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...
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...
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...
Pineapple and Chilli Caipiroska

Pineapple and Chilli Caipiroska

Today’s recipe is about two super versatile South Americans: pineapple and chilli. Native from Brazil and Paraguay, pineapple is that gorgeous tropical fruit that looks like a large pine cone with a green crown on top… and that Aussies love to have in their burger! With a delightful aroma and rich in vitamin C pineapple is great on its own as a healthy snack option. There are so many ways to use pineapple in the kitchen such as adding them in fruit salads or made into a variety of cold desserts such as ice creams, sorbets, trifles, custards or mousses. Pineapple fritters and caramelised pineapple are great options if you like warm desserts. Camelo (camel) is how we call in Brazil the barbecued pineapple, which is just peeled and covered in cinnamon, skewered on a wooden stick and place it over the charcoal barbecue to caramelise and add that special smoky flavour. Pineapple can also be used in baking and be added to muffins, breads, cakes or made into juices and smoothies. The versatility of the fruit doesn’t stop in the desserts: pineapple is widely used in savoury dishes, for example as a pizza topping, in hamburgers, in curries or other spicy dishes and it is a great match with fish and pork. In the eighties in Brazil it was very trendy to make a pineapple boat and serve a prawn cocktail or sauce in it. Who doesn’t love a smoothie or cocktail served in that funky pineapple cup? Reminds me of the 80s again, more precisely the American sitcoms set in Hawaii! Then you have the classic Piña Colada…....

Manjar Prune and Coconut Cocktail

The name Manjar comes from a Portuguese dish invented in the XVI century. The Portuguese Manjar was a pudding that had shredded chicken (or almonds), plenty of sugar and rice flour. Considered one of the four Brazilian classic desserts, apart from its name, our Manjar has not much to do with the Portuguese dish. The Brazilian Manjar is a flan made with coconut milk, corn flour and sugar. Initially the dessert was accompanied by sugar glucose, but in the 80s this classic was reinvented and started to be served with prune syrup. The combination of coconut and prunes is heavenly and I love it so much that I always played in the kitchen with these ingredients to create all sorts of recipes. Here is one of them: my prune and coconut cocktail. Made with Australian prunes!  Ingredients  1/3 cup caster sugar 1 cup (250ml) water 120g pitted prunes 150ml Malibu, chilled 50ml Cachaça (or rum), chilled 150ml coconut milk, chilled 20g desiccated coconut, to garnish  Instructions  1. Pour coconut in a plate and dip 4 martini glasses onto the coconut to garnish the edges of the glasses. Chill the glasses in the freezer. 2. In a small frying pan melt the sugar over medium heat until just browned. Add the water and prunes, bring to the boil and cook, covered for 15-20 minutes or until the caramel is flavoured with prunes. Transfer to a jug and place in the fridge to cool completely. 3. Process the prune mixture and the remaining ingredients in a blender and pour among prepared cocktail glasses. Serve immediately. Serves: 4-6...