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...
Brazilian Barbecue Series – Green Summer Salad with Caramelised Walnuts

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Green Summer Salad with Caramelised Walnuts

A simple green salad with a great dressing is the perfect accompaniment for your barbecue. For a full barbecue feast check my Rump Cap Barbecue step-by-step post. A couple of more Brazilian songs to enjoy with your barbecue. The first song is by the late Elis Regina who is considered by many Brazilian music legends one of the best female singers Brazil has ever had. The song is a classic bossa-nova by notorious composer Tom Jobim who also sings with Elis. The second song is a beautiful samba called O que é o amor (What is love) interpreted by her daughter Maria Rita who was lucky enough to inherit the beautiful voice tone and talent of her mum. Águas de Março – Elis Regina (with Tom Jobim) O Que é o Amor – Maria Rita    Ingredients  Caramelised Walnuts 1 1/2 tbs brown sugar 1 tbs honey Pinch salt 150g walnut halves Green Salad 150g snow peas, trimmed 1 green capsicum, julienned 1 small cucumber, sliced 1 head baby cos lettuce, leaves picked 1/2 bunch basil, leaves picked 1/4 bunch fresh mint, leaves picked 1/2 bunch parsley, leaves picked Dressing 1 tbs Dijon mustard 2 tbs red wine vinegar 3 tbs extra-virgin olive oil Freshly ground salt and black pepper to taste  Instructions  1. In a small frying pan heat the brown sugar, honey, salt over medium heat and cook for 3 minutes stirring continuously until the mixture is syrupy. Add walnut halves and gently toss through the caramel. Remove the walnuts and place in a single layer onto baking paper to cool. 2. Cook the snow peas in boiling water for 2 minutes, drain and place in a bowl with...