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 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 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

Niki’s Neapolitan Ice Cream Slices

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

neopolitan
Ciao ciao!
Fancy a little dolce treat? This classic cosmopolitan slice featured in every gelateria in Milan and I wanted to share my version of it with you. Can you believe that I even managed to make it gluten and dairy free? Don’t worry though, taste is not compromised here and dare I say it’s even easier to make than the original version. My Neapolitan ice cream slices contain maple syrup which is super good for you as it contains numerous antioxidants and thus preferable over normal processed sugar. Also, instead of cream I have used coconut cream which improves your immunity and provides you with energy. Happy days.

All you need is:
For the coconut cream layer:

160ml of coconut cream
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

For the strawberry layer:

160ml coconut cream
3 strawberries, crushed
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

For the chocolate layer:

2 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
3 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Simply whisk the selected ingredients in a bowl thoroughly and pop into the freezer for 30 minute intervals before you start to make the next layer. I really hope you enjoy it guys and make sure you share your creation on my Facebook page- I would love to see it and share it!
www.facebook.com/nikibakes

Happy baking!
Niki

Niki’s Italian Dips

2016, Easter, Healthy, International, Savoury, Spring, Summer

dips

Buonasera!

Fancy a light aperitif? My trio of Italian inspired dips are sure to tickle your taste buds whilst giving you that healthy boost as well. Whilst walking around the streets of Milan in the evening I was pleasantly assaulted with the delicious aromas of small hot plates of food. From colourful rich dips to little cuts of salami, mortadella and of course bianco focaccia/pizza, these aperitifs were a true feast for the eyes. I would like to share my own version based on what saw out there and inject some Italian into your dips!
All you need for the three dips are:
For the basil infused houmous:

1 tablespoon of chopped basil
½ jar of cooked chickpeas, drained and washed
½ teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt and white pepper
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of tahini paste
1 small garlic clove, crushed
For the orange/red roasted pepper dip:

1 orange/red pepper, chargrilled and roasted
1 tablespoon of fresh chopped basil
½ jar of cooked chickpeas
½ teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt and Turkish red chilli flakes (optional)
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed

For the beetroot-thyme houmous:

1 small beetroot cooked and roughly chopped
1 tablespoon of finely chopped thyme (dried is okay here too)
½ jar of cooked chickpeas, drained and washed
½ teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt and white pepper
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of tahini paste
1 small garlic clove, crushed
Simply blitz your chosen dip in a food processor on high pulses for about five minutes or so until ultra-smooth. These dips are best served chilled and last up to 5 days in the fridge.

Buenisimo!

Happy baking!

Niki

Niki’s Milanese Meatballs

2016, Healthy, International, Savoury, Spring

mila2

Bonjourno my lovely readers and welcome to my Italian week! 

I would like to start off my Italian week with my delicious and sumptuous Milanese meatballs. Upon my recent trip to Milan, I was truly taken aback by all the vibrant colours and alluring aromas of roasted garlic and basil wafting in the residential streets. Steaming hot pasta dishes glistening in top quality extra virgin olive oil to sweet and decadent dolce treats lining the cobbled streets of central Milan. One thing I was particularly taken with was all the delicious meat dishes and of course the meatballs. There are a million ways to create a meatball out there, I saw some stuffed with eggs, oozing mozzarella cheese and deep fried with breadcrumbs and herbs. Now of course, whilst it was amazing to see all of this I want to now show you my take on the classic meatball, Milanese style.

All you need is: 

500g of organic grass fed beef
1/2 teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon of chopped up basil
2 cloves of garlic, crushed
1/2 teaspoon of ground coriander
I egg yolk
2 tomatoes, peeled and chopped
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 extra tablespoon of basil, roughly geared up
1 teaspoon of tomato purée

 

Simply mix your beef with your seasoning, egg yolk, basil and 1 clove of garlic. Set aside for 30 minutes. Next, in a separate pan heat your oil and add in the other clove of garlic and heat gently with your tomato purée. After a couple of minutes, turn up the heat to a high flame and add in your chopped tomatoes, stir well. Then, shape your meatballs into small sized balls using a teaspoon to measure them out equally. Pop them into your tomato sauce and lower the heat. Simmer your dish for 20 minutes and just before you’re ready to serve, garnish with your basil. 

Buonissimo! 

Happy Baking! 

Niki 

Niki’s Turkey and Tarragon Bolognese

2016, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Spring, Winter

turkeytarragon

Bonjourno!

Fancy a little shake up to your classic beef Bolognese. How about something a little lighter but just as tasty? I have recently discovered a delicious paring: tarragon and turkey. It’s so refreshing and uplifting in flavour. The sauce could not be more straightforward and the main thing to remember here is to please use fresh tarragon.

All you need is:
3 tablespoons of chopped tarragon
400g of organic turkey mince
1 teaspoon of Himalayan sea salt and cracked black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground coriander
1 red onion, diced finely
2 garlic cloves, crushed
2 tomatoes, chopped roughly
1 teaspoon of tomato puree
2 tablespoons of avocado oil
1 cup of water
Heat your oil in a medium pan and throw in your onions and garlic, stir for a couple of minutes until softened. Add in your minced turkey and seasoning and brown for 5-10 minutes, grounding the meat with your spatula or wooden spoon. Toss in half of your chopped tarragon and turn the heat down. Next, add in your tomato puree and chopped tomatoes and toss for a further 5-10 minutes. Lastly, add your water and bring to the boil, simmer your Bolognese for 20 minutes and then serve hot with some steamed vegetables. Bellissima!

Happy Baking!

Niki

Niki’s Kisir

2016, Healthy, International, Spring

newkisir

Merhaba!
With the weekend upon us, I wanted to share my super simple and fresh traditional Turkish salad, Kisir. It’s wonderfully crunchy from the pomegranate seeds and cabbage but also hearty and tasty from the soft millet. The sour punch to this Kisir is why I personally love it so much, its just super light and zingy and what’s more, I have every mouthful knowing it’s packed full of antioxidants from the pomegranate too.
All you need is:
¼ purple cabbage, finely shredded
2 tablespoons of pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon of pomegranate molasses (nar sauce)
1 tablespoon of parsley, finely chopped
The juice of one lemon
1 teaspoon of Himalayan salt and cracked black pepper
1.5 cups of millet (or buckwheat)
1 tablespoons of avocado oil or olive oil

All you have to do is simply cook your millet and let it cool. Then, with a fork, fold in the lemon juice, pomegranate molasses, olive oil and seasoning and mix in gently. Finally, throw in your veggies and parsley and enjoy!
Happy Baking!
Niki