Saturday, June 7, 2014

Roast beef and mango chutney sandwich

The combination of beef and mango chutney is perfect. Add some tomatoes and parsley for freshness, sour cream for creaminess, a dab of mustard for more intense flavor and a meal is ready. 

Ingredients (for 1 individual sandwich)

1 small french baguete (or other bread of your choice)
1 ounce roast beef
2 tablespoons store bought mango chutney
2 tablespoons sour cream
1/2 tomato sliced thin
Fresh italian parsley to taste
Yellow mustard to taste
Salt and pepper if needed

Cut bread open, spread mango chutney in the bottom half of the bread. Spread sour cream on top part of the bread.

Arrange roast beef, parley and tomato.

Finnish with mustard to taste.

Season with salt and pepper if you like.


For a light sandwich substitute turkey brast for beef and use a light version of sour cream.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Natural jello - gelatin dessert

This simple gelatin dessert has only natural ingredients. It´s very colorful and tastes fruity. I´s a good choice for those with a food allergy, like me. And it´s a hit with children of all ages.

Ingredients (makes 4 cups)

3 cups fruit juice of your choice (grape, orange, peach)
2 envelopes granulated gelatin (1/4 ounce) - unflavored and colorless
1/2 cup water
1/3 cup sugar mixed with 1/2 cup water


In a small bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup water. Let it rest for 3 minutes. Microwave bowl for 15 seconds on high. Mix and let it cool for 3 minutes.

Place sugar and water mix in a small sauce pan and heat it until sugar is dissolved.

Mix well gelatin with juice and sugar syrup.

Transfer fruit jello to a serving bowl and refrigerate until set.


Avoid pineapple juice. It´s enzymes dont´let it set properly.

Sugar is optional, adjust it to taste.

This jello can be made with artificial sweeteners or honey. To use sweetner just mix it with water, don´t heat it.

Have doubts in cooking with gelatin? Refer to this post here.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Açaí Berry - meet the fresh fruit

Acai berry palm tree

Visiting Belém do Pará in the north region of Brazil is an unforgetable food trip. Even for brazilians like me that live in the south.

I had the opportunity of seeing some palm trees bearing fruits and visiting the great Acai Berry Market.

The açai tree is a tropical palm tree of the amazon region and it grows wild in humid areas. Just about 20 years ago plantation started.


The palm trees are very tall and can reach about 100 feet. The only way to get the fruits is to climb up.

This old guy of about 70 years old can climb it up and down like a child and he showed the startled spectators how it´s done.

We got at the market before dawn and the view was espetacular!

The boats were still arriving full of baskets of shiny dark fruits. Some of them reach the market after hours travelling. Most part of the brazilian acai berry is sold here and comes from far away.

The market is very busy early morning and the acai berry is sold by baskets, called "paneira". Each basket holds about 33 pounds of fresh berries and the price varies.

The fruits go bad fast so they have to be processed into a puree and be frozen to reach other cities of Brazil and abroad.

The berries are very hard, have a large pit and only the purple skin and very thin pulp is processed as food.

The seed can be used in jewerly.

To make the purree and then the juice, the berries passes through a machine with a little water or the fruit juice for a thicker product.

The acai puree sold in Belem is the real thing, pure, thick and with a very strong wodden flavour. It´s sold pure and at room temperature. 

And it´s eaten with fried fish for breakfast.

Weird, right? Very weird for a carioca like me! Here in Rio de Janeiro, and everywhere else except in the Amazon, acai is found diluted for more profit. It tastes much milder and it´s eaten very sweet and cold with granola, bananas and guarana. 


Monday, May 19, 2014

Beet root carpaccio salad

Beetroot carpaccio

A different carpaccio made with beet root was inspired by the classic beets and orange salad. I develop the dish for a photography course I participated because of it´s looks.

But it tastes so good that now is in my catering menu.

Ingredients - for 4 portions

1 large beet root
1 orange
2 ounces fresh goat cheese crumbled
2 ounces bean sprouts (any kind you like)
1 ounce toasted pine nuts

Ingredients for the orange vinaigrette

1/2 cup orange juice
1/3 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoon vinegar
Salt and pepper to taste


Cook the beetroot in water until tender, drain and let it cool.

Peel the beet root and slice it very thin with a sharp knife or mandolin.

Peel the orange and cut it in wedges.

Assemble the plate: lay beet root slices flat on each plate, arrange spouts in the middle and top with 4 oranges wedges, a bit of cheese and pine nuts.

Prepare the vinaigrette: whisk together orange juice, olive oil, lemon juice and vinegar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Serve the carpaccio with orange vinaigrette.


Prepare ahead - store the sliced cooked beetroot in an airtight container in the refrigerator until serving time.

Use beet roots of different colors for a more colorful effect.

Fried rice brazilian way

Fried rice brazilian way

This kind of dish of fried rice with colourful ingredients are very easy to find in brazilian homes. The reason is that we eat white and plain rice almost every day and most people don´t like when it´s old. With this recipe the rice forgotten in the fridge can be turned into a brand new and delicious dish without waste. And you can use any leftover of vegetables, chicken, meat, cold cuts and cheese you have.

My recipe of "Arroz Maluco", crazy rice, was made from scratch but you can use cooked rice if you have.


1/2 cup sliced or diced sausage (of any kind)
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic - crushed
1 cup raw white long grain rice
1 teaspoon salt
Pepper to taste
2 cups water (or chicken broth)
1 tablespoon butter
2 eggs
1 cup any cooked vegetables (peas, corn, carrots)
2 tablespoon fresh chopped parsley


In a sauce pan over medium heat stir-fry sausage with olive oil and garlic until done and golden.

Add rice, stir and fry for 2 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Add water.

Let it boil and cover the pan. Reduce the heat to very low.

The rice should be cooked in about 20 minutes, all the liquid should be evaporated. Taste it and turn off the heat if ready. If not fully cooked add a little more water and cook further.

In a frying pan add butter and scramble the eggs with salt to taste. Add vegetables to warm them up.

With a fork loose the rice grains. Mix the egg vegetable mixture with the rice.

Add parsley, mix and serve.


Substitute ham or bacon for sausage.

Any kind of long grain rice can be used (brown, basmati), but respect cooking time and amount of water. The right amounts should be written in the package.

If using cooked rice - fry sausage and garlic, add eggs and vegetables. Add 2 cups cooked rice and about 1/4 cup broth. Heat it up.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Beef with onions and cachaça

Brazilians love beef and these small cuts of sirloin are served at lot as appetizers in bars all over the country. "Filezinho" usually comes with french bread or toast and fries. It can be made with different seasonings and cheese toppings.

Below is a very simple and easy recipe to enjoy at home.


1 pound sirloin or rump steak - diced
Salt and black pepper to taste
2 tablespoon butter
1 large white onion - sliced
30 ml cachaça (or vodka)
3 tablespoons soy sauce


Season beef with salt and pepper to taste.

In a large skillet over medium heat fry onion in butter until soft.

Add beef and fry until golden and to desired doneness.

Add cachaça and boil so the alchool evaporates a little.

Add soy sauce and mix.

Serve with bread and/or french fries


In the place of cachaça use any kind of liquor you want or have at home: cognac, whisky, rum, etc.

Or eat the dish for dinner with vegetables and rice.