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...
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....
Cheese Bread Rolls

Cheese Bread Rolls

Cheese bread is a Brazilian type of roll essentially made with cheese, tapioca starch, eggs, milk and oil. These little beauties are originally from the state of Minas Gerais located in the south-eastern part of Brazil. Minas Gerais is one of the leading producers of cheese in the country and is where many of the typical Brazilian cheeses were invented. For example, Minas cheese is a type of fresh cheese with mild and salty taste, and a rubbery texture. It is appreciated in the morning with some fresh bread or as dessert with either guava paste (which is called Romeo and Juliet) or with dollops of dulce de leche. Prato cheese, which is yellow and sharp in taste, was created in the 20s and its recipe is inspired in the Danish cheeses Dambo and Tybo and the Dutch Gouda and is commonly sold in brick shapes. The production of the soft Catupiry started in 1911 and is a cheese that is added to many popular recipes like ‘prawns in tomato sauce with catupiry‘, ‘chicken with catupiry‘, ‘catupiry pizza’ or ‘catupiry and chicken fritter’ (coxinha). The cheese culture of the estate of Minas Gerais resulted in the creation of many recipes with cheese including these rolls. They are extremely popular in Brazil and eaten any time of the day: for breakfast with a cup of coffee, as a mid-morning or afternon tea snack. In many restaurants it is served as an appetiser with dips. Cheese bread rolls are also found anywhere you go in Brazil. In bakeries they are freshly baked on a daily basis and usually it is possible to find more than one type of cheese bread. In the supermarkets many types of cheese bread are sold...
Potato and Cheese Buns

Potato and Cheese Buns

What can I say about these little buns apart that they are so soft that simply melt in the mouth? Slightly sweet, once you bite into them, you are surprised by the slightly salty cheese that is hidden in the centre, which is almost part of the dough itself.  This cheese is called  Catupiry is a mild soft type of cheese that was invented over a century ago and is part of Brazil’s food industry history. Catupiry is a Tupi-Guarani word that means excellent and no wonder Brazilians love it. Over the years many recipes were created to include this cheese with some of them now being considered classic Brazilian dishes. This bun is one of them, but since it is not possible to find Catupiry in Australia (yet!) I replaced it with soft goat’s cheese.  Catupiry can also be replaced by other soft mild cheeses such as Port Salut. They are sold in bakeries all over Brazil and are the perfect snack to eat at any time of the day or an accompaniment for light meals such as soups and green salads. Eat them preferably warm straight out of the oven or re-heat for a few seconds in the microwave just before serving.  Ingredients  400 g all purpose potatoes, peeled and roughly chopped 2 cups (500 ml) milk 1 ½ cups (300 g) plain flour 1 tbs baking powder 1 tbs sugar 1 tbs unsalted butter 1 egg, beaten 120g soft goat’s cheese, chilled Egg Wash 1 egg yolk 1 tbs milk  Instructions  1. Place the potatoes, milk and a pinch of salt in a medium saucepan over high heat and bring it to the boil. Turn the heat to low and simmer for...