Brazilian Flavours, Recipes & Cooking

by Georgina Ribas

Chocolate and Cashew Nut Shots with Mini Truffles

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest. It’s the end of the holiday season and I feel nostalgic firstly because I am far away from Brazil and Christmas celebration is so special and vibrant over there. The Christmas Carols of my city Curitiba is one of the events I miss the most and is the highlight of the holiday season. The show has been held in the HSBC building for 25 years. Located right in the heart of the city are part of the tradition of Curitiba and people come from all over the country specially to watch it. Hundreds of people gather to see the spectacle of the disadvantaged children who get their opportunity to shine. Behind the curtains there is a noble charity project that provides support for a total of 400 children like education, music lessons and medical and psychological assistance. More than 100 children aged between 7 and 16 years old are selected to sing and perform from the windows of the astonishing heritage building during the month of December. There are fireworks, candles, bubbles, balloons and plenty of beautiful singing. Every year the show gets bigger and better and there is a different surprise which is highly anticipated by the crowd. Here is a video in case you are curious to see this show. Christmas lights have now been switched off, decorations are being packed away and 2016 is approaching. To celebrate the New Year, I created this shot inspired by the drink known in Brazil as Batida de Sonho de Valsa made with cachaça and a popular chocolate and cashew nut bonbon called Sonho de Valsa or “waltz dream”. Brazilians love to drink batidinhas as an... read more

Walnut “Cameo” Bonbon

Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest. Cameo is an oval-shaped gemstone with a head image carved on it, an ancient carving technique and also a Brazilian bonbon known as camafeu in Portuguese. Made with a rich walnut paste and enrobed in a fine shell of sugary fondant, this Brazilian sweet indeed resembles the jewlery, it has an oval shape and two contrasting colours: the white of the fondant and the golden of the walnut that garnishes the top. This beauty effect multiplies when all the sweets are arranged on a elegant tray and served on a special occasion like Christmas. This little Brazilian gem is glamorous but so easy to prepare, no cooking or baking required. Just mixing, rolling, shaping, covering and eating! Thanks once again to my gorgeous sister-in-law Lisi for the amazing recipe and helpful hints. This is the best Cameo recipe I’ve ever tried!   It’s nearly Christmas,  the end of 2015 is approaching and a lot of people around the world have hopes for the New Year, which is highly anticipated with wishes of luck, love, happiness and a better life. The concept of a good life however raises many questions like what is the meaning of life, what constitutes a good life? Are the answers simple or complex? The adopted son of the great Luiz Gonzaga (known as the “king of Baiao” musical rhythm), the Brazilian singer/song-writter the late Gonzaguinha wrote a song with questions and answers about life from the perspective of different people. The questions begin right in the title of the song which is called in English “What is it? What is it?”. The song lyrics start... read more

Pumpkin Timbale with Kale Chips, Speck & Pickled Radish

What is your favourite pumpkin recipe? Well, I invite you to think about pumpkin recipes in a different way…   …but first what is the meaning of time for you? I normally finish the post with a Brazilian song, but today I decided to go the other way around because this is such a special one by Caetano Veloso, a major name in Brazilian folk music. The amazing thing about Caetano is that he is not only a fine singer/song-writer, guitar player, he is also a poet. The way he uses words to make music lyrics is extremely imaginative as he uses rhythm to express what he feels and provides elevated thoughts that challenge you to think. The name of the song is Oração ao Tempo, which translates as “Prayer for Time”. I inserted the hyperlink to Spotify in case you would like to listen to it. He describes what time means for him in the form of a monologue. Simply genius! I tried to translate as best as I could so I wouldn’t disturb the meaning and the depth of the lyrics. I also added words between brackets to enhance the meaning of some of the sentences. Note that the way he repeats “time, time, time, time” is to emphasize the fact that time doesn’t stop and is somehow repetitive. If you listen carefully you will notice that he included a percussion that does tictac just like a clock. There are other hidden nuances to the song, but I will leave it to your own interpretation. Hope you like it! Prayer for Time – Caetano Veloso (Time) You’re... read more

Festive Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Here I go again publishing another strawberry recipe for Christmas (last year I did a Strawberry Trifle), but I can’t help myself: it’s strawberry season in Australia and this year they are simply outstanding. They are not only plump, super red and gorgeous, but what is more important the flavour is spectacular. Take a closer look: It must be a summer inspiration but I put in my mind that I had to make an ice cream cake. The dessert is ideal for Christmas because it can be done ahead of time and looks extremely glamorous on the table. Simply take out of the freezer, garnish with lots of beautiful strawberries and pistachios and drizzle with the “redelicious” sauce to serve. Thanks to my sister-in-law Lisi for the recipe! Here is a guitar song  by Brazilian guitar player David Tavares, great music to listen to while you are having your Christmas feast. Retrato en 3×4 – David Tavares Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest.  Ingredients  Whipped Cream Layer: 300ml thickened cream 80g pistachios 80g mini meringues Cake Layer: 250g strawberries, hulled 200g Top n Fill caramel or sweetened condensed milk 150ml thickened cream 400g good-quality, store-bought plain sponge cake, roughly chopped Strawberry Ice-Cream Layer: 900g Good-quality store-bought strawberry ice-cream or preferably home-made* Strawberry Sauce** (to serve): 250g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped 80g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped Fresh Strawberries, to garnish Shelled pistachios, to garnish Equipment: 1 x 23cm round baking tray with loose base Notes: *You will need to start this recipe one day ahead, however if opting for home-made ice-cream you will need to start 2 days ahead. **Strawberry... read more

Strawberry Ice Cream

Summer starts oficially today in Australia so I say Happy Summer with Strawberry Ice Cream!  To commemorate the strawberry season I present you the ultimate strawberry ice cream, made with strawberries cooked in sugar and vanilla for an outstanding strawberry flavour. It’s so easy to create great recipes and beautiful food photography when the produce looks like that:   This is the song I am listening right now, by Dorival Caymmi, it’s all I listen to at the moment! His songs are too beautiful, can’t help myself! Canto de Nanã/ Quem Vem Para a Beira do Mar – interpreted by Jussara Silveira Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest.  Ingredients  Ingredients: 500g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped 180g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped 500ml milk 500ml double (heavy) cream 10 egg yolks 2 drops red or pink food colouring (optional) Equipment: Ice Cream Maker  Instructions  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the strawberries, 80g sugar, vanilla pod and seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until thick. Remove the vanilla pod and using a stick blender or the food processor process the strawberries until smooth. 2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the milk and cream and just before it starts to boil remove from heat. 3. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar (100g) until thick and pale. Slowly pour in the milk and cream mixture and whisk well to combine. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan over medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken (be careful not to boil the mixture as... read more

Brazilian Coconut Tea Cake and 20 Facts about the City of Salvador

When I decided to make this coconut cake recipe I immediately thought about Bahia, an exuberant state located in the North-East of Brazil. Typical images of Bahia: rows of coconut trees and the beautiful sunset, all images of Bahia by my friend Thelicia (thanks Theli!) I’ve been to Bahia many years ago for an university conference and was enchanted by the people, strong cultural heritage and the history of its capital Salvador. I stayed in a nice and charming bed and breakfast near the city centre. Unfortunately I don’t remember the name but it was an old Portuguese-style house hidden at the end of a steep lane. There was a small garden at the front and a set of narrow stairs that led people to the main entry. The B&B was run by two ladies dressed as typical baianas. The cosy decoration reminded me of an old Brazilian country house, the rooms had high ceilings and dark timber floors. The big windows on the living areas were kept open during the day and fresh air would circulate giving almost an outdoor feel to the place. In the bedrooms, there was predominantly dark timber furniture, bedspreads and linens were white and there were lots of colourful paints of local artists on the light blue walls. Breakfast was served in little room in the middle of the house and every morning the table was covered with tropical fruits and a selection of home-made quitutes (or treats) like sweet corn pudding, cassava bread and a super moist coconut cake. More images of Salvador, Beacon, Church and the Bonfim’s Church fence covered with bracelets of  “Nosso Senhor do Bonfim”. Considered an amulet the bracelet is a popular souvenir of Salvador... read more

“Salpicão” Brazilian Chicken Salad

It’s countdown to summer in Australia! My favourite season is officially starting on the 1st of December. The produce is so amazing this year, I think the highlights are the mini tomatoes and the Tasmanian strawberries, they are sweeter and more flavourful than ever. The warmer weather asks for lots of fruit-based  iced desserts and juices, plus  fresh salads like this one. This recipe is  very special firstly because it’s my mom’s and second because it is our family’s official New Year’s Eve dinner salad. That means when I was a child I had to wait a whole year to eat it, and this anticipation  feeling made it so much more delicious. The salad is perfect for a family get together for being a festival of colours, textures and flavours. It’s crunchy, juicy, chewy and the balance of sweet, salty, sour and smoky flavours is perfect. In Brazil, every family has its own salpicão recipe.  The one that my mom makes has lots of vegetables, fruits, dried fruits, nuts and smoked chicken. I also know some people that use smoked ham or rotisserie chicken instead. Other families don’t  add capsicums (peppers) or pineapple and so forth. Well,  I like the one with the lot! Take a look at the rainbow of ingredients of this salad and see how mouthwatering they are:   To assemble the salad, I like the idea to have layers of colour in a big salad bowl (like the main image above), so you just mix it to serve, or you may want use little jars to bring it for a picnic like the image below. Just one little note, for the smaller jars it is... read more

Mandarin Two Ways: Caipirinha Drink and Popsicle and 40 Facts about Rio de Janeiro

The mandarin season is reaching its end here in Australia meaning summer is not too far away and in honour of this juicy and delicious fruit I post these two quick and easy recipes. Who doesn’t love an icy and fruity popsicle to leak or a boozy and refreshing cocktail when the weather is starting to get warm? Over to the other side of the planet, in Brazil during the hot summer days loads of fruits are consumed and used to prepare cold desserts and drinks like fruit popsicles, ice-creams, juices, cocktails and smoothies. They are sold in beach carts, stalls or beach front restaurants. Some of the popular popsicle flavours include dark grape, coconut, lime, mango and mandarin. As for caipirinha, the original one is made with lime, sugar, ice and cachaça. Many of other versions of this drink have been created over the years by replacing lime with other fruits.   When I think about Brazilian summer it’s the image of Rio de Janeiro that comes to my mind , for this reason I dedicate this post to the marvellous city (that’s how Rio is known in Brazil). Since the city is Brazil’s postcard it’s impossible to continue this post without showing some images of Rio. Thanks to my wonderful friends Karen, Larissa, Bia for the images below. Bia up close and personal with Christ, the Redeemer Bia praising the panoramic views from Corcovado. Panoramic Views of Rio by night (photo by Larissa)   Ipanema Beach and the view of the Dois Irmãos (Two Brothers) Moutains – by Karen Copacabana Beach – by Karen …and here are 40 facts about this fantastic city: It’s also known as “Rio” or... read more

Beef Mince “Sfiha”

As a resut of the Lebanese immigration that started in Brazil in the end of the 19th century, Middle-Eastern foods like sfiha and the beef mince fritter kibbeh, tabbouleh salad and eggplant and hummus dips are common foods eaten in various parts of the country. Similar to the Turkish pide, sfiha is an open Middle-Eastern baked pie that looks like a mini pizza and is topped with spiced beef or lamb mince. I adapted this recipe from a dear relative of mine, my “Auntie” Sonia, who is married with one of my uncles. She is second generation Lebanese descendant who cherishes her family recipes as being very precious part of her heritage. Over the years we exchanged many recipes and we both have passion for cooking. Some of the fresh ingredients of “sfiha”, tomatoes and onions keep the mince moist, lime and mint give the mince lots of zing and complement the flavour of the spices The Brazilian version of sfiha is slightly different from the original one, for example the Brazilian dough has more sugar in it and apart from beef mince there are many other toppings like chicken and catupiry (Brazilian soft cheese), cheese and herbs or pepperoni. The secrets to a perfect beef mince sfiha are the high temperature oven, the right quantity of spices and to use of full fat beef mince, and I don’t recommend the use of lean meat. The result is quite disappointing as the spices completely take over the flavour of the meat instead of enhancing it. In Brazil sfiha is also big business and is the top seller of one of the country’s largest... read more

Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

To create this recipe I was inspired by the Lebanese-style cabbage rolls we all love to eat in Brazil which is made with rice and beef mince and is called “charutinho” or little cigars. Actually I came up with the idea of making it vegan one day that I had a whole cabbage in the fridge and didn’t know what to do with it. Since I did not have mince that day and happened to have all the other ingredients I thought it would be a good option just to stuff the cabbage with rice, nuts, garlic and herbs. I must confess I now prefer the meatless version. The dish is so light and healthy, almost addictive; in fact it became of a favourite week-night dinner of our household. This recipe is super easy just one little tip try to buy the best passata you possibly can and a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle will certainly take the dish to the heavenly level. Everyday I get more passionate about food photography; just as in cooking the possibilities to use your imagination are countless. It is spring here in Hobart and I decided to take do do an outdoor photo-shoot to match the dish with the season’s mood. It was a partially clouded and lazy afternoon. I enjoyed so much taking these photos and experimenting with different types of light. The sun was coming and going so it was great opportunity to practice food photography.  I started the shoot using the diffuser but, since the light was not too harsh, half way through I decided to get the 100% of the sun light through just to... read more

Brazilian Ham and Cheese Rolls

Snack time anyone? I am addicted to savoury baked snacks of all kinds and today I feel like posting comfort food so these rolls fit the purpose perfectly. If you love baking like me the comfort starts right in the making! Brazilian bakeries are very different from other bakeries around the world, our bakeries are a blend of grocery store, cafe, deli, bakery and patisserie. Usually there are a few tables so people can sit down to have a meal. Some of the bakeries offer a breakfast or light lunch menu options and many of them take orders for birthday cakes, sweets and finger food for cocktail parties. Many Brazilians start their day at the bakery to have breakfast and  ham and cheese rolls are one of the popular foods that are eaten white coffee or a glass of orange juice. These rolls are also commonly sold in school canteens and are a great option for lunch boxes. Originally they are only made with ham and cheese but I changed the recipe slightly by adding the sun-dried tomato pesto. It’s very easy to turn this recipe into a vegetarian one just by omitting the ham, or even into vegan by replacing the egg and milk with soya milk and filling with the sun-dried tomato pesto. The dough is very versatile you can add your favourite flavours, some ideas are regular pesto with goat’s cheese, bacon, spinach and feta, and feta and caramelised onion. The process to make it is quite simple, first prepare the dough, then the sun-dried tomato pesto. After the dough has doubled in size, divide it into 16 equal-sized portions. Roll one portion flat, roughly into an oval shape, then spread a heaped... read more

Brazilian-Style Baked Rice

VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN FREE It has been a bit challenging for me to find time for blogging this year. We moved to a new house a couple of months ago and, after two years ‘working’ as a full-time mum, I started another full-time job! I usually leave the blogging work for the weekend but during this period it was a bit difficult to find the time and energy for that. I am so glad to be back and happy to share this delightful dish with you. I just can’t get enough of rice dishes lately; I suppose it is my Brazilian taste that keeps me moving toward it. I remember when I was living in Brisbane and I was in this food court at my lunch break queuing in a “roast and veggie” restaurant right behind two young Brazilian blokes. They didn’t know I was Brazilian and I overheard them saying that it sucked they had all these meat with potatoes and pumpkin but didn’t have rice on the menu to go with it! That’s exactly how we Brazilians are: we eat rice pretty much with everything, anything, all the time: with beans (on a daily basis), with barbecue, we put it in our chicken soup, with feijoada (black bean stew), with moqueca (fish stew). We have hundreds of rice dishes like the coconut rice of Bahia state, a mouthwatering rice cooked in coconut milk so yes, rice is for Brazilians like potato is for the English or pasta for the Italians. Did I say we are also addicted to sweet and creamy rice custard for dessert? Well, this baked rice is also a popular... read more