Chocolate and Cashew Nut Shots with Mini Truffles

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...
Walnut “Cameo” Bonbon

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...
Pumpkin Timbale with Kale Chips, Speck & Pickled Radish

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...
Festive Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

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...
Strawberry Ice Cream

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...