A Recipe For Happiness

WORDS:: Chyka Keebaugh

PHOTOS:: Lisa Atkinson

One of my favourite things to do is to entertain friends and family at home. From planning the menu to bringing out the dessert, I love it all!


Food is so important in our lives and making a meal for someone can show how much you care for them. It isn’t always the eating of the meal that is the cause of this happiness; the planning, shopping and preparation of a meal can be just as rewarding. I love turning on some music and chopping up the vegetables, and yes, I do dance in the kitchen a little more than my family likes but I love it! It relaxes me.

Something as simple as making your grandmother's vanilla cake recipe for your children can bring so much joy. The act is loaded with so much history and is a gesture of love that you can share with your family. Creating traditions and lovely memories will bring a smile to your face for years to come.

Sharing happiness from your kitchen...

  • Using your surplus of lemon, limes (or whatever you may be lucky enough to grow) make some jams and place them on your neighbour's doorstep or share them amongst your friends.
  • Try a new recipe. Be it dessert or main, mix up the every day by just having a go. Maybe it’s one of your family members favourite meal, whatever it is - take the time and have fun with it.
  • Stop hiding the chocolate! I'm the first person to admit I don’t like having sweet temptations in the house, but now and then I have to indulge. It's normal, it’s not the end of the world, and it makes me happy. Everything in moderation right?
  • Keeping a lovely aromatic pot of herbs in my kitchen makes me smile every time I walk in. The smell, the colour & the ability to pull off basil leaves while I am cooking just makes me feel good.

Be selective about the food you eat. Stodgy comfort food feels great while you are eating it but afterwards, you can feel sluggish and regretful, and who wants that? Filling yourself with healthy foods will not only keep your moods more stable, but you’ll avoid the post eating guilts. Sure, have a piece of cake or chocolate but think about why you are eating it. Are you bored? Are you angry? Are you upset? Eating when you are hungry and focusing on other happiness inducing activities when you are upset seems a much healthier solution. But like anything this needs self-control and practice. Something I am working on! In the meantime, what makes me happy? A cup of tea and some delicious biscuits that's what!


  • 230g Butter
  • 200g Brown sugar
  • 200g Sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200g Ground hazelnuts
  • 310g Flour
  • 500g Chocolate buttons
  • 1tsp Salt


  1. Pre heat oven to 180°c/350°f
  2. Cream the butter and sugar
  3. Add the eggs 1 at a time
  4. Add all the dry ingredients and mix until combined
  5. Roll into 60g balls and gently flatten with your hand to form a disk
  6. Place on tray lined with parchment paper
  7. Bake for 12-15 mins
  8. Allow to cool