Monday, 14 April 2014

Quindim recipe, a Brazilian egg and coconut dessert for Easter

At the beginning of my blogging life I published a recipe for Quindim.
It's an egg, sugar and coconut mixture with added vanilla and baked in the oven. 
It can be baked in a big pie dish, small ramekins or mini pudding moulds.
They are bright yellow, have a shinny top and a very light golden bottom.  The origin is believed to come from African slaves in the 17th century Brazil, where coconut were found in large quantities and sugarcane was a important industry at the time.
Recently I found this fantastic recipe, that takes a bit of time, but it's well worth it.  Quindim is a dessert for all occasions and a crowd pleaser. Happy Easter!
Bendito Quindim 
60g of unsalted butter
500g of caster sugar
325g of fresh grated coconut *
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
18 egg yolks, sieved


1 . Mix 500g caster sugar and 325 grams of fresh grated coconut with your hands. Continue until the dough is smooth, the sugar has completely dissolved, that takes time! I do it watching TV
2. melt the 60g unsalted butter in a double boiler.
3 . Add the melted butter to the sugar and coconut mix
4 . Let the mixture sit for 12 hours in the refrigerator, covered with plastic . the cooling process will make the butter  harden again. You need to take the container out of the fridge and work it again for 5 minutes with your hands. the 18 yolks together in a  fine  sieve, perforate all of them, and let them sieve through naturally.  Don’t  touch or help it with a spoon . let them fall by themselves it will take about 2 hours. Discard the skin left in the sieve.   

6. Add the sieved 18 egg yolks to the sugar, butter and coconut mix . Mix (yes, you can now use a spoon or spatula ) to form a homogeneous mass. Add the vanilla extract.
7. Prepare the family mould or individual moulds with butter and sprinkling with sugar.
8 . Fill the moulds with batter and place all in a larger roasting pan and add water so that the sweet is baked in the oven in a 'water bath'. It takes about 40 -45 minutes at 180C fan assisted oven .
9. Unmold the quindims while warm.

Makes 50-60 small bite size quindims (molds of 4cm diameter)  or 1 big family (approx size
22cm diameter pie dish)
It keeps in the fridge for a couple of days, or you can freeze it. 
The original recipe asks for 36 egg yolks, I halved  the portions to make domestic friendly!  
Also, the bottom of the quindim should be light golden, my one (picture below) is a bit too golden, but still tasty! 

Tip: you can't find it or don't have time to grate fresh coconut, then hydrate 250g of sweetened shredded coconut, with approximately 50ml of coconut water, the coconut should feel moist and not wet. Let it sit for at least 30 minutes, mix one in a while and then use in this recipe as directed. 
The ultimate question is what do I do with the egg whites? 
well, suggestions:
1) portioned, frozen and used at later date in other recipes, I tried and it worked!
2) make a giant pavlova, and/or small meringues
3) have egg white omelettes for the rest of the week!

This recipe was adapted from Cátia Farias of Bendito Quindim in Sao Paulo, Brazil

Sunday, 13 April 2014

Roast Chicken Sous Vide way

It’s been quite exciting times experimenting with cooking sous vide. I like a roast chicken diner  for  two reasons. Firstly, it’s such a warming homely dish and secondly, the use of leftovers for another meal. I looked in to how to cook a whole chicken sous vide, I didn’t find anything on roasting subject, but found on pouching and I also learned that each part of the chicken cooks at different times and temperatures on sous vide. After much deliberation, I made some mental maths, now that is dangerous since I am not good at it! Anyway, I came up with a few possibilities based on my findings. 

First attempt,  I pouched the chicken for 6 hours at 60C  as per my finding online and it didn’t worked for my taste, the meat doness wasn’t quite what I was expecting, it was a bit too pink and juices weren’t running too clear. Next experiment I poached another chicken for 7 hours at 62C, every degree counts on sous vide, and bingo! It was perfect! The meat is moist, juicy and the chicken still just about holding it’s shape. It looked quite pale, but after a good 5 minutes under a very hot grill, you just want to crisp up the skin and not to cook the chicken. It looked very appetizing. I tried the blow torch method and it didn’t look that great.  I also sous vided the vegetables. The onions taste so good and sweet afterwards, I made an extra dish, onion puree. Don’t worry about unpleaseantt breath. Here is a recipe good if made on the day or in-advance for a stress-free roast chicken meal. 

View the full recipe at the Great British Chefs blog

Thursday, 10 April 2014

Sorvetão - vanilla ice cream cake topped with chocolate sauce

Ice cream is at the top of my favourite foods list. This is a Brazilian celebration ice cream treat. It's a very old recipe given to me by my good friend Marcia, from Brazil, with whom I came to Europe on a teen-adventure-holiday, many years ago. It was her dream to come to London, so we did it was our last stop, after one year she went back to Brazil and I stayed....the longest holiday ever! 

Naughty ice cream cake celebration, after all is April! 


Yield: 1.4l


9 tablespoons of water
4 tablespoons  of cocoa powder (30g)
1 cup of white sugar (200g)
Ice cream :
1 can of condensed milk
2 cups of milk (400ml)
3 large egg yolks
3 egg whites
5 tablespoon of caster sugar (75g)
300ml of double (heavy) cream

sauce method:
1)    mix all sauce ingredients in a pan over low heat until the sugar has completely dissolved.
2)    Add to a large dish  (1.5l)  and place it in the freezer

Ice cream method:
1)    in a pan over a low heat, add the condensed milk, egg yolks, and milk. Cook slowly, stirring constantly doe 10 minutes, until you get a cream with the consistency of pouring custard. Let this custard cool completely.
2)   In a grease free mixer add the egg whites beat to stiff and glossy peaks, gradually add the sifted caster sugar, make sure it’s completely incorporated and smooth textutre. Test the mixture if still grainy carry on mixing till smooth. Add  in the double cream till incorporated.
3)   Mix the custard and the cream. Place in the dish prepared  with the sauce. Freeze it overnight.
4)   Take the ice cream out of the freezer 30 minutes before serving. Unmold on to a dish with a lip, there will be  quite a bit of sauce and serve immediately.

 Happy April!


Friday, 4 April 2014

Brazil Pop Up Diner in London

little bites and pimenta de bico (chilli)
Brazil, the largest and the only Portuguese speaking country in South America, has a wonderful variety of traditional foods. Brazilian cuisine is a result of a combination of key ingredients brought by different cultures that arrived into our country. It all started with the colonisation by the Portuguese in the 16th century. During our history many other different nationalities introduced a variety of elements and dishes for example the Italians (pizza, pasta), the Spanish (empanadillas - empadinhas), the Arabs (spiha, lamb, kibbeh), the Chinese and Japanese (wontons – pastels). 

A lot of people wonder what Brazilian food is like, what are our every day staples. The truth is Brazilian cuisine is a mix of different foods from around the world. Some regions have maintained their own characteristic cuisine due to geographic location, local ingredients, religion beliefs and customs. Manaus is the capital of Amazon state located on the confluence of the Negro and Solimões rivers, in middle of the Amazon rainforest, is rich in exotic and local produce.  

Last week I attended the Brazil Pop Up Diner: The Manaus Diner. 
If you haven't heard, Brazil Pop Up Diner :  12 cities, 4 months, 1 restaurant. While football visits Brazil, Brazilian food visits London. Brazil Pop Up Diner is a series of supper club style events taking diners on a culinary journey through the twelve Brazilian cities that will be hosting the 2014 Fifa World Cup. Between March and June, eleven Sunday events (lunch and dinner) will be hosted at The Bedford and Strand, a basement wine bar and restaurant in central London. Each event will feature a three course meal inspired by one of the World Cup hosting cities with cocktails and music from the region. Brazil Pop Up Diner launched on 9th March with a menu priced at £35 a head, including one caipirinha. Menu designed by chef Marcelo de Campos.

The place was buzzing and very few tables available at 5.30pm, when I arrived. The welcome was friendly and the waitresses very patient with our ever changing tables, our fault, not theirs. The Brazilian way...we met some friends and the group got big, bigger and louder.

 The  bar was in full swing and the caipirinhas and cocktails using Leblon cachaca were flying out of the bar fast and furious. Above, the nice display of drinks on offer.

 One complimentary caipirinha were offered with pao de queijo  with a special addition of kale pesto.
Some nice Amazonian Beers : Pilser and Bacuri (a fruit from the Amazon) 

Some more cocktails, we had the trio of cocktails, prices at £10: caipirinha (good, but not as strong as in Brazil), caipibeer (refreshing, good) encontro das aguas (not to my taste, too sour). We had quite a few drinks including beers, after all we wanted to try as much as possible,  unfortunately our last cocktail round never arrived, but we were not charged for it.

The caipirinhas were nicely prepared with Leblon cachaca, like in Brazil with caster sugar! hurray!!!

The starter was served on a board, above: Tacaca soup (cassava, parsnips,chillies and spices) served in a glass shot, fish ceviche (two thin slices of white fish, cupuacu, Brazilian fruit, lime, dusted with paprika), a heart of palm mini pies, nice flaky short pastry. I enjoyed the starter. Nice effort in getting the flavours from the Amazon into this trio.

Main course: Duck and chorizo red rice garnished with wild rocket, seasoned with thyme and rosemary, It was nicely seasoned, very tasty, full of contrasting textures and quite colourful. I wanted more of it....
Dessert: Cupuaçu and chocolate tart -  great texture and not too sweet. Nice finish.

filtered coffee from Cereja, a delicious medium roasted ground coffee, 100% arabica beans, grown at high altitude in Sao Paulo state, Brazil. It was flavoursome, aromatic with a caramel background and immensely fragrant. The coffee was filtered at the table and served with Q Chocolates from Brazil.
For more dates check out : Brazil Diner. There's also bar area for little Brazilian bites and drinks only, if you don't fancy a meal.

Disclosure: I was a guest at this diner, we paid for the drinks only. Views are my own.

Sunday, 30 March 2014

Ox cheeks in red wine, recipe

  Yesterday, I received a mystery box containing Lurpak cooking liquid, part of their new Cook's Range, their latest products  target ambitious home cooks and foodies alike. This particular product is a blend of rapeseed oil (74%) and butter (23%) and salt and milk. It's a viscous, light butter coloured appearance, the addition of oil stops the butter from burning in the cooking process. 
After weeks of slow cooking,  I decided to try out the new Lurpak cooking liquid using another cooking method, the pressure cooker. It's been a while since I put it into good use.  Sometimes when you are in a hurry or have last minute gathering, the pressure cooker is instant salvation!  In Brazil, every household has a pressure cooker, we usually use to cook beans and large pieces of meat.
A pressure cooker is a cooking pot in which foods are cooked at temperatures above the boiling point (100 degrees Celsius ) of water at ambient pressure , thus allowing a  reduced cooking time. They are fitted with airtight lids that seal the inside and exhaust valves for steam and enable the safe use . Normally there is a valve for pressure control and safety valve, which breaks down below the maximum pressure that the pan supports.It can be used as sterilizer , since the high temperature undoubtedly exceeds 100C. A pot in a normal state , with valve and rubber cap in perfect condition, can reach 120C , this way generating a much safer sterilization.
Operation of the pressure cooker : When closing the pan , it already contains a quantity of air that is equal to the atmospheric pressure. Seen in it a rubber that seals the pan to keep warm, the water vapor increase and its escape is prevented . The pressure of the trapped air is added to the vapor , so that the internal pressure becomes even greater. With a high pressure, the liquid takes longer to boil and cooks food faster.


Ox cheeks  in red wine -  the pressure cooker method
wheat-free and gluten-free

Yield: 4 generous portions

Prep time: 20 minutes

Cooking time : 40 minutes on pressure cooker, 5 hours in the oven

Mise en place

Ox cheeks

800 g  Ox cheeks, cut in 8 large cubes

50ml of Lurpak cooking liquid

3 bay leaves

150ml of water

200ml of passata

250ml of red wine

200ml of beef stock

1 large leek, (300g) sliced

2 medium carrots, (140g) sliced

1 large red onion, roughly chopped

3 cloves of garlic ,  roughly chopped

2 medium ripped fresh tomatoes, ( approx 230g) chopped

1 handful of fennel tops, it gives great taste to the meat

and finally, salt and pepper to taste


1)   In a pressure cooker in medium heat, add 50ml of Lurpak cooking liquid and seal the meat.  I used a shallow pan to make easy to show the cooking process to the readers.
easy to use and golden results

2)   Add the sealed meat and  the other ingredients  to the pressure cooker.

3)   Close the pressure cooker according to the manual,  once is hissing and cook the meat for 40 minutes.

4)   Salt & pepper to taste at the end of cooking time


P.S.: If you don’t have a pressure cooker, use a heavy ovenproof pan or casserole and  cook the meat in medium heat (about 150C for electric fan oven and 120C on gas mark 2)  for 4 hours, preferably 5 hours. Until the meat is tender and easy falling apart .

This dish can be cooked in advance, making a perfect centre stage for a celebration meal.

It can be frozen once completely cold, in a sealed bags and defrost completely before re-heating.

Serving suggestion:  white boiled rice.


The perfect white rice, the Brazilian way:

Yield: 4 servings

Cooking time: approx 15 minutes, dependent on the type of rice used.


1 & ½ cups of white rice, I like Basmati

2 and a splash, cups of water, I use hot water to speed up the process

1 generous tablespoon of Lurpak cooking liquid, approx 25ml

1 garlic glove, chopped

½ of white onion, finely chopped

salt to taste


1)   saute garlic and onion in Lurpak  cooking liquid.

2)   add the rice and fry for about 30 seconds

3)   add boiling water and salt

4)   lower the heat and cook until the water has almost evaporated 

5)   cover the pan and wait about 20 minutes before serving


disclosure: the Lurpak mystery box was sent to me free of charge to test the new product and I was paid to test and write a recipe using the Lurpak Cook's Range, Cooking Liquid. All views are my own based on my cooking experience.

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