I have spent the past couple of years researching the best bipolar-friendly foodstuffs, seeking out the advice of expert nutritionists and providing the food to my home-cooking master chefs! The recipes included in this section are carefully designed to provide a balanced diet for those of us who have terminally imbalanced minds. You may or may not relate to, or believe in, the whole “We Are What We Eat” mantra beloved of Weight Watchers and a million other cookery books, but for people like us, with mood disorders, surely “We Are What We Think”?
I have also attempted to cook all of the recipes provided at home by myself, the obvious point being that if I can follow these recipes and create delicious, healthy mood food, any Muppet can. The following recipes use solely bipolar-friendly foodstuffs:
Butternut Squash & Ginger Soup
500g butternut squash, peeled & seeds removed and chopped into (2cm) chunks
Small red onion, skin removed & chopped
Garlic, one clove, peeled & finely chopped
Ginger, 1cm piece of fresh ginger, peeled & finely chopped
Organic vegetable stock cube
Tin of organic small white beans, in water with no added salt eg cannellini, haricot beans
Rosemary, one stalk, leaves removed and chopped
Sea salt & black pepper
- Put 2 tbsp olive oil into a pan and heat gently. Add the chopped onion, garlic and ginger and fry for 2 minutes. Add the squash, stir thoroughly and heat gently for 3 minutes, stirring occasionally
- Add 750ml of boiling water and break or crumble the stock cube in. Add the rosemary and stir.
- Bring to the boil and then lower the heat to simmer for 10 minutes.
- Drain and wash the beans in fresh water, add to the soup. Bring back to the boil and simmer for 5 minutes or until the squash is soft.
- Add sea salt and pepper to taste.
- When slightly cooled, carefully ladle or pour the soup into a liquidizer. Liquidize until the soup mix is smooth.
- Ladle into bowls and eat with some crusty bread or keep the soup until later and then reheat.
The soup can be kept in the fridge for 2-3 days.
To freeze, pour into an appropriate container when completely cooled and place in the freezer.
Chicken & Leek Casserole
8 organic Chicken Thighs with skins removed
Garlic clove, finely chopped
2 Leeks, washed and sliced
Red Pepper, finely sliced or chopped
250ml boiling water with one organic chicken or vegetable stock cube added
50g Ground Almonds
2 handfuls of spinach, washed and torn into pieces
Sea salt and red pepper to season
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C or 160 deg C with fan
A pair of kitchen scissors will help to remove the skin from the chicken thighs. Wash them thoroughly in hot water afterwards.
- Gently heat 2 tbsp olive oil in a frying pan.
- Add the chicken thighs and brown on both sides, adding the garlic, leeks and pepper if there’s enough room in the pan. Otherwise, remove the thighs, place in a warmed casserole dish or tagine and then cook the vegetables for 2 minutes.
- Add the chicken or vegetable stock and the ground almonds to thicken the stock.
- Season with a little sea salt and red pepper to taste. Red pepper is fiery hot, so use sparingly.
- Put everything into a casserole dish or tagine (on a lower heat according to maker’s instructions) and cook in the oven for 45 minutes.
- A tagine should keep the chicken moist, but turn the chicken thighs from time to time in a casserole dish.
- Add more water if needed.
- 5 minutes before the end, add the washed spinach and mix into the juices
- Serve with organic cous cous, made according to the instructions on the packet.
Options: add a little of an organic stock cube to the water. Also add chopped fresh parsley and lemon pepper seasoning.
Crunchy Granola Cereal
2 cups whole oats
1 cup pumpkin seeds
1 cup coconut flakes
1 cup pecans
½ cup flax seeds
½ cup sunflower seeds
½ cup wheatgerm
½ cup milk powder
½ cup cranberries infused with pomegranate or blueberry juice
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup water
Pre-heat the oven to 180 deg C/Gas Mark 4.
- In a large bowl, mix all the dry ingredients together and create a well in the centre.
- In a small saucepan, pour the oil, honey and water and gently heat until warm.
- Pour the honey mix into the well and with a wooden spoon, gradually mix everything together.
- Lightly oil a non-stick baking sheet and spoon the granola mix onto the sheet and spread evenly.
- Bake for 15 mins, then remove from the oven and gently mix using a large non-metallic spoon. Repeat until the mix is golden brown.
- Allow to cool and then spoon into an air-tight container.
Crunchy Granola can be eaten with cold semi-skimmed or skimmed milk as a cereal, or as a topping for low-fat yoghurt, fromage blanc or fruit.
4 pears, slightly firm
1tsp mixed spice
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp ginger powder
¼ tsp ground cloves
1 dtsp organic demerara sugar
- Pour the water into a saucepan large enough to hold the pears. Add the spices and the sugar. Heat gently until the sugar has dissolved.
- Peel and slice the pears and add to the water.
- Bring to a high heat and then simmer gently for about 5 minutes or until the pears are cooked through, but not too soft.
- Heat a small heavy frying pan and add a handful of flaked almonds. Heat gently until brown, then immediately remove from the heat and tip the almonds into a small bowl.
- In individual dishes, sprinkle a few almonds onto the pears and then eat either warm or cold, topped with greek yoghurt and honey.
Dark Chocolate Bark
200g good quality dark chocolate with 70% cocoa
Cover a sheet of card with baking paper and place on a wooden board
- Break the chocolate into a pyrex bowl.
- In a large saucepan (or wok) place a small metal stand and add water until the stand is covered. Place the pyrex bowl on the stand and carefully add more water to the pan until it comes above the level of the broken chocolate.
- Gently heat the water and simmer until the chocolate starts to melt, then stir the chocolate with a non-metallic spoon.
- When the chocolate has melted, immediately remove the bowl from the pan using oven gloves.
- Slowly pour the melted chocolate onto the baking paper, until it spreads into a free-form solid shape. Use the back of a spoon to spread it out further if needed.
- Add one of the following combinations of chopped nuts and fruit to the chocolate before it sets, or make up your own combination:
- Dates and Walnuts
- Figs and Pistachios
- Cranberrys and Almonds
- Glace ginger pieces and Pecans
- Cranberrys and Macademia nuts
- Apricots and Almonds
- Raisons and Hazelnuts
- Apricots and Shredded Coconut
Leave in the fridge to set. Break pieces off to share and eat, or carefully trim the card and completely wrap in cellophane and tie with a ribbon for a gift.
Ginger Syrup with Lemongrass
Recipe by Carolyn Gomersall
This ginger syrup is so versatile. You can dilute to taste and have it as a hot, soothing drink or add iced soda water for a refreshing summer cordial.
- Thoroughly wash the ginger and either peel or leave the skin on which will give the syrup a darker colour. Roughly chop and put in saucepan.
- Remove woody outer sections of lemongrass and crush the stems. Cut into smaller pieces and add to pan
- Add water and sugar to saucepan and gently simmer for 30 mins.
- Cool and put in sterilized bottles.
Refridgerate. Keeps for about 2 weeks in fridge.
Almond, Coconut and Ginger Bites
15g olive oil margerine
4 tsp manuka honey
2 tbsp fromage blanc
50g chopped glace ginger
25g flaked almonds
25g coconut flakes
50g melted dark chocolate (70% cocoa content) to decorate
Pre-heat oven to 190 degC/Gas Mark 5
Line a baking tray with baking paper
- In a saucepan, gently heat the margerine until melted.
- Add the manuka honey and fromage blanc and gently stir until the mix reaches simmering point.
- Remove the pan from the heat and immediately stir in the ginger, almonds and coconut flakes.
- Cool slightly and then with a teaspoon, spoon onto the baking tray with a gap between each one as the mix will spread in the oven. Press the mix gently to flatten slightly.
- Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are a caramel colour.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
- Cover a wooden board, or flat plate with baking paper.
- Gently remove the cooled Bites from the baking tray and turning them upside down, so the flat side is facing upwards, place the Bites onto the board or plate.
- Break the chocolate into pieces and place in a pyrex bowl. Place the bowl inside a saucepan of hot water on a trivet. The water should come to just above the level of the chocolate. Gently heat, stirring the chocolate with a wooden spoon until it’s almost melted. Remove the bowl from the pan with an oven glove or tea towel. Continue to stir until the chocolate has completely melted.
- With a teaspoon, spoon some of the melted chocolate over each Bite and spread evenly using the back of the spoon. Leaving the Bites on the board or plate, place in the fridge until the chocolate has set.
Enjoy one with your favorite mid-morning hot drink!
Water Melon Starter
For 6 people
1 medium watermelon, chopped into medium chunks
250g pitted black olives (fresh from deli counter rather than tinned, for preference), halved
250g feta cheese, loosely crumbled
1 small bunch fresh mint, roughly chopped
Simply combine all ingredients, sprinkle with a tablespoon of good olive oil, toss and serve.
Mint Chocolate Treats
170 whipping cream (full fat)
10g fresh mint leaves
200g good quality dark chocolate (70% cocoa solids)
40g dessicated coconut
50g chopped almonds
Makes about 24
- Rinse the mint leaves in cold water and pat dry with a paper towel
- Pour the cream into a small saucepan and add the mint leaves
- Slowly heat the cream up to simmering point and then turn off the heat. Gently stir and leave to infuse for 15 minutes
- Using a large sharp knife, closely slice the dark chocolate on a chopping board and then put into a large bowl
- Strain the cream to remove the mint leaves and then gently heat the cream again to bring it back to simmering point
- Add the hot cream to the chocolate and stir until the chocolate has melted
- Leave for at least an hour until the chocolate is almost set. If it’s not set enough after an hour or so, place in the fridge until it’s nearly set, but not solid
- When the chocolate is ready, put the coconut and chopped almonds into 2 separate, small bowls
- Cover a large chopping board with non-stick paper
- With one teaspoon, spoon out a small amount of the chocolate mixture and with another teaspoon fashion the mix into a round ball
- Gently roll each mint chocolate ball in either the coconut or the chopped almonds and place on the chopping board
- Put the board into the fridge and leave overnight to set
- These mint chocolates can be kept for several days stored in the fridge in a covered bowl or airtight container.