Eat your way to better sleep with these calming recipes

Incorporating naturally calming ingredients such as almonds, fennel and chamomile, these delicious dishes will help you drift off into a deep and restful sleep. They are also easy on the stomach to keep you comfortable right through to daybreak. Because eating well means sleeping well! 


We’ve pulled together a line-up of sleep-friendly nutrients to create this dream-inducing menu. In our ingredients, we have Vitamin D and Omega-3 fatty acids represented by the mackerel; Magnesium found in the fennel, seeds and nuts; Melatonin in oats, almonds and pumpkin seeds, the calming Apigenin from chamomile and finally sleep-inducing Tryptophan in the whole grains and turkey. Best of all? They taste as good as they look.


Mung bean salad, feta & roasted grapes

with chamomile-honey dressing and almonds | Serves 4



The dressing | 300 ml grapeseed oil (or another neutral oil) |
6 tbsp dried chamomile flowers | 3 tbsp lime juice | 2 tablespoons honey | 1 pinch of salt


The salad | 200 g mung beans, soaked in water overnight* | 4 cm ginger, in slices | 500 g white, seedless grapes | 6 celery stalks |
75 diced almond sticks | ½ bag of watercress | 200 g sheep’s milk feta


*You don’t have to soak them in advance, but should then add an hour to the cooking time.



Start with the dressing. Put the oil and chamomile flowers in the oven for an hour at 70°C,  or warm gently in a pan on low heat for half an hour. Once heated, blend the oil with a hand blender and pour through a fine sieve. Mix with the lime juice, honey and salt. In the meantime, cook the mung beans with a pinch of salt and some ginger. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down low and cook for 30-40 minutes until ready. Preheat the oven at 220°C. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and place the grapes on top. Sprinkle with a pinch of salt and add some olive oil. Cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the grapes are lighly caramelised. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.


Drain the cooked mung beans and add the chamomile dressing (save some for the garnish). Wash the celery, remove the fibrous strings, peel into ribbons and add a squeeze of lime juice. Roast the almond sticks in a dry frying pan until golden.


Divide the mung beans over four plates, add the celery, watercress and grapes. Crumble the feta over top, add the almonds and finish with a drizzle of dressing.


Photos Alan Jensen, Styling Cyn Ferdinandus, Recipes and foodstyling Vanja van der Leeden


Fennel & cucumber soup with mackerel

Served with oatmeal crackers and a mix of seeds | Serves four



Crackers | 110 g rolled oats | 100 g pumpkin seeds | 50 g sunflower seeds | 70 g sesame seeds | 3 tbsp chia seeds | ¾ tsp fine sea salt | 1 large tbsp sunflower oil | 1 tbsp honey


Soup | 1 large onion | 3 tbsp olive oil (fruity) + extra for the garnish | 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped | 3 fennel bulbs | 800 ml vegetable stock | 2 cucumbers | organic lemon zest, grated | 100 g mackerel fillet, steamed or smoked | splash of buttermilk (optional)



Start with the crackers. Warm the oven to 175°C. Put the oatmeal and seeds into a bowl. Warm 160 ml of water in a saucepan with the honey, salt and oil and stir well. Add to the oatmeal mixture and leave to stand for 10 minutes. Cover a baking tray with baking paper and pour the oatmeal mixture onto it. Place a sheet of baking paper on top and roll into a thin layer with a rolling pin. Take off the top sheet of baking paper and put the tray in the oven for 15-20 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool and cover with another piece of baking paper. Turn over and remove the layer of paper that is now on top. Cook for another 15 minutes. Remove from the oven, leave to cool and break into pieces. Cover until use.


Chop the onion finely. Heat the olive oil in a large pan and sauté the onions for at least 10 minutes. Add the garlic and stir-fry for 5 minutes.


Chop the fennel into large pieces, saving the fronds for the garnish. Add to the onions and pour in the vegetable stock. Cook for about 20 minutes, until the fennel is soft.


In the meantime, halve the cucumbers and cut a quarter of one cucumber into cubes. Remove the seeds from the rest, cut into large pieces, and simmer briefly in the stock. Add the lemon zest and purée with the hand blender until creamy.


Pour the soup into bowls and divide the mackerel between them. Add the cucumber cubes, buttermilk, a drizzle of olive oil and garnish with fennel fronds. Serve with the crackers.


Photos Alan Jensen, Styling Cyn Ferdinandus, Recipes and foodstyling Vanja van der Leeden


Open smoked turkey sandwich  

With an aromatic cashew sauce and Asian snow pea salad | Serves four



Salad | 100 g snow peas | 50 g bean sprouts | 1 Granny Smith apple | 2 tbsp lime juice | 1 tbsp fish sauce | 1 tbsp sesame oil


Sandwich | 170 g cashew nuts, roasted and salted | 6 kaffir lime leaves (frozen is fine) | lime zest | 2 tbsp tamarind paste | 1 small clove of garlic | 5 tsp soy sauce | a pinch of chilli flakes | 4 slices of quality bread | 200 g smoked turkey breast, thinly sliced | Garnish: a few sprigs of coriander



Wash the snow peas, trim the ends, remove the string, and slice lengthwise into thin strips. Cut the apple into thin slices and then into strips. Place the bean sprouts in a bowl and mix in the snow peas and apple. Stir the lime juice, fish sauce and sesame oil together and pour over the salad. Mix well.


Put the cashew nuts into a blender (or use a hand blender). Add the lime leaves, lime zest, tamarind paste, garlic, soy sauce and 170 ml of water and blend into a creamy sauce. Season to taste.


Place the turkey on the bread, add the cashew sauce, and top off with the salad. Garnish with chilli flakes and coriander.