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...
‘Romeo and Juliet’ Goat’s Cheese and Guava Paste Panna Cotta

‘Romeo and Juliet’ Goat’s Cheese and Guava Paste Panna Cotta

Who doesn’t know the tale of Romeo and Juliet? The tragic story of two young lovers who are unable to maintain a relationship and their ultimate death change the lives of their families forever. Romeo and Juliet is an Italian tale that was firstly introduced to the English world in a form of poem and prose before being adapted as a play by William Shakespeare. Over the years, the story has been adapted and told various times in plays, movies, musicals and opera. In addition, Romeo and Juliet’s moments were depicted in dozens of paintings and illustrations, including many by notorious painter Salvador Dali (click here), and in the graceful sculpture of the couple in Manhattan’s Central Park (click here to see the sculpture). In Brazil Romeo and Juliet’s tale ended up in the kitchen and is the name given to the delicious cheese and guava paste duo in which the cheese represents Romeo and Juliet is the guava paste. Guava paste is a Brazilian preserve made with red guava and sugar with a consistency similar to a fig paste.  Traditionally this sweet and sticky paste is eaten with the salty and rubbery Minas’ cheese making the Brazilians’ eyes roll with delight followed by a finger-leaking moment. I must say that I love the names given to dishes in Brazil, they are so creative! The name Romeo and Juliet was given because, like the young couple, cheese and guava paste are soul mates (in this case of flavour). What started as a simple combination became a national fever and like Romeo and Juliet’s story, the cheese and guava paste theme...
Avocado Ice-Cream with Cashew Nut Brittle

Avocado Ice-Cream with Cashew Nut Brittle

The creamy and buttery Avocado is a fruit native to Central America and Mexico. Avocados are a great healthy food choice for being source of many vitamins, minerals and good fats while providing relatively low calories. The neutral flavour of Avocado makes the fruit very easy to use in all sorts of recipes from savoury to sweet. In many instances avocados are added to  salsas such as the popular guacamole, when is mixed with onions, lime and coriander and served as an accompaniment to spicy Mexican dishes. They also make great addition to salads and are good match with many vegetables for example lettuce, cucumber, capsicum, tomato and peas. Blend some avocado with lime, cumin, ground chilli and vegetable stock and you will have a beautiful cold summer soup. Add avocado to your sushi filling along with raw tuna, cucumber and black sesame seeds. Roughly mash the avocado and use it as a healthy spread option in your favourite sandwich. In Australia is quite common to add avocado in chicken salads, which is also a great combination. Another avocado recipe that I just love and is a match made in heaven is the prawn and avocado cocktail – definitely one of those recipes you should try before you die. Differently from the other South American countries, in Brazil we prefer to use avocados in desserts and not in savoury dishes. With the Mexican food fever that started many years ago in Brazil this trend is slowly changing, but when I was a child I found it very strange that countries like Chile, Mexico and Argentina used avocado to make salads. This is because I grew up eating avocado on its skin, roughly...