Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

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...
Brazilian Ham and Cheese Rolls

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...
Brazilian-Style Baked Rice

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...
Orange Pudding with Dark Chocolate Crumb

Orange Pudding with Dark Chocolate Crumb

Some ingredients are just made for each other, don’t you think? Eggs and bacon, basil and tomato, chilli and lime, goat’s cheese and beetroot, sugar and cinnamon, vanilla and cream, chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and orange which, by the way, is one of my favourite dessert combinations… What are the other great food pairs you can name? Now it’s official. This is the dish that took the most time for me to develop and test. I think I tried about a dozen recipes and none of them made me totally happy until I got the one! That is why I love the kitchen so much. To me it’s a very special place, almost my personal lab, where I get to try my own experiments and discover new flavours, textures and ingredients. The kitchen is a world where the possibilities and outcomes are endless because there are so many ways to cook one single dish just by combining a few ingredients using different techniques and cooking methods. With that in mind it is possible to re-invent even classic flavour combinations like those I mentioned before. Orange pudding or flan is a Brazilian dish with Portuguese influence. I mentioned before the Brazilians’ love for puddings and flans when I posted the Brazilian-Style Crème Caramel recipe. There are many versions to the orange pudding dish, being the basic one made with milk, eggs, orange juice and sugar. I tried this recipe but found that by mixing orange juice and eggs the mixture ends up slightly curdled. That did not come as a surprise but because I am a geek-cook, I felt I had the obligation to try...
Brazilian-Style Beef Stroganoff

Brazilian-Style Beef Stroganoff

All over the web the story of how and when stroganoff was created varies from website to website but one thing is for sure, it is a Russian dish. One account says that the name of the dish comes from the VIP Count Pavel Stroganov who was a big fan of this beef stew and was known for his love of food and entertaining. The original Russian recipe is basically made with onions, butter, mushrooms, beef slices, sweet wine and sour cream and served with potatoes or pasta. Stroganoff was firstly introduced in Brazil in the beginning of the 50s in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian version has more ingredients than the Russian recipe and includes tomatoes, tomato sauce (ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, cognac, mustard and preserved champignons instead of fresh mushrooms and sometimes speck. The other differences are that in Brazil we add cream instead of sour cream and serve it with steamed rice and chips (or potato sticks). Some recipes may also include preserved hearts of palm and corn kernels. Another interesting fact is that in Brazil there are dozens of types of stroganoff, not only beef stroganoff. Brazilians are so fanatic by this dish that many versions were created to replace beef like the prawn, chicken, dried cod (baccalao), cheese and even vegan stroganoff with hearts of palm. Stroganoff reminds me of the weddings I used to go in the 80s in Brazil. I still remember clearly this huge buffet set in the middle of the room that included steamed rice, potato salad, cheese and ham lasagne, potato sticks, salads and roasted pork. The trendy stroganoff had to be served in silver dishes and was the...