Collard Greenz

Food, recipes and everything in between

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Gnocchi Gratin

I love cooking freshly prepared dishes from scratch and I often do. But sometimes, particularly mid-week, we are all in need of something simple, satisfying and nutritious with minimal effort, and this recipe really hits the mark:

16oz vacuum packed fresh gnocchi

1 small jar good quality, all natural tomato, pepper and eggplant sauce (or other sauce to your liking, try to find something all natural and low in sodium, sugar and fat)

2 cups chopped and steamed cauliflower* or any other vegetables you like (it’s great to pack in a variety of veggies for extra nutrients, textures and tastes)

½ red onion minced and sautéed

4oz fresh mozzarella chopped

2oz freshly grated Parmesan

1oz Italian style breadcrumbs

Handful cherry tomatoes quartered (optional for extra sweet burst)

3tbsp EVOO

Pre-heat oven to 350*F. Combine first five ingredients into a casserole dish. Mix last four ingredients in a bowl and sprinkle on top of ingredients in casserole dish. Bake until lightly golden, bubbly, gooey and molten. Serve with mixed salad and freshly chopped basil if desired.


* I often chop and par boil various hardy vegetables like cauliflower, broccoli and kale on the weekend and then store the vegetables in small freezer bags to use throughout the week. Just be sure the vegetables only par boiled and still on the crisp side, so they don’t turn to mush by the time they are unfrozen. They can then be tossed into anything, soups, stir fries, sauces, etc and this saves precious minutes in the prep time required for mid-week suppers.

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Lazy Sunday Comfort Food – Italian Sausage Toads-in-a-Hole

Toad in a Hole is a classic British staple comfort dish of perfectly browned bangers (ie. sausages) cozily wrapped in golden, crisp Yorkshire Pudding batter (an American pop-over of sorts). I had some Italian sausages in the refrigerator and wanted to make something a bit different and was inspired to do a fusion recipe – Italian Sausage toads in a hole. I often cook Italian sausage sautéed with bitter greens such as broccoli rabe or kale, with garlic and chili and serve with pasta. This is a comfort food dish that I grew up with. Every time I eat it, I think of my dad cooking pasta with me eagerly awaking the final product, waiting to devour and pick out my favorite bits – sausage and greens. It was these classic comfort dish flavors that inspired this dish. Having never done this before, I was not sure how it would turn out. But knowing how much I love Italian sausage and Yorkshire Pudding, I had a feeling it would be a success.

For the filling:

6 links of lean Italian sausage cut into small pieces (traditionally this is flavored with fennel seeds, chili and garlic, I used Italian chicken sausage but pork works equally well)

1/3 red onion minced

1 cup kale finely chopped

5 large, plump sun dried tomatoes and 1 large jarred roasted red pepper, both finely diced

For the batter:

140g plain flour (approx. 7oz)

4 eggs

200ml whole milk

Sunflower or vegetable oil for cooking

Pre-heat oven to 425*, drizzle a little sunflower oil evenly into a large (approx. 12in) baking tray, literally just enough to coat the bottom. Place oiled pan in oven and allow oil to get piping hot.

Meanwhile, sauté the cut up sausage and onions until golden and caramelized. Add kale, sun dried tomatoes and roasted red peppers, sauté a few more minutes until kale just wilted. Set aside off the heat.


Make the batter. Put flour in a bowl and beat in the 4 eggs until smooth. Gradually add 200ml milk and continue to beat until the mix in completely smooth and lump free. Season with dash of salt and cracked black pepper.


Pour the batter into a jug with a spout, then remove hot oiled tin from oven. CAREFULLY and evenly pour the batter into the tin. Place sausage and vegetable mixture on-top of batter and bake for at least 25minutes or until cooked through and golden brown. Don’t open the oven for at least 25 minutes to ensure a good rise and crispy coating. Serve immediately.


This dish is comfort food, pure and simple. Juicy sausage in effectively, oven fried batter with subtle sweet Italian spices. A great weekend treat and late Autumn supper for a cool, crisp evening. I assure you that it will warm and satisfy the mouths and bellies of all who consume it!


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Decadent Dark Chocolate

Last week I posted about my desire to make something molten, sinful and downright dangerously decadent in honor of Chocolate Week, and that I did. The final vote went to my husband, since he was the one who would be consuming most of it, along with me of course, but I was happy with any option, as long as it contained a serious amount of delicious, dark chocolate.

This recipe is more of an occasion recipe due to the sheer amount of (a) calories – that I try not to think about as I write this, knowing how much I consumed over the course of the past few days – and (b) effort. But please be patient as this chocolate chestnut mousse cakes reaps serious dividends in the form of an amazing, impressive dessert, worthy of the most elaborate of dinner parties or celebrations.

1lb good quality dark chocolate (min 60%) roughly chopped

6 eggs, room temperature

2tbs rum or brandy

1.5 cups ground chestnuts (cooked and vacuum packed are easiest)

3tbsp sweetened chestnut puree

3tbsp icing sugar, plus extra for dusting on top to serve

1.5cups freshly whipped cream

Pre-heat oven to 325*F and grease 9in round cake tin and line the base with baking paper.

Put the chocolate in a heat-proof bowl on-top of a pot of simmering (not boiling) water, ensure the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl and stir occasionally until chocolate is completely melted. Set aside.


Put the eggs in a separate heat-proof bowl and add the rum or brandy. Put the bowl on-top of a pot of simmering (again not boiling) water and don’t let the water touch the bowl. Whisk with an electric mixer on high for approximately 5-7 minutes until light, frothy and foamy. Remove from the heat.

Using a metal spoon, quickly and lightly fold the chocolate, ground chestnuts and sugar into the whisked eggs. Fold in the whipped cream and pour the mixture into the cake tin – do not over stir, try to keep as much air as possible. Put the cake tin in a water bath that comes up about half way.


Bake for approximately 1 hour, or until a skewer comes out clean when poked in the center of the mousse cake. Let it cool for at least 2 hours in the cake tin on a wire rack before removing it.

IMG_7614Serve with a dusting of icing sugar and drizzle of sweet vanilla cream (heavy cream, vanilla bean paste and icing sugar lightly whisked). This cake is fudge-like, almost like eating a slice of a rich, smooth chocolate bar. It lasts a good few days in the refrigerator when wrapped in cling film.


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Spaceman Eggs


So cute love this. Thank you Cooking Up the Pantry for this idea!

Originally posted on Cooking Up The Pantry:


This isn’t really a recipe!

When the boys have gone through fussy stages with eggs, these eggs have always remained popular.


1 egg

1 slice of bread


Preheat a non stick frying pan and the grill.

Using a gingerbread man or lady cutter, cut out the centre of the bread, making sure the crusts are still intact.

Put the cut bread and figure into the frying pan.

Crack an egg gently and pour the egg white into the hole in the bread, starting at the bottom.

Pour the yolk into the head area to create the helmet.

Fry until the white is beginning to become opaque, then, pop under the grill just long enough for the white to solidify but the yolk to remain runny.

Use  the toast man to dip into the spaceman’s helmet!

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Mmm tea

There is something sacred about that sip of hot steaming tea before bedtime. The chaos of the day is calmed with each soothing sip, helping to relax the mind and unwind. Tonight I am sipping a new seasonal tea that I discovered at Trader Joe’s, it’s simply too good not to share.

Introducing Harvest Blend herbal tea – with subtle apple, hibiscus and warming spices like ginger, it really encapsulates autumn in a tea.


Sweet dreams


It’s Chocolate Week, say what?!

It’s national Chocolate Week in the UK, a glorious week indeed! One which I celebrated in earnest for the 10 years I spent living there. Why there are no similar festivities on this side of the Pond is beyond me, especially considering how much chocolate is consumed in the USofA. Who doesn’t love chocolate in some form? For me, it’s all about the dark stuff, I need a minimum of 55% cocoa, but preferably at least 70%. Sometimes it’s with sea salt flakes and toasted almonds, other times, it’s all about a Mexican inspired bar with chilli & cinnamon. Last night I indulged in a few squares of a bar with cherries and almonds wrapped in the smooth, complex flavors of dark chocolate. How could I NOT have at least a few squares, it would be a disservice to this festive week!

This weekend I am planning to make some chocolatey goodness as a treat, please let me know your vote in the comments section for the recipe you want to read about:

Option 1: classic chocolate cake with chocolate ganache


Option 2: oo-ey-gooey chocolate chip cookies


Option 3: chocolate chestnut flour-less mouse cake

chestnut cake

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Burger Bliss

As you may be aware, I am ardent proponent of clean healthy eating, most of the time. However, every once in a while, I get this craving deep in my belly that only a giant beef burger smothered in cheese and ketchup, nestled between a perfectly golden, toasted sesame bun can satisfy. I am most certainly not referring to the poor excuses for burgers found in many fast food establishments. I am talking about an all-natural, grass fed sirloin cut, recently hand-crafted into a juicy, mouthwatering burger. This craving hit me hard a few days ago and so I suggested to my meat-loving husband that we get burgers, and without any hesitation he willingly agreed with pleasure.

LB logo

 We opted for our local, melting pot of a burger joint, Left Bank Burger Bar, which unashamedly produces ginormous, consistently delectable patties. When we go out for burgers, I often opt for the least heinous option, a small burger, no bun, served with lettuce, tomato and cheese and, much to the dismay of my husband, I rob a few of his French fries in the process. Jokingly, my other half suggested I order the Mac Daddy, thinking I would never in a million years go for the burger wedged between a patty of fried mac’n’cheese and crispy bacon. That’s right, battered, fried, crispy mac’n’cheese with a gooey, molten center, nestled cozily next to perfectly crisp thick cut bacon. Whoever came with that idea, I am eternally grateful.

LB burger

Well, order it, I did. I have never seen such a look of pride and wonder in my husband’s eyes as I did upon him hearing me utter the words, ‘I will have the MAC DADDY burger please, WITH onion rings.’ All this was consumed and washed down with some of his perfectly crisp sweet potato fries and an ice cold brew. Wow, belly bliss!! Just be sure not to make the same mistake I did the last time I had a similar craving a few months back – going for an annual health check-up and blood test the following morning, including testing your cholesterol and blood pressure.

LB burger 2


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