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...
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...
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 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...
Upside-Down Banana Cake

Upside-Down Banana Cake

I can’t believe we are already reaching the end of April 2015. Easter is gone and the middle of the year is just around the corner. It is our third year here in Hobart and it feels like we arrived yesterday! We fell in love with this city that is known as the little hidden treasure of Australia. It is starting to get cold here, so I thought it would be a good idea to post a cake recipe as most of us crave comfy foods this time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. Well in reality comfy foods are welcome any time of the year! I once read somewhere that Brazilians are banana connoisseurs and this is a perfect statement to describe such an important ingredient of our cuisine. Banana is used quite extensively in Brazil both in baking and to make desserts. Also, this might sound a bit strange for non-Brazilians but banana dishes are eaten with savoury meals on a regular basis and believe me they taste so good. There is our crunchy banana a recipe in which bananas are crumbed with eggs and breadcrumbs, deep-fried and then served with our daily rice and beans. Banana crumb made with sautéed onions, garlic and cassava flour is also very commonly eaten and it goes really well with barbecued or roasted meats. The upside down banana cake is a classic of our cuisine along with hundreds of other dessert recipes that have banana as the main ingredient. The fondest memory I’ve got of eating this cake is when I worked in a CD shop many years ago in the centre of Curitiba, a city located in the South of Brazil....