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Recipes from The Happy Kitchen

Rachel Kelly, the bestselling author of Walking on Sunshine, shares some of her joyful recipes to keep you calm, help you sleep and boost your energy

by Psychologies

This month in Psychologies, Rachel Kelly shares what she's learned about how food can affect your mood. Try three of her recipes, taken from The Happy Kitchen, here.

Spiced Tomato Baked Eggs with Sweet Potato and Guacamole (pictured above)

This protein-rich recipe makes for a cheerful weekend brunch on a cold morning. Or serve it with wholegrain tortillas and sour cream for a more substantial lunch or dinner. The guacamole is optional, depending upon how much time you have, and your personal preference.

Serves two

For the baked eggs:

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 red onion, finely chopped

½ red chilli, deseeded and chopped (use more or less, depending on your preference)

2 garlic cloves, finely sliced

1 teaspoon tomato paste

Handful of flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Dash of red wine

½ teaspoon paprika (optional)

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

1½ 400g tin chopped tomatoes

1 sweet potato, chopped into 2cm chunks

4 eggs

For the guacamole:

1 ripe avocado (or more if you want extra portions)

Juice of ½ lime

¼ red chilli, deseeded and chopped

Handful of fresh coriander, chopped

Dash of olive oil

1 tablespoon grated Parmesan, to serve

Method:

1. Heat the olive oil in a shallow pan with a lid and gently soften the onion, garlic and chilli. Add a little water if necessary to prevent them from burning.

2. After 2 minutes, stir in the tomato paste, parsley, red wine, paprika, pepper and sweet potato. Simmer for 2 minutes (add a splash more water if necessary) before tipping in the chopped tomatoes.

3. Cook for another 8-10 minutes, by which point the potatoes and peppers should be softening nicely. The mixture should be the consistency of a thick stew.

4. Create a little dip in the mixture and crack an egg into it, then do the same with the other 3 eggs. Try to get the 4 eggs evenly spaced out and not too close to the base of the pan, to prevent them from burning.

5. Put the lid on and let the eggs poach in the stew on a low heat for a further 3-4 minutes. You may want to spoon some of the stew over the eggs to ensure the tops cook properly but take care not to overcook them.

6. Meanwhile, make the guacamole by mashing the avocado in a bowl and then mixing in the rest of the ingredients.

7. Divide the baked egg mixture between 2 bowls, and serve it with a sprinkle of Parmesan and the guacamole on the side. 

Purple Risotto with Goat's Cheese, Walnut and Beetroot 

This recipe was given to us by Cecilia, a friend and an accomplished cook, who helps develop healthy recipes for mothers with small children. You can make it with brown rice, but it takes a little longer, and the risotto won’t be quite as creamy. If you are cooking the beetroot from raw, use gloves when peeling it. Beetroot can boost blood flow to the brain. The walnuts provide omega-3s.

Serves two

Ingredients:

300g beetroot (raw or pre-cooked)

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 large onion, finely chopped

3-4 garlic cloves, finely chopped

200g risotto (or brown) rice

600ml vegetable stock

60g soft goat’s cheese

100g walnuts, chopped

Method:

1. If you are using fresh beetroot, wash and trim them, but do not peel them. Place them in large saucepan and completely cover them with water. Bring the water to the boil then reduce the heat, put the lid on and simmer until they are just tender. This should take 30-40 minutes depending on their size.

2. Leave the beetroot to cool and then peel and dice them. If you are using pre-cooked beetroot, simply dice them into small chunks. 

3. Heat the oil in a medium-sized saucepan and sauté the onion and garlic until they have softened, then stir in the rice and cook for a further 2-3 minutes. The grains should go slightly translucent.

4. Add a splash of water to the pan and stir, then turn the heat down and add the hot stock, ladle by ladle, stirring the rice regularly to ensure it doesn’t stick – a lovely soothing process I find. This is what releases the starch and gives the risotto its creamy consistency.

5. When the stock is almost used up and the rice is cooked – this should take 15-20 minutes – stir the diced beetroot and half the goat’s cheese into it. Leave it for about 5 minutes before switching the heat off.

6. Toast the walnuts in a frying pan over a moderate heat for 2-4 minutes, tossing them regularly to prevent them from burning.

7. Serve the risotto with a scattering of chopped toasted walnuts, the remaining goat’s cheese and a crisp green salad.

Sleepy Peach, Cherry and Goji Crumble

This crumble is full of ingredients aimed to induce sleep. It goes well with our Strawberry Sorbet or Deliciously Dairy-free Ginger, Coconut and Banana Ice-Cream. Remember to stone the cherries, though, or someone may break a tooth. A bore maybe – or another soothing mindful exercise.

Serves 6-8

For the filling:

6 medium ripe peaches, stoned and cut into 2cm chunks

200g cherries, halved and stoned

2-3 tablespoons goji berries

1-2 tablespoons maple syrup

1 teaspoon mixed spice

For the topping:

200g rolled oats

2 tablespoons coconut oil

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

2 tablespoons maple syrup

10 Brazil nuts, chopped (optional)

Method:

1. Preheat the oven to 180°C.

2. Mix the peaches, cherries and goji berries with the maple syrup and mixed spice. Scatter them across the bottom of a deep soufflé or baking dish. 

3. For the topping, mix together the oats, cinnamon, maple syrup, coconut oil and chopped Brazil nuts, if using, making sure everything is evenly distributed. You do not want the mixture to be too wet, as it will become heavy and stodgy. The idea is to create a crumbly topping.

4. Cover your fruit evenly with the oat mixture (the layer should be 3-4cm deep), and press it down gently. Bake the crumble in the oven for 35-40  minutes, or until the crust is golden brown.

Watch Rachel and Alice talk about The Happy Kitchen and introduce one of their favourite recipes, spinach and spelt pancakes, in the video below:

The Happy Kitchen, Good Mood Food: Joyful recipes to keep you calm, boost your energy and help you sleep by Rachel Kelly and Alice Mackintosh (Short Books, £10.49) is out now.