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Risotto is a traditional rice-based Italian staple belonging to the “first” courses or primo piatto. Although rice was already known to the ancient Romans it was used by them solely for medical purposes. But the situation changed rapidly in the 15th century when the fast-growing population of the Northern Italian cities Milan and Turin required much more food than ever. In 1475, Galeazzo Maria Sforza , the notorious Duke of Milan wrote in a letter to the Duke of Ferrara a description of the rice fields surrounding his city, the capital of Lombardy region. The River Po valley appeared to be the ideal place for the water-loving rice plants and now Italy exports the famous Arborio rice giving the perfect al dente risotto. With our recipe we present a barley-based risotto or orzotto as it is called in Italy. Barley cooked instead of rice gives a slightly chewier dish and provides higher levels of fibre which help to reduce the “bad” low-density lipoprotein cholesterol thus reducing the risk of heart diseases. Additionally, dehulled barley is a source of good-quality protein which nutritionally outperforms that of wheat. Some recent studies found mushrooms to have a positive impact on weight management, cognitive function and reducing the risk of cancer. Moreover, Portobello mushrooms may support immune system through interaction with gut microbiota. And let’s not forget about celery which is an excellent source of essential oils, phenolic compounds and vitamins. Celery possess anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties as well. Essentially Orzotto is an energy-rich dish providing a boost for the remainder of the day. In Italian, the word riso has a double meaning describing both rice and laughter. So when cooking our delicious risotto, remember that in Italy those who laugh easily are told: che aveva mangiato la minestra di riso meaning “who has eaten laughter or… rice soup!” So the choice is only up to you!

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Hasty pudding is a traditional British porridge made of ground grains with water or milk. In England, the hasty pudding commonly consisted of wheat, whereas the typical Scottish version used oats as the staple grain. Later in colonial times, the pudding porridge recipe was borrowed by the Europeans who settled in both of the Americas where they used maize as the main ingredient. During the first years maize or corn was an extremely important grain for both the English and French colonies in North America. The first serious written recognition was “The Hasty-Pudding” written by Joel Barlow in 1793, apparently one of the best American poems of the Federalist era. In our recipe, we have modified the traditional dish by using quinoa instead of the traditionally used cereals. Quinoa has gained notoriety in recent times as a ‘trending’ food but there’s good reason for this as it provides highly-digestible protein, having an excellent amino acid profile. Additionally it is gluten-free thus offering a good dietary choice for celiacs. Bananas contain a lot of vitamin C and folic acid. Additionally they are rich in potassium which is beneficial for heart muscle contractions. The nutty-flavoured almond milk may serve as an efficacious substitute for intolerances to cow milk, containing a lot of monounsaturated fat, magnesium, copper, bioactive phytochemicals and is cholesterol-free. It is a remarkable dietary option assisting with obesity, inflammation, cardiovascular and diabetes risks. Stop pudding it off and get cooking this delicious recipe!

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Toast is a traditional breakfast food that the British include in every meal that they can. This ranges from the morning rush grab and go breakfast before work, to a Sunday brunch of scrambled eggs and bacon, to the renowned Full English. Originally, toast was a product of traditional country life, however over time toasting stale bread became so common that it eventually became a national food habit throughout the British Isles. This then spread across the world, as toast was introduced into other countries that had been colonized by Britain. But what’s the reason for the obsession? It’s surely the combination of the delicious flavour, enticing smells and versatility, by complementing and enhancing the taste of some of the most delicious foods on our plates. Our avocado and blue cheese on toast will not only fill up your morning with intriguing flavour but of course will provide nutritional benefits too. In comparison to fresh bread, toasting has been shown to decrease glycemic response, thus reducing the risk of obesity and type II diabetes. Avocado provides high amounts of monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which are able to improve blood lipid profile and lower the “bad” low-density cholesterol. Avocado consumption is commonly associated with a reduced risk of metabolic syndrome meaning more normalised blood pressure, less blood sugar, less body fat and a reduced chance of an abnormal cholesterol level. A tablespoon of piquant blue-cheese bring together the delicious flavour of these easy-to-cook morning items! When the day begins let’s follow this simple and tasty recipe to gift yourself with a comforting and toasty start.

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The local cuisine of the Philippines possesses a great collection of various dishes but there is one among them all that just about every Filipino loves. Undoubtedly, roasted marinaded chicken garnished with fruits and vegetables in endless ways is the true national dish. Its local name is Adobo Manok or Chicken Adobo where Adobo is derived from the Spanish word adobar meaning “vinegar-braised”. The dish was firstly recorded in 1613 by Spaniard Pedro de San Buenaventura. In times when there were neither electricity nor fridges, Filipinas found a simple way to keep meat longer by soaking in sour and spicy marinades before cooking. Though this method is definitely time-consuming, you will be rewarded with amazingly tender meat full of a thick savoury flavour. Speaking nutritionally, the chicken meat is a valuable source of highly digestible, good quality protein with a low collagen content. It provides B-group vitamins like thiamine, pyridoxine and pantothenic acid and minerals (iron, copper, zinc). Being a part of vegetable-rich diets, poultry meat is usually associated with reduced levels of obesity. When consumed regularly chicken meat noticeably decreases the risk of cardiovascular diseases and type 2 diabetes as it has less cholesterol than pork. Looking at the vegetable ingredients included in this delicious dish let’s focus on the squash which was traditionally used by folk medicines. It is considered to improve vision as it is high in pro-vitamin A carotenoids. Squash has a unique carbohydrate profile that helps to manage the symptoms of diabetes and normalizes food passages through the gut. Surely thousands of poultry meat recipes were invented once chickens had been domesticated. And maybe this yummy Filipino-style Adobo-to-adoro chicken will take the first place in your personal collection!

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Agua Fresca or Agua de Frutas is a distinct trait of the Mexican beverage culture. There is no distinct English name for this light-bodied refreshing drink. So it could be translated as fresh, cool or fruit water, but one thing is for sure is that it is hugely popular in Mexico and even in the US. Traditionally made of sweet local fruits, herbs, spices and water, Agua Fresca is sold in large barrel-like glass containers in numerous bodegas and eateries across Central America. Its main purpose is to quench the thirst and to refresh the palate between consuming incredibly spicy dishes from the Mexican cuisine. The oranges in our Agua Fresca recipe have been proven to be an excellent food source of active phytochemicals like vitamin C, folic acid, carotenoids and flavonoids. One 2005 year study suggests people who consumed orange juice for 3 weeks had significant levels of these nutrients in the blood and an improved cholesterol index as well. Oranges are rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, the carotenoid antioxidant compound playing a certain role in eyesight health, growth and immune response. Strawberries, the other ingredient of the drink, contain a unique list of sugars, vitamins and minerals. They are also rich in phenolic antioxidant compounds which were shown to detoxify free radicals, to enhance cell survival and to repair damaged DNA.

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Traditionally most Thai people didn’t rely on the cooking of strangers enjoying homemade meals in the bosom of their families. But in the second half of 20th century things started to change when the rapid urbanization marked the awesome rise of ready-to-eat street foods. The latter relies on an amazingly rich local aquaculture of the overrunning rivers and shore waters of Thailand, the true Land of Smiles. So our grilled prawns recipe is a tasty delicious piece taken directly from the Thai street food culture. This abundant snack actually uses the French technique of tossing the prawns into a marinade then cooking to give the spicy caramel crispy crust enveloping the tender prawn meat. It comes as no surprise that since the 19th century Thailand neighboured the French-ruled Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And of course Thais couldn’t imagine the ubiquitous dish without the iconic Sri Racha hot chilli sauce. The sauce won worldwide popularity thanks to David Tran and his Huy Fong Foods, the company named by him after the boat on which he emigrated to the US in 1980. Prawns are one of the most popular seafoods in coastal diets worldwide. Their lipid profile has unique anti-aging, anti-tumour and anti-inflammatory properties due to the high content of essential omega-3 fatty acids (DHA and EPA), carotenoids and antioxidants. Prawn’s meat is rich in a highly-digestible protein and minerals like calcium and iron. The latter nutrients are necessary for bone strength and blood oxygen transport respectively. Our recipe contains quite a lot of garlic though don’t worry about the specific alliaceous breath, as it will be eliminated by the lemon juice. Rather focus on its ability to prevent cardiovascular diseases, protect your liver, stabilize blood sugar level and enhance overall stamina. Don’t forget about the mint, an aromatic herb that has been used by folk medicine for centuries. Indeed there is a reason, as recent studies suggest, that mint exhibits strong neuroprotective, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties. So the next time you try our shrimply perfect savoury prawns, imagine what famous Australian chef David Thompson describes in his book Thai Street Food, «The night markets of Thailand… filled with people, food and noise, as flames lick around woks and wood smoke from charcoal grills lingers in the still night air… They contain everything that lures a Thai out: good food, people, atmosphere and laughter – the Thai world on a plate”.

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The history of Japanese wrapped food sushi began in the late samurai period in the 17-18th centuries. As Japanese people are great travellers by nature it was very popular among them to visit famous shrines at least once in their life. Hence by the end of 18th century Japan had a highly developed tourism industry with all modern attributes like traveller guides, organised pilgrim tours and multiple inns. Of course all such trips required foods able to survive a long journey as well. Quick-witted merchants in Osaka found that raw fish kept much longer if it was enclosed in vinegared rice and then wrapped in the dried leaves of nori, the reddish-purple seaweed which had been cultivated across Japan for centuries. The new wrapped food was named sushi and allowed pilgrims to save both time and money on their way. Thanks to the ancient Japanese tradition, today we present our own delicious version of the wrap recipe. Though it doesn’t contain rice and isn’t intended for a long journey, it still offers a range of nutritional benefits and has a fantastic flavour due to the original togarashi spice mix. So the salmon provides energy-boosting creatine and DHA, an essential omega-3 acid which helps to prevent brain and heart related diseases. Tomatoes are full of potassium, vitamin A, C and phytochemical lycopene. The latter has been recently found to reduce risk of cardiovascular diseases and prostate cancer as well. In one recent study mango was shown to have multifaceted positive effects like anti-inflammatory, anticancer, antioxidant and even more health-enhancing ones. Hence it’s highly recommended for inclusion in a common diet. So let’s follow the ancient tradition to make a spectacular, meditative and healthy journey into the secrets of Japanese wrapping mentality.

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The art of noodle making originates in China and it became popular during the Tang dynasty. Sômen noodles (from the Chinese word suomien) were first mentioned in a 13th century cookbook and then a little while later the food was introduced into Japan where it very quickly spread into common use. The recipe that was described talked of exceptionally thin noodles made of wheat dough by attaching them to two ends of bamboo sticks. The dough was coated with vegetable oil just before attaching. The oil helped to stretch the noodle even more thinly. Then the noodles dried in the open air and were cut into 20 centimetres bundles that consisted of about 4,000 noodles each. Nowadays in many parts of Japan sômen noodles are still made in this way. Traditional Japanese cuisine is well known for its exceptional health benefits owing to a great number of dietary nutrients and easy-to-digest dishes. Sômen noodles is one of the fundamental ingredients to the cuisine. Seafood contains nutrients that are not present in terrestrial foods such as foods from a plant or animal origin. These include DHA and EPA omega-3 fatty acids which aid in the prevention cardiovascular diseases and dementia. Prawns are rich in B-group vitamins and minerals like zinc and selenium which promote healthy immunity. They also contain complete and highly-digestible protein providing all the essential amino acids human body needs. Seaweed is the superior source of a wide range of vitamins and digestible fibre. The latter was shown to normalise intestinal movement and host beneficial microbiota too. So let’s start cooking and always remember you’ll need sômen-y noodles for a big family, they’ll be sure to ask for another one portion!

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Quinoa isn’t a new food. For thousands of years it has been served as an integral staple of Inca’s diet. It seems it was the first civilization that embraced the crop. Incas preferred quinoa to corn and potato believing it gave power and endurance to their warriors. Quinoa was also used in ceremonies and was called “the mother grain” which gives you an idea of how important Quinoa was to their civilization. But in 16th century the situation changed. The Spanish arrived in South America and invaded the Incas. In an effort to fully eliminate Inca’s civilization they outlawed the use of quinoa and destroyed all the sowings. The use of quinoa had been forgotten for centuries. But since the 1970s there has been increasing interest to this ancient crop and for good reason! Indeed, Incas used quinoa to improve endurance and to treat some ailments like liver problems, tuberculosis, appendicitis and urinary tract infections. When applied as a compress both cooked and ground quinoa has been noted to reduce pain and to discolour bruises. Quinoa was also observed to promote women’s health during pregnancy following an increase in the quality of the milk during breast feeding. Because of its high calcium content quinoa helped to heal broken bones in native Andean societies. Now, we must not forget the other ingredients in our flavourful chicken curry recipe which undoubtedly have their healthy advantages too. Chicken meat protein contains all the essential amino acids while being low in cholesterol comparably to pork. Also the plain yoghurt in our spicy garlic-tahini sauce is a source of healthy promoting lactic bacteria. So the next time that you feel like exploring some new flavours and tastes then try this delicious recipe, and maybe quinoa will become the true Queenoa of the grains that you like!

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Avocado or alligator pear was commonly used by the Mayas and Aztecs as early as 500 B.C. The first Europeans that learned about this unusually unsweet creamy fruit were the Spanish conquistadors who invaded the Central and South Americas in the 16th century. They liked avocado for its high protein and oily content and for a pretty battery taste as well. It took some time, but eventually the fruit was grown in Florida in 1833 for the first time. Though its popularity grew relatively slowly, the avocado has become widespread since the second half of 20th century. As a result the current consumption of the avocado only looking at the US reaches an unbelievable 140 million pounds a day which generally peaks on Super Bowl Sunday and the Chico de Mayo events. So let’s explore our baked cheesy guacamole-type recipe that’s accompanied by tuna. Besides the long history, the avocado offers a range of unique nutritional benefits including essential nutrients and important phytochemicals. Avocado is exceptionally rich in monounsaturated fatty acids (MUFA) which were shown to promote heart health, to increase physical activity and to reduce anger and irritability. Moreover your heart and liver will benefit from its high potassium and vitamin content. Recent studies suggest that tuna meat provides a unique selenium compound called selenoneine which has been found to possess strong antioxidant activity thus reducing carcinogenesis and aging. So if you’re looking to increase your physical activity and/or look after your heart, then you should certainly try out our delightful tuna cheesemelt avo-cardio cups.

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Undoubtedly, Chinese culinary traditions are much older than those of the Roman Empire. Some archaeological findings suggest that even around 1850 BC the Chinese cooked foods in bronze pots very similar to the modern wok. The great philosopher Confucius who was an acknowledged gourmet besides, believed that the correct combination of sour, piquant, salty, bitter or sweet flavours should also be an integral part of a perfect life harmony. Thereby the art of flavouring various types of dishes in this way is the distinct trait of Asian cuisine culture. The same should also be stated for the Chinese equivalent of a cold chicken salad, more commonly known as ban, which traditionally did not involve cooking veggies. They are dressed with honey, soy sauce, sesame oil and some spicy ingredients to combine all the five inherent tastes in one mix. As Spring is fast approaching, we are pleased to present to you this easy-to-prepare Asian chicken salad. All of the veggies provide soluble fibres facilitating digestion and favouring the growth of healthy gut microflora. These beneficial bacteria supply many vitamins and boost immunity as well. Phytochemicals from onions possess anticarcinogenic and antithrombotic properties thus lowering risks of cancer and high blood pressure. Both carrots and bell peppers are well-recognised sources of carotenoids which not only give the essential vitamin A but also can reduce the risk of some types of cancer, and they also promote blood cell health. The sesame oil contains a lot of linoleic acid which is an omega-6 type and when consumed in moderation can enhance immunity especially during the cold season. When food time comes, take a Mason jar and shake some flavour into your life. Who knows, maybe this enjoyable recipe will help you pave the way to internal harmony!

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Among the famous Italian sweets, or dolces, panna cotta is one of the highest ranks by popularity. This creamy white dessert originates in the Piedmont region in northwest Italy. The recipe had only really been given its modern form in the 1960s, unfortunately the exact history of its creation is unclear. Some believe panna cotta is a lightened derivative of the traditional French crème brulee or Bavarian cream desserts, while others suggest it is a version of the old Sicilian dessert Biancomangiare. There is also a legend that the recipe was firstly brought to Northern Italy by one Hungarian lady in 1900s. Its basic ingredients are cream, milk and sugar which consequently make it one of the most versatile desserts. The simplicity of the recipe has enabled many Michelin starred chefs to turn this white pudding recipe into true masterpieces being inspired by paintings of famous artists and the endless array of surrounding nature. Let’s follow the inspiration of Michelin stars to touch the poetry of sweetness. Our panna cotta doesn’t contain cholesterol as it uses coconut cream instead of traditional milk version. One recent study in 2016 shows that coconut oil is rich in vitamin A and E precursors, and in moderate consumption it can promote a healthy blood lipid balance. Glucose and fructose are the main sugar constituents of the honey, where the fructose has a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Vanilla extract is able to inhibit the growth of harmful bacteria and promote beneficial ones. It also has strong antioxidant properties reducing cell aging and the risk of some types of cancer as well. Also having a specific sweet flavour, vanilla can alleviate anxiety and reduces the effects of a bad mood as well. Strawberry contains a lot of phenolic substances which help to repair DNA damage and help to reduce risk of oxidative stress-related diseases like chronic inflammation or type II diabetes. Valentine’s Day is coming up, giving us a nice opportunity to express our feelings to our nearest and dearest. And of course, hand-made gifts are really the most valuable signs of love. Maybe our pretty dessert recipe will become your especial personal panna gottagift for this wonderful occasion!

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Christmas Eve is fast approaching and before we know it the festive period will have been and gone again. But what would be the most delicious way to start the wonderful Christmas holiday? Of course, it’s with our tasty Red Lentil Christmas “Meatloaf”. Lentils are one of the most ancient foods consumed by humans, whereas the history of meat alternatives only dates back to the 1970s, in the time of the hippie counterculture. In 1975 the spiritual hippie community in Tennessee (or simply “The Farm”) which was headed by the famous philanthropist Stephen Gaskin, published “The Farm vegetarian cookbook”. It combined their peaceful vision of life with plenty of creative soy-based recipes proposing comprehensive alternatives to eating animal products. Meanwhile, in the same year in Connecticut the book titled “Meat alternatives suggested as relief for budget woes” was published. It was the first time an English pen had used the term “meat alternatives” and comprised of many lentil-based recipes. The book claimed that vegetable protein sources can provide all the necessary amino acids. Lentils are among the best meat replacers, due to them being an excellent source of highly digestible protein and containing a high amount of dietary fibres, which decreases blood sugar and cholesterol. By the way, the other ingredients in our recipe also provide a range of nutritional benefits. The garlic has strong antimicrobial action and is able to reduce high blood pressure. The celery is full of potent antioxidants like flavonoids, vitamin C and phenolic compounds. It also contains unique non-starch polysaccharide called apiuman that has potent anti-inflammatory properties. The olive oil is beneficial for blood pressure too, due to the exceptionally high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids, but doesn’t contain cholesterol so it’s better suited for everyday use than common cow butter. The happy holidays are coming, so let’s have a peaceful time with our flavourful lentil loaf! Loving a loaf is not just for Christmas.

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