ABOUT MEGAN WALSH
Hello there. My name is Megan, and I live in the South West of Ireland. This year I am studying for my Bachelor of Arts (Honours) Degree in Culinary Arts at Munster Technological University (MTU) Kerry. As part of my degree, I was required to design a food blog around a particular topic that I enjoy talking about and that is when I heard about Mood Food.
What is Mood Food?
That is the question that I have been researching for the past few weeks, and I was slightly surprised by the amount of information I found. Before I did this research, I had no idea that your mind and gut were so connected and that it was such a widely spoken about topic. Actually, my mum was the one who came to me with the idea, after she read about it in a magazine article, talking about how the Mediterranean diet encourages gut and mental health and I became immediately interested. Seeing as I am a culinary student, I knew I needed to learn more about mood food, and I wanted to challenge myself to incorporate as much of it into this dish specifically designed for students so they themselves can reap the benefits from mood-boosting foods.
I find college work to be quite stressful at times and find food to be really comforting. I think it will be great to be able to make that comforting and delicious food into something that will also be able to improve our mood and mental health. I cooked this recipe for my family for dinner, and they loved it, even my sister who usually hates fish and who would never eat a fishcake, finished her plate. The fishcakes were simple to make, and if you enjoy cooking, you will enjoy making these too. From February to June, asparagus is in season, and once cooked right, it is the best thing since the sliced pan.
The mood foods that I incorporated into this recipe
I thought it would be a great idea to list off all the mood food ingredients and explain how they work.
- Broccoli is high in vitamins, trace minerals and protein. Chromium which is one of those trace minerals interacts directly with mood regulators like serotonin in the brain.
- Sweet potatoes are high in the antioxidant beta-carotene, which protects brain cells and may help to avoid oxidative stress, which can damage DNA and apparently cause anxiety. The vegetable is also a great immune system booster.
- Salmon is a great source of omega-3 which seems to have a positive effect on mood. Cold-water fish also contain Vitamin B6 which play a role in regulating emotions.
- Pistachios are full of nutrients like vitamin B21 and Vitamin E and help to boost-mood and decrease anxiety. A deficiency in Vitamin B21 also may cause depression.
- Asparagus is a great source of tryptophan which works with neurotransmitters to boost-mood. It is also known to have great health benefits such as improving digestion.
- Eggs contain an essential nutrient called choline which produces brain chemicals that regulate and improve mood. Eggs are filled with Magnesium and zinc also known to help with anxiety.
Just a heads up for any college student, I would highly recommend investing in a good electric weighing scales because they can come in handy especially when it comes to baking.
Comment below to share your thoughts on this blog post. Did you know about mood food and how did you hear about it?
Salmon Sweet Potato Fishcakes, Boiled Broccoli, and a Poached Egg on Roasted Asparagus
Prep: 10mins. Cook: 30mins Servings: 4
4 Salmon fillets
4 Sweet Potatoes, even chunks
45g Pistachios, chopped
1tbsp Coriander, roughly chopped
1 Lemon, juiced
Salt and Cracked Black Pepper
50g Plain Flour
160g Breadcrumbs, blitzed
16 Asparagus sprigs
8 Broccoli sprigs
14 Parsley/Dill sprigs
20ml Sunflower oil
- Preheat the oven to 180°C/ Electric 200°C/ Gas 5.
- Wrap the salmon fillet in tinfoil and place it in the preheated oven for the 15-20 minutes. Place the chunks of sweet potato in a pot of water and boil on high for 15-20 minutes.
- Take the fish out of the oven once the temperature is over 65°C remove from oven and set aside for now.
- To see if the potatoes chunks are cooked, using a knife slice through one of the chunks and if it is soft, it is done.
- Using a potato masher or a fork mash the potato until nice and smooth, add in your butter, lemon juice and chopped coriander and combine. Flake the salmon using a fork and place it into the mashed mixture and using a spoon combine.
- Crack 4 of the eggs in bowl and whisk. Flour your hands and grab a handful of mixture and make it into a ball. Place it in the egg mix and then the breadcrumbs making sure it is fully coated. Place tin foil on a tray and oil it lightly with sunflower oil. Place the fish cakes on the tray.
- Using a sharp knife carve the bottom of the asparagus into a point at the end and place on the tray with the fishcakes, season with salt and pepper and drizzle with the leftover oil.
- Place in the oven for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, place water in a pot and leave to simmer. Place the broccoli sprigs into the simmering water at cook for 10 minutes.
- When the fishcakes are almost finished, remove the broccoli from the water, crack one egg into a mug at a time and add the egg to the simmering water making sure to stir the water beforehand creating a vortex and leave to cook for 2 minutes. Continue for the other three eggs.
- Place the broccoli on the plate alongside the fishcakes and asparagus and place the poached egg on top using a slotted spoon. Garnish with parsley or dill.