Homemade Cordials

Homemade CordialAfter a long day of working outside in the fields I like to come home, begin cooking dinner, and make myself a drink (usually caipirinha, but a cold beer is also always a good way to end the day). But, sometime ago we began making cordials at home and they have become one of my favorite things to have at the end of the day. Either I fill a shot glass and sip at it or I will fill a bit of a bigger glass with some ice and add the cordial. It is really refreshing!

I love cordials and there is nothing better than to have a full selection of homemade ones that you can pick and choose from.

Last year we had a lot of fruits on the farm and instead of just making jam with them all I decided it would be great to make some cordials. So, I made blackberry, plum and jabuticaba (this is a grape like fruit that grows on the trunk of the tree, here’s the link to the Wikipedia page about it). They all turned out really well, and although I made quite a lot, they were gone pretty quickly. Everyone’s favorite was the plum cordial, but the blackberry and jabuticaba were not far behind.

If you have some fruits on hand, or just want to make your own cordials give this recipe a try. I use this same recipe for all of my cordials because it is super easy! My alcohol of choice is cachaça as I can find it for very cheap, but you can substitute it for vodka!

SIMPLE CORDIAL RECIPE

1 kg of fruit (plum, blackberry, raspberry, blueberry or jabuticaba)
1 liter of alcohol, cachaça or vodka
2 bottles of water
1 kg white sugar

Put the fruit and alcohol together into a jar. Seal well and leave to macerate for approximately 24 days. If you would like a stronger fruit flavor you can leave sit for an additional 10 days.

After 24 days, prepare a simple syrup with the water and the sugar. In a medium pan mix the water and sugar together, bring to a light boil and let simmer until you have a very light syrup. The consistency should be a little thick! Set aside to cool to room temperature.

Filter the alcohol and fruit mix. Make sure to remove all of the fruit. Pass through a sieve several times if necessary.

Once the syrup has cooled, mix the alcohol and syrup together. Add the syrup a little at a time and taste after each addition. Add more or less syrup to the alcohol depending on your desired flavour. For more sweet, add more syrup, for less sweet, add less!

Mix well and bottle.

Feijoada – Brazilian Black Bean and Meat Stew

Brazilian FeijoadaThe other week, I was scrolling through all of the posts that I have done on my blog and was surprised to see that I hadn’t done a post on feijoada. I’m still a little bit in shock that I haven’t posted it here yet, but, let’s get over that shock and dig into this absolutely amazing dish!

Feijoada or black bean stew is the national dish of Brazil and is a must-have for when you visit Brazil. It is prepared with black beans and an assortment of meats, such as salted pork, beef and any kind of pork trimmings, ears, tail and feet. Bacon, pork ribs, sausage and jerked beef are commonly included as well. The fejoada is prepared over a low heat in a thick clay pot. The beans and meat are pre-cooked, some of the meats, like the bacon and sausage may be quickly fried in the pan before adding the beans. The smells are mouth-watering and the final dish should have a healthy amount of meat with a light covering of a dark purplish-brown broth from the beans.

It took me sometime to get accustomed to this dish, but that was in large part because beans were not quite my favorite thing to eat. But, it is difficult to not like this dish and after some time I fell in love with feijoada and can’t get enough of it.

It is difficult to go wrong with feijoada. It can be made with any variety of meats, traditionally pork and beef, and you can use as many cuts of meat as you want or as little. My recommendation is to always try to have some sausage, bacon and either pork ribs or pork loin. Just those meats alone can make an absolutely delicious Saturday lunch with friends and family.

Brazilian FeijoadaFeijoada is commonly eaten with rice, collards, farofa and slices of orange to cut the heaviness of the beans and meat!

Today I will leave you with a simple feijoada recipe (you can leave out any of the meats you do not eat or do not have, and although I have put quantities, these are just indications), and for the accompaniments you can click the links below.

> Brazilian White Rice Recipe
> Sauteed Collards Recipe
> Simple Farofa Recipe or Farofa with boiled egg

COMPLETE FEIJOADA

Ingredients

1 kg black beans
100 g jerked beef
50g bacon or pork belly
70 g pigs ear or 1 pigs ear
70 g pigs tail or 1 pigs tail
70 g pigs foot or 1 pigs foot
100 g pork ribs
100 g pork loin
250 g sausage

Seasonings

2 large onions, finely chopped
1 bunch of spring onions, finely chopped
3 bay leaves
6 garlic cloves, crushed
Black pepper
Salt

36 to 24 hours before making the feijoada, put the jerked beef and any salted meats in water to remove all the salt. Every few hours change the water.

If you do not have a pressure cooker, put the black beans to soak the night before.

On the day. Cut all of the meats into rough pieces, they can be a little bit bigger than bite size, but make sure they are not too big. Pre-cook the pork loin and ribs in water. I use a pressure cooker for this!

If using a pressure cooker, put the black beans with water to cook and leave cook on pressure for 30 minutes. If not using a pressure cooker, put beans in a pan with water and cook for approximately 60 to 90 minutes or until al dente.

Using a large deep pan or a clay pot, put a little bit of oil in the pan and heat. Add the onions and sautee for a few minutes, add the garlic and sautee until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the bacon or pork belly and sautee until almost cooked. Add the sausage, jerked beef, ear, tail and foot. Sautee for approximately 5 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining meat ingredients. Add the beans, bay leaf, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer and leave on low heat for 20 to 30 minutes or until all of the meat is well cooked. If needed, you can add some water! Lastly, add the spring onions.

Serve warm with rice, collards, farofa and slices of orange.
Brazilian Feijoada

 

Information used from:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Feijoada

Little Gluten-free Corn and Tapioca Breads (Broazinhas)

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breads When I lived in the USA I didn’t really eat much cornbread, it’s not that I don’t like it, I just never really found a good way to eat it. I have always found that it was a little too sweet to eat with a meal and I never really thought to eat it as a snack. So, I pretty much didn’t eat cornbread!

But when I moved to Brazil, my husband introduced me to a very common cornbread that is called broa and I completely fell in love with it. Since first eating it I try to always have some in the house as I can’t go too long without it. Broa is a sweet cornbread seasoned with a little bit of fennel seed and is shaped into little or big rolls!

There are many different kinds of broa, some are more fluffy and others are much more dense. Usually, broa is made with cornflour and a little bit of white flour, but there are some recipes that don’t use white flour and others that substitute the white flour for tapioca flour.

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breadsSince moving to Brazil and first trying broa I only bought it and never really took the time to learn how to make it at home. Fifteen minutes from my farm there is a really good bakery and they make the best broa I have ever had. Because their broa is so good, I never wanted to make it at home, and just kept buying it! But, the other day I decided to finally give it a shot and make my own. I found a wonderful recipe that was super simple and gluten-free. Within about 40 minutes I had piping hot, fluffy, broas out of the oven and ready to be consumed. They were so good that a few days later I made another batch, which was devoured quickly!

This recipe is wonderful. It is super easy. It is gluten-free. And, once you try these little Brazilian Cornbreads, you will want to have them for breakfast everyday or every afternoon with your coffee or tea!

Enjoy!

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breadsIngredients
makes 20

1 cup of corn flour
¾ cup of tapioca flour (polvilho doce)
1 ¾ cup of water
½ cup of white sugar
1 tsp of salt
1 tsp of fennel seeds
2 large eggs (or 3 small)
1 tsp baking powder
Butter and corn flour to grease tray

Mix the cornmeal and tapioca flour together in a bowl and set aside.

In a medium pan, mix the water, oil, sugar, salt and fennel seeds. Bring to a boil. As soon as the mixture begins to boil, turn off the heat and add the cornmeal and tapioca flour, all at once. Using a metal whisk, mix very fast until the mixture forms a ball and does not stick to the sides of the pan. Transfer the mixture to a standing mix bowl (I use a kitchen aid) and leave to cool for 10 minutes.

While the mixture is cooling, grease one large or two small cookie trays and lightly cover with cornmeal. Preheat the oven to 200C or 390F.

Once the mixture has cooled a little, begin whisking and add one egg, mix until fully incorporated. Add the second egg and fully incorporate. Lastly, add the baking powder making sure to mix in well. The mixture should be smooth, but slightly sticky.

Gluten-free cornmeal and tapioca breadsTo make the little balls, put some cornmeal into a teacup, take a spoonful of the mixture and place into the teacup, swirl the mixture around in the teacup, forming a nice little ball, and pop out onto the prepared cookie sheet. This method makes it much easier to make the little balls as the mixture is very sticky and is almost impossible to roll by hand. Additionally, each ball will have a nice light covering of extra cornmeal.

Bake for approximately 25 minutes, or until they have risen and are a little hard on the outside. Do not let them brown too much!

Eat these right out of the oven with butter, cream cheese or Brazilian requeijão!

Trout

Pan-fried troutI have always loved fish. Growing-up in England, greasy fish and chips served on an old newspaper was a regular on holidays, and I loved it. I have never eaten tons of fish, but a few meals each month wasn’t uncommon for me. But, over the past years I have cut down considerably on fish and since moving to Brazil I have basically stopped eating it all together. I stopped eating fish for a few reasons, one being that it is very expensive here in Brazil, second all the affordable fish seems to come from China and thirdly, our oceans are rapidly being depleted of fish because of fishing!

So, fish was basically off my menu until some months ago when my husband brought home trout.

Trout is very popular in the region where I live and there are quite a number of people who raise trout here. I had eaten it several times at restaurants and really liked it, but never really thought of cooking it at home.

Trout is a simple fish and not too fishy. For anyone who is not keen on strong tasting fish, trout is perfect. It is easy to prepare and best grilled or pan fried.

Pan-fried troutWell, my husband brought home trout and we both went about learning how to prepare it. He bought trout that had not be filleted and so we first needed to learn how to fillet it. I did the cleaning and the descaling of the fish and my husband filleted it.

Once all the fillets were done we seasoned them simply with salt, pepper and garlic. Next, heating a skillet, we pan-fried the fillets, several minutes on each side. Depending on the size of the fillets you will either need to fry a little more or less on each side. Just make sure not to over cook on either side!

We made a simple sauce by melting some butter in the pan that we had fried the fish and squeezing about half a lemon in with it!

This is a simple dish to make and if you buy the trout already filleted it is even easier.

Making Trout BrothIf you buy whole trout you can boil the head, spine and tail to make a fish broth to use at a later time for a fish soup or to include into a moqueca!

ENJOY.

 

Farofa with Boiled Egg

FarofaI get a lot of people who are looking for farofa recipes and I get a good number of questions about farofa, so I thought it was time to post a new farofa recipe. For those of you who don’t remember what farofa is or want to see my first post about it take a look HERE.

I absolutely love farofa and eat it with almost anything. My favorite is to eat it with rice, beans and meat. Traditionally it is served at barbecues with sausage, but you often find it as an accompaniment for any variety of dishes!

Farofa is super easy to make and can be made with any ingredients. Generally I stick to a simple recipe, but on the weekends or more special occasions I elaborate:). Here is one of my elaborated farofa recipes!

Ingredients

3/4 cup farinha de mandioca
2 – 4 tbsp butter
3 – 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
2 slices of bacon, finely chopped
1 boiled egg, chopped finely
1 handful of parsley

Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Add the crushed garlic and sauté for 1 minute. Add the bacon and fry for 3 – 4 minutes. Add the parsley together with the farinha de mandioca. Keep over the heat for approximately 1 minute. Lastly, add the boiled egg. Remove from the heat and place into a serving bowl. This can be served warm, cold, or room temperature.
Farofa