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...
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...
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...
Broad Bean and Hearts of Palm Pizza

Broad Bean and Hearts of Palm Pizza

In Brazil, like many other places in the world, we are absolutely crazy about pizzas. It almost feels like pizza is a Brazilian dish! Pizza delivery shops are literally found on every corner of my beloved country. In the metropolis of São Paulo alone a staggering figure 1 million pizzas are consumed every day. There are approximately 5000 pizza shops over there meaning São Paulo is only behind New York City in number of shops. Our preference is for thin crust rather than thick and some of our favourite toppings are Calabresa (Italian-type of sausage) and Mozzarella, 4 cheese, Marguerita and Portuguesa (ham, olives, eggs, capsicum and mozzarella). Fondly nicknamed ‘a redonda’ (or round) the Brazilian pizza is more loaded with toppings than the Italian ones and we have a preference for wood-fired pizzas. No wonder Italian food and pizzas are so popular all over the world. Pizzas are not only delicious to eat but also a joy to make. When it is pizza night here in our home, the atmosphere totally changes and it feels like we are being tele transported to an Italian canteen. I instantly turn on Funiculí Funiculá by Pavarotti to get the mood going. First is the smell of yeast that comes from the dough. Then the preparation of the tomato sauce, that spreads a fragrant combination of olive oil, garlic, tomato and basil all over the kitchen. If that wasn’t enough there is the smell of pizza baking in the oven. It is just too much temptation for the taste buds! Furthermore pizza nights bring the family together, everyone enjoys getting involved with pizza making,...
Christmas Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut ‘Brigadeiro’

Christmas Boozy Chocolate and Hazelnut ‘Brigadeiro’

Brigadeiro was one of the first recipes I posted in my blog, that was about 6 months ago. I can’t believe 6 months have already passed and it’s almost 2015. I have to say these months were some of the most exciting of my life. It’s been great having the chance to write about Brazilian food, creating and sharing recipes and learning the tricks of food styling and photography. Brigadeiro had to be one of the first because it is such a classic Brazilian chocolate sweet. To us Brazilians brigadeiros are synonym of party and celebration. For this reason I decided to make a Christmas version of the sweet. The traditional brigadeiro recipe is made with sweetened condensed milk and cocoa powder. Following the trend in Brazil of gourmet brigadeiros and the holiday mood I decided to add hazelnuts, orange zest and glacéd cherries soaked in cachaça to my Christmas sweet. To go all the way with the festive season, for the coating I used a tip by my sister-in-law to turn the chocolate sprinkles into golden colour using chocolate dust. I also added the stars on top so they look more glamorous and suitable for this special time of the year. I think they look like little edible jewels on the table! Both the star sprinkles and the chocolate dust can be found online or from good pastry supply shops. Have your Christmas dessert sorted with this recipe. This sweet is incredibly easy to make and can be done 4-5 days in advance, just keep them in an airtight container in the fridge. Also, since they are bite-sized and served in paper cases, they are also very practical and handy to...
Strawberry, Guava Paste and Rosemary Shots

Strawberry, Guava Paste and Rosemary Shots

Batida is a Brazilian cocktail commonly made with fruit juice and some alcoholic beverage such as cachaça, vodka or rum. Batida translates as shake and refers to the way the drink is made just by quickly blending the ingredients. Batidinha or shot is the small version of batida and they are often served as a treat in the waiting area of grill houses (churrascarias) or large restaurants while customers are waiting for a table. Customers are welcome to have one or more as they please, which is good to stimulate one’s appetite. Many restaurants also have batidinhas on their menu, some of the common recipes have a type of fruit juice (e.g. cashew, passionfruit, grape or pineapple) mixed with condensed milk, cream and cachaça. Batidinha de Sonho de Valsa was a classic shot of the 80s made with a cashew and chocolate truffle blended with cream, ice cubes and cachaça. The coconut version of batidinha made with coconut milk, sugar (or condensed milk) and cachaça or vodka is another favourite. Some Brazilians like to enjoy a shot before or while having a snack in a typical pub called boteco. Others like to make these mini-cocktails to offer to their guests  as an appetiser before a home-cooked barbecue. At the moment Tasmanian strawberries are in season and they taste delicious. Strawberries are a perfect match with the Brazilian guava paste so I decided to use both as essential ingredients to my batidinha recipe. The tastes of rosemary and vanilla also enhance the aroma of this drink in a very special way. In my first attempt I tried to make it using cachaça but...