Festive Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Festive Strawberry Ice Cream Cake

Here I go again publishing another strawberry recipe for Christmas (last year I did a Strawberry Trifle), but I can’t help myself: it’s strawberry season in Australia and this year they are simply outstanding. They are not only plump, super red and gorgeous, but what is more important the flavour is spectacular. Take a closer look: It must be a summer inspiration but I put in my mind that I had to make an ice cream cake. The dessert is ideal for Christmas because it can be done ahead of time and looks extremely glamorous on the table. Simply take out of the freezer, garnish with lots of beautiful strawberries and pistachios and drizzle with the “redelicious” sauce to serve. Thanks to my sister-in-law Lisi for the recipe! Here is a guitar song  by Brazilian guitar player David Tavares, great music to listen to while you are having your Christmas feast. Retrato en 3×4 – David Tavares Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest.  Ingredients  Whipped Cream Layer: 300ml thickened cream 80g pistachios 80g mini meringues Cake Layer: 250g strawberries, hulled 200g Top n Fill caramel or sweetened condensed milk 150ml thickened cream 400g good-quality, store-bought plain sponge cake, roughly chopped Strawberry Ice-Cream Layer: 900g Good-quality store-bought strawberry ice-cream or preferably home-made* Strawberry Sauce** (to serve): 250g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped 80g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped Fresh Strawberries, to garnish Shelled pistachios, to garnish Equipment: 1 x 23cm round baking tray with loose base Notes: *You will need to start this recipe one day ahead, however if opting for home-made ice-cream you will need to start 2 days ahead. **Strawberry...
Strawberry Ice Cream

Strawberry Ice Cream

Summer starts oficially today in Australia so I say Happy Summer with Strawberry Ice Cream!  To commemorate the strawberry season I present you the ultimate strawberry ice cream, made with strawberries cooked in sugar and vanilla for an outstanding strawberry flavour. It’s so easy to create great recipes and beautiful food photography when the produce looks like that:   This is the song I am listening right now, by Dorival Caymmi, it’s all I listen to at the moment! His songs are too beautiful, can’t help myself! Canto de Nanã/ Quem Vem Para a Beira do Mar – interpreted by Jussara Silveira Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, Google+ & Pinterest.  Ingredients  Ingredients: 500g strawberries, hulled and roughly chopped 180g caster sugar 1 vanilla pod, seeds scrapped 500ml milk 500ml double (heavy) cream 10 egg yolks 2 drops red or pink food colouring (optional) Equipment: Ice Cream Maker  Instructions  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat combine the strawberries, 80g sugar, vanilla pod and seeds. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 5-8 minutes or until thick. Remove the vanilla pod and using a stick blender or the food processor process the strawberries until smooth. 2. In a medium saucepan over medium heat combine the milk and cream and just before it starts to boil remove from heat. 3. Beat the egg yolks with the remaining sugar (100g) until thick and pale. Slowly pour in the milk and cream mixture and whisk well to combine. Pour the mixture into a clean saucepan over medium-low heat and stir with a wooden spoon for about 10 minutes or until it starts to thicken (be careful not to boil the mixture as...
Beef Mince “Sfiha”

Beef Mince “Sfiha”

As a resut of the Lebanese immigration that started in Brazil in the end of the 19th century, Middle-Eastern foods like sfiha and the beef mince fritter kibbeh, tabbouleh salad and eggplant and hummus dips are common foods eaten in various parts of the country. Similar to the Turkish pide, sfiha is an open Middle-Eastern baked pie that looks like a mini pizza and is topped with spiced beef or lamb mince. I adapted this recipe from a dear relative of mine, my “Auntie” Sonia, who is married with one of my uncles. She is second generation Lebanese descendant who cherishes her family recipes as being very precious part of her heritage. Over the years we exchanged many recipes and we both have passion for cooking. Some of the fresh ingredients of “sfiha”, tomatoes and onions keep the mince moist, lime and mint give the mince lots of zing and complement the flavour of the spices The Brazilian version of sfiha is slightly different from the original one, for example the Brazilian dough has more sugar in it and apart from beef mince there are many other toppings like chicken and catupiry (Brazilian soft cheese), cheese and herbs or pepperoni. The secrets to a perfect beef mince sfiha are the high temperature oven, the right quantity of spices and to use of full fat beef mince, and I don’t recommend the use of lean meat. The result is quite disappointing as the spices completely take over the flavour of the meat instead of enhancing it. In Brazil sfiha is also big business and is the top seller of one of the country’s largest...
Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

Cabbage Rolls (Vegan)

To create this recipe I was inspired by the Lebanese-style cabbage rolls we all love to eat in Brazil which is made with rice and beef mince and is called “charutinho” or little cigars. Actually I came up with the idea of making it vegan one day that I had a whole cabbage in the fridge and didn’t know what to do with it. Since I did not have mince that day and happened to have all the other ingredients I thought it would be a good option just to stuff the cabbage with rice, nuts, garlic and herbs. I must confess I now prefer the meatless version. The dish is so light and healthy, almost addictive; in fact it became of a favourite week-night dinner of our household. This recipe is super easy just one little tip try to buy the best passata you possibly can and a good-quality extra-virgin olive oil to drizzle will certainly take the dish to the heavenly level. Everyday I get more passionate about food photography; just as in cooking the possibilities to use your imagination are countless. It is spring here in Hobart and I decided to take do do an outdoor photo-shoot to match the dish with the season’s mood. It was a partially clouded and lazy afternoon. I enjoyed so much taking these photos and experimenting with different types of light. The sun was coming and going so it was great opportunity to practice food photography.  I started the shoot using the diffuser but, since the light was not too harsh, half way through I decided to get the 100% of the sun light through just to...
Brazilian-Style Baked Rice

Brazilian-Style Baked Rice

VEGETARIAN, GLUTEN FREE It has been a bit challenging for me to find time for blogging this year. We moved to a new house a couple of months ago and, after two years ‘working’ as a full-time mum, I started another full-time job! I usually leave the blogging work for the weekend but during this period it was a bit difficult to find the time and energy for that. I am so glad to be back and happy to share this delightful dish with you. I just can’t get enough of rice dishes lately; I suppose it is my Brazilian taste that keeps me moving toward it. I remember when I was living in Brisbane and I was in this food court at my lunch break queuing in a “roast and veggie” restaurant right behind two young Brazilian blokes. They didn’t know I was Brazilian and I overheard them saying that it sucked they had all these meat with potatoes and pumpkin but didn’t have rice on the menu to go with it! That’s exactly how we Brazilians are: we eat rice pretty much with everything, anything, all the time: with beans (on a daily basis), with barbecue, we put it in our chicken soup, with feijoada (black bean stew), with moqueca (fish stew). We have hundreds of rice dishes like the coconut rice of Bahia state, a mouthwatering rice cooked in coconut milk so yes, rice is for Brazilians like potato is for the English or pasta for the Italians. Did I say we are also addicted to sweet and creamy rice custard for dessert? Well, this baked rice is also a popular...
Orange Pudding with Dark Chocolate Crumb

Orange Pudding with Dark Chocolate Crumb

Some ingredients are just made for each other, don’t you think? Eggs and bacon, basil and tomato, chilli and lime, goat’s cheese and beetroot, sugar and cinnamon, vanilla and cream, chocolate and raspberry, chocolate and orange which, by the way, is one of my favourite dessert combinations… What are the other great food pairs you can name? Now it’s official. This is the dish that took the most time for me to develop and test. I think I tried about a dozen recipes and none of them made me totally happy until I got the one! That is why I love the kitchen so much. To me it’s a very special place, almost my personal lab, where I get to try my own experiments and discover new flavours, textures and ingredients. The kitchen is a world where the possibilities and outcomes are endless because there are so many ways to cook one single dish just by combining a few ingredients using different techniques and cooking methods. With that in mind it is possible to re-invent even classic flavour combinations like those I mentioned before. Orange pudding or flan is a Brazilian dish with Portuguese influence. I mentioned before the Brazilians’ love for puddings and flans when I posted the Brazilian-Style Crème Caramel recipe. There are many versions to the orange pudding dish, being the basic one made with milk, eggs, orange juice and sugar. I tried this recipe but found that by mixing orange juice and eggs the mixture ends up slightly curdled. That did not come as a surprise but because I am a geek-cook, I felt I had the obligation to try...