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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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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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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Chocolatey Macadamia Nut Brownies: A Valentine’s Day Treat

Stuart and I were wandering through the Northside Produce Market last weekend making our mandatory stop at Black Star Pastry. Christopher Thé’s well known Sydney patisserie serves up not only the most photographed cake in the world, it’s also a mighty fine bakery. Black Star is so popular and have such loyal customers, I’m surprised that they still do the local markets. Every month I hold my breath hoping that they will still have their stall in the back corner of the market. Happy that they still come over this side of the Sydney Harbour bridge, but surprised none the less.

BSP-SWC_5402-web

The most photographed cake in the world is not Migraine-friendly but my macadamia nut brownies are.

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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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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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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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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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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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