Tortilla Soup

Cinco de Mayo is fast approaching so we all need to up our game and move beyond tacos and burritos as a celebration of Central and South American cuisine. Cinco de Mayo is celebrated in Mexico to commemorate the victory over the French Empire at the Battle of Puebla. It is not the day that marks their independence as a nation, that’s September 16th. Rather, it celebrates the Mexican Resistance’s victory over a superior French force backed by Napoleon. It’s a symbolic victory and not even a National Holiday in Mexico.

The day has since been hijacked by the alcohol industry as a ploy to celebrate Hispanic culture outside of Mexico. Mexican culture is so much more that cerveza (beer) and margaritas. There is a diverse cuisine that has regional flavours and techniques suited to their climatic conditions. A vibrant street food scene has been taken by their chefs to the world of haute cuisine with three restaurants in the 2017 World’s 50 Best Restaurants serving Mexican food.

Pati Jinich, Mexico’s version of Jamie Oliver, says that everyone needs to have their own version of Tortilla Soup. I agree. I discovered this dish more than 20 years ago when I was living in South Florida, USA. It’s a great way to make use of leftover tortillas and tomatoes that have ripened from salad to cooking stage. It’s a light soup that has the ability to be refreshing on a summer evening and warming for a winter’s lunch.

Tortilla soup email

Tortilla soup is refreshing on a summers day or a hearty winter warmer.

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April 2018 Recipe Redux: Vietnamese Chargrilled Pork Neck Skewers

It’s that time of the month my friends for the Recipe Redux Challenge. Drum roll please….it’s spring in the Northern Hemisphere and Picnic Day is April 23, so get ready to eat al fresco. Show us the healthy recipes you like to bring on a picnic – or serve outside.

Every Sunday we eat al fresco. Since our kids sailed as their summer sport, whose season spans 8 months, we had a lot of meals on the water. Sailing goes all day so we would pack up for an adventure every Sunday morning. And if there were regettas then the adventures spanned over a weekend or a whole week. I became adept at creating food that could be eaten with wet hands while being highly nutritious to keep us all going during a long day on and in the water.bah min style

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Migraineur’s Hot Cross Buns

I only discovered hot crossed buns about 10 years ago. They were not part of my childhood growing up in America so it wasn’t until I met Stuart that I learned about this traditional bun served at Easter. He loved them but they are a minefield for migraine sufferers. I had to completely re-dux every recipe that I found and it’s taken me a good five years to finally perfect it. I’m delighted to share it with you.

Hot cross bun recipe 3

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SoCal a Migraine-Friendly Gem

This meal was independently paid for.

I stumbled across SoCal while wandering around Neutral Bay one afternoon. It has a bit of a hidden entrance on Young Street, but the aqua blue door and walls to the stairwell beckoned me up for a look. I was warmly greeted, even though it was three in the afternoon, and I asked if I could look at the menu. The Octopus Tostada immediately caught my eye and the smell of the smoker lured me to keep perusing the menu. I fell in love at first sight.

Luckily it was that lovely down time prior to the prepping before the dinner rush, so I was able to have a bit of a chat to the chef Tomaz Salema Reis about the menu, cooking techniques and ingredients he uses. To his credit Tomaz listened intently to my tale, answered all my questions and even ducked back into the kitchen to ensure that the ingredients for the homemade BBQ sauce didn’t have preservatives. Recon mission was successful and we had a new restaurant to try.

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South American Roast Chicken

Summer and barbecued chicken go hand in hand. The open flame was made for bird on the bone, to keep it moist and succulent. Flattening, or butterflying, the chicken aids in keeping it moist by greatly reducing the cooking time. Another trick that I learned was place a hefty salt rub under the skin. This in effect brines the meat, keeping the juices locked in by the laws of chemistry.

Deconstructed Southwestern Chicken

Deconstructed South American Roast Chicken and sides.  Pop it on the barbecue and serve with warm tortillas and your best guacamole for a light summer’s meal.

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The Mediterranean Diet is a Migraine-Friendly Way of Eating

So something a bit different this week. I was asked to work with the team from Red Dieticians to help create a weekly menu with some of my recipes to go with their very informative review of the Mediterranean Diet. Needless to say I was chuffed to be asked and even happier to participate in my first collaboration as a foodie.

The Mediterranean Diet suits migraineurs because it focuses on whole foods, the cornerstone to a Migraine-Friendly diet. Why not grab a cuppa, some quiet space and head over to their site for a very informative read. Plus I think you’ll find some recipes you might like.

 

What is the Mediterranean Diet?

The Mediterranean diet was started as a heart healthy eating plan, and now has also been seen to be associated with lowering cholesterol levels, as well as lowering the risk of cancer, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases. The Mediterranean diet plan focuses on eating plant-based foods, specifically a high content of fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, legumes, and nuts. Although this diet stresses to consume most protein from plant sources, fish and poultry are consumed at least twice a week, and red meat is limited in consumption to a few times a month. Another key component of the diet is to remove salt and instead season with fresh herbs and spices, and to remove butter and replace with healthy oils, such as olive oil or avocado oil.

Keep on reading over at Red Dieticians

Meal in Greece

Flash back to 2007 and one of our first meals in Greece at a seaside taverna on Antiparos. Check out that spread of meze and our younger selves.

Enjoy my friends.

As always, whenever making lifestyle changes be sure and consult your healthcare team. Under no circumstances should you stop or start taking medication or supplements without their consent.

Informed by science, cooked by you.


January 2018 Recipe ReDux: Every Migraineur Needs a Meat Grinder

Welcome to a new feature; the Recipe ReDux. I am so proud to have been accepted into this community of dietitian and health professionals who write about healthy food choices. The great thing about this community is that all the writers are vetted to ensure their work is underpinned with peer-reviewed scientific literature, making it a one stop shop for your health minded recipes.

Once a month we are served up a challenge to redux, latin for brought back, a recipe into a more healthy version. For me this is a natural fit, as just about every recipe I come across I have to redux to make it Migraine-friendly. Sometimes I feel like my entire cooking career is adjusting and redoing favourites so that they don’t make Stuart sick. At least now I have a bit of an outlet for them 😁.

This month’s challenge is to share a healthy recipe highlighting a favorite kitchen tool, gadget, or gizmo that you received over the holidays, or an old tried and true appliance. My kitchen is very small so I don’t have a lot of space for appliances. I have to be very judicious in my kitchen gadgets. Needless to say I couldn’t justify anything new this year. So I’m going with one of the must have appliances for every household with a migraine sufferer (that’s one in four in case you were wondering)….a meat grinder. Keep on reading!


Lamingtons

Ah, the humble lamington; stale sponge soaked in chocolate sauce then coated in coconut. Made by CWAs and Scouts for fundraisers across Australia and loved by all. This iconic treat is always served in this house on Australia Day. Since we’re a week out it’s time to make the sponge 😉

lamington tandem dipping

My mom, Pat, and I making Lamingtons. It isn’t often that I get to cook with her any more as this year marks 20 since I moved to Australia. I taught her how to make these so watch out Riverlanding.

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Favas Santorini

There are so many wonderful foods that both Stuart and I fell in love with while traveling through Greece. The simple joy of an approaching meal time and pulling into the next village’s taverna. Typically there was no menu, and if there was it would have all been Greek to us anyway. So the proprietor would march us into the kitchen and show us what was cooking in the pots. The smells were intoxicating, promising that whatever it was it would be amazing.

A dish we discovered on the island of Santorini was a simple hummus-like dip made not from chickpeas but dried yellow peas. Every evening the restaurants served up bowls of favas with crusty bread while you waited for your main dish. I became so addicted to favas that I would be waiting at 5 pm at the local restaurant to get a serve with some crusty bread. I would be there so early that the favas were still warm from cooking and I would scurry back to our patio with our sunset sustenance.

favas santorini

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2017 Recipe Redux Challenge: Frozen Key Lime Pie

There’s a bit of a game going around and I wanted to play. OK, I was bored in the lead up to Christmas as I finished all my prep work for the upcoming holidays on Friday, go ahead hate me. Typical of Sydney weather it was going to be stinking hot on the 24th with a cool change making the temperature on the 25th more suitable for a roast dinner and warm desserts. So there I was trying to avoid the heat, reading through blogs about 2017 Recipe Redux Challenges.

It was really very simple. Pull out a cookbook, find a recipe on pages relating to 2017; such as 20, 17, 201, 217 etc., modernize the recipe, or in my case make it Migraine-friendly. Ooo, what fun I thought. I pulled out one of my “Ladies Groups” cookbooks. You know the ones that are just chock full of recipes contributed by the woman’s group of some organization. The thing with these books is that they are a bit of trash and treasure. Sometimes you hit the jackpot with Auntie Bess’s Banana Bread, but mostly the recipes are questionable.

frozen key lime pie recipe

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