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.

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Blackberry Caipirinha

DSC_0070-001You can never have too many caipirinha recipes! Caipirinha is so simple and can be made with almost any fruit. A while back I had my first pineapple caipirinha and it was delicious. Another favourite of mine is passion fruit caipirinha.

But, a close second to the traditional lemon/lime caipirinha is a blackberry caipirinha. A restaurant close to my farm serves a delicious blackberry caipirinha and because I have a lot of blackberries at home I decided that it was time to make my own.

Enjoy!

Ingredients

50 ml cachaça or vodka
2/3 cups frozen or fresh blackberries
2 tsp white sugar

Place the blackberries in a glass and muddle (mash the blackberries with a muddler or wooden spoon to extract all of the juice). Add the cachaça, sugar, and ice cubes. Together with the ice cubes you can add some more whole frozen blackberries.

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/

Fresh Fruit Juices

Living in Brazil I sometimes forget how lucky I am to have so much fresh fruit available to me, especially in the form of fresh fruit juices. At any restaraunt, padaria (bakery), or lanchonette (snack shop) you can order fresh fruit juices. Depending on the place, your options for fresh fruit juices will change; some will have an endless variety of fresh juices and the simpler places will probably just offer orange juice. But, no matter where you are you can guarantee that you will at least be able to order a fresh orange juice.

Açai Juice (www.boaforma.abril.com.br)

Açai Juice (www.boaforma.abril.com.br)

Fresh fruit juices are one thing about Brazil that I absolutely love and feel privileged to have. In the USA your juice options are limited and the chances of finding fresh juices are often next to impossible. And, if you do find somewhere selling fresh fruit juices you are going to pay an arm and a leg for it.

Although I often order fresh fruit juices when I go out to a restaurant or have a snack I often forget about the fruit juice options available to me and I tend to order the same juices every time. I also don’t always mix fruits together which can be easily done and always makes for a really delicious drink. Why I stick to the same juices and don’t mix fruits is probably because I know that I can always do this because these fresh juices are on my doorstep. But, I do need to start trying more juices, even if I CAN do this at any time!

Acerola Juice (www.ahgustalimentos.com.br)

Acerola Juice (www.ahgustalimentos.com.br)

These past two weeks my parents were visiting from the USA and one thing that they could not get enough of was the fresh fruit and the fresh fruit juices. Being with them encouraged me to try new juices and combinations and we all managed to sample a wonderful variety of fruits and juices. At almost every restaurant and snack stop we would see what different juices were available to us and usually we would order at least one new  flavored juice. There were definitely some juices though that got repeated because we liked them so much. Although we didn’t do too much mixing of juices the one mix that my parents did try and absolutely loved was orange and acerola juice. Acerola is a very small fruit that is known for its high vitamin C content. The flavor of acerola is like a very sour orange, but in a good way! (Acerola Wikipedia Link).

The juices we tried were: orange, acerola, guava, pineapple with fresh mint, passion fruit, lemon, acai, graviola, corn, sugar cane, papaya, and blackberry. Because some of these juices were so tasty we ordered them several times causing our list to be a little bit shorter, but, we did pretty well with sampling the different juices.

Pineapple Juice with Mint(www.portalestacaoespacial.com.br)

Pineapple Juice with Mint(www.portalestacaoespacial.com.br)

One thing my parents noticed, sometimes to their disappointment, was that because a juice was really tasty in one restaurant it did not mean it would be good at the next one. This is something to always remember when in Brazil and ordering fresh fruit juices, or in my case ordering  caipirinhas, everyone makes it a little bit differently. One restaurants passion fruit juice may be absolutely amazingly delicious but the next restaurants may just about be drinkable. Because these juices do not come from a box they will always be different. For me this is one of the excitements of ordering fresh fruit juices (unfortunately it can also be very annoying) along with the endless variety!

Vitamina de Abacate – An Avocado Vitamin

Vitamina de AbacateIt’s been a while since I have shared a recipe about avocados. Since avocados are eaten sweet in Brazil (and most Brazilians can’t stand the idea of eating avocados in salad or with salt  and pepper sprinkled on them) I think I should share a recipe with you for an avocado vitamin

For most foreigners in Brazil the thought of eating avocado with sugar is rather strange, but once you have tried it perceptions are likely to change. I don’t eat avocado that often, but living in Brazil I like to eat it sweet and savory. The avocado vitamin is a tasty and simple drink that is great for breakfast. Sometimes, instead of drinking the avocado vitamin that is made with milk and sugar I like to make it a little bit thicker and eat it almost like a yoghurt together with granola.

Although you can have an avocado vitamin at any time of the day I prefer it for breakfast or an afternoon snack when I want something a little bit more substantial and sweet.

Vitamina de Abacate com GranolaIngredients

1/2 large avocado (1 small avocado)
1 cup cold milk
1 tbsp white sugar
juice from half a lemon or lime

Put all ingredients into a blender. Mix well for approximately 1 to 2 minutes. If the texture is too thick add more milk, if you want a thicker texture you can add less milk.Vitamina de Abacate