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 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 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 Chia Pudding

2016, Healthy, Spring, Sweet

chia

Hey guys,
My super easy chia puddings are packed full of goodness and protein from the chia seeds. The consistency is thick and cream yet there’s no dairy in sight. What’s more, there are only 4 ingredients in this pudding and it’s free from refined sugar, all you need is:

4 tablespoons of chia seeds
1 cup of almond/oat or rice milk
2 tablespoons of maple syrup or honey
A handful of mixed berries (be as adventurous as you wish here)

Simply take 4 little pots or two small bowls and place them on a baking tray so it will be easier to pop into the fridge. In a bowl pour in your milk and add your chia seeds. Mix thoroughly until the chia seeds have been completely immersed in the milk. Then add in your maple syrup and spoon into your little bowls. Pop into the fridge for a couple of hours until set and then decorate with your fruit. For the one pictured above I simple mashed two blackberries together with a fork for the sauce and garnished with blueberries and a cheeky drizzle of maple syrup. I hope you enjoy it guys.
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 Ginger Scones

2016, Healthy, Sweet

sconesg

Happy March my lovely readers!
Okay it may not feel like spring is coming anytime soon but my ginger scones is perfect to warm you right up along with giving you that zingy feeling too. It is simple, free from refined sugar and gluten free! Here’s how:
All you need for about 12 scones is:

¼ cup of unsalted butter
1.5 cups of rice flour
¼ cup of gluten free plain flour
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
½ cup of coconut sugar
5 pieces of crystallized ginger, chopped up finely
1 egg yolk
½ cup of almond milk

Preheat your oven to gas mark 3 or 130ºC and line your sheet pan with greaseproof paper, set aside. In a large mixing bowl simply combine the two types of flour, salt and baking powder with a fork so it is evenly distributed. Next, rub in the butter using your thumb and fingers and after about a couple of minutes it should resemble a sort wet sand like consistency. Sprinkle in your sugar and pour in your milk. Combine well until a nice dough forms. If it’s too wet in consistency just go ahead and add some more flour until it comes together or add more milk if it’s looking too dry. Dust your tabletop with some of the rice flour and roll out your scone mixture. Cut into desired shape and brush the top of your scones with the beaten egg yolk. Pop into the oven and watch them rise into these beautiful and light little treats. They will be ready after about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown.
Happy Baking guys!

Niki

Niki’s Blood Orange and Pomegranate Cake

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

bloodpom

Hello my lovely readers,

To warm yourselves up this winter and really up your vitamin c, my blood orange and pomegranate cake is just the ticket. I could literally eat five blood oranges in one go and it wouldn’t be enough, they are so delightfully sweet and sour and they lift my cake right up. When you take a bite, your body will feel that rush of vitamin c flooding your body whilst also luxuriating in the slightly sweet and light base of the cake. It couldn’t be simpler but it’s a true show stopped so I cannot recommend it enough for dinner parties and special events. All you need is:

3 blood oranges, peeled and sliced (1/2 inch thick)

1/4 cup of pomegranate seeds

1/2 cup of almond milk 

1/4 cup of olive oil plus extra or greasing

2 eggs 

1/4 cup of maple syrup 

3 tablespoons of coconut sugar 

1 cup of almond flour 

1 teaspoon of baking powder 

1/4 cup of dedicated coconut 

Simply preheat your oven to gas Mark 3 and lightly grease the bottom of your cake tin with some olive oil. Lay your sliced blood oranges side by side until there are hardly any gaps and the whole of your cake tin is lined nicely with your tangy fruit. Scatter over the pomegranate seeds into any small spaces you can find in between the blood oranges. Beat together your oil, maple syrup and coconut sugar for a couple of minutes until the mixture is nicely mixed in together. Add in your eggs, one by one and continue to mix in until well incorporated. Finally, fold in your almond flour an desiccated coconut and alternate with the almond milk to stop  your cake batter from getting too clumpy. Spoon out gently onto your cake and pop into the oven to bake for 20-25 minutes, checking on it halfway through. You’ll know when the cake is ready as it turns beautifully golden brown and will be slightly springy to the touch. Let it cool for a further 10 minutes before turning it out onto your serving dish. Your cake is now ready! 

bloodpom3

Happy Baking! 

Niki

Niki’s Gooey Hazelnut Slabs

2016, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Sweet, Winter

gooeybars

Ciao mi amore,
With Valentine’s Day nearly upon us, I wanted to share my smooth, decadent and sweet hazelnut slabs. They are a triple layer slice so this is probably one of my most decadent sweet treats to date. The good news? These slabs are completely gluten free and contain no processed sugar so you can enjoy these with hardly any guilt and know that this treat is actually high in antioxidants from the raw cocoa powder and all that vitamin E from the nuts. Here’s how to make these beauties, enough for about 12 slabs:

For the crunchy nutty layer:

200g of pitted dates
150g of hazelnuts
100g of almonds
1 tsp of coconut oil

For the gooey caramel layer:

220g of pitted dates
3 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
1 tsp of coconut oil

For the smooth dark chocolate layer:

3 tbsp of maple syrup or honey
¼ cup of raw cocoa powder
¼ cup of coconut oil, melted
¼ cup of chopped hazelnuts

Of course, no baking is involved here so all make sure you have all the above ingredients to hand and also have a small brownie or deep square dish which has been lined with greaseproof paper. A food processor and plastic spatula is really your two main friends here so make sure you also have these to hand throughout the preparation as well. Firstly, for the crunchy base of your slabs simple whizz up your nuts first and then slowly add in your dates and coconut oil. Smooth out onto your baking dish and freeze for 20 minutes. The caramel layer is probably my favourite part as it’s so utterly gooey and soft, I love biting into this part of the slab especially. After the 20 minutes has finished, you simply need to blitz your dates until they are very smooth and gradually add in your coconut oil and maple syrup, this will literally take 20 seconds. Freeze again for another 10 minutes. Whilst you are waiting for this, you can make the topping by simply melting your coconut oil and gradually whisking in the raw cocoa powder to create the luxurious and smooth chocolate layer. Add in your maple syrup and then finally top off with your chopped hazelnuts, freeze for a final (I promise!) 15 minutes and they will be ready to eat! I hope you enjoy these slabs my lovely readers and remember…I love you all very much. Thank you for reading and supporting my blog. All feedback is welcome to feel free to comment on my website here or on my facebook page: www.facebook.com/nikibakes

Happy Baking!

Niki