Niki’s Date and Cinnamon Squares

Healthy, nikibakes.co.uk, Sweet

datecin

 

Hello Everyone!

Fancy an utterly moreish and fudge-like sweet treat? My Date and Cinnamon Squares are so soft, tasty yet easy to prepare with minimal ingredients involved. You can make them ahead of time and they’re naturally free from refined sugar as well as being dairy and gluten free.  These wonderful bites are packed full of nutrients and minerals from the dates (calcium and phosphorous) and almonds to include fibre, calcium and vitamin E. All you need to make these wondrous squares are:

 

Ingredients: 

 

(Makes roughly 16 squares) 

(use organic/natural real food ingredients where possible)

300g of medjool dates, pitted and at room temperature

1/4 cup of coconut oil, melted

200g of walnuts

100g of almonds, roughly chopped  and 400g of ground almonds

1/4 cup of maple syrup

½ teaspoon of pink Himalayan salt

1 level teaspoon of ground cinnamon

 

From your kitchen:

 

A mixing bowl

A wooden spoon

A sharp knife

A food processor (optional – if you don’t have one you can use a rolling pin and bag to crush your nuts and a fork to mash up the medjool dates with the maple syrup)

A deep brownie dish

A silicone spatula

A couple of teaspoons for measuring

 

Method:

 

Step 1: 

For the base layer all you have to do is combine the ground and chopped almonds, coconut oil, ground cinnamon and Himalayan salt in your mixing bowl using a wooden spoon. Flatten the base layer with your silicone spatula and set to one side.

 

Step 2: 

To prepare your date filling, blitz (or mash with a fork) the dates and maple syrup together, this is much easier when the dates are at room temperature and are at their softest and pliable point. Using your spatula, spread your squidgy and smooth date filling evenly over your nutty base layer.

 

Step 3: 

Lastly, for your crumble topping you will only need to blitz up your walnuts until they resemble a course sand-like consistency and appearance. Sprinkle over the top with  an extra dusting of cinnamon if you like and refrigerate your squares for at least 2 hours or overnight.

 

 

Guys I do hope you give these a try, they are a real crowd pleaser and you will be pleasantly surprised at how sweet they taste, dates are truly nature’s natural sweetener whilst also reducing triglyceride levels. These squares are best enjoyed on workout days and preferably and the evening.

 

Happy Baking!

Niki

Recipe Creator

https://draxe.com/medjool-dates/

https://draxe.com/almonds-nutrition/

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 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 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 Rainbow Sushi

2016, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury

sushi

Hey guys!

To really kick off this sunday let’s inject some colour and fun with my rainbow sushi rolls. They are so straightforward, filling and quite enjoyable to make, its perfect to get your loved ones together as someone can chop the veggies whilst someone else cooks the rice and so on.

All you need is:
1 standard pack of Nori
1 sushi mat, wrapped in cling film
1 tablespoon of black sesame seeds
1 cup of white sushi rice
1 avocado, thinly sliced
1 cucumber, peeled and thinly sliced
2 bell peppers, different colours, thinly sliced
1 carrot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of pickled ginger, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon of turmeric which has been mixed with ½ teaspoon of water to form a paste
3-4 tablespoons of beetroot juice
2 tablespoon of tamari, for dipping

For the rice:

1 tablespoon of rice vinegar
1 pinch of Himalayan sea salt
1 teaspoon of honey
1 tablespoon of avocado oil

Simply cook your rice according to the packet instructions and set aside to cool down. While you are waiting for your rice to cool down, prepare your veggies and make sure your sushi mat is covered in cling film and that you have as much space as you need in order to prep your sushi. Once your rice is completely cold, add in the rice vinegar, salt, honey and oil and mix together until well incorporated. As you roll your sushi you will see that you can really have some fun and create as many colour combinations as you like. After you have rolled and cut all your sushi rolls my favourite part has arrived: the colouring! All you have to do is sprinkle on the turmeric or beetroot juice on top of the rice (please use sparingly as it does colour the rice quickly!) and garnish with black and white sesame seeds. Serve with tamari and enjoy!

Happy Baking guys!

Niki

Niki’s Walnut and Maple Syrup Muffins

2015, Christmas, Healthy, International, nikibakes.co.uk, Super Quick, Sweet, Winter

pecan

Happy Holidays lovely people!
Whilst we are surrounded by cheer and bright lights all around us, we can all get run down and tired from all the shopping and extra preparations at this time of year…so have a go and whipping up my quick walnut and maple syrup muffins. They’re hassle free yet super tasty and gluten-free, no compromise on flavour here guys. What’s more, you’re getting all the sweetness of the maple syrups but none of the processed sugar you may find in other muffins, the walnuts also provide that wonderful crunch and will fuel you up for many hours. All you need is:

Handful of walnuts, chopped up
3 tbps of maple syrup
Pinch of Himalayan salt
1 ½ cups of ground almonds
¼ cup of melted coconut oil and ghee
1 tbsp of ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp of baking powder
½ tsp of grated nutmeg
1 cup of almond milk

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 or medium high and simply beat your maple syrup, oil (or ghee if chosen) and eggs until thoroughly beaten. Next, fold In your ground almonds, ground spices, salt, baking powder and alternate with your milk. Fold in until just combined and scoop out your batter into your muffin cases and bake for no longer than 20 minutes or until golden brown. Enjoy these muffins guilt free and hassle free!
Happy Baking!

Niki

Niki’s Warming Winter Salad

2015, Autumn, nikibakes.co.uk, Savoury, Super Quick, Winter

winterwarmernikibakes

Happy Sunday everyone!

Whether you are beating the crowds for your Christmas shopping or just relaxing at home, my warming winter salad is perfect to fill you up and leave you feeling amazing inside and out. With all the squashes we have around us what better way than to use them in a salad? I have used the red onion squash variety but of course you can use any kind you have to hand. Jerusalem artichokes are also a winner here which I have used, they are equally as delicious and bring a robust and almost mushroomy-like flavour to your salad. Sweet potatoes are also delish and provide those extra vitamins and minerals, sound good so far? Keep reading…

All you need is:

1/2 medium-sized squash, cut into cubes

3 sweet potatoes, cut into small cubes

3 Jerusalem artichokes…wait for it…also cut into cubes!

A decent handful of any salad leaves you have to hand

A handful of cherry tomatoes

1/2 of an avocado, cut into small cubes

1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or avocado oil

Seasoning and extra chilli flakes if desired

Simply heat your saucepan over medium high and toss your artichokes, squash and sweet potatoes in your oil, season well and cook until golden brown and crisp to the touch. Set aside and let it cool down whilst you arrange your salad in the way you wish and simply scatter your delicious and hearty root vegetable cubes on top, what could be easier?

Happy Baking!

Niki

 

Nikis Dark Chocolate-Almond Slices

2015, Autumn, Christmas, Healthy, nikibakes.co.uk, Super Quick, Sweet

choccc

Hello there!

Warm, rich and enticing, dark chocolate is the ultimate superfood when it comes to sweet treats. Coupled with the wondrous almonds, this decadent slice is just right with a cup of hot tea any day of the week. All you need is:

100g of dark (72% minimum) chocolate, roughly chopped
1.5 cups of ground almonds
2 eggs
¼ cup of melted coconut oil
1.2 cup of coconut sugar
1 tablespoon of raw cocoa powder (or 2 tablespoons of cocoa powder)
½ cup of almond milk (if mixture is getting too thick)
1 teaspoon of baking powder

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4 (medium) and melt 70g of the dark chocolate, coconut oil and coconut sugar in a separate pan. Once cooled blend in the eggs one at a time and then simply fold in with the ground almonds and baking powder. Grease your pan generously with some more coconut oil and pop in the oven for no more than 15-20 minutes, it’s that quick! Decorate however you wish, I’ve simply drizzled my remaining chocolate on top and garnished with some almonds. Yummy!

Happy Baking!

Niki