Rum and Raisin Brownies with Brown Sugar Rum Frosting | gluten free

Rum is the rebels drink. I like to think of these as the rebel’s brownies. Rum and raisin taken out of the chocolate wrapper and baked into chewy, rum-soaked raisin and bittersweet chocolate gluten free brownies, and then there’s the brown sugar and rum frosting. Yo ho ho.Rum and Raisin Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeDear Mum,

I think we’ve had a good run of non-rebelliousness these past few decades. I didn’t steal your car keys or money from your wallet. I was a teenager who enjoyed showering and personal hygiene. I didn’t get so much as my ears pierced until I was 24. But my sweet Mama, times they are a-changing because today I’m rebelling against one of your strictest rules: no dried fruit in chocolate baked goods. I know this might see me written out of the will, but you have to believe me: it’s worth it.Rum and Raisin Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Rum and Raisin Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeYou see the raisins are plumped up in a bit of vanilla rum and then folded into midnight chocolate brownie batter. They bake up chewy and moist. Each bite is punctuated by sweet rum-soaked raisins and bittersweet chocolate chunks. And then, because you always taught me that more is more when it comes to desserts, these chewy, rummy brownies are frosted with brown sugar rum frosting. Mother dearest, this frosting is everything. It’s rum-enhanced evenings under Caribbean skies, dark midnight snacks by the refrigerator light, all the merriest of moments in one fluffy brown sugar mouthful. These are pirate trap brownies, desert island cookie jar brownies, totally over-the-top Friday night brownie-instead-of-a-cocktail brownies. I hope you can see it in your heart to forgive me some day. Until then, I will be sitting in the corner with a chocolate stained smile and rum-sticky fingers.

Love, your oldest daughter.Rum and Raisin Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeDear Dad,

I got your back. Eat these in the shed and don’t share with Molly.

Love, your oldest ratbag.Rum and Raisin Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Rum and Raisin Brownies with Brown Sugar Rum Frosting

Gluten Free | Makes 16 pirate-sized brownies | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days


  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tablespoons vanilla rum (Sailor Jerry is our household favourite)
  • 35 grams white rice flour
  • 40 grams buckwheat flour
  • 3o grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 150 grams good quality dark chocolate, chopped
  • 150 grams butter, chopped
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) caster sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup  chocolate chips (milk or dark)

For the frosting

  • 100 grams butter, softened
  • 50 grams (1/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla rum
  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line an 8-inch (20cm) square tin with baking paper.
  2. Place raisins in a small bowl and pour over rum. Allow to sit while you prepare the brownie batter.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together white rice flour, buckwheat flour, and cocoa powder.
  4. Place chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl and heat in 30 second blasts, whisking well in between blasts, until chocolate and butter are melted and smooth (mine only took 1 minute total, but it will differ depending on your microwave). Allow to cool slightly.
  5. Whisk eggs lightly and add to the chocolate mixture along with caster sugar, vanilla extract and whisked dry ingredients. Stir until smooth.
  6. Add raisins and any leftover soaking liquid and chocolate chips and mix until distributed.
  7. Pour batter into prepared baking tin and bake in preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes back with only a few moist crumbs clinging to it.
  8. Allow brownies to cool completely before frosting.
  9. To make the frosting place all ingredients into the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (you can use a large bowl and a handheld mixer instead) and beat until light and fluffy. Smooth frosting over the cooled brownies, cut and serve.

Rum and Raisin Brownies | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | gluten free | vegan

You need to make these tonight. Spicy peanut sauce coats zucchini noodles stuffed inside sweet roasted capsicums for a vegan, gluten free dinner that tastes sinful, but is secretly healthy – and super easy!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love peanut sauce dishes. You can just put another notch in the ‘Things Amy loves that contain Peanuts’ list that I’m sure everyone is keeping. Basically the list reads: everything. If there is a way to add peanut butter to a dish I will find it. This dish is no exception. The peanut sauce that coats the zucchini noodles is everything a peanut sauce should be: deeply peanutty with a hint of sweetness, a dash of astringency, and a good dose of spice. I have so many memories of a peanut satay sauce that my sister and I were both in love with during high school. I don’t think either Mum or Dad were particularly fond of it, but they let us ride out our teenage cravings. Plus, they were getting dinner cooked for them, so I guess that was a win on their behalf 😉Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFast forward to today and I’d much rather create my own sauces than get them from a bottle – it’s all about customisation, and avoiding any unnecessary additives, right? And making your own spicy peanut sauce is easier than getting the ‘safety plastic’ off a shop bought bottle. Anyone else unable to get that stuff off? Just me? Moving on.

These roasted capsicums are fancy enough to serve to company, but easy enough for everyday, and while the peanut sauce is decadent, they are actually quite healthy! Rather than using noodles I made zucchini ‘noodles’ and coated them in the peanut butter sauce then stuffed them inside the roasted capsicums. Result: delicious and healthy.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe spicy, savoury peanut sauce coated noodles are a great contrast to the sweet roasted capsicums. And the capsicums act as perfect containment for every single drip of peanut sauce. You can’t let that deliciousness escape!Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis dish comes together in six simple steps:

  1. Cut capsicums in half and remove seeds.
  2. Bake.
  3. Prepare noodles and sauce and mix.
  4. Stuff capsicums.
  5. Bake again.
  6. Serve.

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeFor those six simple steps you are rewarded with layers of flavour in every single bite. To take this to the next level I couldn’t help but garnish it with extra salted peanuts and some chopped spring onions for a little extra crunch. Every bite is a mouthful of molten sweet roasted capsicum, spicy peanut sauce soaked zucchini noodles, crispy spring onions and salty-crunchy peanuts. It’s everything a Wednesday night needs without being so heavy you want to hibernate for the rest of the week. Bonus: your kitchen will smell like the best Asian restaurant in town as these flavours mingle in the oven.Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Spicy Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums

Gluten free | Vegan | Serves 2 as a main or 4 as a light meal or appetiser | Preparation time: 20 minutes | Cooking time: 40 minutes


  • 2 medium size red capsicums (bell peppers)
  • 1 large zucchini (or 2 medium)
  • 1 clove of garlic
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons crunchy peanut butter
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Sprinkle of chili flakes (optional)
  • 1/3 cup roasted salted peanuts
  • 1 spring onion, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F).
  2. Cut your capsicums in half and remove the core and seeds. I like to leave the little green tops because I think they look cute.
  3. Place capsicum halves cut side down in an ovenproof baking dish. Mine was about 6 x 8 inches.
  4. Bake capsicums for 20 minutes and then remove from the oven.
  5. While the capsicums are baking, prepare your filling.
  6. Using a vegetable spiraliser or a julienne peeler create long thin ‘noodles’ from your zucchini.
  7. Crush garlic into a medium mixing bowl and whisk together with peanut butter, lime juice, brown sugar, grated ginger, and chili flakes.
  8. Toss zucchini ‘noodles’ with peanut sauce gently but thoroughly until they are coated in the mixture.
  9. Pile zucchini into capsicum halves. Spoon any extra sauce over the noodles.
  10. Bake for a further 20 minutes or until the tops of the noodles are golden.
  11. Remove capsicums from oven. Toss together salted peanuts and spring onions and top the capsicum halves.
  12. Serve with a green salad and enjoy!

Peanut Zucchini Noodle Stuffed Roasted Capsicums | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mexican Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake | gluten free

Bittersweet with a hint of spice this dark Mexican chocolate cake is topped with clouds of sweet, chocolate-ribboned meringue. An impressive gluten free cake that is simple to make that awakens every dark chocolate dream you’ve had.Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI love chocolate paired with spice. One of my favourite chocolate memories (everyone has those, right?) is lying on a bunk bed in a tiny little hostel room in New York with my best friend Casey talking about our adventures of the day while we devoured the (then) newly released Lindt Chocolate with Chili. That trip to New York was the first time I was really awakened to the thought of pairing chocolate with all sorts of spices, and how each spiced creation can be greater than the sum of its parts. We sampled chocolate with chili, divine milk and white chocolates spiked with cardamom, and seashell chocolate sprinkled with cinnamon. A whole new world was opened up to me.Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeWhen Casey threw a Mexican themed family dinner a few weekends ago, I knew it was the perfect time to create a spicy, sweet chocolate treat. The bottom of this cake is a fudgy chocolate cake with a hearty dose of hazelnut meal for texture. An otherwise beautifully dense chocolate cake it is made unique with a sprinkling of cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Enough cinnamon so that it both complements the dark chocolate, but also so that it stands out as a key ingredient. I added just a touch of cayenne pepper so that I could taste a mild sparkling of heat – this is still dessert after all! You could leave the cayenne out entirely for a milder spiced treat.

Just look at those chocolate peaks. Yum. Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeAlthough this cake looks very complicated, and it will certainly impress your eating audience it is very simple to make. There are two main parts to the cake and each is quite easy. Once again this sweet and sinful treat is greater than the sum of its parts. The bottom layer is an easy melt and mix chocolate cake. Super simple. Once your chocolate cake is baked and cooled slightly you make an easy meringue topping with melted chocolate folded through and then gently plop it on top and slide the cake bake into the oven to crisp up the meringue a little. Simple, but truly delicious and inspired.

The meringue is crispy sweet on top, and beneath the crackly surface it is fluffy, sticky and sweet and slightly under-baked with pockets of melted dark chocolate.Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis is the cake you make when you want people to realise that gluten free baking is just as delicious and exciting as gluten-full baking. This is the dessert you make when you want to impress and treat your dinner guests, workmates, or beloved to something special. I can imagine this would make a delightful birthday cake with a large scoop of vanilla or cinnamon ice cream, or just some simple whipped cream. Or, eaten out of the container when you come home a little tipsy from too much sangria at your friend’s Mexican-themed family dinner party….

No judgement. Just bittersweet, spiced chocolate deliciousness. Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Mexican Chocolate Hazelnut Meringue Cake

Gluten free | Serves 8 – 10 | Preparation Time: 30 minutes | Cooking Time: 45 minutes

Tip: make sure your bowl for making the meringue is very, very clean and dry otherwise your egg whites will not whip.


For the cake

  • 45 grams buckwheat flour
  • 30 grams white rice flour
  • 55 grams hazelnut meal
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 125 grams butter, chopped
  • 100 grams good quality dark chocolate, roughly chopped
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar

For the meringue

  • 3 egg whites, at room temperature
  • 3/4 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 100 grams good quality dark chocolate, melted and cooled


  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and butter an 8-inch (20cm) round cake tin very well. Line the bottom with baking powder and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together buckwheat flour, rice flour, hazelnut meal, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper (if using). Whisk until no lumps remain.
  3. In a large microwave-safe bowl place chopped butter and chocolate. Microwave in 30 second bursts and stir well with a metal spoon in between bursts until chocolate and butter are melted. Remove from microwave and allow to cool slightly.
  4. Lightly whisk eggs and add to the melted butter and chocolate along with the sugar. Whisk until smooth.
  5. Add flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Pour into prepared tin and bake for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the middle comes back with only a few crumbs clinging to it.
  6. Remove cake from oven and allow to sit at room temperature while you prepare the meringue.
  7. Increase oven heat to 220C (430F).
  8. Place egg whites in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, alternately use a handheld mixer and a large mixing bowl. Whisk until firm peaks form.
  9. Add caster sugar 1 tablespoon at a time and whisk until sugar is completely dissolved. Whisk in vanilla and beat until stiff, glossy peaks have formed.
  10. Place half the meringue mixture into a large clean bowl. Add half the melted chocolate and briefly fold through. Only about 3-5 folding movements to maintain the marbled effect. Spoon swirled meringue onto the cake.
  11. Repeat with remaining meringue and chocolate.
  12. Baked in the oven for about 10 minutes or until the meringue is firm on top.
  13. Remove and allow to cool slightly before serving.

Mexican Chocolate Meringue Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Nine

Wow! We have been running on all cylinders this weekend! So many great things going on, so I am just getting a little time to sit down and reflect on all that there was to be grateful for this week. Here’s a sneak peak: only one week to go before we leave for our holidays, there was a lot of visiting with friends and family, and of course, a lot of food happening in the house. Here’s my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Nine:wk 39 meringueMonday: Chris and I have a Monday night ritual. We meet at home, head to the gym, and then come home and eat a healthy dinner while watching a few episodes of ‘Ice Road Truckers’. It’s daggy, but it’s our story and I am grateful for every day.

Tuesday:  Tonight I checked in with the Thoroughly Nourished Life Facebook page and discovered that 300 people had liked my page! I am grateful for each and every one of my readers and followers. You all keep me inspired to keep creating and sharing gluten free sweet treats and vegetarian meals. I am grateful for you gracing me with your presence, and it gives me a glow to see my little corner of the interwebs grow. Thank you.wk 39 followersWednesday: This week there were three full days of meetings. Not fun. But, awesome fuel for my running. Since my iron infusion over a fortnight ago my body has started to come back to life. When I am low in iron I find it really hard to get enough oxygen in and running feels like I am moving through molasses. Tonight when I jumped on the treadmill I could feel that the run was back in my blood and I flew through intervals for nearly 7km. A great midweek boost and I am grateful that my body is back on fire!

Thursday: Today was our last day of full-day meetings for the week. Despite the fact that we were bogged down at a meeting table all day, the team did manage to get in a few giggle and I was grateful when my boss expressed his gratitude for the work I put in to make sure we were prepared.wk 39 basilFriday: Tonight after work I treated myself to a hair cut and colour! I don’t make the time to get my hair done very often (seriously, about two to three times a year is all I manage) so I was grateful to catch up with my wonderful fairy godmother/hairdresser and I walked out feeling like I was on cloud nine. The feeling continued when I caught up with my best friend Caroline for dinner, dessert and a long night of talking. It still feels like we are those primary school girls lying on bunk beds and talking about life. I am grateful that 16 years later I still have her in my life.

Saturday: This morning I woke up super early and headed out for a run – 8.5km I finished feeling strong! Then I came home in a cleaning frenzy – I am grateful for this little cottage that is all ours and I love keeping it clean. Then my Mum, Mormor, Aunty Lone and cousin Grace came to visit. We visited my little local coffee shop and I enjoyed a delicious chai latte and then I headed back home for a day of recipe testing and photography (got some great treats coming up for you all in October!). I was grateful for a nourishing day from beginning to end.wk 39 saturdaySunday: I slept in a little today and it was so great to lie in bed and just feel my body relaxed. I fuelled up with some toast, jam, and tea and then headed out for a run. Today I powered through 10km! I haven’t managed that distance in months. This iron has got me runnin’ runnin and I am so grateful! Today was more recipe testing and some quality time with Chris while the rain poured down outside. A great end to the weekend.wk 39 cakeAlso this week:

  • My friend Lynn celebrated her 30th birthday this week so I made cake!
  • Spring is here and all the green things are calling so I made a hearty, spicy salad.
  • I rounded up 6 of my favourite gluten free, vegetarian salad recipes to get us all in the mood for the warmer weather.

What are you grateful for this week friends?

Six Salads Perfect For Spring Lunches

Sometimes I make myself a little sick by eating too much cookie dough, or buttercream, or ice cream, or…anyway, you know how it goes. Luckily I am also just as in love with big green leafy things, nutty grains, and fresh food straight from the earth, or the farmer’s market. Now that spring has come barrelling in here with an explosion of green from the earth and skies so blue they make your heart ache when you are trapped inside an office, it’s time to break out some of my favourite lunch box salads!

Here, in no particular order, are six of my favourite spring-perfect gluten free and vegetarian salads! Green is always in fashion darlings 😉Six Salads for Spring | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Number One: Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad. Big, green, fresh and full of all of my favourite flavours. Parsley, Chickpea, Avocado, and Greens Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Two: Apple, Celery, and Walnut Salad with Mustard Dressing. Crispy, crunchy and sweet with a mustard and yoghurt dressing. Fill me up!Apple Celery Walnut Salad 1Number Three: Moroccan Roasted Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad. Hearty quinoa salad with a generous dose of exotic spice and sweet roasted pumpkin. Moroccan Pumpkin and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Four: Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad. Golden-skinned pears coupled with salty feta, hearty quinoa, and toasty walnuts – you can’t go wrong.Pear, Quinoa, and Walnut Salad | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Five: Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs. This is a great dinner salad: nutty brown rice pairs with fresh seasonal vegetables and protein-rich drippy soft-boiled eggs.Summer Vegetable and Brown Rice Salad with Soft-Boiled Eggs | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeNumber Six: Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad. Sweet, plump fresh berries paired with salty grilled haloumi in a hearty quinoa based salad. My new favourite and it practically sings of spring!Strawberry, Haloumi, and Quinoa Salad | Vegetarian | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life |

There you have my six picks for a healthy, gluten free, vegetarian spring lunch. Make your colleagues jealous and pack a big luscious green lunch today!

Tell me, dear readers, what’s your favourite salad combination? Or what’s something weird that you love in salad? Mine: I loved tinned, vinegary beetroot and sometimes I sneak a few pieces onto the side of my salad no matter what else is in the bowl!

Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free

Warmly spiced gluten free coffee cake with sweet coffee and butter glaze.This moist cake is perfect when paired with a cup of your favourite brew, and a friend or two to share it with.Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI made this cake to celebrate my friend Lynn‘s 30th birthday! This week my sweet baking and blogging buddy celebrates her birthday – and you can’t have a birthday without a birthday cake! Lynn and I bonded over our love of baking science, the colour orange, cardamom, anything ending in -oatmeal cookie or beginning in lemon poppyseed. And in two weeks Chris and I get to meet Lynn and her incredible husband Matt for the first time! I’m sure there will be lots of celebrating while we are taking a local’s tour of Philadelphia, but I just had to celebrate my sweet bloggy friend’s birthday with a cake, which probably wouldn’t pack very well!Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLynn makes no secret of her love of coffee, and we are both massive fans of the sometimes under-used cardamom. This cake has a decent dose of each, and is sweetened only with brown sugar, which contributes moistness and an extra depth to this simple, but celebration-worthy coffee cake. Sometimes coffee cakes can be a little dry, but the brown sugar in this cake, along with the Greek yoghurt keep it nice and moist, and the coffee and butter glaze that tops the cooled cake gives a final touch of moisture and sweet coffee crackle. This gluten free cake is so simple to put together. Just creaming, beating, stirring, baking, and frosting. Simple but perfect. Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeSimple though this cake might be, its simplicity is deceptive. I cut myself a slice to taste the cake before taking the remains to work, but I found myself returning not long after I’d finished that first slice for just ‘one more piece’. If you are a ‘one more sliver’ person who finds herself standing bathed in refrigerator light cutting perfectly straight lines with her fork, then this cake is dangerous to you – and so worth making! Everything about this cake is classic but perfect. Take it with you to a morning tea, or bake it up for your next celebration, this cake is simple sweet heaven.

Happy birthday Lynn! Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Coffee Cardamom Cake

Gluten Free | Serves 8


  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 1 tablespoon warm water
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 125 grams butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 150 grams (3/4 cup) brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup Greek/natural yoghurt

For the frosting

  • 1 tablespoon instant coffee
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1 tablespoons butter, at room temperature
  • 3 cups icing sugar
  • 1/3 cup walnuts


  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and butter and line an 8-inch (20cm) round cake tin. Set aside until required.
  2. Mix together coffee and warm water and set aside to cool.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, baking powder, and cardamom.
  4. In the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or in a large mixing bowl using a handmixer) beat together butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy.
  5. Add cooled coffee mixture and vanilla extract and beat in.
  6. Mix in the eggs one at a time, scraping down the sides of the bowl between additions.
  7. Beat in flour in two additions, alternating with the yoghurt.
  8. Pour batter into prepared cake tin and smooth the top. Bake in the pre-heated oven for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes back clean.
  9. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.
  10. To make the frosting dissolve coffee in milk. Place in the bowl of a standmixer fitted with the paddle attachment along with the butter and icing sugar. Beat until smooth.
  11. Frost the top of the cooled cake and top with the walnuts.

Coffee Cardamom Cake | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing

It’s officially the second day of spring! Let’s make a hearty salad perfect for welcoming the warmer weather and getting our bodies ready for the summer months. This salad features grilled zucchini, crispy green beans, nutty brown rice and a spicy-sweet harissa and honey dressing. Flavoursome, filling, and sturdy it’s perfect for filling lunchboxes all week long. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeBeing told by your doctor that you aren’t allowed to eat veggies, fruit or wholegrains for three days might seem like heaven to some people. Yay: bring on the white bread, white pasta, ice cream! But for me, last week’s restricted diet was a nightmare. So when I woke up on Saturday morning all I could think about was making big luscious, green and grain filled salads to wake my body up again and get my eating back on track.  This spicy, hearty salad was just what the doctor  blogger ordered!Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeGreen beans were abundant at the greengrocer on the weekend and I helped myself to a large bag of them because nothing beats the crunch of a green bean snack while I’m cooking, and they are so versatile! I love grilled green beans because the outside gets a little crispy while the inside stays totally fresh and snapable. Zucchini is very sweet around this time of year as the season begins and it begs to be thrown on my little grill pan for just a few minutes to soften and char. Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe best thing about this salad though is the two finishing touches that bring a big boost of flavour to this hearty green bowl. Firstly, we have a spicy harissa and honey dressing that soaks into each grain of rice and is the perfect partner to crunchy sweet spring greens. Secondly, we finish the salad with a chopped mix of parsley and salty, crumbled feta. Taste explosion! Make a big batch of this gorgeous green salad and eat liberally to celebrate the coming warmer weather, the jacaranda trees that are starting to show signs of life outside my window, and the pure green light that filtered through my weekend walks last weekend. I’m so happy spring is here! I’m going to eat some more salad to celebrate!Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing

Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Serves 2 very generously. Easily multiplied | Leftovers will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.


  • 1/2 cup brown rice
  • 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium zucchini
  • 2 large handfuls of green beans
  • 1 spring onion
  • 3 cups butter lettuce (or other greens)

For the dressing:

  • 1/2 teaspoon harissa (I used dried, you can use paste instead)
  • 1 teaspoon honey
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt and pepper

For the topping:

  • 50 grams Greek feta, crumbled
  • 1/2 cup (packed) flat parsley leaves


  1. Place brown rice and vegetable stock in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook without stirring for 30 minutes or until rice is al dente. Drain off any excess liquid, place in a large bowl, and allow rice to come to room temperature.
  2. Chop zucchini into coins about 0.5cm thick and top and tail beans. Heat olive oil in a grill pan over medium heat and add zucchini coins and beans in a single layer. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until softened but not sloppy. Turn over and cook for a further minute or two. Drain on some paper towel and cool to room temperature. Then add to the bowl with the rice.
  3. Slice green onion into thin slices and place in the bowl with the cooled vegetables and rice.
  4. Tear lettuce into large pieces and add to bowl. Toss salad thoroughly.
  5. To make dressing whisk all ingredients together and then pour over the salad.
  6. For the feta topping mix together feta and parsley leaves and pile on top of your salad.
  7. Divide salad between two plates, ensuring both get a decent amount of the feta topping.

Grilled Zucchini and Green Bean Brown Rice Salad with Harissa-Honey Dressing | Gluten Free | Vegetarian | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Eight

Two weeks to go before our big holiday, and after this week we can definitely use three weeks away from the world to just explore and be inspired. Still, as in every week, there was much to be grateful for in my Nourished Life Gratitude List 2015 – Week Thirty-Eight:wk 38 tea cupMonday: Today I found out that a big four day meeting that I was supposed to attend the week before we are going on our holiday has moved by a week – and I don’t have to go anymore! I’m grateful that I wriggled out of this one (it’s all engineering focused) and I promise to spare a thought for my colleagues while I am walking through Central Park with my first-ever pumpkin spice latte (which will probably end up being Pike Place roast if I’m honest).

Tuesday: Today Jess and I went out for a great lunch and sat in the sunshine talking and chomping on delicious food. I am so grateful that the warm spring sunshine is back to warm up our favourite lunch spot.wk 38 cookbook readingWednesday: Today I had to start a low fibre diet in preparation for a procedure on Friday. So, basically a low fibre diet means I can’t eat anything that I usually eat. Enter: cottage cheese, gluten free white bread, and egg. Oh and then, after the gym, Chris made me the best mashed potatoes ever. Seriously, the man has a gift. I am grateful that he chooses to share it with me.

Thursday: No food for me today after a very plain toast lunch. These few days of hunger have made me even more grateful for how privileged I am to never have to know true hunger, to always have a meal or snack within easy reach, and to be able to provide good food for the ones I love. This has been a lesson in not taking my food privilege for granted, and in thinking more of those who go to bed hungry in a world where some of us have so much.wk 38 lunchFriday: Today I went in for my procedure and I was so grateful that my Dad took some time off from work to drive me to the hospital. I might be ‘all grown up’ but I’m still Daddy’s girl and I’m grateful that he could take a few hours off to drive me. Chris picked me up afterwards and bundled me up in bed at home. I’m grateful that I have such caring men in my life.

Saturday: And she’s back in the game! I woke up this morning and went for a great leg-stretching walk followed by a super awesome breakfast – my favourite banana bread! I got stuck into some baking and photographing before Chris and I left to spend the afternoon and evening catching up with some of our friend-family. We sat on Casey and Matt’s deck, sipped some sangria, ate a gorgeous Mexican feast and laughed the night away. I was grateful to fill up on some time with my favourite people – it’s been too long since our last family dinner.wk 38 bakingSunday:  Oh yes, a whole Sunday to spend in my kitchen after my morning walk creating and photographing some delicious recipes to share with you all in October. I was grateful for blue skies and a beautiful new walking route when I woke up this morning and a rainy afternoon to spend napping on the couch before heading back to work.wk 38 walk

Also this week:

Thoroughly Nourished Finds.

chocolate cake research

These are my awesome finds from the internet this week. Have you found anything interesting on the interwebs? Please share below! Or on my Facebook page!

Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan

This fusion of flavours creates a bowl of creamy, savoury broth filled with zucchini noodles, quinoa, corn and spring onions that will have you begging for seconds. And it’s perfect for weeknight meals – you can have this gluten free, vegan meal on the table in under 20 minutes!Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeOur new neighbourhood smells good. Not just like night breezes stirring jasmine into the air good, but like ‘I want to eat whatever our neighbours/the people down the road/that amazing looking restaurant is making tonight’ good. In less than five minutes no matter what we are craving Chris and I can find cuisine from all over the world. There is a cluster of shops down the road from us that are all Korean: coffee shops, supermarket, barbecue, and amazing takeaway. Then there’s the larger intersection that is suburban dining bliss with cuisine from India, various Chinese provinces, Japanese (not just sushi), and a random Italian restaurant. Our neighbourhood smells awesome. But, being mostly reasonable people (unless there happens to be chocolate ice cream in the house), we try to limit our takeaway and dining out to once a week for the good of our wallets and our wardrobes.Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeLiving in this divine smelling neighbourhood has made me more interested in combining interesting flavours and branching out from my usual Mediterranean/Australian slanted cooking. I’m taking baby steps to find new ingredients in not only our local big chain supermarket but also in the little ethnically themed grocery stores that are all over our neighbourhood. I’m inspired to take the new flavours and marry them with old, comforting familiar flavours – and give them the Thoroughly Nourished Life healthy twist.Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis weekend started some new flavour adventures with my acquisition of some white miso. I’ve only rarely had miso soup in the past (sometimes it is neither gluten free nor vegetarian) but I found a brand in our local store that fits my requirements! I was inspired to create my own version of this recipe that would be perfect for umami craving nights when takeaway tempts from outside the door.Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI used zucchini noodles for that all important slurp factor, fresh sweet spring corn, heapings of garlic, and added some quinoa for garnish and extra protein. This soup was ready in under 20 minutes and the flavour combination delivered big time! Tahini contributes a creaminess without the heaviness of cream and with the added health benefits of being high in calcium and other nutrients. Miso is the ultimate background umami and savoury flavour: deeply satisfying and hits all the flavour buttons we are searching for when sometimes we crave not-so-good-for-us foods. I slurped up a big bowl of zucchini noodles and savoured the creamy, savoury broth with its garnish of quinoa, spring onions, and sesame seeds. I can’t wait to make this again!

This soup is really adaptable to whatever you have in your fridge too. If you don’t have leftover quinoa you could use leftover rice or millet. If you have omnivores in your house this would go wonderfully with some cooked, shredded chicken. Just get ready to slurp up your zucchini noodles and beg for more!Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup

Vegan | Gluten Free | Serves 2 (easily multiplied)


  • 2 medium zucchini
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/3 cup white miso paste (ensure this is gluten free)
  • ¼ cup tahini
  • 3 cups water
  • 1 cob of corn
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa (or other leftover grain)
  • 1/3 cup chopped spring onions (about 1 spring onion)
  • 1 tablespoon sesame seeds


  1. Use a julienne peeler or vegetable spiralizer to turn your zucchini into long thin ‘noodles’. Set aside.
  2. Heat olive oil in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Crush garlic and saute until garlic is fragrant.
  3. Increase heat to medium. Add miso, tahini and water and cook until miso and tahini are dissolved, about three minutes.
  4. Add zucchini noodles and cook until they start to soften, about three or four minutes.
  5. Chop kernels from the cob of corn and add to the broth. Cook for another two minutes.
  6. Divide between two bowls and garnish with cooked quinoa, spring onions and sesame seeds.

Tahini Miso Zucchini Noodle Soup | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life