Collard Greenz

Food, recipes and everything in between

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Healthy eating 101

It’s exhausting hearing the excuse that junk food is cheaper, easier and faster than healthy food.

I agree, organic, free range, farmers markets, health food stores etc are pricey. Even if I could afford to do all my grocery shopping in the likes of Whole Foods, and my local farmers markets I wouldn’t!

There is nothing shameful or wrong about budget friendly national food chain stores that have huge economies of scale and that target penny wise shoppers. Value bags of carrots, celery, onions and other fridge/pantry essentials like canned tuna, chickpea and lentils, yes please!

Seriously, whole meal pasta, sautéed onion, carrot, frozen peas and spinach, and a bit of pesto, you have yourself a nice little pasta primavera, throw in a whisked egg and drizzle of EVOO and some chilli flakes, and a delicious, nutritious dinner is ready in the time it takes to cook the pasta and costs less than 2$ per portion folks.

What about the humble spud? Baked potato filled with tuna salad (canned tuna, diced celery, pepper, carrot, pickle, bit of Greek yogurt, smoked paprika, dill, lemon zest) and a little melted cheddar on top. YUM, tuna melt jacket potatoes. Simple, healthy, filling, CHEAP!

Ground meat, another dollar stretcher that is both crowd pleasing and versatile. Meat loaves, meatballs, chilli, bolognase… The possibilities are seriously endless.

I can honestly go on about this for ages. If you want more cheap, healthy dinner ideas LMK!

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Beetroot Pie

This is a recipe my Russian mother-in-law, Karina, coined. She was inspired by her love for the taste and smell of the cooked vegetables used for making a Russian classic, Borscht. I too am a beet lover. In fact I don’t think I have every encountered beets prepared in a way that I didn’t enjoy. Her beetroot pie became an instant favorite of mine and I am pretty sure, along with everybody else who has tried it. I had a serious craving and so decided to make it. I am happy to report that it was truly delicious. The slightly testy, yet woody combination of sautéed beets, carrots and onions, along with tomato and some spices is seriously scrumptious. All this encased in crumbly, crunchy, homemade short crust pastry, how could you go wrong?

beet pie2


The recipe is from Karina’s cookbook, Russia on a Plate. You can also check her out on her website


beet pie recipe

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Couscous stuffed peppers

I grew up having stuffed peppers prepared in various ways. Often with rice or barley mixed with meat, parsley and spices. I am not purporting to take any credit whatsoever for creating this dish as it’s been done before many times before for MANY years, particularly with Middle Eastern cuisine. However, I made this dish without any recipe in particular, my goal was simply to use it up a large amount of leftover couscous salad I had in the refrigerator. It’s so delicious, easy and healthy, a triple win. This recipe is for six stuffed peppers. Pre-heat oven to 375*F. Meanwhile, prepare stuffing as follows.

Sauté – one medium finely chopped onion, 2 grated carrots, ½ grated zucchini and 2 cloves chopped garlic, until soft, let mixture cool slightly.

Add cooked vegetables to approximately 4 cups of cooked couscous (my favorite variety is large Israeli couscous), along with 1tsp cumin, 1tbsp za’atar, salt and pepper to taste, juice of 1 lemon, large handful of chopped parsley and dill, and finally, a healthy glug of EVOO, mix well. Then add 1 cup canned chick peas, ½ cup frozen peas, 1/2 cup lightly toasted pine nuts and ¾ cup crumbled feta or chopped mozzarella. Stir until cheese just combined.

Cut off the tops of 6 large peppers horizontally about 2 centimeters from the stem, keep the tops, this creates a ‘lid’ (I like to use a mixture of red, orange and yellow).

Evenly distribute couscous salad into the peppers, place on pepper lids, put all the stuffed peppers upright into a roasting tin so they are aligned snuggly, brush peppers with a little bit of olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast in pre-heated oven for approximately 1hr until peppers are soft but not falling apart. Let the peppers cool for at least 20 minutes before serving. Serve with a rocket and tomato salad. The peppery, slightly bitter green rocket leaves and acidic tomato juices contrast nicely against the sweet, roasted peppers and buttery pine nuts.

stuffed pepper

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Lime and Chili roasted Cod with Mango Salsa

This dish is another super easy and fast recipe to prepare that really offers that zing, zest and pop of flavors and textures in your mouth. After spending 3 weeks back-packing in Vietnam some years back, I truly fell in-love with the people, culture and especially the food. Particularly the seafood, everything is so fresh, light & simply prepared, yet overflowing with taste and texture. Sweet, salty, tart, crunchy, soft, hot, cold, all in one mouthful, a party for the palate. This cod dish takes inspiration from an authentic Vietnamese salad – green mango (or green papaya) salad with prawns. Here is a good recipe for that salad

Some snaps from travels around Vietnam. P1000485

Halong Bay and fish

The cod dish is by no means a suggested substitution for the amazing salad recipe, it’s simply an alternative if you are in the mood for a more substantial dish that is hot and spicy.

1.5lb sustainably sourced cod, skin on, lightly scored

2 gloves garlic minced

1 inch piece fresh ginger finely grated

1 red chili pepper finely chopped (or 2 depending on how spicy the pepper and your heat tolerance)

1tbsp sesame oil

1tbsp soy sauce

Zest of 1 lime

1 shallot finely sliced


Saigon street life

 Place cod in parchment lined baking dish. Rub ingredients on both sides of the fish fillet and cover in a loose tent, this helps retain the juices and results in a self-saucing dish. Place in 375* pre-heated oven and bake until just cooked through, about 15 minutes.

While the fish is in the oven, prep the salsa. Chop avocado and mango into small bite size cubes of similar size. Place in bowl, add shredded coconut, juice 1 lime, EVOO and salt, pepper and Sriracha to taste. Sprinkle a handful of chopped fresh coriander, mint and basil (or better still, Thai basil leaves if you can find them from an Oriental grocer nearby).

Service cod on a bed of steaming hot jasmine rice with a healthy amount of mango salsa on top. The heat of the fish and rice will permeate the coconut in the mango salsa and reveal a delectable and enticing aroma.



Intricate food art from Mekong Delta river side lunch



Produce market, Hue


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Supremely Simple Salmon

I love making fish dishes as they tend to be easy to prepare and with a few ingredients, they can be transformed into dinner party worthy dishes, perfect for impromptu guests. The aromas of the roasting garlic, seafood and olive oil will surely evoke thoughts of blissful beach holidays, ideal for a late summer supper. I invariably am reminded of Mediterranean vacations with those scents wafting through the kitchen. This dinner doesn’t discriminate, it is also ideal for meat-free Mondays, or any other day of the week for that matter.

On the menu: Roasted salmon with potato salad

Approx 1.5lb wild salmon, skin lightly scored (serves 4)
2 cloves of garlic smashed and roughly chopped
Hand-full of fresh dill
Zest of ½ lemon
Drizzle of EVOO
Sprinkle of mustard powder and paprika

Pre-heat oven for 400*, place fish skin side up in foil lined baking pan. Drizzle top and bottom with EVOO. Put garlic, dill and lemon zest both underneath salmon and on top of the scored skin to infuse both sides, sprinkle lightly with mustard powder and paprika. Place in oven and roast for approximately 18 minutes. This will result in a just blushed medium cooked fish fillet with a golden lightly crunchy crust on top where the garlic just starts to toast and infuse the EVOO and fish. Be careful not to overcook the delicate fish and this will result in dry fish and burnt garlic, not a happy combination.

Once fish is in the oven, prepare potato salad. Tip, have pot of boiling water ready before putting fish in the oven. The potatoes will have time to cook until firm and then cool slightly before serving so they don’t turn to mush.

Potato Salad:
Approx 1lb red skin potatoes quartered, or new potatoes left whole
2tbsp mayo
1tbsp mustard
1 handful dill chopped
1tbsp white wine vinegar
1tsp sea salt and black pepper

Put on pot of water and cut potatoes while you wait for the oven to pre-heat. Boil potatoes until firm. Let cool slightly, add remaining dressing ingredients and stir until just combined and evenly distributed.

Serve with ice cold chilled dry white wine or beer.


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The Most AMAZING Peanut Butter Product Review


As another self professed peanut butter addict and lover of all things coconut, this sounds truly delicious, need to look out for this!

Originally posted on The Athletic Avocado:

You all know that i’m pretty obsessed with peanut butter as I eat at least 2 tbsp. per day, yeah it’s an addiction. Today I stumbled across a great find at my grocery store, Earth Balance Coconut and Peanut Spread, and I got creamy and crunchy,  I am pretty excited to share these wonderful finds with you guys.

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PRICE: First off, this peanut butter was not very expensive at all, the price is pretty much identical to Smucker’s All Natural peanut butter, which is great because other gourmet peanut butters can reach up to $8-9 per jar!

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INGREDIENTS: I am pretty impressed with the ingredients, not many plus it’s Non-GMO, Vegan, and gluten-free. The first ingredient is peanuts, which is good because it’s called PEANUT butter! Extra Virgin Coconut Oil is second, hence the flavor of this nut butter is called Peanut-Coconut spread. It also lists agave…

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