This is a dish for special occasions.

If you were to overhear the start of a conversation about why, it has all the hallmarks of an appetising one.

‘Coffee, dark, aura, chilli,’… there’s every chance these will be muddled in the first sentences.

It’s only afterwards if you catch the references to vomiting, pain and staggering to the bathroom in the middle of the night to check that one side of your face hasn’t dropped from palsy that you’ll click.

This is a conversation  between members of a special club.

Migraines are beastly things. Those that get them, get it.

When I was little, we thought chocolate was a trigger. There were four years where Easter was pocked with carob bunnies, bought from the earnest health food store. Over time chocolate was reintroduced, but the blighters would still pop up uninvited. Bright lights, hormonal glitches and dope have also been known to set them up.

Though if I’m going to be honest, stress is my trigger. Not the situation itself; I can trundle through that. The day afterwards when the storm eases -that’s when it’s like guests have overstayed-  and are now trashing the insides of my head.

At the start one eye will get a little blobby. Twirling things, like scabs of not-so-fresh milk that float on the top of your tea dance infront of one eye. Soon the lights get turned out and there’s no sight to be seen. Fifteen minutes later, the party really starts.

In that window, I’ll try anything to get them to leave. Two asprin and some caffeine can help. If I do that, there’s a good chance I won’t vomit later on.

But really, getting to somewhere cool, quiet and dark is the priority.

I’ve read recently that capsaicin, the chemical in chilli can be effective in reducing the onset of pain.
In the past when I’ve had  one descending The Hungry One will ask if there’s anything he can do.

Most of the time I whimper ‘no’ and slink to a spare room.

Next time, I’ll ask him to make me this.

Chicken noodle soup may be good for the soul- but coffee and chilli (and the asprin on the side)- these things might be good for my head.  And really, when this party comes to town I’ll say yes to anything.

Migraine soup; aka noodles with chilli, coffee and coriander

The coffee may sound nuts, but it plays in the same key as coriander and chilli. It’s a common inclusion in lots of chilli con carne recipes. Besides the caffeine boost, it adds a murky note that makes this asian chicken broth just a touch more interesting. 

Serves 1

1 saucepan.

75 grams of egg noodles
1 cup of chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
1/2 red chilli, diced
1/2 teaspoon ground espresso
1 small handful of coriander leaves

Here’s how we roll

1. Add the chilli to the stock and bring to the boil. Add the noodles and cook until soft.
2. Serve with the coriander leaves and espresso sprinkled over the top.
3. Retreat to a dark room.