Brazilian Flavours, Recipes & Cooking

by Georgina Ribas

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... read more

Brazilian-Style Beef Stroganoff

All over the web the story of how and when stroganoff was created varies from website to website but one thing is for sure, it is a Russian dish. One account says that the name of the dish comes from the VIP Count Pavel Stroganov who was a big fan of this beef stew and was known for his love of food and entertaining. The original Russian recipe is basically made with onions, butter, mushrooms, beef slices, sweet wine and sour cream and served with potatoes or pasta. Stroganoff was firstly introduced in Brazil in the beginning of the 50s in the city of Rio de Janeiro. The Brazilian version has more ingredients than the Russian recipe and includes tomatoes, tomato sauce (ketchup), Worcestershire sauce, cognac, mustard and preserved champignons instead of fresh mushrooms and sometimes speck. The other differences are that in Brazil we add cream instead of sour cream and serve it with steamed rice and chips (or potato sticks). Some recipes may also include preserved hearts of palm and corn kernels. Another interesting fact is that in Brazil there are dozens of types of stroganoff, not only beef stroganoff. Brazilians are so fanatic by this dish that many versions were created to replace beef like the prawn, chicken, dried cod (baccalao), cheese and even vegan stroganoff with hearts of palm. Stroganoff reminds me of the weddings I used to go in the 80s in Brazil. I still remember clearly this huge buffet set in the middle of the room that included steamed rice, potato salad, cheese and ham lasagne, potato sticks, salads and roasted pork. The trendy stroganoff had to be served in silver dishes and was the... read more

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... read more

Broad Bean and Hearts of Palm Pizza

In Brazil, like many other places in the world, we are absolutely crazy about pizzas. It almost feels like pizza is a Brazilian dish! Pizza delivery shops are literally found on every corner of my beloved country. In the metropolis of São Paulo alone a staggering figure 1 million pizzas are consumed every day. There are approximately 5000 pizza shops over there meaning São Paulo is only behind New York City in number of shops. Our preference is for thin crust rather than thick and some of our favourite toppings are Calabresa (Italian-type of sausage) and Mozzarella, 4 cheese, Marguerita and Portuguesa (ham, olives, eggs, capsicum and mozzarella). Fondly nicknamed ‘a redonda’ (or round) the Brazilian pizza is more loaded with toppings than the Italian ones and we have a preference for wood-fired pizzas. No wonder Italian food and pizzas are so popular all over the world. Pizzas are not only delicious to eat but also a joy to make. When it is pizza night here in our home, the atmosphere totally changes and it feels like we are being tele transported to an Italian canteen. I instantly turn on Funiculí Funiculá by Pavarotti to get the mood going. First is the smell of yeast that comes from the dough. Then the preparation of the tomato sauce, that spreads a fragrant combination of olive oil, garlic, tomato and basil all over the kitchen. If that wasn’t enough there is the smell of pizza baking in the oven. It is just too much temptation for the taste buds! Furthermore pizza nights bring the family together, everyone enjoys getting involved with pizza making,... read more

Upside-Down Banana Cake

I can’t believe we are already reaching the end of April 2015. Easter is gone and the middle of the year is just around the corner. It is our third year here in Hobart and it feels like we arrived yesterday! We fell in love with this city that is known as the little hidden treasure of Australia. It is starting to get cold here, so I thought it would be a good idea to post a cake recipe as most of us crave comfy foods this time of the year in the Southern Hemisphere. Well in reality comfy foods are welcome any time of the year! I once read somewhere that Brazilians are banana connoisseurs and this is a perfect statement to describe such an important ingredient of our cuisine. Banana is used quite extensively in Brazil both in baking and to make desserts. Also, this might sound a bit strange for non-Brazilians but banana dishes are eaten with savoury meals on a regular basis and believe me they taste so good. There is our crunchy banana a recipe in which bananas are crumbed with eggs and breadcrumbs, deep-fried and then served with our daily rice and beans. Banana crumb made with sautéed onions, garlic and cassava flour is also very commonly eaten and it goes really well with barbecued or roasted meats. The upside down banana cake is a classic of our cuisine along with hundreds of other dessert recipes that have banana as the main ingredient. The fondest memory I’ve got of eating this cake is when I worked in a CD shop many years ago in the centre of Curitiba, a city located in the South of Brazil.... read more

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... read more

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:... read more

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Barbecued Rump Cap Roll – ‘X-Picanha’

I am having lots of fun with this barbecue series, it’s been a joy to rediscover some good old Brazilian recipes. Like in many other countries around the world barbecue is quite an institution in Brazil. For a starter many houses have a barbecue room called ‘churrasqueira’, which can be indoors or outdoors. The most complete of the barbecue rooms have tables and chairs, couches, a full kitchen with fridge, freezer and stove and of course the barbecue equipment. By the way this is how it looks like (image source: mercadolivre.com.br): The place is also equipped with special cutlery, crockery, glasses, wooden boards, metal skewers, a caipirinha cocktail kit, music stereo system and sometimes even a TV to watch that special soccer match! Even some tiny apartments or studios may have a compact barbecue like the one in the picture installed in a small balcony! Everyone I know in Brazil is crazy about a barbecue, not only for the eating side but the social side too. People get together on the weekend to catch up with family and friends in a very relaxed mood to listen or play music and spend almost the whole day snacking on barbecued meats and sides. The barbecue starts early, by 9AM with the preparation of the charcoal by the churrasqueiro (person responsible for the barbecue). Guests start to arrive before midday to have the starters: caipirinhas, sausages with cassava flour and potato salad with rolls. Then meats are served, with beef cuts being the preferred ones. The table is filled with colourful salads, farofas and rolls. The common desserts are barbecued pineapple with ice-cream, fruit salad with cream, passionfruit or chocolate mousses and popsicles. If... read more

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Spicy Barbecued Pineapple (‘Camelo’) with Vanilla Ice-Cream

Camelo or ‘camel’ is how we call our whole barbecued pineapple. Being a fruit native from Brazil, pineapples are abundant and super tasteful making it a very popular fruit over there. In the basic recipes the whole peeled pineapple is covered with ground cinnamon and slowly caramelised over the charcoal barbecue. There are a few variations to this dish, some have cachaça others are spicier and also call for ground cloves and ginger. The fruit is normally eaten plain or with vanilla ice-cream. Barbecue lovers say that after all that meat pineapple is the ideal dessert for being extremely light and digestive. Words cannot describe how tasteful this dish is, the natural flavours of pineapple enhanced with the smokiness of charcoal and the spiciness of cinnamon…served with vanilla ice-cream are really out of this world. My mouth is watering while I write this post! Here is another angle of this pineapple delight:   A couple of more song ideas for you to enjoy with your Brazilian-style barbie, this time on the instrumental side with two of our best acoustic guitar players Sebastiao Tapajos and Baden Powell. Sons de Carrilhao – Sebastiao Tapajos Samba do Aviao – Baden Powell    Ingredients  1 small pineapple (about 1kg), peeled 1 tbs ground cinnamon 1 tbs brown sugar 1 tbs cachaça* (or dark rum) Good quality vanilla ice-cream, to serve (optional) *Available from large liquor stores or online  Instructions  1. Brush the pineapples with cachaça (or rum) and sprinkle with cinnamon all over. Place in the barbecue and cook for about 20 minutes. Turn and cook for further 20 minutes or until caramelised. Serve with vanilla ice-cream. Serves: 6-8   ============================================================================================ Receita em Português Camelo – Abacaxi... read more

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... read more

Brazilian Barbecue Series – Speck and Cassava Flour Crumb

Farofa is a typical Brazilian crumb made with toasted cassava flour (or chunky corn flour). I have to say here that cassava flour is one of my favourite ingredients ever and I warn you it is quite addictive. Cassava flour is part of Brazilians’ diet since ancient times, it was invented by the indigenous Brazilians as means to preserve their food for long periods. This is an ingredient that matches pretty much with anything. In Brazil the crumb recipes are almost endless and can be either sweet or savoury, some classic farofas are banana, kale, onion, smoked sausage, corn or plain which I posted before to accompany the Brazilian chicken stew. I could give you a replacement to cassava flour, but there is no point, your barbecue will only taste exotic if you try it! Don’t worry, it is so easy to buy them in Australia (and many other countries around the world) either online or from South American grocers. Cassava flour is so versatile that one can easily turn my recipe into a vegetarian dish, just fry some onions, garlic, add your favourite veggies e.g. grated carrots and cabbage, some herbs, spices and it will be equally delicious. For a full Brazilian barbecue experience here are a couple of samba songs by renowned Brazilian singer Marisa Monte. Her voice is so beautiful, she sings like an angel! If you are curious about Brazilian music, check her work on Spotify: Meu Canário – Marisa Monte O Bonde do Dom – Marisa Monte  Ingredients  3 tbs of extra-virgin olive oil 2 medium onions, finely chopped 2 long red chillies, finely chopped 3 garlic cloves, crushed 200g naturally smoked speck, rindless, finely... read more

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... read more