). Jess and Trent joined us, and it was a family evening of great food, excellent company, and so much laughter. Also, Jess made her famous chocolate caramel slice for dessert! I am grateful that I can call my family my friends, and that we get to share moments like this. Looking forward to so many more evenings just like this.

harbour walk 14-3Sunday: Today was the sort of Sunday you hope to have every few weekends – time with the ladies, some ultimate indulgence, and a truly wicked time. Today I was grateful to start off the day with a quick walk along the water before heading into town to have a lovely lunch with my Mum, Jess, and Bree (Jess’s best friend). We sat on the balcony of the restaurant and enjoyed some cool drinks and an escape from the heat before meandering through the markets and then settling into our seats for a matinee session of ‘Wicked’. I love, love, love this musical and I was so grateful to be able to see it again and have a wonderful time with some of the loveliest ladies. I was grateful to Mum for making us all matching green sequin scarves/belts as well. We were best dressed for sure!

wicked

Also this week:

  • I made us a mushroom meal that celebrates our mercurial weather at the moment.
  • I was in charge of some side dishes for Saturday night and I whipped up this perfect summer pasta salad, and a sweet potato salad that is coming to you this week!
  • I got some exciting collaboration news that I can’t wait to share with you all!

Grilled Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan

Bright, fresh, grilled sweet corn and coriander pair with buttery millet and hearty grilled portobello mushrooms and creamy lemon-tahini sauce. This dish is just what I want to come home to while the summer sun is still shining, but a heartier autumn wind is setting in. Overall, a simple, elegant, and fast week night meal to make healthy, seasonal eating easy and delicious. Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeHas anyone been mushroom foraging before? Me neither, but it is high on my foodie bucket list. Mushroom foraging seems to be a hobby for the landed gentry who drive Land Rovers and wear tweed hats and those puffy jackets that only look good on middle aged women bearing a resemblance to Helen Mirren. Given our recent rainstorms and hot fuggy days our backyard has become prime mushroom growing ground. Not that we are eating any of those mushrooms! Luckily the weather has been kind to our local mushroom growers too, and our favourite varieties of fungi have started sprouting at stalls all across the farmers market too. No need for a tweed hat or puffy vest at all. Today’s recipe uses large portobello mushrooms. I find that they have a lot more flavour than flat field mushrooms, and they are often thicker and more substantial too.

Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOur long hot summer means that the hot weather harvest vegetables are still going strong, and the corn at the markets is extra sweet. I love the mingling of summer and autumn that happens in March. This plate is a celebration of the end of a sweet summer and the beginning of a rich and nourishing autumn.

Millet is one of my favourite wholegrains. It’s actually an ancient seed, and used most commonly in birdseed, but the birds certainly know a thing or two: millet is super nourishing. Naturally gluten free, and filled with iron, B-vitamins and calcium, this little seed is a nutritional powerhouse and a great alternative to quinoa or rice. Millet by itself has a buttery flavour and I cook mine in low-sodium vegetable stock for added flavour and then spice it up at the end with handfuls of chopped fresh coriander. The tahini, lemon and garlic dressing is a creamy and bitey finishing touch.

Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis recipe is simple, so remember to choose the best of each ingredient. Glossy sunshine yellow sweetcorn, firm portobello mushrooms and the freshest herbs you can find. Hopefully next summer I’ll be foraging fresh herbs from my own garden! Now that’s at the top of my foodie bucket list! Other contenders: picking apples, owning an olive tree (there’s a farm nearby where you can ‘sponsor an olive tree’ and they harvest and preserve each year’s harvest for you), making my own cheese, and going on a wine tour in France, among other things. For now, I’ll settle for a hearty and bright autumn plate and a food magazine to dream over.
Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce

Gluten Free | Vegan |  Serves 2

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup millet
  • 1 cup reduced-salt vegetable stock
  • 4 large flat portobello mushrooms
  • 2 cobs sweetcorn, husks removed
  • 1/2 cup chopped coriander
  • Juice 1 lemon
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tahini
  • Salt and Pepper
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed

Method

  1. Rinse millet and place in medium saucepan with vegetable stock. Place over high heat and bring to the boil. Once it starts boiling, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and stand for 5 minutes before fluffing grains with a fork.
  2. Heat a large non-stick griddle pan (or non-stick frying pan) over a medium-high heat. Cook mushrooms cap side down for 3 minutes or until starting to brown. Turn over and cook cap side up for another 3 minutes. Grill corn at the same time, turning frequently so that all sides are cooked evenly.
  3. While the mushrooms and corn are grilling make the dressing. In a small bowl whisk together lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, salt and pepper, and garlic until well mixed and creamy.
  4. When corn is cooked cut kernels from the cob. Mix corn and coriander through cooked millet and divide between plates.
  5. Top millet with mushrooms and drizzle sauce over the top.

Roasted Mushrooms with Coriander Millet and Lemon-Tahini Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List: International Women’s Day Special Edition

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. I was busy recipe testing (2 out of 3 successful), big walking (13.5km for a Sunday record), and afternoon-napping. This week my gratitude list is an International Women’s Day Special Edition to say thanks to those who inspire me to become the best woman I can.

(via)

(via)

I am blessed with so many examples of strong, independent, smart, crazy, sexy women in my life who teach me everyday about finding strength; exerting my independence; using and celebrating my mind, body and soul; being vulnerable and open to love and experience; letting my crazy out; and enjoying the full meaning of what it is to be a woman in our world. I am so fortunate to have these constant reminders, and so grateful that where I live I am free to be, love, do, say, go, whatever, wherever, and whenever I want. All around the world there are women who live in fear, without role models or hope of growing into the phenomenal women we were all meant to be. I am grateful to be a woman.

To my Mum and Dad. My first examples of how to be in the world. You taught me that there are no expectations of how a woman should have to act, think, be, behave, dress, speak in the world. You lead by example and showed your daughters that a woman is just as capable of operating a power drill as she is of baking a perfectly fluffy sponge cake; that a girl can love playing with her Barbie dolls and her Tonka trucks; and that a rainy afternoon can mean a princess film or a hard-hitting action movie. I am grateful that I grew up with parents who never tried to squeeze me into a gender-specific notion of what a daughter should be. I am grateful that I had parents who let me wear overalls and princess dresses and play chef, teacher, racing car driver, architect, forensic scientist – and always helped me to believe that any of it was possible for a woman to do.

feminism 2To my sister and my amazing female friends. We have inherited the earth. We are the daughters and granddaughters of women who lived through change. No longer do we have to leave our professions when we get married. No longer do we have to fight to be allowed to control our own lives. We are the lucky ones. Yes, there is still some ground left to fight over, but there is much to be celebrated too. With our great fortune though, comes great responsibility. Responsibility to women who aren’t as fortunate as we are. Women without as much opportunity, choice, control, and freedom. I am grateful to walk with all of you down this path and find out what it means to be a woman today.

To my Chris who doesn’t see gender and who doesn’t expect other people to judge based on gender either. You are my rose-coloured glasses, my man who irons, my ‘Let It Go’ singer, and the one who argues with me (I love a good, evidence based barney) about gender issues. I am grateful that I have a partner who is strong and sweet and doesn’t see anything but people no matter what their coverings are.

To the movers, shakers, noisemakers, caretakers, the fighters, the lovers, those who stand firm and shout loud, those who whisper quietly and move deftly, to those who refuse to accept something less of their lives because of their gender. I am grateful for you. I am grateful to those who have come before and made it possible for me to sit here, with my own little internet space to speak. I am grateful for those who still fight. I am grateful for your hard work, tears, blood, sacrifice.  Malala Yousefazi, Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Mo’Ne Davis, Caitlin Moran, Annie Lennox, Emma Watson, Joseph Gordon Levitt, Caroline and Cristen at Stuff Mom Never Told You, and so many more who stand up as examples for all of us.

I am grateful that I could study at and graduate from whichever university I chose. I am grateful that I can pursue my career and my dreams. I am grateful that I can travel. I am grateful that I can move freely and walk down the street on my own. I am grateful that I can have control over my own body. I am grateful that I can choose what kind of woman, what kind of person, I want to be.  I am grateful for the privileges and pains of my gender. I am grateful for standing here solidly knowing that I am built on a foundation of women who made sacrifices to get us where we are today, and I know that I am part of a sisterhood that must reach out and give a hand up to those in need. We are all Phenomenal Women.

I am grateful to be a woman.

“’Cause I’m a woman
Phenomenally.
Phenomenal woman,
That’s me.” (Maya Angelou)

Gluten Free One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream

You are going to love my latest homemade gluten free  cupcake creation. These fluffy, moist, deeply chocolate cupcakes use only one bowl in their creation but they taste like they came straight from a fancy bakery. I have topped these deep, dark chocolate cakes with rosewater buttercream for a fairy-floss contrast perfect for any celebration.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSunday is International Women’s Day and it’s time to celebrate the wonderful, inspiring, intelligent, amazing women in our lives. I made these cupcakes to celebrate some of the women I am grateful to call friends and family. These cupcakes are my new favourite thing. So moist, dark and chocolate filled but so easy to make. We start with a foundation of gluten free flours: hazelnut meal, buckwheat, brown rice, and white rice. Each of these plays its own special part in making sure the final product is moist and fluffy, and not sandy or crumbly. Getting the right balance of gluten free flours is important when you set out to create a classic and these four make for a moist, tightly crumbed cake that resembles your favourite childhood chocolate cupcake, with a darker adult twist. If you are new to gluten free baking, these are the cupcakes I would recommend. They are super easy (literally, dump everything in one bowl and hit mix) and they are guaranteed to turn out perfect, just-as-you-remember-them cupcakes that are friendly to your sensitive tummy.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe rich chocolate taste in these one-bowl chocolate cupcakes is due to two special reasons. One: use the deepest, darkest cocoa you can find. Two: a strong cup of coffee is one of the wet ingredients. When coffee meets chocolate in this way you can hardly taste the coffee, but oh-boy it makes the chocolate shine through. These cupcakes are a dance between a brownie and a cupcake, and we get to enjoy the splendor bite-by-bite.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI topped my cupcakes with the lightest, prettiest rosewater buttercream in the colour of International Women’s Day. When Chris tasted this buttercream he smiled and said ‘it tastes like fairy floss’. Perfection. Rosewater can be too sweet for some people, and sickly in the wrong amounts. Start with the lesser amount listed in the recipe, and adjust to your taste. Another rosewater buttercream secret is to add a pinch of salt. Don’t be afraid of a little salt in your sweet, like the coffee in the cupcakes it enhances the main flavour rather than obscuring it. These one-bowl cupcakes are a new classic: bittersweet meets fairy floss sweet for an upgrade on the usual chocolate and vanilla combination.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThese cupcakes are a lot like the women I know. Deep, complicated, and complex with foundations and memories that run the tender edge between bitter and sweet; and, at the same time sweet, pretty of spirit and capable of lifting your spirits in just a moment. Good women. May we know them, may we be them, may we raise them.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream

Gluten Free | Makes approximately 15 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 50 grams hazelnut meal
  • 45 grams buckwheat flour
  • 45 grams brown rice flour
  • 45 grams white rice flour
  • 1/2 cup (60 grams) cocoa powder
  • 1 cup (200 grams) caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water (not boiling, just warm from the tap)
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Line two 12-hole cupcake tins with papers for 15 cupcakes.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer) whisk together the hazelnut meal, buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, cocoa, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Whisk until very well mixed.
  3. Mix together warm water and instant coffee and add to the bowl along with the egg, rice bran oil, milk, and vanilla extract.
  4. Mix on medium until just combined, then increase speed to medium high and mix until smooth and glossy, about three minutes.
  5. Spoon batter into cupcake papers. Fill only to halfway full to avoid your cupcakes spilling over.
  6. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Rotate trays from top to bottom halfway through baking time.
  7. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.

Rosewater Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients

  • 150 grams butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar (gluten free)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon rosewater
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • Pinch of salt
  • Few drops of food colouring (optional)

Method

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer beat butter until pale and fluffy.
  2. Add remaining ingredients and beat until soft and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  3. Wait until cupcakes are completely cool before frosting and decorating as desired.

One-Bowl Chocolate Cupcakes with Rosewater Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Summer Eggplant and Tomato Bake | Gluten Free | Vegetarian

Eggplant and tomato are combined with a smoky, spicy tomato sauce and baked until tender and sweet. This is a celebration of the end of summer and the most beautiful bounty straight from the garden.

Eggplant and Tomato Bake | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeChris’s parents must have been surprised when he brought me home for dinner the first time – here was their omnivorous, bacon-loving son bringing home a hippy-dippy gluten free vegetarian. I know I was nervous, and mostly I was afraid of putting them out. When you are the ‘weird dietary needs girl’ you are always worried about causing people extra stress around meal times. But, Chris’s parents took it in their stride and cooked up a perfect dinner that everyone could enjoy. In the last two-plus years that Chris and I have been together we have enjoyed countless family dinners and every time Ruth (Chris’s mum) creates something new, exciting, and delicious to suit my funny tummy (as a trade I provide dessert offerings).

Eggplant and Tomato Bake | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeRuth makes the most beautiful crustless quiches and zucchini and rice bake, but last time she tried a new recipe and it was one of my favourites yet. She started with three fat shiny obsidian eggplants, then topped them with a variety of summer sweet tomatoes – some from her own garden – and a gorgeous olive oil, verjuice, and tomato-based sauce. We sipped some beautiful white wine and watched the sun set over the mountainside as the whole lot baked away in the oven. Just before it finished cooking Ruth sprinkled the dish with pine nuts and feta and slid it back in so the feta could soften and the nuts could toast.

Eggplant and Tomato Bake | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOn a cool, late summer night we sat on their deck with our wine and shared dishes of Ruth’s perfectly baked eggplant dish along with slices of grilled sweet potato (and steak for the omnivores). It was a wonderful moment in time, and since that dinner I haven’t been able to get that eggplant dish out of my mind. My twist on the dish is a little different to Ruth’s divine summer night creation. I have spiced mine with paprika and sumac to highlight the smokiness of the eggplant, and swapped almonds for pine nuts (you could use either). Time in the oven transforms eggplants from a spongy odd vegetable into a silken and soft wonder. When you pair eggplants with their best friends tomato and garlic, magic happens. This dish is the definition of a late summer evening for me.

Summer Eggplant and Tomato Bake is the best ingredient for your next relaxed evening at home. You chop the eggplant, layer it in your dish with tomatoes, red onions and a tomato sauce, and then let the oven do the rest. It makes a great light meal when paired with a green salad, or you could serve it with a scoop of herbed quinoa (try this one) for a heartier evening meal. If you are cooking for a crowd, you will love this dish because you can easily double or triple the recipe and it’s so easy to make. Sometimes the simplest things: perfectly in-season vegetables; a glass of wine on a summer night; and time with family are the most nourishing to mind, body and soul. Eggplant and Tomato Bake | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Summer Eggplant and Tomato Bake

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2 | Easily multiplied

Make it vegan: leave out feta from topping.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium eggplant
  • 2 small red onions
  • 1 punnet (250 grams / 1/2 pound) cherry/grape tomatoes
  • 1/3 cup tomato paste
  • 1/2 cup verjuice (or dry white wine)
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sumac
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 2 large cloves garlic, crushed
  • 60 grams Greek feta, crumbled
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, chopped
  • For serving: basil, side salad, or grains.

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Slice your eggplant into ~1cm (1/2 inch) slices. Peel red onions and chop into quarters.
  3. Whisk together tomato paste, verjuice (or wine), olive oil, balsamic vinegar, smoked paprika, sumac, oregano, and garlic.
  4. In a small baking dish (mine was about 10 inches by 7 inches) place one layer of eggplant slices, tuck half the onion quarters in the gaps and sprinkle over half the tomatoes. Spoon half the sauce over this layer.
  5. Repeat with remaining eggplant, onion, tomatoes and sauce.
  6. Bake for two hours, checking occasionally for burning. 10 minutes before you remove the dish from the oven sprinkle feta and chopped onions over the top.
  7. Remove from oven and serve with a few sprigs of basil and a green salad.

Eggplant and Tomato Bake | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis is my favourite time of the year indeed.

Also: My friend Matt from Bent on Better interviewed me for his podcast – and it went live today! Head on over to listen to me talking about what makes a Thoroughly Nourished Life.