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 Mexican Rice

International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury

mexican

Hola! ¿Que onda??

yes my dear readers, let us head to the wonderful, colourful and passionate Mexico! Recently, my appreciation for Mexican cuisine has shot through the roof. Consisting of fresh produce and minimal cooking time, it is just tooo tasty to resist. My Mexican dish came about as a bit of an accident as I had some leftover rice and a few odd vegetables. I did some research and here we are now. My rice is not only super quick but it is the sort of dish you just want to keep on eating…forget portion control, we are in low calorie territory! I know you are all screaming for joy…so am I. How to cook? You know the drill….eyes open….

First of all I would like to mention that if you do not have any leftover rice, then by all means use fresh but please please try to use brown rice, it really does make all the difference here. In a separate pan, dry fry some whole cumin seeds (a quintessentially Mexican spice) with a scant teaspoon of chilli flakes. Next, add about 2 tbsp of sweetcorn, peas, cubed carrots and finely chopped red pepper and garlic. On a medium high heat swirl this around in the pan and season well. The next (and last!) step is to simply fold the delicious jewel like ingredients into your already warmed through rice. After two minutes, serve and enjoy immediately!!
Hablemos! Hablemos!

Niki

Niki’s Sweet and Sour Chicken

International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury

chicken

Hello my readers!
So you’re hungry. You fancy some Chinese. You order sweet and sour. It arrives and you eat it all up…but there’s some residual sauce left over in the container. Don’t you ever notice how unnaturally thick and sticky it is once it’s cooled? Well, my spin on the takeaway favourite is not only delicious but all natural and additive free!
The dish literally takes 15 minutes to cook from wok/pan to table. For that delcious and authentic sauce you just need 2 tbsp of white wine vinegar, 2tbsp of ketchup (yes you read that right!), 1 tsp brown sugar, 1/2 cup of pineapple juice, 50ml of water and 1 tbsp of soy sauce. Mix all of these together on a medium-high heat for about 10 minutes until reduced and thickened.
In another pan, lightly brown some chicken together with green peppers, pineapple pieces, carrot slices and onion segments. Add some minced garlic and ginger and cook for a further 2-4 minutes. Lastly, add your sauce and stir for a final 2 minutes. Your healthy sweet and sour is now ready to devour!
chicken main
Happy Baking!
Niki