Cherry Ripe Slice | gluten free

Cherry and coconut filling coated in dark chocolate atop a cocoa biscuit base. It’s everything you love about a Cherry Ripe bar in gluten free baked form! Get out a cold glass of milk and put your feet up with a slice of this delight by your side!Cherry Ripe Slice | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeCherry ripes were not one of my favourite chocolate bars as a little kid, but when I got to high school I took a liking to them. There’s something a little naughty sweet about the sweet cherry coconut filling coated in dark chocolate. It’s the perfect chocolate bar for a teenage girl. And it’s actually one of the oldest chocolate bars sold in Australia! There’s your Random Australian Fact for the day. Cherry Ripe Slice | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis slice is just like a cherry ripe bar met a biscuit and they became friends. Delicious, delicious friends. These bars start off with a very simple biscuit base that is pressed into a tin and partially baked. Then you chop up pretty pink glace cherries and mix them together with sweet condensed milk, and shredded and dessicated coconut and bake it for a little while until the condensed milk caramelises slightly on top. Once this naked cherry ripe bar (ooh) has cooled the bar is topped with molten semi-sweet chocolate. Just look at those swirls.Cherry Ripe Slice | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI could not get enough of this slice. I loved the not-so-sweet biscuit topped with the sweet and sticky cherry-coconut filling and the deeply dark chocolate coating. Paired with a cold glass of almond milk this is the afternoon delight I would choose after a long sticky summer run. This would also be the perfect treat for boardgame night. It’s a little more of a grown-up’s treat than a treat for kids given the dark chocolate and it’s just so moreish. Give yourself a treat this weekend and leave the mini chocolate bars for the kids. I know I’ll be sneaking a few slices while I’m scaring little trick-or-treaters!Cherry Ripe Slice | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Cherry Ripe Slice

Gluten Free | Makes 16 squares

Ingredients

For the base

  • 125 grams butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 large egg
  • 30 grams (1/4 cup) cocoa powder
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 40 grams brown rice flour
  • 40 grams white rice flour

For the filling

  • 200 grams glace cherries
  • 1 cup sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 cup dessicated coconut
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

For the topping

  • 150 grams dark chocolate

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 160C (320F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl beat together softened butter, caster sugar, and vanilla essence until light and fluffy. Add egg and beat well.
  3. In a small bowl whisk together cocoa powder, buckwheat flour, white rice flour and brown rice flour.
  4. Add flours to wet ingredients and mix until well combined into a sticky dough. Place dough into the lined baking dish and use the back of a spoon to press the mixture into the tin. Ensure it is as level as possible.
  5. Bake base in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Then remove and allow to cool slightly.
  6. Use a small food processor to finely chop glace cherries.
  7. Place cherries, condensed milk, and both coconuts and mix well.
  8. Spread filling over the base evenly.
  9. Bake filling for 20 minutes or until the top is slightly browned.
  10. Remove from oven and allow to cool completely before topping with chocolate.
  11. Chop dark chocolate roughly and place in a microwave safe bowl. Heat in 30 second bursts, stirring well with a metal spoon between microwave bursts until the chocolate is melted and smooth.
  12. Spread melted chocolate over the cooled slice.
  13. Chill until chocolate is completely set and then use a very sharp knife to cut into squares.

Cherry Ripe Slice | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan

Indulge in a healthy retreat to the tropics with my latest gluten free granola recipe. Filled with plump dried apricots, crunchy quinoa flakes, toasted coconut, and roasted cashews this is a little taste of the islands that will make your breakfast into an escape to a faraway locale.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have found the secret to enjoying Monday mornings. Three little things that make the start of the working week a pleasurable experience rather than something akin to ripping a bandaid off a blistered foot. Firstly: set your alarm for ten minutes before you actually need to get up. That way you can hit snooze and not feel guilty about it. I am loving having those extra ten minutes to snuggle under the covers with Chris and I wake up feeling happy and loved. Secondly: make it easy to get out the door. Make your lunch, pack your bag and iron your clothes (or if you are like me, don’t iron your clothes) on Sunday afternoon so that on Monday morning you just need to roll out of bed, shower, and get out into the world! Thirdly, and most pertinent for today: have a delicious breakfast to look forward to when you do manage to get out of bed. Enter: Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThis crunchy, coconut-infused, quinoa flake granola had me bouncing out of bed this morning with a smile on my face. I knew that once I fought the traffic and made it to my desk that I had a superb, healthy breakfast waiting to fuel me through the morning. Plump, sweet dried apricots and chunks of roasted cashews are in generous supply and contrast with strands of toasted coconut, and a sprinkling of sesame seeds. This mixture is coated in a touch of richly sweet golden syrup, mild olive oil, and coconut and vanilla extracts before spending some time getting golden and crispy in the oven. The result: light, crunchy mouthfuls of crispy quinoa flakes soaked in tropical coconut flavouring with a hint of sweetness from the chewy apricots and golden syrup counteracted by buttery roasted cashews and strands of toasted coconut.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished LifeQuinoa flakes are a great alternative for people who cannot tolerate oats. I have to say, the tiny crunchy flakes are just as delicious as the traditional oats usually found in granola. This is my new favourite breakfast formula! I love my granola served over thick Greek or natural yoghurt, or eaten in sneaky handfuls after I get home from the gym at night. It makes a great car tip snack too! So jump on board the granola train and make your Monday mornings shine!

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups quinoa flakes
  • 1/3 cup roughly chopped cashews
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons golden syrup
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon coconut extract
  • 1/4 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/3 cup chopped dried apricots

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together quinoa flakes, cashews, sesame seeds, salt, and cardamom until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, golden syrup, vanilla extract, and coconut extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 30-35 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. In the last ten minutes of cookies (about 20 minutes into the cooking time) stir in shredded coconut.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven, stir in dried apricots and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Tropical Quinoa and Apricot Granola | Gluten Free | Vegan | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free

I think our granola jar is going to be empty very, very soon. I can’t get enough of this spicy, honey, crunchy, munchy, nutty granola! Oats and buckwheat make friends with pecans, coconut, and dates for a healthy, gluten free breakfast that will help you nourish your mornings.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeI have become very fussy about what I share with you here on my precious internet home, which is why this post is coming to you today instead of yesterday. I had a muffin recipe all ready to go, and they were good, but just not good enough. Don’t get me wrong, they aren’t going in the bin, they have been stashed in the freezer for quick snacks throughout the week. But I don’t want to share just ‘good enough’ recipes with my big internet Thoroughly Nourished Life family. I want to share the tastiest, the most nourishing, recipes you get excited to step into the kitchen to make. A Thoroughly Nourished diet is one that makes you inspired to eat delicious, healthy food every day with a liberal sprinkling of sugar to keep life sweet. So, no more ‘good enough’ food – just thoroughly nourishing, thoroughly inspiring food for every time of day.Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeTuesday night, after my average muffin effort I knew I had to get back into the kitchen to make something truly amazing so I didn’t lose my kitchen mojo (it’s that little sparkle in every baker’s step). As I was getting breakfasts and lunches ready for the next day I realised that I didn’t feel like my usual oatmeal and fruit, or yoghurt and fruit combinations. I’m not usually an exciting weekday breakfast eater. I stick to those two combinations on rotation and just adjust the fruit to suit the season. So, it’s time to shake things up, time to have another Thoroughly Nourished option: bring on the granola! One of the reasons I stopped eating store-bought granola/muesli is that the gluten free options are Expensive (yes, with a capital E) – my favourite gluten free brand is $10 a box. Not happening.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeThe result of breakfast boredom + frugality + Nourished Life necessity = Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola. This granola is addictive, and if you squint, it’s kind of like eating a spicy, nutty, coconutty cookie. The buckwheat kernels become toasty and crunchy in the oven, and are a nice addition to the typical oats.  Dates are caramel in fruit form, add some roasted pecans and toasted coconut curls and this is one indulgent and naturally sweet and healthy breakfast sprinkle. Because that’s what granola is: healthy breakfast sprinkles!

I am the only granola eater in our house (Chris is solidly sworn to the toast and peanut butter tribe) so I didn’t want a giant jar of granola that would go off before I had the chance to eat it all, or got bored and moved on to something else for breakfast. So this is a petite jar of granola. Perfect for a week or two, depending on how many granola lovers you have in your house. If you are making granola for more than one or two, this recipe is easily doubled or tripled. It also makes a great gift!

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifeA few important notes:

  • If you are using pecans or coconut that are already roasted you should add these at the end of the baking time when you stir in the dates.
  • If you like your granola extra chunky then do not stir your granola during baking time. Press it down with the back of your spoon and just check to make sure it isn’t burning at regular intervals (see recipe below).
  • If you don’t like pecans or dates feel free to switch them out for your favourite nut and dried fruit combination! Let me know what combinations you try!
  • If you want to make this vegan, you can swap the honey for maple syrup.
  • If you can’t find the buckwheat, feel free to leave it out or substitute another 1/3 cup of rolled oats.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished LifePecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola

Gluten Free | Vegan option | Makes about 2 1/2 cups | Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks

Ingredients

  • 1 cup gluten free rolled oats
  • 1/3 cup buckwheat groats (uncooked buckwheat)
  • 1/3 cup pecan halves
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
  • 1 tablespoon chia seeds
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 cup chopped dried dates
  • 1/4 cup coconut chips (or shredded coconut)

Method

  1.  Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. In a large bowl stir together oats, buckwheat, pecans, pumpkin seeds, chia seeds, salt, and spices until well mixed.
  3. In a small jug whisk together olive oil, honey and vanilla extract.
  4. Pour wet ingredients over dry ingredients and mix carefully with a wooden spoon until the dry ingredients are thoroughly coated.
  5. Spread granola over the lined baking sheet and press down slightly with the back of the spoon to encourage some clumping.
  6. Bake in pre-heated oven for 35-40 minutes. Check and stir every 10 minutes to ensure the granola does not burn.
  7. During the last ten minutes of cooking stir in the dried dates and coconut and return granola to oven.
  8. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely before serving or storing.

Pecan, Buckwheat, Coconut and Date Granola | 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.

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

  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.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

Fluffy coconut cupcakes topped with silky coconut buttercream and crunchy toasted coconut chips- these bite size treats are a gluten free tropical treat of the sweetest kind. 

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I feel a cupcake moment coming on – beware the creations that may fill this space over the next few weeks. The last time I felt this fever I had just returned from my first trip to New York with my best friend Casey. That trip was an epic feast from the moment we landed, and one of the best memories I have is eating cupcakes from Magnolia Bakery while watching the pigeons peck around our feet. After our excitement at picking out which cupcakes we wanted to taste (vanilla and chocolate for me, chocolate and red velvet for Casey) we sat on an old iron and wood bench in a small park opposite the store and devoured our pack of cupcakes in a sugar frenzy. I remember floating back to our hotel room on a cloud of crumbs and frosting, and the smile on Casey’s face when she bit into that first cupcake is a memory I will carry for a long time.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A good gluten free cupcake is often hard to come by, and I can sympathise with bakers trying to cater to gluten free clients. Simply substituting a commercial gluten free flour mix doesn’t always yield the best results and getting the correct mix of naturally gluten free flours takes experimentation. Sweet, sweet experimentation. I have had my own fair share of cupcake shaped disasters, and when I attempted these coconut gems I thought long and hard about the combination of flours, and the mixing method required for the best results possible.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The list of flours seems long here, but I can promise you that this combination yields a fluffy, tightly woven crumb for a cupcake that doesn’t disintegrate on first bite. Don’t substitute gluten free flours if possible. The ones I have listed here are available in most supermarkets now, or easily found in health food stores or online. Each mouthful is packed with coconut flavour thanks to the coconut flour, coconut milk, and coconut essence. Then each little cake is topped with silky smooth coconut buttercream and (store bought) toasted coconut chips.

The method here is the simplest for cake making. Melted butter is whisked with sugar, egg whites, coconut milk, Greek yoghurt, and vanilla and coconut essences. This wet mix is then combined with the flours and raising agents. Bake, cool, frost, and decorate. Very easy. Your very own gluten free cupcake moment is easy to create – you don’t even need a mixer!

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

 

Go ahead, treat yourself to a little coconut bliss, and create a cupcake memory of your own.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream

Makes 24 small cupcakes or 12 regular cupcakes | Gluten Free

Note: if you do not required these to be gluten free simply use 220 grams (generous 1 1/2 cups) plain/all purpose flour in place of the buckwheat, white rice, brown rice flours and almond meal. I recommend using the coconut flour even if you do not need the mix gluten free as it adds a nice texture and coconut flavour.

Ingredients

For the cupcakes

  • 30 grams coconut flour
  • 50 grams buckwheat flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 70 grams almond meal
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, melted
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek/natural yoghurt
  • 2/3 cup light coconut milk
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla essence
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons coconut essence

For the buttercream

  • 125 grams (1/2 cup) butter, softened
  • 3 cups icing sugar (ensure this is gluten free)
  • 2 teaspoons coconut essence
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 2 tablespoons milk (or coconut milk if you have some leftover)
  • Toasted coconut chips, flaked coconut, or other decorations as desired

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line 2 x 12-hole small (1/4 cup capacity) cupcake pans with papers. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large mixing bowl whisk together coconut flour, buckwheat flour, white rice flour, brown rice flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.
  3. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together melted butter and caster sugar.
  4. Add eggs, yoghurt, coconut milk, and essences and whisk until smooth.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry mixture and beat until smooth.
  6. Spoon batter evenly between papers. Fill each to only 2/3 full so they do not overflow.
  7. Place cupcakes in oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are slightly golden and bounce back when lightly touched.
  8. Cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then remove and allow to cool completely before frosting and decorating as desired.
  9. To make the frosting: beat butter until pale (about 2 minutes) in a large bowl using a handheld mixer. Add the remaining ingredients and beat until thick and smooth, about 3 minutes.
  10. Spoon into a piping bag fitted with the tip of your choice and decorate as desired. You could also use a small palette knife (or butter knife) to frost cupcakes instead.

Coconut Cupcakes with Coconut Buttercream | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf (gluten free)

Chris and I are going away later this week. We are not travelling far, nor for very long, but we are taking a break and getting out of town. We need some time away from our respective offices, ringing phones, and schedules. Some time just to walk on the beach, lie about with a book, and snooze in the midday sunshine. We are lucky enough to be able to go up to the Sunshine Coast and spend a few days there in a midwinter recharge before we come back and finish off our holidays with a few days of stay-cation.

Usually when I have a few days of holiday I set myself lofty goals to achieve, and I end up stressing myself out when I don’t achieve them all. This time I am setting myself only one goal: take each day as it comes and treat each one as a gift. I am going for low stress, high relaxation reward and maximum time in the winter sunshine.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

I baked this loaf last Friday night while I was home alone rattling around in the kitchen listening to podcasts. Jess and I enjoyed thick slices with our warm beverages on Saturday morning at the markets and the rest of the loaf is tightly wrapped and waiting in the freezer for slow, lazy holiday breakfasts where I have time to linger with a book and a whole pot of tea to myself. I might even pack a slice or two to nibble when I get back from a morning beach walk. It feels like a holiday bread: coconut and fruit always remind me of waving palm trees and cool waves lapping against the sand.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

The coconut in this cake is subtle but layered. Coconut milk, coconut essence, coconut flour, and toasted shredded coconut are all featured and the creamy sweetness is paired with slightly tart raspberries in a breakfast bread that is not too sweet. The crumb is fluffy from the presence of the coconut milk and coconut flour, the top of the bread is browned and sweet like all good crusts should be. Each bite is filled with strands of toasted coconut that lend a little crunch. It pairs perfectly with a cappuccino, or a pot of Irish breakfast tea. This is a quickly made quick bread too. I whisked the ingredients together in about 15 minutes and the largest amount of time was taken up by the baking, which the oven took care of while I put my feet up and started a new book.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

A few notes before baking: this loaf is gluten free, so that everyone in my house (especially me) can enjoy a slice. If you do not require it to be gluten free you can always use 280 grams (about two cups) of plain flour in place of the brown rice flour, white rice flour, and almond meal. I would not suggest replacing the coconut flour as it is important to the texture and flour of the loaf. Coconut flour is becoming easier to find now too. You can buy it from health food stores, and recently I discovered two different brands in my local supermarket. If you are using frozen raspberries do not thaw them before adding them to the mixture. When thawed they are very fragile and break up easily, which will discolour your batter. You can buy pre-toasted coconut strands in the supermarket, but I save my money and toast my own. Simply spread out onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven as it preheats. Shake every minute or two to ensure the coconut colours evenly. Toast until most strands are changed from white to a light tan. Remove from oven and allow to cool until required. Now, I think you’re ready to get into the baking!

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf

Gluten Free | Makes 8-10 slices | Will keep at room temperature in an airtight container for up to three days | Freeze well-wrapped for up to two months

Ingredients

  • 100 grams brown rice flour + 1 tablespoon extra
  • 80 grams white rice flour
  • 100 grams almond meal
  • 60 grams coconut flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup light coconut milk (not coconut cream)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil (or other flavourless vegetable oil)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2/3 cup toasted shredded coconut
  • 1 1/2 cups raspberries fresh or frozen (not thawed)

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F). Butter and line a 9 x 5 inch loaf tin. Set aside until required.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together brown rice flour, white rice flour, almond meal, coconut flour, salt, and baking powder.
  3. Reserve 1 tablespoon of coconut to top the bread and whisk the remainder through the dry ingredients.
  4. In a separate medium mixing bowl whisk together milk, coconut milk, eggs, caster sugar, rice bran oil, vanilla essence, and coconut essence. Whisk until well combined.
  5. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined.
  6. In a small bowl combine raspberries and extra tablespoon of brown rice flour. Shake until all berries are covered. This will stop them from sinking in the batter.
  7. Gently stir berries into batter. Take care not to break them up too much.
  8. Pour batter into prepared tin and smooth top slightly. Sprinkle reserved coconut across top.
  9. Place in oven and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a wooden skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  10. Remove loaf from oven and allow to cool in tin for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool on a rack before slicing.

Raspberry and Coconut Loaf | Gluten Free | Thoroughly Nourished Life

Banana and Coconut Baked Doughnuts (gluten free)

I had to get these doughnuts out of the house. After eating two on Sunday and another two on Monday, when I was reaching for my third (all before dinner mind you) I knew that I had a good recipe on my hands, but a problem where my health goals and skinny jeans were concerned. So, I packaged them up, called Dad, and told him that there would be a delivery for him tomorrow from me, care of Chris. (I love that he doesn’t mind playing delivery man during his lunch hour). My Dad sent me home with a car-washing care package on Saturday so it was only fair that I repaid him with doughnuts. That’s the way the payment system works in our house!

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

The reason I couldn’t stop myself after one doughnut? Firstly, these ones are kinda healthy (shh – don’t tell Dad): there isn’t too much sugar because the ripe bananas provide natural sweetness to the batter, and there are only two tablespoons of olive oil instead of butter. Secondly, banana and coconut is one of my favourite flavour combinations (see here for evidence): the banana and bold coconut partner perfectly in these soft little cakey rounds and the coconut glaze on top really seals the deal. Also, toasted coconut should be sprinkled on everything.

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

I love baked doughnuts. I love that they don’t require scary deep-frying instruments and all that oil that I would probably burn myself with, and I love that they can go from a wish to reality in about 30 minutes. These would make a wonderful lunch box treat, and you could probably get the kids to help you with the measuring, mashing, stirring, mixing and dunking. You should probably let them help with the eating too, I suppose.

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

Banana Coconut Baked Doughnuts

Gluten Free | Makes 15-16 mini doughnuts | Will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days

Note: If you do not require these to be gluten free you can use 250 grams of plain flour in place of the first five ingredients. If you do this reduce the milk to ¼ cup.

Because coconut flour soaks up a lot of liquid you may need to use up to ¾ cup of milk in the recipe. You want a loose, muffin type mixture for your baked doughnuts. Add the smaller amount of milk first and if required add the extra ¼ cup.

Ingredients

For the doughnuts

  • 50 grams sorghum flour
  • 50 grams almond meal
  • 50 grams brown rice flour
  • 50 grams white rice flour
  • 50 grams coconut flour
  • 50 grams brown sugar
  • 50 grams caster sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ¼ cup Greek/natural yoghurt
  • ½ – ¾ cup milk
  • ¾ cup mashed ripe banana (about 2 large bananas)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¼ teaspoon coconut essence
  • ½ cup shredded coconut

For the glaze

  • 1 1/2- 2 cups icing sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 1/2 cup toasted coconut flakes

Method

  1.  Preheat the oven to 180C (350F) and oil 16 holes in two 12 hole mini doughnut pans. You could also use muffin tins if you do not have doughnut pans.
  2. In a large bowl whisk together sorghum flour, almond meal, brown rice flour, white rice flour, coconut flour, brown sugar, caster sugar, salt, and baking soda. Whisk well to ensure there are no lumps of sugar.
  3. In a separate bowl whisk together yoghurt, 1/2 cup milk, mashed banana, eggs, oil, vanilla extract and coconut essence.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and whisk together. The mixture should be similar to a muffin batter. If the batter is too thick add the extra 1/4 cup of milk. Stir in shredded coconut.
  5. Spoon batter into a large piping bag fitted with a wide-mouthed round tip and pipe into doughnut holes. This is much easier than spooning it in!
  6. Place pans in the oven and bake for 15-20 minutes or until the tops spring back when lightly touched. Swap position of the trays halfway through baking time.
  7. Once cooked, remove from oven and allow to cool completely on a rack before glazing and decorating.
  8. To make the glaze: In a medium-sized bowl  whisk together 1 1/2 cups icing sugar, 2 tablespoons milk, and coconut essence. The consistency should be runny, but not watery, you want it similar to a custard consistency. Add extra icing sugar or milk as required to reach the right consistency. Place coconut flakes into a small bowl. Dip doughnuts into glaze first and then into toasted coconut. Place on a lined baking tray or cooling rack to dry.

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

Sprinkled Coconut Ice

I know a sweet recipe is good when my little sister, who is usually collected, healthy and wholesome about her diet, loses her control and eats two or three pieces in one fell swoop. When I was thinking about an Easter gift for Jess I knew that chocolate eggs wouldn’t be her style, and then I remembered her delight over the presence of coconut ice at a wedding we attended recently – I knew what I needed to make immediately.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

Coconut Ice has been a tradition in our family for a long time. Every Christmas as part of our huge Christmas dessert spread there is a crystal plate filled with little pastel squares. The same at Easter, and most other family gatherings. I must admit that we usually purchase our coconut ice, but after making this batch for Jessica’s Easter present I don’t think we will be buying it any more. Coconut ice is easy to make, no pots, pans or oven required. Perfect for making with little kids, especially since they can get their hands dirty while kneading the mixture together (this appeals to big kids too). This colourful offering is an old-fashioned sort of treat, but whenever you bring a dish people can’t help but smile.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

The hardest part about making coconut ice is waiting for it to set, and I am not ashamed to admit that I did nibble at a few stray crumbs after I had pressed the majority into the baking tin. (I did go for a run beforehand, balance people). The addition of sprinkles here is entirely extraneous to the flavour, but it certainly adds a festive element. You can leave them out, but when given the opportunity to use sprinkles I think one should always seize upon it. Also, I just happen to be in a sprinkle mood: Exhibit A, my cookies from last week. Jess’s eyes lit up with delight and the jar was soon opened and shared. The sprinkles weren’t extraneous at all, not when I saw Jess’s smile.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

 

Sprinkled Coconut Ice

Gluten Free – Check that your icing sugar and sprinkles are gluten free. I use Dollar Sweets Bright Sprinkles because they are certified gluten free. 

Makes about 64 pieces (2.5cm square)

Ingredients

  • 2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 1/2 cups dessicated coconut
  • 1 x 390 gram can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 2 tablespoons milk (may be required)
  • 1/3 cup multicoloured sprinkles (see head note)
  • Pink food colouring

Method

  1. Line an 8-inch square cake tin or baking dish with baking paper.
  2. Sift icing sugar into a large bowl. Gently whisk in dessicated coconut.
  3. Add condensed milk, vanilla and coconut essence. Mix well until all dry ingredients are included. If your mixture is too dry and you can’t get everything to incorporate you may need milk. You may need to wet your hands and knead the coconut ice by hand.
  4. Divide coconut mixture in half. Knead sprinkles into one half. Colour the other half with pink food colouring to desired tint.
  5. Press sprinkled half into prepared tin/dish. I roll a flat sided glass across the top to banish my finger dents. Then press pink portion on top and roll glass across to flatten.
  6. Cover dish with cling wrap and place in refrigerator for three hours, or until set.
  7. When set remove from fridge and cut into small slices to serve. I cut mine into 2.5cm x 2.5cm.
  8. Coconut Ice will keep in fridge for up to three weeks.

This would make a lovely gift for Mother’s Day! Simply place in a jar and wrap with a big pink ribbon. This would definitely be welcomed by my Mum and Mormor.

Sprinkle Coconut Ice | Thoroughly Nourished Life | Gluten Free

Lime and Coconut Snack Cake (gluten free)

I have been dreaming about this cake since last Saturday. The sky was stormy, the wind was cool, and I was moving briskly through the farmers market to avoid the cold. The bright crisp green of the limes was a siren call to me. I imagined the burst of acid-sweet citrus on my tongue, and it called me back to a summer day with lime slices in my lemonade and a warm breeze stirring the air. But it’s winter, and the breezes are chilly and really when I got home from my run yesterday I didn’t feel like lemonade: I felt like cake. I felt like moist lime and coconut cake studded with strands of shredded coconut and coated in a sweet and tart lime glaze. 

She put the lime in the coconut and baked 'em both up

She put the lime in the coconut and baked ’em both up

So I took a break from writing and took to the kitchen. With Molly at my feet and ‘Romancing the Stone‘ playing away in the background I was completely in my moment. About an hour later after the cake had cooled and been glazed I took the first bite of its dense but not soggy cake-flesh and sighed. Perfect.

Put the lime in the coconut, and call me for morning (tea)....

Put the lime in the coconut, and call me for morning (tea)….

Lime and Coconut Snack Cake (gluten free)

If you don’t need this to be gluten free you can use 100 grams of plain flour in place of the quinoa and brown rice flours. I do recommend hunting down the coconut flour (Aussie residents, I found mine at Flanneries) as it imparts a unique texture and flavour to the cake. Otherwise, just use a total of 150 grams of plain flour and don’t add the 1/2 cup of milk.

Ingredients:

  • 75 grams butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup caster sugar
  • 2 tablespoons finely grated lime rind (about two limes)
  • 2 lightly beaten eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 cup low fat ricotta 
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 25 grams quinoa flour
  • 75 grams brown rice flour
  • 50 grams coconut flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180C (350F) and line an 8-inch square baking tin with baking paper.
  2. In a medium bowl whisk together quinoa flour, brown rice flour, coconut flour, baking powder, and shredded coconut. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl beat together butter, caster sugar, and lime rind until pale and fluffy. This mixture will be a pale ethereal green, actually quite pretty.
  4. Add lightly beaten eggs one at a time and beat well between additions.
  5. In  a small bowl mix together coconut essence, lime juice, ricotta, and milk. 
  6. Add flour mixture to butter and sugar mix in three parts alternating with the ricotta mixture. Begin and end with the flour.
  7. Spoon mixture into the prepared tin and smooth the top down. The coconut flour soaks up a lot of moisture so the batter may appear gluggy. Don’t worry I assure you that this glugginess become a dense, moist crumb upon baking.
  8. Bake in the preheated oven for 30-40 minutes, rotating every 10 minutes or so. The cake is done when a skewer inserted in the middle comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it.
  9. Remove cake from oven and allow to cool completely before adding glaze.
  10. To make the glaze whisk together 3-4 tablespoons of lime juice and 1 1/2 – 2 cups of icing sugar until smooth. Pour this over the cooled cake.
  11. Slice and serve. Whilst eating imagine yourself in a warm foreign locale lazing under a palm tree. I know I did.
DSC00445

Woo woo, it will relieve your belly ache

Tell me dear reader, what reminds you of summer in the grey days of winter? Are you a lime and coconut lover like me, or perhaps not? 

Let’s Talk Family, and Muffins, Definitely Muffins

It’s Tuesday. Let’s talk about muffins. But first let’s talk about family. Let’s talk about my family.

Muffins, but first - family.

Muffins, but first – family.

My family: we are a circus without a ringmaster; we are loud – intimidatingly loud; we are emotive – every emotion, all the time, from ecstatic to furious and back again in barely a sentence; we are so, so different to one another, and a homogeneous lump of genetics at the same time; we are, well, we are a family.

My Dad at the time I sat down to write this post was standing next to me with two baseball caps on top of his head giving me his impression of a ‘gangsta’, before he made himself a slice of apple pie for dessert, and drafted another angry letter – see: a funny, homespun, and cranky old man all tied up in one package.

My Mum is currently ensconced on the couch with the cat on one side of her lap and Molly the malamute’s head on the other side. No doubt she is working on one of her detailed quilts all the while  watching crime shows and solving the case before a CSI cast member can say ‘mass spectrometer’.

My sister and her husband no longer live here but when I last saw my superwoman of a sister we gave each other lectures on our various personality faults (mostly calmly) and then discussed our next baking challenges – we’re just like that, and sometimes people get freaked out that we can go from yelling and crying to best of friends, but people, that’s the way these sisters roll, m’kay?

When a newcomer is introduced into the fold of our family they had better brace themselves. Sometimes it is funny to watch people’s reaction to the way that four people can uphold eight different conversations at once all while paying attention to what’s on television and which of the animals requires feeding or letting in/out. Most of the time though I feel sorry for the initiate. My brother-in-law is a sensible and quiet young man and I think it was truly a test of his mettle that he lived with us all for three years and didn’t run screaming into the night. In fact, he bound himself to our circus wagon forever when he married my sister. We’re like that – get attached to one family member and you get the whole clan.

Over the years I have brought various friends home who have then become like family – Casey, Caroline, Josie, Shane – all of them have been through the trial by fire that is dinner with my family, and survived (I hope) mostly unscathed and mentally un-scarred.

Chris, bless his mismatched cotton socks, fits into this mess perfectly. He pays attention to Dad’s work stories and hands out IT advice free of charge, compliments Mum’s cooking or bonds with her over her action movie collection, and he even likes my dog and is super cute when handling our fairy-sized cat.

Mum, Dad, my Aunty Lone (in the middle), little me (brunette) - and little Jess - see that smirk, still has it.

Mum, Dad, my Aunty Lone (in the middle), little me (brunette) – and little Jess – see that smirk, still has it.

So yeah, that’s my family. We may have to apologise when we leave shops because the sales attendants are either visibly shaking with trauma or laughter;  we never know which it is. We may have to pack an entire boot of food, chairs, books, gardening equipment, an industrial-size first aid kit, and a laptop computer whenever we go anywhere – just in case. We may snack endlessly on whatever lies around the house and hide our sweets from each other (like the time Mum started hiding her Chico babies in her unmentionables drawer because my Dad is a sweet-tooth beyond compare). We may sing Christmas carols in Woolworths in the middle of April, and share forkfuls of food, ask for the special dietary menu, and order milkshakes with low-fat milk and whipped cream, and cry in public, and laugh louder than is acceptable, but that’s okay with me, because they are my family. And I love them.

We also bring things when we visit. There is always too much baked goodness happening in our house for one family to digest in a reasonable amount of time, so we bring things.

Today, I am bringing you, my Thoroughly Nourished Life family, my recipe for Tropical Carrot Muffins (p.s. the whole family can enjoy them because they are gluten-free).

Muffins to share

Muffins to share

Tropical Carrot Muffins (gluten free)

This recipe makes about 14 standard-size muffins. If you don’t require these to be gluten free, simply replace the buckwheat and brown rice flours with 160 grams of wholemeal plain flour or white plain flour. Keep the almond meal as it adds a great texture and healthy fats.

For the pineapple: drain first and then measure. Keep the juices to drink with breakfast – delicious.

Ingredients:

  • 80 grams almond meal
  • 80 grams brown rice flour
  • 80 grams buckwheat flour
  • 80 grams brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder (gluten free if required)
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup shredded coconut
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons rice bran oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 cup drained crushed pineapple
  • 1/3 cup sultanas

Method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 200C (390F) and line 14 cups in two 12-cup muffin trays.
  2. Into a medium bowl weigh the almond meal, brown rice flour, buckwheat flour, and brown sugar. Whisk in the salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and shredded coconut. Make sure everything is well mixed and no lumps of brown sugar remain.
  3. In a measuring jug measure the milk and add the eggs and vanilla essence. Whisk together well.
  4. Add milk mixture to dry ingredients along with the crushed pineapple. Mix well.
  5. Add grated carrot and sultanas and mix to distribute.
  6. Spoon mixture equally among the muffin cups and slide trays into the oven.
  7. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops are golden and spring back when lightly touched.
  8. Remove from oven and allow to cool in the pan for 5 minutes before removing to a cooling rack to cool completely.
  9. Share with your family, or those friends who are like family.
Take a big bite

Take a big bite

My dear readers, what makes your family unique? What is a stand-out trait that everyone shares? Any favourite family recipes?