Skip to content
Open menu Close menu

Feed your appetite for cooking with Penguin’s expert authors

penguin logo

7 recipes to lift your mood

by Genevieve Halbert

published on 20 January 2020

If you’re finding yourself daydreaming about warm spring days and prosecco in the park, we hear you: we’re kind of over Winter, too. But before you blow your savings on a spontaneous flight to Bali, check out our collection of fail-safe recipes to lift your mood. We know food doesn’t fix everything, but in our experience a disastrous day can usually be redeemed by a bowl of something hot or a slice of something sweet. Take a look at our seven favourite mood-enhancing recipes below, from a fresh and zingy salmon traybake to a truly decadent macaroni cheese.

Lemony Chicken Broth with Orzo Pasta and Chard from The Great British Bake Off: Winter Kitchen by Lizzie Kamenetzky

There's a reason why chicken soup is prescribed as a cure for everything from heartbreak to the common cold. This fragrant, lemony version is packed with orzo pasta and chard, making for a substantial, nutritious, and cheering meal. 

All-in-One Steam-roasted Salmon & Broccoli with Lime, Ginger, Garlic & Chilli from The Roasting Tin: Deliciously Simple One-Dish Dinners by Rukmini Iyer

This zingy, Thai-inspired traybake is a ray of sunshine in a dish. The clean, bright flavours of steamed salmon and broccoli are combined with a lip-smakcing ginger, lime, and peanut sauce to create a midweek meal that will really wake up your palate. 

Get your copy of The Roasting Tin: Deliciously Simple One-Dish Dinners here.

Polenta Cake with Clove and Orange Caramel from Spice Trip: The Simple Way to Make Food Exciting by Stevie Parle & Emma Grazette

Citrus fruits are winter's bright side; blood oranges, clementines, grapefruits, and Seville oranges are all at their best during the darker months. Make the most of them with this aromatic, orange caramel-drenched polenta cake. 

Get your copy of Spice Trip: The Simple Way to Make Food Exciting here

Macaroni Cheese from Hawksmoor at Home by Hawksmoor

If you're in need of some serious comfort food, it really doesn't get much better than mac and cheese. This recipe from Hawksmoor uses three different kinds of cheese, and has a gloriously fondue-like consistency – just the sight of it emerging from the oven with its crisp, golden top is enough to lift the spirits. For a equally delicious vegan mac and cheese, click here.

Get your copy of Hawksmoor at Home here

Thai Red Chicken Soup from 5 Ingredients Quick & Easy Food by Jamie Oliver

Our second chicken soup on the list, this rich, Thai-spiced version from Jamie Oliver involves just 5 ingredients. It's super low-effort, and is perfect for when you want a hearty, cheering meal with minimal fuss. 

Get your copy of 5 Ingredients Quick & Easy Food here.

Loaded Sweet Potatoes from Oh She Glows Every Day by Angela Liddon

Another comfort food classic, these loaded sweet potatoes are an excellent midweek vegan meal. Topped with avocado, black beans, lime, and coriander, they're packed with Mexican-inspired flavours and are guaranteed to bring a little sunshine to your kitchen. 

Get your copy of Oh She Glows Every Day here.

Chocolate Brownies from My Kitchen Table: 100 Cakes and Bakes by Mary Berry

And if all else fails? Well . . . We're just going to leave this here.  

Get your copy of My Kitchen Table: 100 Cakes and Bakes here.


You might also like

View all


All of your favourite recipes from Jamie Oliver’s Together on Channel 4

Jamie Oliver is back with a brand-new cookbook and TV series to inspire your post-pandemic cooking. Together is a guide to reconnecting with your nearest and dearest over a good...


8 Cornish-inspired home cooking favourites from Rick Stein at Home

Rick Stein’s latest cookbook is packed with recipes celebrating Cornish ingredients and producers. Discover 8 of our favourites here.


10 recipes you’ll love in The Sweet Roasting Tin

75 laid-back, flavour-focused bakes await you in The Sweet Roasting Tin. Here are just 10 of our favourites, from an orange drizzle traybake to Black Forest cupcakes.


Subscribe to The Happy Foodie email newsletter

Get our latest recipes, features, book news and ebook deals straight to your inbox every week