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Cottage pie with butter bean, celeriac and leek mash: Recipe from The Mood Food Manual

From the recipes in The Mood Food Manual that we've been using as part of Tilda's Eat your way to happiness challenge, this is probably one of the ones that takes slightly longer to prepare. But the healthy mash topping is so delicious, you'll never want to go back to regular mash again.

I think it should technically be called a  Shepherd's pie as it is made with lamb but I guess you could use lamb or beef and I'm sure that would taste great too.

For the filling:
1 tbsp olive oil
500g minced lamb mince (or soya mince)
1 onion, diced
2 celery sticks, finely chopped
2 carrots, diced
400g tin chopped tomatoes
2 tbsp tomato purée
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 bay leaf
1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
300ml gluten free vegetable stock
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the topping:
500g celeriac, peeled and cubed
400g tin butter beans, rinsed and drained
100g crème fraîche or natural yoghurt
1 tbsp olive oil
2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 3mm slices
Salt and freshly ground black pepper


Preheat the oven to 200°C/Gas mark 6. Heat the oil in a large saucepan. Stir in the mince lamb or soya mince and cook for another 1–2 minutes. Add the onion, celery and carrots and allow cook for about 10 minutes, until softened.

Stir in the chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaf, thyme leaves and stock. Add salt and pepper and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

To make the topping, bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and cook the celeriac until soft, about 8 minutes. Drain well and tip into a large bowl. Add the butter beans and crème fraîche or yogurt and mash until smooth.

Heat the oil in a pan and gently sauté the leeks over a medium heat. Add them to the celeriac and bean mash and season well to taste. Pour the cooked mince mixture into a shallow ovenproof dish and top with mash. Bake in the oven for 20–30 minutes, until the top is golden brown.

Recipe reproduced with kind permission from Tilda. All the recipes can be found in the Tilda 'The Mood Food Manual'. 


Tuna fish steaks with mango salsa: Recipe from The Mood Food Manual

One of the things we really loved about taking part in the Tilda Mood Food challenge was that many of the meal plan recipes were really family friendly. This is one of the recipes we all enjoyed. We'd never had Tuna as steaks before and was pleasantly surprised at how great they tasted. This recipe is for two so you'll need to double up the ingredients for more people.

250g Tilda® Wholegrain Brown Steamed Basmati Rice or 2 corn on the cob
2 tuna steaks
2 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for drizzling
Salt and freshly ground black pepper the salsa
1 mango, peeled and finely diced
1 small avocado, diced
1 small red onion, finely diced
1 red chilli, deseeded and finely chopped
Handful fresh coriander leaves, chopped
Handful mint leaves, chopped
Juice of 1 lime

To make the salsa, put all the ingredients for the salsa into a bowl and mix lightly to combine. Chill in the fridge until ready to serve.
Meanwhile, drizzle each tuna steak with a little olive oil and rub all over the fish; season well with salt and pepper.
Place a ridged griddle pan over a high heat and add the tuna steaks.
Cook for 3 minutes, then turn over and cook for 3 minutes on the other side until charred and just cooked through.

Serve the tuna steaks with some sugar snap peas and the salsa on the side with Tilda® Wholegrain Brown Steamed Basmati Rice or corn on the cob.

This salsa is particularly yummy so we've been making it to eat as part of other meals too!

Recipe reproduced with kind permission from Tilda. All the recipes can be found in the Tilda 'The Mood Food Manual'. 


Harissa Chicken recipe from The Mood Food Manual

Here is one of our favourite family meals from The Mood Food Manual. You can find out more about how we got on with 'eating our way to happiness' here.

250g Tilda® Wholegrain and Quinoa Steamed Basmati rice pouch
4 skinless chicken breasts
2-3 tbsp harissa paste
1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp pine nuts
2 spring onions, chopped
¼ cucumber, chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
200g kidney beans, rinsed and drained
1 tbsp raisins
1 tbsp pumpkin seeds
A handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
A handful mint, chopped

Preheat the oven to 170°C/Gas mark 4
Smear each chicken breast with two teaspoons of the harissa paste and place in an ovenproof dish
Drizzle over the oil, season with salt and pepper and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes until cooked through
Put the pine nuts in a dry frying pan and place over a medium heat for a few minutes to toast – remove from the heat as soon as they turn golden as they can burn quickly
Add 300ml of slightly salted water to a pan and boil.
Add the kidney beans for the last five minutes
Drain and then combine with all the remaining ingredients
Serve each chicken breast on a bed of Tilda® Wholegrain and Quinoa Steamed Basmati Rice

Recipe reproduced with kind permission from Tilda. All the recipes can be found in the Tilda 'The Mood Food Manual'. 


Berry Oat Smoothie Recipe: From The Mood Food Manual

I've been taking part in a project with Tilda to test out whether certain foods really can help to boost your mood. One of my favourite and simplest recipes was this speedy Berry Oat Smoothie which was a breakfast meal in The Mood Food Manual meal planner (but I think it doubles up as a great snack when you feel in need of a boost too!)

50g frozen berries
200ml of rice milk
1 Banana
1 Tbsp oatmeal

Place a small chopped banana in a blender with 50g frozen berries, 1 tbsp fine oatmeal and 200ml rice milk and whizz together.

Find out more about how I got on with the Eat your way to happiness mood food challenge here and you can download your own copy of The Mood Food Manual here.

Recipe reproduced with kind permission from Tilda. All the recipes can be found in the Tilda 'The Mood Food Manual'. 


"One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." ― Virginia Woolf

A few weeks ago I took part in a project with Tilda to see if it was possible to 'eat your way to happiness'. This involved monitoring regular food intake for a week along with mood, energy, stress levels and happiness. Then for the second week, I followed a specific meal plan from Tilda's new Mood Food Manual and again monitored my mood levels.

The meal plan has been developed with clinical dietitian Dr. Sarah Schenker and Dr Christy Fergusson, a doctor of psychology and nutritional therapist. Both experts in the field of how food intake affects our performance, mood and wellbeing.

Tilda have kindly permitted me to reproduce a few of my favourite recipes from the meal plan to share how I got on with them, so I hope to blog about those soon - If you can't wait, then they are all available in a free download from the Tilda website here.

Today, I'm going to give an overview of how I got on and give a little mention of some of my favourite recipes from the meal plan.

Overall the meal plan was easy to follow and I plan to carry on including some of the meals and certainly some of the mood boosting ingredients in my diet on an ongoing basis.
Herby scrambled eggs with wholegrain toast
Eating eggs for breakfast seemed to come as a bit too much of a shock to my body and made me feel a little queasy but I loved the other breakfast ideas including Blueberry brown rice porridge, Oat berry smoothie and Bircher musli.
Blueberry brown rice porridge
The meals were all filling and nutritious and I definitely felt like I was fuelling my body in a good way. Monitoring my food intake made me recognise that I have more of a sweet tooth than I had realised. So that's something for me to keep working on. I was pleased to see an idea for Chocolate Bean Brownies in the final version of The Mood Food Manual to help with those sweet cravings so that will be one to try in future.

One of our favourite meals was Tuna fish steaks with mango salsa. We had never tried Tuna steaks before and were delighted that they didn't taste too 'fishy'. The salsa contains yummy mango and also avocado which 'is one of the highest sources of tryptophan, which is converted into serotonin, promoting feelings of happiness and relaxation. Avocados also contain omega-3 fatty acids, which can reduce your risk of depression' according to The Mood Food Manual.
Harissa Chicken
Another big hit for all the family was the Harissa chicken. This was served with a pouch of Wholegrain and Quinoa Steamed Basmati rice. Quinoa being renowned as a superfood as 'quinoa is a complete protein. As well as being vegetarian it is gluten free and has a low glyceamic load, making it an ideal food for boosting your mood.' 

A lot of the recipes were quite quick and simple to put together and using Tilda basmati rice pouches made things even speedier.
Using Tilda pouches made meals so speedy and quick
We did need to stock up on some specific ingredients like Chia seeds. But once you've got them at home, you can add a sprinkle to salads, smoothies and meals for a nutritious boost. There is so much to say about the benefits of Chia seeds that I'm just going to point you in the direction of The Mood Food Manual to find out more. The manual gives details of how various foods are good for us and the benefits of having them in our diet - both nutritional and mood boosting benefits are explained.
Chia seeds in yogurt along with other mood boosting foods flaked almonds and pomegranate
I'm so pleased to have taken part in this project as it has really opened my eyes to just how much the food we eat affects the way we feel. I was really encouraged to see my scores increase across the board during the second week when I was following the meal plan versus the first week with my 'normal' food intake.

It has also given me lots of ideas for incorporating these healthy mood boosting ingredients into my diet. It was brilliant that the recipes were also filling, warming and comforting which is a must during this time of year.

We've always enjoyed Tilda Basmati rice but it was previously only the white basmati rice that was regularly on our shopping list. Now we will be including Tilda wholegrain basmati rice as well as some of the delicious flavours of Tilda basmati pouches like Coconut basmati and Tilda Mexican Chilli & bean rice.

Thank you Tilda for helping us eat our way to happiness. Look out for some of my favourite recipes from the mealplan here soon and find out more in the meantime on the Tilda website here

We were sent a selection of Tilda products to use for this challenge along with a supermarket voucher towards a small part of the cost for the additional ingredients. All opinions are our own. 


Chocolate Pecan Macarons: Kids in the Kitchen

As I've probably mentioned once or twice before, I am a rubbish cook. I never even attempted to bake anything from scratch until my late twenties and even when Bake Off fever first hit Britain, I'd simply watch, shake my head in disbelief that it was possible to create such wonderful creations from basic ingredients and gaze in awe at the TV screen knowing that there was no hope of me even attempting such things.

But as D turned out to be a natural in the kitchen, he has inspired me to have a go at baking things I would never ever have imagined myself baking and around a year or so ago I did in fact attempt to make Macarons. 'Never again!' I declared when I was left with a pile of crumbs that I literally had to scrape off the baking paper.

Half-term came around last week and for the first time in months, D picked up his cookery books and decided that he'd like to bake.....yep, you guessed it...Macarons!!!

I did everything I could to try to dissuade him, even in the recipe book it tells us that GBBO star Martha's most dreaded bake is Macarons and there he was on page 35 of 'The Great British Bake Off Big Book of Baking' that granny had given him for Christmas (yeah - thanks for that Granny) and he was insistent that he wanted to make Chocolate Pecan Macarons.

We got the ingredients ready and he was off.

And to my absolute amazement, he did it! Fabulous tasty Macarons.

If like me you've spent years wondering what the difference is between Macarons and Macaroons (and thinking that they are just saying it wrong on Bake off when they say macaron), then it is in fact that these are macarons, meringue like with a ganache sandwiched between. Macaroons are the chewy often flatter biscuit-like things, (often with dessicated coconut in I think?)

Oh and one last important job...Chef's priveledge is to lick the bowl of course!

Linking up with Kids in the Kitchen after not being able to link up for a while with everything that's been going on with Miss T. 
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