My Brazilian Family Recipes

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...
Sweet Corn and Herb Pasties

Sweet Corn and Herb Pasties

We Brazilians love our pasties, the greatest example is our classic deep-fried called pastel which is everywhere in Brazil and I call it the king of street foods. Baked versions are also very appreciated by home cooks and are similar to the Argentinian empanadas. Two of the popular fillings are the ‘pizza flavour’ which is a combination of mozzarella cheese, ham, tomato and dried oregano or the thick ‘hearts of palm sauce’ made with onions, garlic, tomato, hearts of palm and parsley. The baked version which is close to my heart is made with corn and fresh herbs. It was one of the first snacks I had on my mother-in-law’s house, almost 18 years ago when I started dating my husband. This happened while we were still university students, a period in which we had no idea that a few years later we were going to end up in Australia! It is another delicious recipe by my sister-in-law out of her special collection of cooking treasures. When you are passionate about cooking it is great to meet a family that hold recipes very different from yours so you can always learn something new. I remembered the first time I had it they served as an afternoon snack with freshly squeezed orange juice and the combination was just perfect. They are great warm or cold and indeed go really well with any fruit juice of your choice or iced tea. Since then, this is a recipe that I make quite often and it is for sure a winner. Everybody who tries loves it! These pasties are also a good choice of appetiser or cocktail party fingerfood. How about bake them for the New...
How to Open a Fresh Coconut

How to Open a Fresh Coconut

1. Firstly drain the coconut water. Hold firmly the coconut on a non-slippery surface (or over a tea towel) and insert a corkscrew in the softest hole. Alternatively use a thick nail and hammer or a driller. Pour the coconut water into a glass. 2. Place the coconut in the freezer for 20 minutes. This will help you detach the fruit from its shell. 3. Wrap the coconut tightly in a freezer bag. Put it over a concrete floor or in a non-breakable surface and using a hammer hit it very strongly to open up. 4. Put the coconut on top of a kitchen towel so it does not slide. Using a round knife or a spoon carefully run the knife between the hard shell and fruit lifting it and inserting like a lever to slowly detach the fruit from the hard shell. 5. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the skin off. 6. Grate the coconut in the food processor or using a grater. Shave the coconut using a vegetable peeler. Obs: Coconut can be frozen for up to 6 months. Yields about: 320g of fresh...
Carrot Cake with Chocolate Topping

Carrot Cake with Chocolate Topping

I grew up eating carrot cake with chocolate topping and this is one of our favourite family cakes. Carrot is a root vegetable that today comes in a variety of colours such as purple, red, yellow, white, being orange the most common. The original carrots were purple but in the 16th century in Holland the orange variety started to be grown, and in the beginning of the 17th century the French developed a successful breed of a more appetising variety of carrot. Carrot cake has a long history and most likely the old cousins started to appear in Europe in the Middle Age in the form of carrot puddings. The recipe changed overtime and in the end of the 19th century is that the first cake recipes similar to the ones we know today started to emerge in Europe and, from then, numerous recipes were developed and propagated all over the world. Carrot is a very popular cake ingredient because of it releases its natural sweetness to the batter and gives a pretty yellow colour after baking. The basic sweet carrot cake recipe comprises of flour, sugar, baking powder, eggs, butter, raw grated carrots and spices like cinnamon and cloves. Some recipes call for cooked carrots and other include sultanas or raisins, bananas, pineapple, nuts, apple and even shredded coconut. The cream cheese frosting is often used as topping but I even found some recipes that call for an orange syrup, candied carrots or simply double cream to serve. Then there is also the savoury version of a carrot cake such as muffins or scones. In Brazil it is also quite common to add...
Brazil Nut and Apple Crumble

Brazil Nut and Apple Crumble

It is still cold in the South of Brazil and in Australia, so a crumble recipe brings that comfort that we need this time of the year here in the Southern Hemisfere. Who doesn’t love the smell of crumble baking in the oven, that buttery-cinnamon scent that spreads all over the house and makes everybody’s mouths water? I am currently in Brazil in my mother-in-law’s house and when I was baking this crumble earlier today, the house is full of family members and they were all very happy to hear that this is what they were going to eat. It is one of our family’s favourite! One of my sisters-in-law is a great cook and regularly tries  something new in the kitchen, so to my delight I am always learning new recipes and techniques with her. This  Brazil Nut and Apple Crumble is one of the hundreds of recipes she shared with me over the years. The recipe is a treasure that has been passed from generation to generation of my husband’s family who are German and Russian descendants. Coming from the Volga’s river region in Russia, the first family members who are called Russian-Germans  settle down in the XIX century in the South of Brazil where they set up three different colonies. With that they left their stamp in the area which includes delicious recipes. It has been a tradition of my husband’s family to always have some kind of apple pie when they make big family reunions. This recipe given to my sister-in-law by her Auntie was originally made with walnuts. My sister-in-law once used Brazil nuts...

Shortcrust pastry

 Ingredients  1 2/3 cups (250g) plain flour 180g unsalted butter chilled, chopped ½ tsp salt 3 tbs iced water  Instructions  1. Place the butter, flour, salt in a food processor and process to fine crumbs. 2. Add 3 tbs iced water and process until it forms a ball. 3. Enclose pastry in plastic wrap and chill at least for 30 minutes or until ready to use. Makes: 1 portion of pastry...
When Brazil meets Australia Lamb Shanks

When Brazil meets Australia Lamb Shanks

Lamb in Brazil is rarely used in stews, normally it is done roasted or barbecued, and lamb shank is not a cut found there and I did not know about it until I moved to Australia. But the first time I tried I understand why Australians love it so much. There is something quite special about a slow-cooked tender lamb shank that falls from bone (and melts in the mouth), served with vegetables and a hearty sauce. It’s simply the perfect winter comforting meal. I give the credit of this recipe to my lovely husband, who is a great cook and is a big fond of slow-cooking/one-pot dishes. I find this recipe special because he combines an Australian favourite, lamb shank, with some Brazilian touches: a broth that includes capsicum, which is a vegetable typically used in Brazilian stews and sauces, kale, one of the most adored vegetables in Brazil and a delicious garlic and rosemary cassava crumb. His secret is to seal all the sides of the shanks very well before adding the stock. Then, the combination of white wine with a choice of herbs enhances perfectly the flavour of the lamb, plus the addition of fresh vegetables balances out the heartiness of the dish. For this recipe we like to add colourful radishes, carrots and kale that we bought at the Salamanca Market, a place where we are lucky to find vegetables of the highest quality and freshness. For best results try to source vegetables from your own local fresh produce market. Toasted cassava flour can be easily bought online in Australia. If you are outside Australia, please check your local South...

Fish Stock

 Ingredients  600g fish bones 2 shallots, roughly sliced 1 small onion, roughly chopped 1 small carrot, roughly chopped 1 leek, white part only, roughly sliced 1 celery stalk, roughly sliced 3 portobello mushrooms, roughly sliced 1 bouquet-garni (use a string to tie together 1/2 bunch parsley, 1 sprig of tarragon, 2 sprigs of rosemary) 2 cloves, whole 6 black peppercorns 1 bay leaf 2 litres water 200ml white wine  Instructions  1. Add all ingredients into a pan and bring to the boil. 2. Reduce the heat and simmer uncovered and without stirring for 30 minutes. Skim when necessary. 3. Strain through a sieve. You can freeze this stock in small batches for later use. Makes: 2 litres...