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

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...
“Salpicão” Brazilian Chicken Salad

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

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...
Beef Mince “Sfiha”

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...
Salamanca Market in Hobart

Salamanca Market in Hobart

I am a Brazilian who writes about Brazilian food and I live in Hobart (Tasmania, Australia) a city I am passionate about. I would like to start my “Chronicles” journey with Hobart’s Salamanca Market article I posted in the fabulous Shades of Cinnamon blog, which is also first contribution I made outside my own blog. Ev Thomas is a recipe developer, a writer, a food stylist and the photographer behind and in front of the fabulous Shades of Cinnamon blog. If you like food, photography, travel and world markets, go to shadesofcinnamon.com to check Ev’s amazing work.   Bird’s Eye View of beautiful Hobart, from Mount Wellington: Hobart is the second oldest city in Australia and is considered one of the most liveable places in the world. It’s is a city like no other with wonderful and diverse landscape that includes the blue waters of the Derwent river and the majestic Mount Wellington that rises to a height of 1271m. It’s Saturday morning in Hobart and winter is just around the corner. Even though the cold winds are starting to make their move it is still a beautiful sunny day. I pick a couple of bags and head to the Salamanca market to buy some fresh sourdough bread, fruits and vegetables which is also a good excuse for a walk. The mixture of food, lavender, leather and food smells in the air is quite reinvigorating. Every time I go there it feels like it is the first. Overview of Salamanca Place: The market seems to have a live of its own and is constantly changing so there is always a surprise for regular visitors like myself. The musicians...