Category: Recipes

Cassava and Pork Ribs Soup

In Sao Paulo, restaurants and bakeries prepare what we call Soup Festival during winter: in a buffet style, you get a great variety of traditional Brazilian soups, all served inside a hard crust bread such as sourdough or Italian crust.

So that is where the idea of preparing a Soup Festival with my friends came from.

Although our soups weren’t going to be all Brazilian, one thing that I was determined to have was the round loaf to serve the soup on it.

It wasn’t an easy task to find the right bread for it. After going to lots of well known bakeries at Sydney CBD and trying to explain the concept of having soup on a bread, I was getting frustrated. Firstly, the cost of a single loaf varies from $5.00 to $7.00. Pretty unreasonable from my perspective. Secondly, none of them had the bread in a reasonable size and shape.

Eventually a friend of mine found a Greek baker in the South that knew exactly what we were talking about and had a giant hard crust loaf (which the baker calls small) for a bargain of $3.00! The loaf could probably feed a dozen of people but we are happy with its quality and that did the job. Save the Greeks!

So we prepared 4 different types of soups, some slow cooked, some pressure cooked but all in all, they were all packed with loads of flavours. Our menu was:

– Potato, Bacon and Leek soup by Carol & Marcos
– Pumpkin Soup by Janice & Emilio
– Split pea and ham soup by Priscila & Mariano
– Cassava and Pork Ribs soup, a very traditional Brazilian treat prepared by Mel & Marco

As garnishes we had Gruyere cheese, chives, green olives and two types of beautiful extra virgin oils.

What an amazing and warm evening sharing our food around a long table full of rounds and rounds of soups, drinks and laughs. It can’t get better than this!

So let me share with you Marco Franco’s recipe – Cassava and Pork Ribs Soup. You will be amazed by how well the pork flavour infuses into these soft chunks of cassava and how well these two ingredients go together.

Cassava and Pork Ribs Soup


1 Kg cassava cut into 10 cm long chunks
1 Kg pork ribs
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 cubes ribs stock Maggi (alternatively you can use bacon or beef stock)
1/2 cup olive oil
1 bunch parsley finely chopped
black pepper


Cut individual pork ribs apart. Season with salt and pepper and reserve.
In a pressure cooker, fry garlic and onion in the heated olive oil until golden and brown.
Add the ribs and stock cubes and stir for about 5 minutes or until ribs caramelize.
Add the cassava chunks and stir for another 3 minutes.
Pour enough water in the pressure cooker to cover the mixture. Lid the pressure cooker and maintain in medium to high heat until it reaches pressure.
Reduce heat to low and cook it for a further 40 minutes.
Release the pressure, take the lid off and leave the soup cooking until thickened, stirring occasionally.
Add the parsley and serve immediately.

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Brazilian Cheese Bread

I see lots of Northern Hemisphere food bloggers writing about beautiful summer recipes such as home made sorbets, fruit salads, cold drinks and plenty of other refreshing dishes! People are having a great time enjoying the beaches in Provence, throwing a bbq picnic somewhere in Canada but here in the Downunder things are not quite the same…

It is a freezing Sunday afternoon in Sydney.

We didn’t have proper summer neither autumn in NSW this year and while the weather is just about to get more and more miserable, I have to confess that apart from the rain, I do love winter.

Winter for some reason feels more romantic and it is also the time of the year where we eat a lot of comfort food. Not to mention that this is what we’ve been doing since January.

It is time for a good soup, a slow cooked meat, a hot drink, simple cakes and why not some hot cheese buns!

Pão de Queijo

Pão de Queijo or Brazilian Cheese Bread are basically made of tapioca starch, eggs and your choice of shredded Brazilian cheeses. Served hot, crunchy in the outside, gooey in the inside. It is just a perfect choice to go with a hot cup a tea.

Its basic form – which is a tapioca bun – is from the state of Minas Gerais, where around the 1600s, slaves were making manioc flour for the farmland owners.

Minas Gerais is also well known for some of the best cheeses that you will find in Brazil so that gives you an idea of how cheeses were added later to the recipe.

There are lots of variation of its recipe. The one I’m sharing today I’ve got from my friend Mari.


2 eggs
½ kg blended shredded cheeses. I’ve used mozzarella, tasty and Parmesan cheeses
250 ml natural yogurt
250 ml milk
A pinch of salt
½ kg tapioca starch


Preheat oven to 200°C.

In a blender, mix all ingredients except tapioca starch. Blend it until smooth.

Place the tapioca starch in a bowl. Add the dough to the bowl and use a spatula to gently fold ingredients together.

Grease muffin tins with oil.Fill muffin tins half full with the cheese dough.

Bake it for approximately 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Serve it warm.

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