Niki’s Sweet Potato Con Carne

2015, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury

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Hola my friends!

How do you fancy your chilli? With minced meat right? Nice and substantial and delicious. What if I told you there’s an excellent alternative if you wished to go meat free? That’s right, my sweet potato chilli con carne is a winner dinner and is not only straightforward to create, it is just as satisfying! Perfect for the weekend or after a long day at work. Read on…

 

All you need for this delicious dish is:

1 medium red onion, diced roughly

1 bell pepper (any colour, although I prefer red)

Pinch of cayenne, cinnamon and cumin seeds

Seasoning (Please be generous!)

2 sweet potatoes, diced roughly

2 cloves of garlic

2 tbsp of tomato paste

2 fresh tomatoes, diced

Splash of olive oil

Handful of coriander

1 can of kidney/pinto/cannellini beans, drained and washed thoroughly

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Preheat your oven to a medium high heat and prepare a roasting tray with your diced potatoes and seasoning. Roast until golden brown. While this is happening, heat your pan over medium and get your onions, garlic and beans tossed together with the seasoning. Please make sure you are seasoning generously as the beans soak it all up! Then add your tomato paste for some lovely colour and depth of flavour. Once your sweet potatoes are ready, gently (!) fold them into your delicious chilli and your diced tomatoes. Cover with one cup of water and simmer for 20 minutes. Your wonderfully light chilli is ready to serve with some yoghurt or brown rice.

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Enjoy your weekend and happy baking!

Niki

Niki’s Tarka Dhal

2015, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Super Quick, Winter

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Dhal. Easy. Speedy. Economical. And most of all…nutritious! Yes, my Dhal could not be simpler or healthier compared to traditional versions, I do hope you try this over the weekend, I am sure it will become a staple in your household.

All you need is:

  • 250g red lentils
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 2 red chillies, deseeded and sliced
  • 1 tbsp grated fresh root ginger
  • 3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp hot chilli powder (optional)
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp garam masala
  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 1 tbsp of poppy seeds

 

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Simply all you do is rinse your lentils thoroughly and place into a pan. Cover with water, enough to cover the lentils twice over in volume and add the rest of the ingredients. Simmer over a medium heat until the lentils become tender and the mixture has come together. Add seasoning and olive oil after 15 minutes and serve generously with some brown rice or crusty bread.

 

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Happy Baking!

Niki

Niki’s Chicken Tikka

Christmas, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Winter

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Hello lovely readers, how are we all doing?

Wow. One week. One week until the big day is here, I genuinely believe that as I grow older, I appreciate the holidays that little bit more. It’s not what’s under the tree that matter but rather, who surrounds it. And good food. Food of all cultures grace my table over the holidays simply because I have an eclectic taste and believe that Christmas is a time to really indulge in a variety of delicious food. My chicken Tikka is truly irresistible, I generally have it on boxing day along with all my leftovers. It couldn’t be simpler to prepare and cook. Read on…

I strongly advise you to invest in some good Asian spices before attempting this dish simply because curries are taken to the next level by their aroma and spice. Please don’t use any shortcuts and instead make sure you have some poppy seeds, cumin seeds, garam masala, turmeric and seasoning. I use these as a good solid foundation for my tikka paste but I enhance the sauce by including saffron and some ghee (yes, a little amount is fine to use).

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Furthermore, I use chicken tenders as oppose to any other part of the chicken because it is soft and has more flavour in my opinion. Of course, chicken thighs are also a good alternative as the bones add some unique delicious flavour. As for the vegetables I use mushrooms, bell peppers and peas as staples but in addition to this I am also very generous with my ginger and garlic.

My dear readers, I would like to wish you all a very merry Christmas. I sincerely hope it is spent in good company with great food, lots of laughter and most of all, love.

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Happy Holidays and Happy Baking!

Love Niki

Niki’s Saffron Rice

Christmas, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Super Quick, Winter

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Happy Sunday dear readers!

I hope you do get some time to yourself whilst you are all out there battling the crowds at this busy time. My Saffron rice is the perfect meal to come home to, not just for refueling but to keep you light and energized for this busy time!

I simply use turmeric and saffron to the cooking water whilst my rice is getting ready. Simple yet very effective…perfect for entertaining in the festive season!

Happy Baking!

Niki

Niki’s Bolognese

Christmas, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Winter

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Hello my lovely readers!

December is almost upon us and I particularly love this month not just because of Christmas but because as a wise person once told me, it is a time to reflect. It is my Birthday month and of course as the year draws to an end it makes me think about what we all went through and what is to come. This all sounds a bit heavy doesn’t it? Well, why not ponder such thoughts with a plate of my Bolognese?

My sauce is so unbelievably quick and simple to create, even after you come home from work or picking up the kids. All you need is one onion, 200-400g of minced lamb, seasoning, handful of oyster mushrooms, passata (this is the key!) and some minced garlic. My ingredients are minimal but the flavour of this dish is far from simple or plain. It will compliment your tastebuds and have you smiling all evening. It’s light yet satisfying and more importantly, healthy!

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I do sincerely hope you try my sauce and pay homage to the wonderful Italians!

Ciao for now!

Nikis Carrot and Coriander soup

Autumn, Christmas, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Super Quick, Winter

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Howdy all!
Perhaps you have already noticed…I have a bit of an obsession with soups! I love the versatility and array of flavours which can be produced along with the fact that the ones I make take no time at all. How do you create my delicious and fresh carrot and coriander soup? With five ingredients! Yes, you read that right…a handful of carrots (chopped up), a bunch of coriander (roughly chopped as it will all be blended anyway), 1 large onion (roughly chopped), seasoning and 1 leek. Simply, toss these in some olive oil over a medium heat for about ten minutes. Season and then cover with 2-3 cups of water. Bringing to the boil, blend and add your coriander. You will end up with a vibrant and delicious soup which you will be tempted to have for lunch and dinner! Yum yum!

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Happy Baking!
Niki

Niki’s Muesli

Autumn, nikibakes.co.uk, Super Quick, Sweet, Winter

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Happy Monday Dear Readers!
Brrr. That’s one way to sum up these short days. Oh, what was that? You want something fuss-free to boost you up for the cold mornings? Yes?! My muesli is so wholesome and delectable and I can guarantee it will be a staple in your kitchen. Just a few ingredients which you can buy in one go and economically speaking, who doesn’t love that this time of year?

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All you need is:
½ cup pecans (Coarsely chopped)
½ cup whole almonds (Coarsely chopped)
½ cup of pumpkin seeds
½ cup of sunflower seeds
1 cup of raisins and dried cranberries
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1 ½ cup of rolled oats
2 teaspoons of flax seeds
½ cup of sesame seeds

Literally all you do is combine all of the above on a sheet pan (apart from the dried fruit) and wack it in the oven (preheated gas mark 3) for about 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Once cooled, fold in your dried berries and store away in an airtight container. NOTE: DO NOT LEAVE UNATTENDED!

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This lovely and super speedy muesli will last you for at least a week and you can make some great variations and additions. I would personally stay away from any form of chocolate but if you would like more luxurious choices then you can perhaps add some Brazil nuts or walnuts.
Happy Baking!
Niki