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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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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Mango Scallops

One of Stuart’s favourite dishes is scallops. I, on the other hand, are not so much of a fan. It works for us because that means there’s more for him and scallops are best served seared, so it doesn’t take long to pull together a spectacular meal. You could say it’s a win-win.

Mango Scallops on the grill

Seared scallops with mango are a great addition to a seafood barbecue.

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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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Tagliata: Italian Steak and Cannellini Beans

When I think about Italian food my mind moves first to pasta and then pizza. I rarely ever think of steak. In Italy though tagliata is a staple; a lightly seasoned steak, grilled to perfection and served thinly sliced. This flavoursome dish centers around the quality meat. I like a nice thick scotch fillet, but it works well with the more economical flank or skirt steak. Purists use only a bit of salt, but I like a bit of pepper and rub a clove of smashed garlic over the surface. Migraine-sufferers should avoid the traditional brushing with rosemary during grilling if they want the dish to be trigger-free. If you feel the steak needs some heavy herb flavour, a bunch of marjoram will add a nice lift. Grill rare to medium, thinly slice and it’s ready for some side dishes.

Italian steak

Tagliata over Italian style refried beans is my go to 30 minute pantry to plate summer meal.

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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!


Roasted Tomato Sauce

One of my favourite things to do with tomatoes that are a bit overripe is to turn them into a roasted tomato sauce. It’s the original tray bake as far as I’m concerned. You simply throw some tomatos, onion, garlic and red capiscum on a baking tray and whack it in the oven. The roasting caramelized all the natural sugars and you end up with a smoky sweet sauce.

This roasted tomato sauce is incredibly versatile. Use it in any recipe that calls for some passata. It also makes a great base for tortilla soup, just add equal parts of homemade chicken stock and garnish with strips of fried tortillas.

Better yet, it freezes really well, so make up batches when tomatoes are at their best. Enjoy my friends.Roasted Tomato Sauce recipe image

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Migraineur’s Garlic Prawns

The traditional food for me at Christmas is prawns. For Stuart it’s ham and I’ve written about finding a nitrate-free ham previously here. It’s a good Christmas story if you are looking for a light read. But back to me and my need for prawns on the table at Christmas.

Garlic prawns ready to eat

All these prawns need is some crusty bread and a fork.

Growing up we had steamed prawns on Christmas Eve. Small batches were lovingly steamed over beer with healthy lashings of Old Bay Seasoning. They were served up hot with traditional cocktail sauce for dipping. Luckily when I moved to Australia I discovered that prawns are a Christmas tradition here as well. Australians consume a massive 45,000 tonnes of prawns over the festive season.

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Easy Meatballs

I learned to make meatballs from my Nonna. Her spaghetti and meatballs was my go to birthday dinner. It still is.

These are not my Nonna’s meatballs. My Nonna use to start making the meatballs after lunch. They would cook in a pot on the stove needing to be delicately stirred every 20 minutes or so, so that the sauce wouldn’t catch and burn. It required a lot of adult attention because little helpers ended up breaking the meatballs up into small bits. Mine get baked in the oven at a low temperature requiring no care once they go in the oven.

 

My Nonna’s meatballs also had a lot of ingredients. It took at least an hour to get the mince ready so you could brown the meatballs. Further, a lot of the ingredients are known migraine triggers. Mine has seven ingredients that you probably have in your kitchen right now and comes together in ten minutes. Keep on reading!