My Brazilian Family Recipes

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...
The Outback Honey Loaf

The Outback Honey Loaf

As you might have already guessed  I am fascinated about foods of my two countries Brazil and Australia and that is why I chose to bake this bread for the blog. The Outback honey loaf is a bread served in a very famous Australian-style restaurant chain which also has restaurants in Brazil. In the past few years the so called casual dining has boomed in Brazil because this type of restaurants offer good value for money meals. They serve the loaf as an appetiser with soft butter. This simple appetiser is so delicious that you almost get tempted to forget the rest of the menu and have only bread and butter! The funny thing is that I’ve been living in Australia for more than 12 years, lived in three different states and never came across this kind of bread here. They also have on the menu what is called ‘the Australian gigantic onion’, a deep fried crumbed onion served in the shape of a flower with a punchy sauce on the side. The onion is called ‘Bloomin’ Onion’ (thanks Olivia!) and its deliciously crunchy and flavourful. After a little bit of research I’ve found out what is called Australian onion in Brazil is actually an American recipe and that is why I’ve never seen this dish in Australia! Anyway, every time I travel to Brazil I love to go to this place with my friends to have dinner. As soon as you sit at the table they serve the loaf with butter and that prompt us to order the super chilled Brazilian beer – irresistible! On the mains menu they have Australian-inspired pub meals which basically consist of a meat...
Easter Egg Filled with Passionfruit Truffles

Easter Egg Filled with Passionfruit Truffles

Happy Easter! I know, I know! It’s been a while since I last posted a recipe. I missed my little space so much! Unfortunately I had to take a break from the blog in the past weeks. There were too many things going on at the same time in my life, nothing serious but a few hurdles we all have to face every now and then which took a lot of my time and energy. Anyway now it’s all sorted and things are again back to normal. We are reaching the end of the long Easter weekend here in Australia. Holidays always make me miss Brazil a lot because celebrations are very exciting over there. We are super social beings who love to celebrate life, therefore special occasions are always a good excuse to have a barbecue or a fancy Sunday lunch with family and friends. All supermarkets and shopping centres are decorated with chocolate eggs and Easter bunnies in a very vivid way. For the joy of both kids and adults alike many supermarkets are turned into a chocolate world and have a number of aisles with a roof made of large chocolate eggs of many colours and kinds. It is possible to smell the chocolate as soon as you get in. Similar to Christmas season supermarkets get super crowded and the vast majority of those beautiful eggs will be gone before Easter Friday so don’t leave your shopping for the last minute or you might be empty handed for an Easter treat. Or, to avoid the trouble you could try to make your own! I know it is a bit late to post how to make an...
Brazilian Barbecue Series – Piri-Piri Chicken with Chickpea Salad

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Piri-Piri Chicken with Chickpea Salad

I am a big fan of Portuguese cuisine which offers many beautiful seafood dishes and stews flavoured with extra-virgin olive oil and herbs. The Portuguese dried cod bake with vegetables is my favourite dish of all times; I think I could eat that every day! If you have a sweet tooth you have to try the Portuguese fluffy cakes, egg-based custards that melt in your mouth and other desserts that are to die for. Piri-Piri or Peri-Peri chicken is a Portuguese dish in which the chicken is essentially marinated with garlic, ginger, olive oil, lemon juice and chilli.  Even though Portuguese flavours are one of our main influences, for some reason that I don’t know why, in Brazil this dish is not very well known. In fact, the way we barbecue chicken in Brazil is usually with small pieces of chicken threaded onto the metal skewer and seasoned with salt only or wrapped with bacon. I tried this Peri-Peri recipe before in the oven and it was super delicious, but after tasting the barbecued version I will not look back again. To date, it is the best barbecued chicken I’ve ever had. This is a classic example that simple flavours are the best. The chicken is a great match with this super light and healthy chickpea salad. For dessert, I recommend again my barbecued pineapple with vanilla ice-cream. Everyone here in my house is a bit addicted to this dish, now everytime there is a barbecue at home we have to make it. More music? Yes, how about ‘Samba de Verão’ (Summer Samba) interpreted by Caetano Veloso, perfect song to enjoy the lazyness that comes after the barbecue meal:...
Brazilian Barbecue Series – Home-Made Mayonnaise

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Home-Made Mayonnaise

A Brazilian barbecue is not a real Brazilian barbecue without a moist potato salad with lots of home-made mayo to put in the middle of a white shell roll. This basic mayonnaise recipe is fool-proof and like all good mayo sauces, has endless uses. It is delectable to eat with your favourite cooked vegetables or just as a spread on a slice of bread or toast. You can add a little bit to your salad dressing to boost the flavours of the vegetables or to your cannape. Mix the mayonnaise with a bit of tomato sauce (ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, brandy and tobasco to make a rose sauce to go with your prawn cocktail. The old tartare sauce is also a great use for mayonnaise, mix finely chopped red onion, capers, gherkins, mustard and herbs and you have one of the most beautiful sauces to eat with grilled or deep fried fish and seafood. For more mayonnaise ideas check out below.  Ingredients  3 egg yolks 1 tbs lime juice 1 tbs Dijon mustard 200ml canola or vegetable oil Freshly ground salt and pepper, to taste  Instructions  1. Place the yolks, juice, mustard in a food processor or blender and process for a few minutes until all the ingredients are light and creamy. 2. With the motor running gradually add the oil until the mixture thickens and gets pale. Season to taste. Keep it in an airtight container the fridge for up to 3 days. Makes: 250g Some Variations/ Ideas: Roasted Capsicum (Red Bell Pepper) Mayo – Blend your mayo with 1 peeled/ deseeded roasted capsicum (red bell pepper) Saffron Mayo – Add 1 tsp...