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 Raw Bounty Squares

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

coconut squares

Hello my dear readers and happy Wednesday,
Today I would like to share with you one of my all time favourite sweets but with a healthy twist. This sweet treat is packed with antioxidants and the superfood that has captivated all of our hearts: coconut. This superfood is truly a winner in many ways, from aiding digestion to being a good fat; I cannot recommend using it enough in your cooking. All you need to make about 20 small squares is:

1.5 cups of coconut flour
2 tablespoons of desiccated coconut
½ cup of coconut oil, melted
3 tablespoons of maple syrup

For the chocolate topping:
3 tablespoons of raw cacao powder
2 tablespoons of maple syrup
¼ cup of coconut oil
Extra desiccated coconut for decoration

Line your square brownie dish (or deep dish) with greaseproof paper and set aside. In a large bowl missing in the coconut flour, desiccated coconut, coconut oil and maple syrup with a metal spoon until it comes together this will take a minute or two. Pop in the freezer for around 20 minutes. Five minutes before you are due to take out your coconut filling, heat a small pan and melt the coconut oil. Once completely melted, whisk in your maple syrup and cacao powder until a smooth glossy covering comes together. Set aside to cool for a moment and bring out your coconut filling from the freezer. Pour generously over the top and scatter over your desiccated coconut in whatever design you wish. Freeze again for a further 15 minutes and then cut into desired size. Finally…devour them!

Happy baking and thanks for reading!

Niki x

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 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 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 Dark Chocolate, Ginger and Pistachio Fingers

2015, Christmas, Healthy, nikibakes.co.uk, Sweet, Winter

chocging

Festive Greetings to my lovely readers!
Warming ginger…crunchy Pistachios and luxuriously rich melted dark chocolate are the three basic components of my Christmas finger biscuits. I’m sure you will love them just as much as I do. There is nothing but pure goodness here as the sweetener I have used consists only of maple syrup and coconut sugar; I have used buckwheat flour for the base…gluten free galore! It tastes delicious and it won’t leave you feeling so heavy, all you need is:

30g of melted dark chocolate
1 small handful of chopped pistachio nuts
3 teaspoons of ground ginger
250g of buckwheat flour
3 tablespoons of maple syrup
50g of melted coconut oil
25g of coconut sugar
Pinch of Himalayan salt

Preheat your over to medium high and simply whisk your coconut oil, maple syrup and coconut sugar in your bowl. Then add in the rest of your ingredients and spread out onto a Swiss baking sheet and bake for no more than 10-15 minutes. Bring out of the oven and cut into your desired shape straight after (before they really harden up!). Melt your dark chocolate and drizzle on top, leave to cool for 30 minutes and you are ready to go.

Merry Christmas my lovely readers!

Love Niki x

Niki’s Salted Peanut Butter Cups

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

salted peanut

Hey there lovely people!

Hope you are all enjoying the weekend as much as I am…my salted peanut butter cups will certainly add a spring to your step, you will not believe how super simple and addictive they are, seriously…they are rich in antioxidants from the raw cocoa powder and full of protein from the peanut butter…the sugar? Only maple syrup! Delicious and healthy…sound good to you? Thought i8t would. All you need is:

For the chocolate shell:
3 tablespoons of coconut oil
2 tablespoons of raw cocoa powder (no alternatives please)
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

For the delicious peanut butter filling:
2 tablespoons of unsalted natural peanut butter (organic is preferable)
1 tablespoon of coconut oil (melted)
Generous pinch of Himalayan salt
1 tablespoon of maple syrup

peanut

Simply melt the ingredients for your chocolate shell very gently and fill your cupcake cases (you will need cupcake liners-about 6 medium or 12 mini ones) ¼ of the way, spread to the sides a little with your teaspoon. Next, in a small bowl whisk up your peanut butter filling, making sure it is thoroughly combined; this will literally take 10 seconds. Fill up your mini moulds with approximately half a teaspoon of your peanut mixture if you are using mini cases or one teaspoon if you are using medium cases and simply top off gently with the remaining chocolate mixture. Pop it in the freezer for 10 (yes, 10!) minutes and eat right away! You will love them.

Happy Baking!

Niki x

Niki’s Raw Pecan Crumble Slices

2015, Healthy, nikibakes.co.uk, Sweet, Winter

PECANSniki

Hello everyone!
The weekend is nearly upon us and what better way to celebrate than whizzing up my fibre-rich and mineral packed (magnesium, copper, iron to name just a few) raw pecan crumble slices? They are decadent but believe me when I say, there is nothing but pure goodness in my slices. The incredible sweetness from the dates and maple syrup compliments the rich and buttery pecans in the most satisfying way. So have a quick read and see how simple it is to create these delicious beauties…
All you need is:
(Makes 8 slices)
For the crust and crumble topping:
1 cup of raw pecan nuts
4 dates, pitted (at room temperature)
1 tablespoon of melted coconut oil
Pinch of Himalayan salt
½ cup of ground almonds

For the filling:

¼ cup of raw cocoa powder (only raw please…we want those antioxidants!)
2 of melted coconut oil
2 tablespoons of maple syrup

Line your loaf baking tin with greaseproof paper and set aside. Prepare your crust and crumble topping by simply placing the pecans in your food processer and whizz a few times to break it down. Next, add in the dates, coconut oil, salt and ground almonds and process again until you start to see rough dough like pieces form. It should stick together when you press it between your fingers.
Press three quarters of this mixture into the base of your loaf tin and reserve the rest for the topping. Set this aside and prepare your chocolate filling. Whisk together the cocoa powder, coconut oil and maple syrup in a bowl until the mixture begins to thicken up. Pour into the loaf tin and sprinkle the remaining cup of crumble topping, gently pressing the topping down and place in the freezer for a couple of hours before serving. This treat is best served chilled in order to hold its texture and flavour and should be kept in the refrigerator after this. Please give this a go guys and remember, you’re eating nothing but goodness…and it tastes sublime too!

upclosepecan

Happy Baking!

Niki

Niki’s Raw Lemon Bars

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

lemonbars

Hello everyone!
Stimulating metabolism and stabilizing blood pressure the humble lemon is a truly remarkable fruit. Apart from its deliciously uplifting and zingy flavour, lemons can be a perfect show stopper as a main ingredient. My raw lemon bars will be a firm favourite in your household because it is created with healthy and wholesome elements such as pecans and cashews, coconuts, dates and lemons of course! I like to call them raw since traditional lemon bars are not only baked but are full of artificial flavourings, flour and refined sugar. Mine are fresh, gluten-free and hassle-free. Happy days!

rawlemon

All you need is:

For the lovely crunchy base:
½ cup of pecans
¼ cup of melted coconut oil
1 cup desiccated coconut
5 dates, pitted

For the creamy filling:
¼ cup of organic honey or maple syrup (I use honey personally)
¼ cup of lemon juice (freshly squeezed please!)
¾ cup of soaked cashews, drained and rinsed well

Topping:
Coconut flour for dusting
Simply line your square brownie tin with some greaseproof paper and whizz up all your ingredients for your base. Flatten evenly using the palm of your hand. Next, blitz up all your delicious bits for your creamy filling and watch those cashews become smooth and creamy (this part always astonishes me!) using a spatula, spread evenly on top and place in the freezer for a minimum of 6 hours. I know this may seem like a very long time but trust me; it is so worth the wait. Once the time has passed, sprinkle your coconut flour on top and you’re ready to go! You will see that they are light yet still rich and oh so tasty!

Happy Baking!

Niki

Niki’s Cherry-Chocolate Brownies

2015, Healthy, nikibakes.co.uk, Spring, Summer, Sweet

chococh

Hey there everyone!
Fresh week. Fresh fruit. But hang on, wouldn’t it be fun to incorporate your delicious and ripe cherries in a healthy yet fulfilling brownie? My gluten free and chocolaty creation will leave you licking your fingers in delight and awe. All you need is:

½ cup of pitted and quartered cherries
¼ cup cacoa nibs
¼ cup raw cocao powder
½ almond milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
¼ cup of pumpkin seeds
2 eggs
½ raw honey or stevia
¼ cup coconut oil, melted
1 cup almond flour
1 tsp gluten free baking powder

Preheat your oven to gas mark 4, grease your brownie dish and set aside. In a large mixing bowl whisk your melted coconut oil with your honey/stevia and add your eggs one by one, whisking thoroughly after each egg. Next, add your vanilla extract and cocoa powder and mix well. Finally, add you almond flour and baking powder and alternate with your almond milk. Stir well and just before you transfer to your baking tray, fold in your delicious cacao nibs and juicy pitted cherries and pumpkin seeds (leave some for decoration though!). Bake for 20 minutes and you will know when they are ready if you lightly press down the centre of the brownie with your finger and it bounces back up again slightly. Transfer onto a wire rack to cool down and cut to your desired size. That is it! Please give this healthy and light treat a go this summer!

Happy Baking!

Niki