Christmas Stollen with some Brazilian adaptations

Brazilian StollenWhen I was a child, Christmas at home was never complete without my moms homemade christmas stollen. Breakfast during the holiday season always had stollen and it was always delicious and something that I looked forward to for the whole year. I actually have no memory of my mom baking the stollen, but I have many fond memories of eating it!

Brazilian StollenFor the past years I haven’t managed to do much for christmas. The last two christmas’s I didn’t manage to put up decorations let alone bake christmas cakes, breads or cookies. Finally, this year I have had more time to decorate the house and bake some christmasy items, the most exciting being christmas stollen.

I have never made stollen and decided to follow a recipe from a trusted english recipe book. Although you can find all of the necessary ingredients here in Brazil, I decided to make some changes and “brazilianize” my stollen. They all turned out beautifully and I ended-up giving a lot of them away as christmas presents to neighbors and family. In total I made two large stollens and 12 small ones.

Instead of using rum to macerate the fruit in, I used cachaça. And, instead of using almonds I used Brazil nuts. Just these two changes made the stollen just a bit more Brazilian. To some of my stollens I also added cristalized fig and citron as well as some cherries.

I know this is not a Brazilian recipe by any means, but as it is christmas I thought it would be nice to share a bit of what else is baking in my kitchen besides all of the delicious Brazilian dishes that I share here.

With that, I end  the year 2015 with a stollen recipe from Good Housekeeping. HAPPY NEW YEAR and enjoy the recipe!

Stollen Recipe

Brazilian adaptations:
Substitute the rum for cachaça.
Substitute the almonds for Brazil nuts.
Instead of regular cristalized fruits/peels you can use cristalized figs, cherries, papaya and pineapple.

 

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Easy Blender Cheese Breads (Pão de Queijo)

pão de queijoAnyone who has tried the Brazilian pão de queijo (cheese breads) loves them and knows that once you eat one you will probably eat another five…or all that are on the plate in front of you! Since the first time I tried pão de queijo I absolutely loved them and they have always been my favorite snack with a good cup of coffee.

Since learning to make pão de queijo at home I have made a lot and usually make a large recipe and freeze about 3/4 so that whenever I feel like eating one I can just pop a few in the oven and in 15 minutes I have piping hot homemade pão de queijo. Yummmmm!

When I started making pão de queijo at home I did pretty well with keeping my freezer supply fully stocked, but in the last half a year I have slacked and we haven’t had any pão de queijo at home in the freezer. So, the other day I was craving some homemade pão de queijo but I wanted to make some pretty quickly. I had heard a lot of people talking about making a pão de queijo batter in the blender and baking the pão de queijo in muffin tins. I was always pretty skeptical about this and really didn’t think that they would work or that the taste would be good. But, since I wanted quick pão de queijo I decided to give this recipe a go!

With few expectations, partly because I was using tapioca flour that was almost two years out of date (I didn’t have any newer flour in the house), I was completely surprised when my pão de queijo rose beautifully in the oven and tasted amazing. They actually tasted like the real deal. They were nice and gooey in the middle and they had a good cheese taste (although I did decide that next time I make these I would increase the amount of cheese).

pão de queijoThis recipe is wonderful because it is so easy and 100% fool proof. My previous pão de queijo recipe (you can find it HERE) is the ‘real deal’, but it is a little bit more challenging, has more room for errors and does take longer to make, but you can freeze the pão de queijo for later consumption which is one big bonus about the recipe. If you are completely new to making pão de queijo I would recommend trying these, it will be difficult to have a batch that goes wrong. This recipe is also great for if you are pressed for time and want to quickly whip-up some pão de queijo. It takes about 10 minutes to make the batter and 15-20 minutes cooking time. If you want to make pão de queijo for freezing stick to my other recipe, you will be unable to freeze these pão de queijos as the batter is completely liquid.

Happy baking and I hope you all try this recipe! Happy Eating:)!

Ingredients
makes 30

100 – 150g grated parmesan cheese (or meia cura)
1 egg
3/4 cup sunflower or vegetable oil
1 cup milk
1 1/2 cup tapioca flour (or polvilho azedo)
A pinch of salt
Oil and white flour to grease the muffin tins

Preheat the oven to 180C or 355F. Using mini muffin tins (diameter of approx. 6cm), oil each tin well and lightly flour.

Put all of the ingredients into a blender and mix until well incorporated and you have a smooth batter. Pour the batter into the prepared muffin tins to about 3/4 full.

Bake in the preheated oven for approximately 15 minutes or until golden brown on top. When baked, remove from the oven and take out of the muffin tins immediately. Serve warm!

pão de queijo

Quentão – Hot Cachaça, Lemon and Ginger drink

Photo credit - http://torradatorrada.com/2014/06/09/drink-quentao-vaiterfestajuninasim/

If you want to warm-up after a day of skiing, snow shoveling or just because its cold and wintry outside, you need to make yourself a hot cup of quentão. 

Quentão is a hot alcoholic beverage traditionally served in June during, what are called, the June festivities in Brazil (Festas Juninas). In June it is already cold here in Brazil and a warm cup of quentão at an outdoor party is just the thing everyone needs to stay warm and have a good time.

The June festivities are celebrated throughout Brazil during the month of June in celebration of Saint John, Saint Anthony and Saint Paul. The parties are full of dance and games for children and adults. It is a wonderful celebration! Because it is not winter or June here in Brazil I will leave a more in-depth explanation of these festivities later (closer to June).

But, because it is winter in the northern hemisphere and a lot of you must be getting ready to brave the winter months I thought it would be nice to share a tasty hot beverage recipe so that you can try it out over christmas, new years and the long winter days to come!

This recipe is super easy, and as with a lot of drink recipes, I recommend you add or subtract ingredients based on your taste/liking.

Quentão is traditionally made with cachaça in Brazil, but if you do not have cachaça at home or if your local liquor store does not carry it, you can substitute the cachaça with rum!

Ingredients

1 cup white sugar
2 cups boiling water
2 lemons cut into thin round slices
3 cinammon sticks
1 piece of ginger cut into small cubes
1 liter of cachaça (or rum)

Put the sugar into a pan on low to medium heat until it is melted and just begins to caramalize. Add the water and allow to boil until you reach a runny caramel sauce. Add the lemon, cinammon, ginger and cachaça (or rum). Put a lid on the pan and leave to boil for approximately 5 minutes. Serve while still warm in small cups!

 

Photo Credit – http://torradatorrada.com/2014/06/09/drink-quentao-vaiterfestajuninasim/

Brazilian Blender Pie – Torta de Liquidificador

Torta de liquidificafor - Blender PieHands down this is one of my all time favourite Brazilian recipes. Really, this dish is nothing special and definitely nothing to rave about. However, I love it because it is quick and easy to make and it is a wonderful way to use leftovers or odd vegetables or meat that either you don’t have enough of for a big dish or you don’t know what to do with. Secondly, you really can’t go wrong with this recipe.

This pie is often a life-saver for me on busy days and within 20 minutes I can have it in the oven!

Brazilians love anything that can be made in the blender and this pie is no exception, hence the name. The batter for this pie is made in the blender and all you need to do is pour it over the pie filling and pop it in the oven. It is really that simple!

Traditionally this pie is made with tuna fish, but here at home we try to stay away from tuna fish and therefore I make it with bacon, sausage, minced meat or chicken. I always have bacon and sausages in my freezer so they are the two meats that I usually use. If you are vegetarian you can easily leave out the meat.

So, the basis for this pie is a batter that is very similar to a cake mix. The rest is up to you. Be creative! Use leftovers, use different vegetable combinations and have fun!

Anything goes for this pie. If you don’t have much at home you can use less filling, if you want to beef up the pie with lots of filling, go ahead, it will definitely be super tasty and extra hearty!

My go to filling is some combination of spinach, escarole, leeks, onions, bacon and sausage! I stir fry all of this before hand and then mix with the batter.

The only thing that needs to be measured accurately for this recipe is the batter, the rest is completely up to you. Enjoy!

Ingredients 

Filling:
1 head of escarole
200g or 1 bunch of spinach
1 onion
1 sausage

Batter:
3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
1 cup milk
2 cups white flour
1 tbsp baking powder
pinch of salt

For the Filling:
Chop all ingredients and stir fry. If you are using leftovers that are already cooked there is no need to heat them up. The important thing for the filling is that all ingredients are cooked and seasoned and that there is non to very little water or liquid.

For the Batter:
Put all ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. This is a thick batter, so if you prefer not to use a blender you can simply mix all ingredients in a mixing bowl.

Preheat oven to 180C  (355F). When the filling and the batter are prepared, pour a small amount of batter into a prepared baking dish. Make sure the batter covers the bottom of the dish. Spoon the filling into the baking dish making sure to remove any liquid. Pour the remaining batter ontop of the filling. If you would like the filling to be fully incorporated into the batter take a spoon and lightly mix the batter and filling together. If you would like more of a sandwich effect, do not stir.

Bake for approximately 30-45 minutes or until golden brown on top.
Torta de liquidificador - Blender Pie

Rural Brazil – Piglets

As promised, here is a very quick update about our sow. 

Nine PigletsYesterday afternoon she gave birth to nine little piglets. This is her first litter, and much bigger than we were expecting! We are super excited and can’t wait to see them grow.

They are already following their mom around when she gets up to eat, stumbling across the grass and making all kinds of funny sounds.

We plan to keep one on the farm for meat and we will sell the other eight!

Nine Piglets

Nine Piglets