Niki’s Dark Chocolate and Blueberry-Cream Squares

2016, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Spring, Summer, Sweet

blueeee

Hey everyone!

Fancy an indulgent little sweet treat to usher in the summer?

Look no further than my Dark Chocolate and Blueberry-Cream Squares!

Blueberries are full of goodness guys; they help fight against cancer and contain an abundance of antioxidants, notably flavonoids.

The dark and rich raw cacao used in the chocolate layer is also a mood enhancer and helps maintain good heart health. Let me show you how easy and fun it is to make these dairy free squares guys, a great show stopper for a dinner party or to impress someone on a first date…read on…

All you need for about 16 squares is:

For the Blueberry Layer:

A punnet of organic blueberries

2 tablespoons of organic maple syrup (Meridian is a great choice: http://www.meridianfoods.co.uk/Products/Other-ranges/Natural-Sweeteners/Organic/Maple-Syrup)

1 tablespoon of coconut cream (Biona is always my go to for coconut based products: http://www.biona.co.uk/product-272-4.html)

For the Coconut-Cream layer:

200ml of coconut cream

1 tablespoon of organic maple syrup

2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut

For the dark chocolate layer:

2 tablespoons of organic cacao powder (the raw chocolate company is a good choice)

2 tablespoons if maple syrup

3 tablespoons of organic coconut oil (pukka or Lucy bee is a great choice here guys)

From your kitchen:

A standard silicone cube tray

A whisk

A few teaspoons

2 mixing bowls

A food processor (Optional)

A small saucepan

A silicone spatula

A fork

Start off by creating your quick and delicious dark chocolate layer. In a small saucepan melt the coconut oil over a very low heat. Once completely melted, add your maple syrup and raw cacao powder and whisk thoroughly for about a minute. Once fully incorporated, spoon your dark chocolate mixture into the base of your moulds with a teaspoon.

Let them cool for a couple of minutes and then pour in the freezer for about 10 minutes. Whilst this is happening you can get on with your coconut layer. This couldn’t be simpler guys, just whizz or hand whisk the ingredients needed for the coconut cream layer and gently add them as the next layer in your silicone moulds. Freeze for another 5 minutes whilst you whisk or whizz up your blueberry layer (my favourite part!).

Simply blitz up your blueberries, coconut cream and maple syrup in a food processor (or mashing up with a fork works just as well). Layer that on top and freeze for a final 30 minutes or so.

You are now ready to enjoy them with your loved ones! They keep for about a week in the freezer, just allow a couple of minutes to thaw before enjoying them.

Please check out my links below for all the products I have mentioned.

Happy Baking Guys!

Niki

Recipe Creator

https://www.lucybee.co/

http://www.biona.co.uk/product-272-4.html

http://www.therawchocolatecompany.com/shop/make-your-own/cacao-powder-180g

Some useful articles:

https://www.onnit.com/academy/health-benefits-of-cocoa-an-ingredient-of-hemp-force/

https://www.onnit.com/academy/mct-fats-found-in-coconut-oil-boost-brain-function/

Niki’s Butternut Squash and Dill Röstis

2016, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Spring, Summer, Super Quick

ros2

Hey guys,

Do you fancy some delicious and fast Röstis? These are quick to make and will be a firm picnic favourite for you and your family this summer. The humble Röstis from Switzerland are traditionally made with potato and are quite delicious, often containing very few ingredients. My spin on the Röstis contain no potato but the butternut squash give it a nice hearty edge whilst the dill complements and uplift the flavour, delicious and moreish.  Also, the cooking oil used here is coconut oil as opposed to another so your Rösti is full of good fats along with packing a lot of energy, you can also use ghee as well if you prefer.

 

To make about 12 Röstis you will need:

A small/medium organic butternut squash, grated coarsely

1 small bunch of dill, finely chopped

1 teaspoon of red chilli flakes and Himalayan salt

½ teaspoon of ground turmeric

3 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil (Lucy bee or Pukka is a great one to go for)

2 medium organic eggs

 

 

From your kitchen:

 

A frying pan

A mixing bowl

A wooden spoon for mixing

A metal spoon for measuring

A plate

A couple of squares of kitchen paper

A grater

A sharp knife

 

 

In your mixing bowl use your wooden spoon to combine your grated squash, seasoning, and chopped dill and mix evenly so it’s all evenly distributed in your Rösti mixture. Crack in your eggs, one at a time and mix until well combined. Heat your frying pan over a medium high heat and use your tablespoon to measure out your Röstis. After a couple of minutes your Röstis will start to brown underneath, flip them over gently to avoid splattering yourself and cook for a further 2 minutes, at this point you would want to turn the heat down a bit so the centre cooks through as well. After they’re done place your kitchen towel on your plate pop your Röstis on top to absorb any excess oil. Serve warm or cold, I personally love to have my Röstis paired with my Italian dips! Mmmm.

 

Happy Baking!

Niki

Recipe Creator

Niki’s Dark Chocolate and Avocado Pudding

2016, Healthy, Spring, Super Quick, Sweet

chocavo

Howdy folks!

Oh my dear readers…you are really going to love this one. Words just simply fail me when I describe how utterly creamy and thick my dark chocolate and avocado pudding is.

You will be making this dessert without any guilt as it’s super healthy on a regular basis once you see how easy it is. It took me a few attempts to get it to the right consistency but I’ve managed to get this down. I’m so happy to finally share the recipe with you. This pudding is dairy free, simple and has a wonderful texture from the avocados. I understand you may think the inclusion of avocado in a dessert is a little strange to add to desserts here guys, but please give it a go, you have nothing to lose.

Avocados are full of monounsaturated fat (about 2/3 of the fat is monounsaturated) and nutrients, especially potassium, B vitamins, 11 different carotenoids, and vitamin E

In South America peeled and halved avocados are sold on the street so the buyer can simply scatter the powdered sugar that’s provided at the stalls and literally eat them as a snack whilst on the go so it can hardly be strange to pop it in a dessert right? Okay good, I’m glad that’s cleared up…now to make 6 of these little beauties you will need:

 

Ingredients

 

½ teaspoon of fresh vanilla scraped from the vanilla pod or bulletproof vanilla mix (recommended link at the end of my post)

2 large and ripe organic avocados, flesh scooped out

6 tablespoons of coconut milk, unsweetened (Rude health is a great brand)

4 tablespoons of maple syrup

100 g of 85% organic dark chocolate (Green & Black’s is a wonderful choice) plus 50g for decoration

2 ½ tablespoons of cocoa powder (again Green & Black’s is an excellent choice here) ½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt (onnit is a great choice guys, link mentioned below)

 

Equipment

6 Ramekins

A food processor

A plastic spatula

A vegetable peeler (for the chocolate decorations)

 

Method

Melt your dark chocolate in a saucepan over a very low heat and set aside.

Stir in your maple syrup, vanilla paste, almond milk, salt and the cocoa until it’s all mixed together well.

In a food processor whizz the chocolate mixture with the avocado flesh until it is silky smooth and ultra thick.

Divide this mixture between 6 small serving ramekins, decorate with chocolate shavings (made with a veg peeler!) and chill for about 30 minutes…and finally, enjoy!

Gosh this pudding makes me want to go to Mexico right now, I can practically taste the avocado lollies and custards they make out there…who’s coming with me?

Happy Baking guys!

Niki

Recipe Creator

 

https://www.onnit.com/himalayan-salt/
https://www.bulletproofexec.com/the-many-things-avocados-do-for-you-plus-a-recipe/

 

Niki’s Rosemary and Red pepper Sauce with Polenta Dumplings

2016, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Spring, Super Quick

polrose1

Happy May everybody!

Let’s kick off this warm and lovely month with a meat-free Monday dish ready to make for the beautiful bank holiday. Guys, you know how much I truly adore polenta but I have now come to use it as one of the main staples of my evening dishes. With Summer just on the horizon, polenta is fantastic for those light evening meals. I just love its versatility, you really can eat it all year round, hot or cold and this includes my easy and addictive polenta dumplings.

Roasted red peppers make a lovely introduction here too as they not only contain high levels of vitamin c but give an almost fruity like flavour to the sauce, complementing perfectly with the smooth and creamy texture of the polenta. Rosemary just adds to the delicate aromas of the garlic and red chilli flakes (optional!) here and it contains anti-inflammatory properties also. So I want to share this lovely dish with you guys…it couldn’t be simpler, let me show you how to make this tasty and nutritious dish:

 

All you need to serve 2 is:

 

For the Rosemary and Red Pepper sauce:

 

2 red bell peppers, sliced into chunks

2 garlic cloves, roughly chopped,

A handful of rosemary, chopped

2 tomatoes, roughly chopped

2 tablespoons of organic avocado oil (Olivado is great) or organic olive oil (Mr organic is perfect)

½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

1/3 cup of water

 

For the Polenta Dumplings:

100g of polenta

½ teaspoon of chilli flakes (optional)

½ teaspoon of finely chopped rosemary

½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

1 tablespoon of organic avocado oil (Olivado is great) or organic olive oil (Mr organic is perfect)

 

 

 

 

 

Make sure your oven is preheated to 200ºC or gas mark 6 and scatter your tomatoes, peppers, garlic and rosemary onto your baking sheet. Gloss with your choice of oil and season with salt and cracked black pepper to taste and roast for 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, get your polenta cooked according to the packet instructions. Let it set for 15 minutes in a small pyrex dish whilst checking in with your roasted red peppers. Once 15 minutes has passed, heat your saucepan over a medium high heat and toss in all your roasted veggies and herbs and cook it down for a good 7-10 minutes. Pour in your water and cover your pan, let it simmer for around a further 10 minutes until a thick sauce comes together.

Whilst that is happening grab a teaspoon and scoop out little balls from your now set polenta mixture. Pop it on the baking sheet you already used for your roasted red peppers (less washing up- yay!), season and drizzle with olive oil, back into the oven it goes for 10 minutes until it becomes crispy and golden. Keep mixing your sauce now and again and check the seasoning while your dumplings are cooking.  You are now ready to dish up your sauce once it’s thickened up and top generously with your yummy polenta dumplings. Easy! Go on, give meat-free Monday a go today!

 

Happy Baking!

 

Niki

Recipe Creator

Niki’s Raw Raspberry and Lemon Cheesecake Slices

2016, Healthy, nikibakes.co.uk, Spring, Sweet

raww

Happy Hump Day everyone!

I want to help you transition into the sweet life the right way…do you want to feel guilty after every sweet treat? Bloated? Tired? Hungry for another bite even? I used to feel like this all the time after my desserts until I found the natural way to sweeten them up. Incorporating gluten, dairy and processed sugar free food into desserts really couldn’t be simpler, dare I say it even tastes better, you get that sweet hit but you feel satisfied yet light at the same time. I have used xylitol and maple syrup as my sweeteners here, both of which are natural, easily digestible in the body and come from sustainable plant sources. My creamy filling comes from coconut cream and soaked cashews….I can’t describe how velvety and smooth it is and paired with the crumbly almond flour and crushed pecan base, you’ll savour every bite guys.

 

Containing more vitamin c than oranges, raspberries are packed full of potassium, calcium and vitamin a. Did you know that in the Philippines if you hang a raspberry came from the outside of your house, evil spirits are supposed to be deterred? It’s a seriously powerful fruit and with the help of the lemon, it cuts through the richness of my coconut cream filling beautifully.

 

Soaked cashews nuts also make a strong feature in my raspberry and lemon cheesecake slices. Aside from giving an ultra smoothness and thickness to your filling, soaked nuts are very good for your health long term as they help with the absorption of nutrients to your body and removes all toxins that could be harbouring in the nuts themselves.

 

All you need is:

 

For 8 slices you will need:

 

For the raspberry layer:

 

1 punnet of raspberries plus a few extra for decoration

2 tablespoons of maple syrup

 

For the coconut cream layer:

 

2/3 of a can of coconut cream (not the watery part)

3 tablespoons of maple syrup

2 level tablespoons of xylitol

The juice of a lemon

200g of soaked cashews (overnight or at least 2 hours beforehand)

2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted

 

For the crumbly nutty base:

 

200g of pecans, soaked (overnight or at least 2 hours beforehand) and dried and chopped roughly

1 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt

2 tablespoons of coconut oil, melted plus extra for greasing

The zest of 1 lemon

 

In your round deep tin, lightly grease the base and sides of your dish and set aside. In a food processor combine all your base ingredients and pulse a few times. Using your hands, press your filling tightly down and even it out the best you can with the palm of your hand. Place in the fridge whilst you start your coconut cream layer.

 

Clean the bowl of your food processor and cream all the contents needed for your delicious middle layer (this will take a good few pulses before you get a smooth consistency so please stick with it). Pour half the mixture gently over your cheesecake base and place in the freezer for a further 20 minutes.

 

Finally blitz the remaining half of your creamy mixture with your raspberries and maple syrup, top your cheesecake up with the final layer and place in the freezer for at least one hour before serving. Use a knife that’s been placed in a cup of boiling water to help cut your slices evenly and garnish with your fruit, simple and delicious!

 

Happy Baking!

 

Niki

Recipe Creator

 

Niki’s Crunchy Cod and Butterbean Stew

2016, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Spring, Super Quick

codd

Happy Fish Friday all!

It’s still a bit chilly right?

Spring is certainly taking it’s time to warm up that’s for sure but it doesn’t mean you can’t have some hearty food to warm and nourish your body. My crunchy cod is seriously moreish, I can’t describe how light yet filling it is, paired with soft butter beans, it’s sure to warm your spirits right through.

I have used polenta for my coating as it’s gluten free and actually gives a crisper finish to your fish. My recent trip to Milan inspired me to use polenta as well, it’s such a staple out there but quite underused here. Considering that it’s stocked in most supermarkets now, I would like to show you just how versatile it is. It can be a yummy substitute for mash, cakes, cookies and coatings for meat and fish. You can’t go wrong here guys, this meal won’t leave you feeling the least bit sluggish but rather satisfied and nourished. Butter beans contain a good source of iron, zinc and magnesium as well as providing you with fibre and energy. The prep is minimal which is perfect after a long day in the middle of the week.

All you need is:

(Serves 2)

For the Crunchy Cod:

2 Wild Cod fillets, sliced into medium chunks and patted dry with kitchen towel

2 tablespoons of polenta

1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

2 tablespoons of grass fed ghee (surthrival or pukka are good choices)/organic avocado oil (olivado is a great one to try)

 

For the Butter Bean Stew:

1 can of organic butter beans, thoroughly washed and drained

1 tablespoon of avocado/olive oil

5 slices of chorizo, diced finely (optional)

1 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon of sweet smoked paprika

2 tablespoons of sweetcorn, washed and drained

1 garlic clove, crushed

1 onion, finely diced

1 teaspoon of tomato purée

½ cup of water

2 tablespoons of finely shredded wild garlic (optional)

1 tablespoon of red chilli flakes (optional)

Start by heating your pan over a moderate heat and sweat off your diced onion and garlic clove for a couple of minutes. Once softened, add in your diced chorizo, sweet smoked paprika, sweetcorn and tomato puree and mix in for a further five minutes, turning the heat down.

Add in your butter beans, seasoning and water and bring to the boil. Simmer for at least ten minutes until your stew has thickened.

Whilst that’s happening, you can get your crunchy cod going. In a separate frying pan heat your oil over a medium heat, season your cod fillets and lightly dust with your polenta.

Place it gently but swiftly in your pan and cook on each side for at least 5 minutes (or until the flesh becomes opaque rather than translucent). Once cooked through, remove your cod with a slotted spoon and let the excess oil seep out by placing it on a plate lined with some kitchen paper.

 

You are now ready to assemble your dish (my favourite part!) by pouring a decent ladle full of your stew in a bowl and top with your crunchy cod. I personally love to top mine with some finely shredded wild garlic for that extra savouriness, mmm. This dish is perfect on workout days as well as it’s fully of energy boosting goodness! Hope you enjoy it guys.

Happy Baking!

Niki B

Recipe Creator

Niki’s Fruity Chilli Jam

2016, Healthy, International, Spring, Super Quick
chillijammy

www.facebook.com/nikibakes

 

Hello my lovely readers,

As you all know by now, I’m a massive chilli fan, I can’t get enough of the deliciously flavourful fruit. My chilli jam is quick, straightforward and won’t blow your socks off (so all you foodies who have milder taste buds can still enjoy :P).

 

In fact you can truly control the heat intensity of your jam by the choice of your chilli (you can find this by your desrired intensity ) –

Super hot – hot –  I would recommend birds eye or habanero
moderate to mild – I would recommend jalapeño or chipotleThe choice is yours but feel free to experiment!

It’s aromatic and truly fruity, you’ll see what I mean when you make it for yourself and trust me once you start making my fruity chilli jam, you’ll be hooked.

I have tweaked a few of the ingredients from the conventional recipes to make it a healthier version of the classic chilli jam by swapping out the standard caster sugar for xylitol. This sustainable and natural sweetener is that is sourced from plants so it’s easily digestible.

 

This jam keeps for up to 2 months in the fridge and is the perfect accompaniment to meat, fish and vegetable dishes, it’s a very versatile jam indeed.

 

I personally love to have it with some grass fed lamb chops or on the side with my steamed veggies.

All you need is:
8-10 yellow, orange and/or red organic chillies, deseeded (regardless of variety) and finely processed in a food processor
A handful of organic cherry tomatoes, roughly chopped
1 teaspoon of rice vinegar
1 teaspoon of tamari
1/2 teaspoon of finely grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed finely
1 tablespoon of avocado or olive oil
5 tablespoons of xylitol

Simply heat your pan over a moderate to high flame and soften your ginger and garlic for just a moment. Once the aromas start wafting out, add in all your chillies and stir for a couple of minutes. (Your eyes may begin to water a little but just remember that you’re cooking out most of the raw heat from the chillies anyway and is in no way an indication of how your chilli jam will taste). Next, add In your chopped tomatoes, rice vinegar, tamari and xylitol, mixing well until all the xylitol has dissolved into your jam. Cook this down for a good 15 minutes and you’ll see very quickly how it thickens and becomes sticky and saucy…it’s a beautiful moment when that happens and when it does it’s time to take it off the heat. Let it cool completely before you put into your sterilised jam jar and store in the fridge.

I do hope you give this one a try folks, you’ll love it for sure!

Happy Baking!
Niki B
Recipe Creator

 

 

 

Niki’s Mini Lahmacun

2016, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Spring, Super Quick

lahmacun2

Selam!

My wonderful readers I do hope you are having a truly restful Sunday evening. Having spent a year in Istanbul I had the great fortune of being exposed to the beautifully cosmopolitan city and all the delicious food it had to offer. One of my favourite savoury dishes out there was the legendary lahmacun. It’s essentially a Turkish pizza but I can assure you the flavours are bold and super tasty. My take on it is rather different I must say as its missing cheese and the wheat base but I hope you give it a try, once you try a lahmacun there’s just no going back!

 

For approx 10 mini lahmacuns you will need:

 

For the base:

1 small cauliflower- processed finely to resemble fine sand in a food processor and wrapped up in a tea towel (wring out that moisture!)

1 pastured egg

1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon of doves farm cornflour

1 teaspoon of ground cumin and turmeric

1 spring onion, finely chopped

 

For the delicious lamb topping:

250g of finely minced grass fed lamb

1 teaspoon of chilli flakes (Turkish pul biber would be ideal but not necessary)

1 tablespoon of finely chopped coriander

1 teaspoon of ground coriander

1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

1 teaspoon of ground cumin and turmeric

1 teaspoon of avocado/extra virgin olive oil

2 garlic cloves crushed

 

Simply preheat your oven to a medium high heat and mix all your ingredients for the cauliflower base in a bowl. Shape your cauliflower bases into ½ inch thin discs and place gently onto your baking tray. Bake for 10 minutes. Whilst that’s happening, cook your lamb mince with the olive oil and the seasoning in a frying pan, use a wooden spoon to really pulverise the lamb as much as possible. Once the cauliflower bases have had those 10 minutes, bring them out and take a teaspoon to measure the lamb mince topping. Spoon into the middle of the cauliflower bases and pop back into the oven to cook for a final 15 minutes. Serve warm with a light salad….afiyet olsun!

 

Happy Baking!

 

Niki

Niki’s Spiralised Golden Chicken Salad

2016, Healthy, Super Quick

tuer full

Happy April all!

With the arrival of Spring I wanted to share a fun and delicious way to have your chicken salad. With a few simple spices and techniques you can jazz up this classic dish and make it your own. What I love about this dish is that it can be as hearty or light as you wish, versatility is key in our busy lives afterall. Turmeric is quite simply one of the best spices I have ever used in my cooking and I’m delighted to share all of its benefits with you. From having anti-inflammatory properties to being a punchy antioxidant, I can’t recommend turmeric enough to you. Aside from all the nutritional benefits turmeric contains, it also adds this wonderfully golden tinge to your meats and sauces. Spiralising is also another technique I have come to love because it adds another dimension to cooking. You can get a spiralizer for a very reasonable price nowadays so you can incorporate it into your day to day cooking as it’s also quite a handy tool to have for quick Courgetti too. All you need for my spiralised golden chicken salad is:

 

For 2 people:

2 free range skinless and boneless chicken breasts

1 teaspoon of black sesame seeds

1/2 teaspoon of turmeric

½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt

2 tablespoons of olive/avocado oil

2 carrots, spiralised

1 beetroot, spiralised

A handful of baby kale

A small handful of alfalfa sprouts

 

Firstly, heat your shallow pan over a medium high heat and pop in your chicken breasts. Pop in all of your seasoning and turn the heat down. Let the chicken cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on and then turn the heat off and allow to cool. Then assemble your salad however you wish and making sure your chicken is cold so it doesn’t wilt the baby kale. Finish off with a scattering of your black sesame seeds and enjoy!

 

Happy Baking!

 

Niki

 

Niki’s Grilled Polenta Slices with Pesto

2016, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Spring, Super Quick

polenta

Good evening my bella readers,

Today is the last day of my Italian week here at nikibakes and I wanted to share my grilled polenta slices with you all. It’s so simple but truly satisfying and tasty. This gluten free and veg wonder is also very versatile in that you could add it as a side to your next steak or meat dinner or even as a light lunch with some salad, the choices are truly endless!

 

All you need is:

250g of cooked polenta, cooled and poured into a square pyrex dish to set

½ teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper

Extra olive oil to brush the polenta steaks

 

For the Pesto sauce:

 

1 tablespoon of olive oil

1 handful of basil

2 garlic cloves

½ cup of almonds

 

Simply slice your polenta into ½ inch thick slices and season your delicious slabs. Set aside. In a food processor blend together the olive oil, basil, garlic cloves and almonds until a lovely and aromatic pesto sauce forms. Next, heat your grill pan over medium high heat and lightly brush your polenta slices with olive oil. Grill each polenta slice on both sides for 3-5 minutes each. Serve warm with your pesto sauced drizzled over. Enjoy!

 

Ciao for now!

Happy Baking

Niki