Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | gluten free

Today we are exploring New York City and discovering all the tastes this vast city has to offer. While I’m out and about, enjoy these hearty vegetarian burgers!

Juicy, hearty, spicy vegetarian burgers full of flavour and topped with a cool and spicy sriracha sauce. Get out your buns and let’s get grilling!Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeVegetarian burgers don’t always get the best reviews. I don’t think I’ve ever eaten a commercially made vegetarian burger because they always just seem so lackluster and like they are trying to be meat. You aren’t meat, Miss Vego Burger, you are a vegetarian burger and you need to celebrate your uniqueness and embrace your true personality! Down with the burger patriarchy! Ahem.

When Yum. Gluten Free Magazine contacted me to contribute to their burger issue I jumped at the chance to create a vegetarian burger that could proudly stand on it’s own two feet and declare – yes, I am a vegetarian burger and I have a lot to offer the world of flavour! I attempted to Oprah the burger. Yes, Oprah can be used as a verb.Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe thing with meat is that it is layered and complex and contributes lots of umami flavours by virtue of the glutamine (an essential amino acid) found in muscle. Take away the muscle, and you need to add that umami back in, and bump up all the other flavours to create a whole vegetarian burger experience that doesn’t feel like second place. So, we are bringing soy sauce into the picture to contribute umami, cumin for a deep background flavour, and sriracha and chili flakes for top level heat (reduce/omit to tone down the spice).Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe body of these burgers is made up of black beans and quinoa. Black beans are sensationally hearty and make a wonderful base for a burger when coupled with quinoa. When you bite into my hearty, wholesome vegetarian burgers you get spicy, umami, hefty burger, creamy avocado, and spicy cool sriracha yoghurt. Every bite is full of flavour. There’s nothing weak, wimpy, or second place about these vegetarian burgers. Stand in your truth Miss Vego Burger and embrace your natural beauty. Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Makes 4, easily multiplied

Preparation Time: 45 minutes Cooking Time: 20 minutes

Tip: If you don’t want these burgers to be quite as spicy you can leave out the sriracha and the red chili.


  • ¾ cup quinoa
  • 1 ½ cups vegetable stock
  • 1 cup black beans (approximately 400gram tin)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon gluten free soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced
  • ½ red chilli, finely diced
  • ¼ cup coriander leaves
  • 1/3 cup quinoa flakes

To serve:

  • 1 small avocado
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice
  • ½ cup Greek yoghurt
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha (plus extra to serve)
  • 4 gluten free hamburger buns
  • Lettuce leaves


  1. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium size saucepan. Cover and bring to the boil. Allow quinoa to boil for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain thoroughly, and allow to cool to room temperature.
  2. Drain tinned black beans and rinse. Place some paper towels on a rimmed baking sheet and spread beans out to drain completely.
  3. Preheat oven to 180C (350F) and line a rimmed baking sheet with baking paper.
  4. Place one cup cooled quinoa and half the drained black beans in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse until a chunky paste starts to form.
  5. Place paste into a bowl and add cumin soy sauce, sriracha, pepper, egg, onion, chilli, coriander, quinoa, and remaining beans and quinoa and mix thoroughly to combine.
  6. Form batter into four patties and press down slightly to flatten.
  7. Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes. Then turn patties over and bake for a further 15 minutes.
  8. Mash avocado with a little salt and pepper and lime juice.
  9. Mix sriracha with Greek yoghurt.
  10. To assemble: slice buns and place lettuce on each. Top with a spicy black bean burger, a dollop of mashed avocado and a serving of sriracha yoghurt.

Spicy Black Bean Burgers with Sriracha Sauce | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | 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.


  • 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.


  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.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free

Sweet roasted cherry tomato sauce spiked with balsamic and a respectful chunk of garlic pairs with light and lovely summertime fresh basil quinoa in a bowl that makes all your summer dinner dreams come true. When summer is throwing her best vegetables and herbs at you in glorious, peak-of-the-season glory you need to heed her call.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have to tell you, I’m really looking forward to moving into our new house. At the moment all we can do is stand at the builder’s fencing and stare through the holes someone has torn into the shade cloth at our little two bedroom townhouse, so close, so close and yet so far. We don’t move into our home until July. July people. But already I am weaving fantasies about the oh so wonderful things we shall do when we move in. Oh the dinner parties we shall throw; the games nights to be had; the tiny, tiny vegetable patch that I am already plotting in my brain (featuring basil and tomatoes of course).

Most of all I am looking forward to my our new kitchen. My Our new kitchen and dining room where we will be able to sit and have dinner together every night. We have an awkward furniture arrangement at the moment which means I sit on the bed and Chris sits at his computer desk. Not ideal.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIn our new home we will have a proper dining room table right near the kitchen and I will actually feel inspired to cook more meals like this during the week rather than just on the weekend. Right now Chris and I survive on ‘chuck all the veggies in a pot and add a slab of protein for him and some canned beans for her’ during the week- it’s keeping us healthy and fed, but it’s not really exciting. Only on the weekends do I take the time to make magical delicious meals like this, which for the record only takes about 40 minutes from chopping board to plate. But after a very long commute to work every day I’m just a little worn out during the week at the moment. Our new house also happens to be only 15 minutes away from work – oh yeah I’m a lucky lady.

I can see this becoming a weeknight staple in our new home. It really is so simple, and the most time consuming part of the recipe is waiting for the tomatoes to roast and the quinoa to boil. That leaves you approximately 20 minutes to get everything else prepared and call your special someone to set the table.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeIn the oven the summer sugars stored in the cherry tomatoes blister into sweetness, and a dash of balsamic vinegar coaxes the juices into a sweet and slightly sour sticky sauce (try saying that three times fast). After your tomatoes have split open and softened in the heat they make their way to the stove top where they are paired with sauteed onions and garlic, a touch of dried oregano and red chili flakes, some tomato paste and chickpeas, and another dash of vinegar. Remember to add every precious drop of juice from the baking pan – this is where the flavour lives! Everything melts into tomato and balsamic caramel around the chickpeas. When your quinoa is cooked you chop a generous handful of fresh basil and stir it through the cooked grains along with a squeeze of lemon juice. I topped mine with black olives, but you could go with a sprinkle of feta instead. This is summertime freshness in a bowl.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeRoasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2-3 | Time: 40-45 minutes

Note: if you do not like your food spicy, you can leave out the dried chili flakes.


  • 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 500 grams (1 pound /2 punnets) cherry tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, divided
  • 1/2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, diced
  • 2 fat cloves garlic (or 4 skinny ones), crushed
  • 1 cup chickpeas (400 gram tin, drained and rinsed)
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 cup (packed) fresh basil leaves
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped olives (optional), to serve


  1. Before starting the quinoa, preheat your oven to 200C (400F).
  2. Place quinoa and vegetable stock in a medium sized saucepan with a tight-fitting lid. Place on stove over a medium-high heat and bring to the boil. Once the stock is boiling, reduce the heat to a simmer, and put the lid on the saucepan. Cook, without stirring, for 20 minutes. Then, remove from the heat and leave for 5 minutes before fluffing the grains with a fork.
  3. While your quinoa is cooking, line a baking sheet with aluminium foil. Place cherry tomatoes on the baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and 1 tablespoon of balsamic vinegar. Bake your cherry tomatoes in the pre-heated oven for 20-25 minutes or until most of the tomatoes have burst and softened.
  4. After your tomatoes are cooked, place a medium frying pan/skillet over a medium heat. Warm olive oil and saute onion and garlic until onion is translucent.
  5. Add remaining balsamic vinegar, chickpeas, tomato paste, oregano, and chili flakes. Stir until combined and then add roasted tomatoes and the juices that have collected on the pan. Stir until combined. Cook until bubbling.
  6. While the stew is warming on the stove roughly dice the basil leaves and stir them through the cooked quinoa along with the lemon juice.
  7. To serve: divide quinoa between serving bowls and then divide tomato stew between bowls. Top with olives if using.

Roasted Tomato and Chickpea Stew with Basil Quinoa | Vegan | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCome to think of it, that wasn’t too hard at all! So, dear reader, would you like to come to dinner?

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free

Sweet cinnamon and brown sugar crumble tops sweet roasted baked fruit inside an almond pastry shell. This is a celebration of the height of summer, and the coming autumn, in the combination of sweet late summer peaches and tart early season apples. I love this crumble topped pie because it means you get the best of both worlds: no need to choose between my favourite summer desserts when they are combined into one delicious dish.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe story of this pie is the story of a happy Sunday. The story of a Sunday that started with a sleep in and a quiet breakfast in the light of my kitchen. I slowly chopped peaches and apples, sweetened them with a touch of brown sugar and tumbled them into an almond crust I had prepared the night before. The extra chilling time for the pastry rendered it superiorly flaky and shortbread textured. I crowned my pie with an oat, brown sugar, and cinnamon kissed crumble and then watched it bubble and brown in the oven before Chris and I headed to lunch.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWe sat on the verandah with our friends that have become family, and my family, and ate, drank and laughed long into the afternoon. The feast was not just the food lovingly prepared and shared by all, but the love around the table. You could taste the sweetness of affection long-held, ripened into honey like a late summer peach.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe laughter never stopped, the conversations tumbled on top of one another, and there may have been a minor lychee seed fight between two members at the table (I’m looking at you Jess and Matt…). I sat back with my slice of pie, and looked around the table and felt in my heart, in my heart that never stops racing forward to the next moment, that I had found peace and love in a golden afternoon. Love is sweeter than any pie.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeMy Peach Apple Crumble Pie features a crust very similar to my Linzer Torte crust, but here the tart shell is filled with ripe peaches and an apple and topped with an oat and cinnamon crumble. The shell of the pie is flaky, not too sweet, and spiced with vanilla and cinnamon. The addition of two eggs to this pastry makes it extra rich and helps the gluten free crust to bind and have a flaky rather than crumbly texture. The filling is the simplest part of the pie, merely fruit, brown sugar, and cornflour to help fruit juices released during baking to thicken into a sweet peach and apple sauce. The crumble topping features oats, and more cinnamon and brown sugar. Oh my, I want this crumble on top of everything now! I had to stop myself from eating all of it before it even made it to the top of the pie!

Each bite of pie brings you to sweet peach and spiced crumble pastry heaven. Like mixing your favourite oat and almond cookie with the sweetest summer peach jam. This is the pie you serve to your loved ones with a jug of cream on a bright summer afternoon when all you feel is love and contentment.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Peach Apple Crumble Pie

Gluten Free | Serves 8-10 (makes 1 10-inch pie)

Notes: Use very ripe peaches so that your filling will be naturally sweet. You can increase the brown sugar in the filling if your peaches aren’t as sweet as you would like.

Serving suggestion: ice cream, cream, creme fraiche, or Greek yoghurt would go very well with this late summer pie.


For the pastry

  • 85 grams brown rice flour
  • 90 grams white rice flour, plus extra for rolling out dough
  • 125 grams butter, frozen
  • 120 grams almond meal
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs

For the crumble

  • 40 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour
  • 20 grams gluten free cornflour
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup gluten free oats
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 60 grams butter, melted

For the filling

  • 1 kilogram (2 pounds) ripe peaches (about 5 large)
  • 1 tart apple (Granny Smith or similar)
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons gluten free cornflour


  1. Grease a 25 cm (10-inch) removable base tart pan well and line the bottom with baking paper.
  2. Sift together brown rice flour and white rice flour.
  3. Using a box grater, grate frozen butter into sifted flours. Stir gently with a fork and then rub butter into flours until large pea-sized chunks of butter remain.
  4. Add almond meal, caster sugar, and cinnamon to butter and flour mixture. Gently stir with a fork to combine.
  5. Beat together vanilla extract and eggs and add to bowl. Mix until the dough starts to come together into a large ball.
  6. Sprinkle a large piece of baking paper with rice flour. Place dough onto baking paper. Place another piece of baking paper on top. Use a rolling pin to roll out to a circle about 35 cm (12-inch) diameter and 0.5-.0.7 mm (~ 1/4 inch) thick.
  7. Transfer dough to tart pan and gently lift and press into tart pan. If you experience any tears, just patch them with the dough that overhangs the sides. Trim the sides to be level with the top of the tart pan. Place pie base in refrigerator for an hour or overnight.
  8. Preheat oven to 180C (350F).
  9. Make the crumble. Mix together brown rice flour, white rice flour, cornflour, brown sugar, oats, and cinnamon.
  10. In a small bowl melt the butter in the microwave. Heat in 10 second bursts until melted. Stir into your dry ingredients until well incorporated. Set aside crumble until required.
  11. Prepare the filling. Halve peaches and remove stone. Then chop into 1.5cm (1/2 inch) squares. Halve apple and remove core and dice to similar size. Place fruit in a large bowl. Sprinkle brown sugar and cornflour over fruit and stir gently until well coated.
  12. Remove pie base from the refrigerator. Tumble fruit into the bottom and spread out into an even layer.
  13. Sprinkle crumble evenly over the top of the fruit.
  14. Place pie in the pre-heated oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until the fruit filling is bubbling and the crumble is golden.
  15. Remove and allow to stand for a half hour before serving.

Peach Apple Crumble Pie | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free

Sweet seasonal cherries are baked beneath a cardamom and ginger scented cake and then flipped over to magical effect. This upside down cake makes the most of summer produce – generous slices would be perfect for a Christmas Eve breakfast or as a dessert to share at your next festive get together.

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life ‘Tis the season for glorious stone fruit; heaping piles of jewelled offerings on display at the farmers markets, roadside stalls, and produce aisles. Peaches soft as baby skin, nectarines brightly painted like parrots, tiny apricots as small as the top of my thumb, and there, shining like dark rubies, the sweetest of cherries.

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have been eating these sweet seasonal beauties by the handful, plucked out of the fridge after a gym session, stolen bunches while I’m making dinner, and long lazy afternoon reading sessions with an abundant bowl beside me that soon becomes nothing but stalks and pits. I have never cooked with cherries before, but they are a festive food in our household. My grandmother makes a Danish dessert for Christmas some years called risalamande, which is essentially an almond flavoured rice pudding dish served with hot cherry sauce. I was never a fan as a child, but when I kept eating handfuls of cherries this season, these memories inspired me to try a baked good to celebrate their passing seasonal presence.

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life I combined memories of sweet cherries, with the spices that you know I love oh so much, and baked them into a fluffy cake bottomed topped with jammy baked cherries. We enjoyed thick slices for breakfast at the markets on Saturday, and I continued snacking on it all weekend until there were only crumbs left – thank goodness there were some runs to break up the cake!

I think this cake would make the perfect breakfast on Christmas Eve, or even a dessert (with a scoop of vanilla ice cream of course) for a family Christmas dinner.

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeA note on pitting cherries. My Mum has an awesome cherry pitting tool (also useful for olives I believe) however, in my current kitchen the options were limited. I found this method using a metal piping tip from Chatelaine that very easy, and while not all of my cherries made it through intact, they were tightly squished together in the base of the pan so it didn’t matter too much, any that were a little too damaged for the cake were a tasty baker’s reward.

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cherry Upside Down Cake

Gluten Free | Serves 8-12 | Leftovers will keep well wrapped in the refrigerator for up to three days.


  • 500 grams (1 pound) cherries, pitted
  • 100 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom
  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  • 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup milk


  1. Preheat oven to 180C (350F). Butter the sides and bottom of a 9-inch (22.5cm) round cake tin and line bottom with baking paper.
  2. Place pitted cherries in the bottom of the tin in a single layer. Set aside
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, and cardamom.
  4. In a large mixing bowl using handheld beaters, or in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, sugar, maple syrup and extracts until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and beat until incorporated.
  6. Turn the mixing speed to low add half the dry ingredients, beating until just mixed. Add milk and beat well – mixture may look curdled, don’t worry this is normal. Add remaining dry ingredients.
  7. Spoon batter over cherries in prepared tin and smooth the top.
  8. Give the tin two small taps on the counter to get rid of air bubbles around the fruit.
  9. Bake for 45-55 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Allow to cool for 15 minutes in the tin. To serve, place a plate on top of the cake tin, and carefully invert the cake so that the tin is on top and the plate is on the bottom. The cake should slide easily out and onto the plate. Remove baking paper from the top and serve.

Cherry Upside Down Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life


Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten Free

Crisp shredded summer vegetables come together with a spicy-creamy dressing in this fresh summer salad that is the perfect side for any of your summer meals.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeSummer has firmly established its humid grasp on Brisbane and our appetites are changing in response to the longer days and warmer nights. When people in Australia talk about the weather, we aren’t just being polite and passing time. The weather here is a living, breathing entity unto itself. An afternoon thunderstorm can bloom in a clear blue sky and bring a city to its knees; the streets become canals and suburbs become islands. A long, clear stretch of blue skies and hot days with no relief cracks the land and drives stoic farmers to tears. Here in the land down under we are in tune with the weather because this wide, red land demands that we are.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeI try to live in tune to the seasons, try to tailor what we eat to how our appetites respond to the weather outside. Our thunderstorm last week heralded the beginning of our summer season. The days have been reaching for higher and higher temperatures and come nightfall we aren’t craving our usual weekly rotation of pasta, rice, and mashed potatoes. Our bodies are ready for bright summer vegetables in large quantities, we are ready for clean spicy flavours and the crunch of freshness.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeIt’s time to bring out bright, brash, bountiful salads to pair with Chris’s fish and my chickpeas and this one delivers on flavour, crunch, and substance – and it’s midweek-after-work-easy too! All things that are a must have for summer sides in our house. First you shred some carrot and zucchini (super easy with a julienne peeler), add some finely sliced capsicum and green onion, toss through roughly chopped coriander (or Thai basil if you aren’t a coriander fan – Mum…) and then anoint each portion with the spicy red onion, lime juice,and coconut milk dressing. A perfect combination of flavours, heat and spice, cool and crunchy for the stormy summer ahead.

If you are cooking for younger, or more delicate tummies you can reduce the red curry paste or just use a sprinkling of curry powder instead. If you want to make this ahead simply leave the salad and dressing separate until serving. This vegan, gluten free, clean salad is perfect for every member of the family (and bikini friendly too, ahem) and will be on high rotation in the Thoroughly Nourished house all summer long.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten FreeShredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing

Serves 2 generously, easily multiplied | Gluten Free | Vegan

Note: I served my vegetarian portion with some chickpeas and extra macadamia nuts, while Chris suggests some panko crusted baked chicken breast.
Also, note: this recipe makes a large quantity of dressing. If you do not use the whole amount (we certainly didn’t) it will last up to four days in an airtight container in the fridge. It also makes an excellent marinade for chicken breasts.


  • 2 medium carrots
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 1/2 medium red capsicum
  • 2 stalks green (spring) onion
  • 1/2 bunch fresh coriander
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • Juice of 1 lime
  • 1 large garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons chopped macadamia nuts


  1. Julienne (or very thinly slice) carrots and zucchini and place in a large bowl.
  2. Thinly slice red capsicum and green onions and add to bowl.
  3. Roughly chop coriander and add to vegetables. With clean hands (or salad servers) toss everything until well mixed.
  4. To make dressing: whisk together light coconut milk, lime juice, crushed garlic, and red curry paste.
  5. Pour desired amount of dressing (see note) over salad and sprinkle with macadamia nuts. Serve immediately.

Shredded Vegetable Salad with Red Curry Coconut Dressing | Vegan | Gluten Free

Do you try to keep your eating in line with the seasons? What is your body craving right now? I think mine might be a little confused by all the wonderful treats my Northern Hemisphere friends keep making because I am craving peppermint after seeing this post today!

Don’t forget Thoroughly Nourished Life has a home on Facebook now! Come and join me to talk about all sorts of yummy and inspiring things from all over this wide web world of ours.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Gluten Free

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Last week at work I got the news that I am going to be working in one of our other teams for the next two and a bit weeks. The work I am going to be doing isn’t particularly hard, but it requires more focus than my usual position, and is great practical experience in things I only studied on a theoretical basis in my post-graduate study. Naturally, I am nervous as all hell.

I know this weakness in myself. When faced with a shift in focus, a challenge that I know in my logical mind that I am perfectly capable of achieving, my not-so-logical mind takes over and pumps up the anxiety levels.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I wish I could approach work challenges and changes the way I approach challenges in the kitchen: work out the science, be methodical in the creating, put all my heart and soul into it, and see how it goes. Lose or win I have tried my best and (most of the time) the results are yummy, or I learn from the experience and take those lessons into my next attempt.

What I’m saying is, I wish my work-life could be more like pie. Pastry has never been my strong suit, and gluten free pastry has been on the list of challenges that I have yet to attempt with gusto. But, on the weekend, I strapped on my big-girl panties apron, got out my frozen butter, various flours, and got my hands dirty experimenting with a basic press-in pie crust. This summer is going to be the Great Pie Experiment summer, which is going to mean lots of challenges, a few failures, lots of learning, and some leaps of faith. )Also a lot of running and lifting of weights.)

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis tart crust is the best to start with if you are either: a) new to cooking pies and tarts (like moi), b) new to cooking gluten free, or c) afraid of cooking things that fall into category  a) or b). There is no kneading, rolling, lifting, cutting or any such tricky thing involved in this savoury tart. You simply make up the crust, allow it to chill for a while, then press the crumbs evenly into a lined and oiled tart pan. It’s just like making shortbread.

The trickiest thing is getting your crust even along the bottom and the sides, and if you make a few mistakes there, no one will know because we load the center of the tart with fresh summer tomatoes, herbs, and fresh mozzarella cheese. If someone does notice, tell them it’s a rustic summer tart. ‘Rustic’ forgives all inconsistencies.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAfter some time in the oven, the tomatoes will have deepened and sweetened their natural flavour, and the bright soft baby mozzarella will have melted into cheesy pockets. Trust me, you want cheesy pockets in your life. The reward vs. output for this gluten free savoury tart is high. This is a challenge you can win.

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSummer Tomato and Herb Tart

Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Serves 4 -6 as a light meal

Note: If you do not require this to be gluten free, just use 140 grams (about 1 cup) of plain flour in place of the first four ingredients.
Note: Xanthan gum is available in supermarkets and health food stores. It helps with the elasticity of the dough.


  • 35 grams sorghum flour
  • 35 grams brown rice flour
  • 35 grams white rice flour
  • 35 grams buckwheat flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
  • 50 grams butter, frozen
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons ice-cold water
  • 275 grams (about 8 small) roma tomatoes, halved
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped oregano
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
  • 100 grams mini bocconcini (or firm fresh mozzarella)


  1. Measure your flours and xanthan gum into a medium bowl. Whisk until well combined.
  2. Use a box grater to grate your frozen butter into your flour. This is the best way to get small pieces of butter into your dough. Gently ‘rub’ your butter into the flour until it looks like a course meal. You can use your hands or a pastry cutter to do this.
  3. Add salt and pepper and lightly mix to distribute.
  4. Measure in 3 tablespoons of iced water and stir until the dough starts to come together.
  5. Tip crumbly dough onto a large piece of plastic wrap. Do not bother trying to knead it all together. Wrap tightly and press into a flat disc. Chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  6. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  7. Oil the bottom and side well of a 7-inch (18 cm) removable bottom tart tin, and line the bottom with baking paper.
  8. Remove chilled dough from the refrigerator, tip into the bottom of the tart tin and press dough even around the bottom and up the sides of the tin.
  9. Bake for 5-10 minutes or until the bottom looks dry but is still pale.
  10. Slice tomatoes in half and place in partially baked tart shell cut side up. Sprinkle with chopped herbs and dot the mozzarella between the tomatoes.
  11. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the tomatoes have started to blister and the mozzarella is melted.
  12. Remove from oven, allow to cool slightly before cutting and serving with a large green salad.

Okay dear readers, who is ready for this challenge? What should my next pastry experiment be?

Summer Tomato and Herb Tart | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Summer Bucket List 2013

Have you been thinking about the summer holidays, or is it just me? Perhaps you are lucky like I am and you have three weeks off over Christmas and the New Year and you just want to spend the whole time revelling in the awesomeness that is these long warm days and cool starlit nights. Perhaps you aren’t that lucky, in which case I am sorry for my holiday brag.

While trapped in my air-conditioned cubicle I have been dreaming about the ways I will fill the summer weekends and my longer holiday. These are the things that keep you going when spreadsheets and reporting formats have started to haunt your dreams.

Now I present my Summer Bucket List for this year. I think it’s achievable. These are my dreams for summer and sometimes they don’t work out, but here at the hot sand edge of the season I can dream about making my bucket list come true. I will keep you all updated on my progress, perhaps you have suggestions for me?

Tell me, dear readers, what is on your summer list this year? Or winter, if you are visiting Thoroughly Nourished Life from the northern hemisphere?

Summer 2013 Bucket List

Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Twenty-Eight

I have been looking forward to this weekend at the beach since Chris and I first started daydreaming about it a few months ago. Now I am back in my armchair at home with the ceiling fans on high circulating the warm dry summer air around while I reflect on how grateful I am for the weekend and week just passed. The beginning of the week was a little challenging as we moved offices and had a large important meeting, but I was grateful for the support of my family and Chris.

Monday: We had no computers or internet connection today, so we spent the day on an excursion, and shopping for stationery. Then Chris, Nanny, and I had a delicious pasta dinner and Chris and I watched the final episode of Breaking Bad. So grateful for curling up and relaxing with my darling.


Tuesday: Move-in day at our new premises and I spent the day running around. I was grateful for a short hard run at the gym on the way home to release my tension. I was also super grateful for my co-worker treating me to a coffee break during our crazy run around the shops.

Wednesday: After a massive day at work I came home to my wonderful family and Chris, and I had the biggest fit of giggles I have had in a long time. The stream of bubbling laughter could have been the result of a long day locked in a meeting room that reeked of fresh paint, it could have been pure relief, or it could have been because I had just started serenading Chris and my mother with my very own lyrics in a high-pitched falsetto. Nevertheless I found myself laughing in a way that clutched at my belly, and I felt the ripples of mirth from the inside out. So grateful for a belly laugh.


Thursday: Grateful for having an amazing run through the suburbs as the sun went down. There are some beautiful gardens along my route and one lady’s rose garden was in full bloom. So beautiful in the rays of the setting sun. Also grateful for a delicious dinner too.

Friday: Grateful for a wonderful after-work drive up the coast with my darling. As the miles ticked over counting our exit from stress and the city I breathed easier. So excited to spend the long weekend with Chris in one of my favourite places in Australia.


Saturday: Woke up in the summer sunshine after deep dreamless sleep curled up in Chris’s arms. I had a long morning walk along the beach before Chris and I had a lazy lunch at a new favourite cafe (Via Italia) on the Mooloolaba Esplanade and an afternoon drive doing some fantasy real estate shopping. I am so grateful for this man and all the golden moments he brings to my life.


Sunday: Another bright morning walk, and then lunch with Chris’s family for Grandma’s birthday. I stood barefoot in the prickly grass feasting on ripe watermelon feeling my heart spill over that I am fortunate enough to be part of his life.

Monday: Oh, Monday. Why can’t you always include a sleep-in, hours spent baking in the kitchen, and Lindt dark chocolate with mint? Oh, Monday, this public holiday Monday, I am so grateful for your precious 24-hours of relaxation and camping on the couch to watch the entire season of ‘Upper Middle Bogan‘ with Mum.

And that was my busy and blessed week. I would also like to take a moment to thank all of you who read my blog. Every day I am conscious of the gifts in my life because I want to share them with you all. I am kept accountable to my gratitude practice because of my wonderful readers. Thank you to you all for reading, and especially for sharing your special moments with me.

So, dear reader, what are you grateful for this week?

Nourished Life Gratitude List Week Twenty-Seven

I am loving this spring weather! Running outside is even more pleasurable (except when magpies attack), there is still some afternoon sunshine left when I get home, and the weekends are endless stretches of blue sky days and cool evenings. I love watching the people wake up as spring takes hold of the earth.

Monday: Started working on my summer muscles with a Jillian Michaels session this morning. Even though I spent the day copying and pasting (yes, all nine hours of the day) my day had a sweet ending with two leftover sandwich cookies, some baking for work, my new read, and snuggles from Chris when he got home.

Tuesday: Today was a long one at work. I am so grateful for Mum and Dad making me laugh when I got home from the gym, and for being able to relax with a glass of lemonade while watching Poirot. Oh, and I ate the last cookie. I needed it.


Wednesday: I made myself some delicious dinner, and then got to share dinner table talk with my little sister! Jess joined us for dinner again and it was a mid-week happiness boost.

Thursday: The office was a hive of activity today as we all packed our desks in preparation for our big move (!) and after work I had a baking job that was made even sweeter with the company of Chris at our dinner table.

Friday: Today was exciting – I finally got a tour of all the company’s facilities (and geeked out over some science-y filtration ideas). Then I came home and relaxed into the weekend with a sunset run. A great way to wind down and welcome Friday night.

Mama at the markets

Mama at the markets

Saturday: I slept in. Then I marketed. Good morning? Check. Then spent the middle of the day “testing” butter cream for my little sister’s cake creation and watching ‘By the Light of the Silvery Moon’ with my grandmother. Good middle of the day? Check. In the evening, I collected my darling Chris and we met the family to watch Brisbane’s annual fireworks celebration Riverfire from a very privileged vantage point. Great evening? Check. Aware of my blessed life? Check.

Brisbane, you are looking lovely

Brisbane, you are looking gorgeous

Me and my lovely.

Me and my lovely.

Sunday: Grateful to catch up with a dear friend for a walk along the waterfront this morning and meet her gorgeous new puppy Ellie. I spent the rest of the day in the company of my extended family celebrating my cousin’s Sweet 16! I felt simultaneously ancient (I was there when she was born) and amazed to know such a gorgeous young lady.

Those lights, that bridge.

Those lights, that bridge.

I watched the fireworks light up the sky on Saturday night and burn away the darkness leftover from winter. Riverfire is a celebration of our city, but for me it was a celebration of how much brightness there is in my life, and how the winter days are brightened by the spark and flame of the love and laughter that can be found every day if only we remember to seek it. If we remember to nourish our life with the light, the darkness stands no chance against its power.

Baby, you're a firework!

Baby, you’re a firework!