Category: Tourism and Gastronomy

Moqueca Baiana – A seafood stew

Not sure why took me so long to blog about Moqueca, after all this is one of the most traditional Brazilian dishes.

It is a seafood stew original from the native people of Brazil, slowly cooked on a clay-pot and made with some of the freshest ingredients that our land and sea have to offer.

The dish evolved during the Colonial Brazil times when the Portuguese brought coconuts to the country (and planted the coconut trees along all our coast in replacement for the prime wood that was taken), while the African slaves introduced Palm Oil to our culinary.

The two variations of dish are the Moqueca Baiana (from the northeast State of Bahia) and the Moqueca Capixaba (from the Southeast State of Espirito Santo). The difference between the two is that coconut milk and palm oil are only used in the Baiana recipe.

People from both States claim for the dish invention but I absolutely love both of them and honestly think that they are so different that shouldn’t even be compared.

Although it is a stew, this dish can be enjoyed year-round so whenever you happen to be in Brazil, make sure you find a restaurant that serves a good Moqueca.

Seafood Moqueca Baiana

I’ve been cooking this dish for years and there is no real science behind it: easy to make and you can adapt the measurements accordingly to whatever you have available.

This might sound a bit controversial but I have a Capixaba clay-pot that I actually use to make Moqueca Baiana.

Ingredients

4 cutlets of Blue Eye Cod (or any firm fish with similar texture)
300 g prawns, head removed
300 g calamari, cut in rings
500 ml fish stock
200 ml coconut milk
1 red capsicum, sliced in rings
1 yellow capsicum, sliced in rings
1 green capsicum, sliced in rings
3 tomatoes, sliced in rings
2 small onions, sliced in rings
1 small onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, crushed
juice of 1 lime
1 red chilli, chopped
2 tbsp palm oil
chopped parsley for garnishing
black pepper
salt

Method

Place the fish cutlets into a bowl. Season it with lime juice, salt, ground pepper, and garlic. Reserve it for 20 minutes.
In a separate bowl, season prawns and calamari with salt and pepper.
Heat the palm oil in the clay-pot and fry the chopped onion until golden brown. Remove the pot from heat.

Layer half of the raw onions, capsicums, tomatoes in the clay-pot.

Add all the marinated fish pieces over the layered vegetables and drizzle it with any leftover marinade.

Sprinkle it with half of the parsley and red chillies.

Layer the rest of the onions, capsicums and tomatoes on top of the fish cutlets. Sprinkle it with the rest of parsley and red chillies.

Pour coconut milk and fish stock into the clay-pot.

Bring mixture to a boil, simmer it gently covered for 15 minutes.

Remove lid.

Add the calamari rings and prawns. Stir it gently and simmer it for another 15 minutes or until vegetables are well-cooked.

Serve with rice and toasted manioc flour (farofa de dende)

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Bolo de Rolo

Guava roll cake (Bolo de Rolo) is a typical Brazilian delicacy from Pernambuco, a beautiful State in the Northeast Coast of Brazil.
It is an artisan cake made of very thin layers of a buttery batter rolled into thin layers of guava paste.

Tourists never leave Pernambuco without taking some Bolo de Rolo home as a souvenir and it is part of the fun the search for the place that sells the most authentic cake, the thinnest layered cake, the one with the highest number of layers, local’s favourite and so on.

The cake is served in fine slices, which balances well the sweetness of a single portion.

It has been in my “must do” list for a while and after a crazy week at work, It was about time to enjoy myself in a sort of craft work in the kitchen. The idea was already making me salivate so I decided to give it a go.

Mariano had some things lined up for the day but he couldn’t resist the sweetness perfume around the house so he decided to stick around and watch me in my first attempt of making Bolo de Rolo.

I got so excited in this food therapy that the outcome was nothing less than a delicious 6 layers cake, crafted very gently in fun and relaxing afternoon.

Bolo de Rolo

Ingredients

250 g sugar
250 g butter
250 g all purpose flour
5 eggs, separated
water
200 g guava paste
white sugar for sprinkling

Filling

Slice the guava paste in small cubes and microwave it for about a minute or until it melts. Let it cool down.

Batter

Preheat oven to 180°C.
Grease a shallow squared baking tray with the butter and flour.

In a large bowl, whisk the sugar and butter until incorporated.
Gradually add the eggs yolks into the mixture.
Add the flour and keep folding it until you have a light batter.
Beat egg whites in a mixer or a whisk until soft peaks form.
Fold the egg whites into the batter gently.

Method

Spread a thin layer of the batter into the baking tray.
Bake for approximately 4 or 5 minutes. Use your fingers to touch the cake and ensure that it is dry and soft so you can roll it easily.
Place the baked cake in a wet kitchen towel.
Spread a thin layer of guava paste and roll it up quickly, with the help of the towel.
Bake another layer of the batter, spread the guava paste and start rolling it where the previous layer ended.
Repeat the same process until the last layer.
Sprinkle white sugar on top of the cake.

Slice it thinly and gently.

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Provence and a bit of Monaco

It is really hard to describe how magic, stunning and peaceful the region of Provence is.

Once you are there, you can really feel the vibe that inspires so many writers: fresh food and produces, the colour of the Côte d’Azur contrasting with the mountains, the happiness of the locals, the traditional dishes from each village, the Rose wines, the aroma, the architecture, the craft, the sunset…

Since this was the last and the best leg of my trip to Europe this year, I’ve decided to do a photo log of some of our best moments in South of France.
The last two shots are from another dream that came through as part of this amazing trip: the Monaco Grand Prix.


Saint-Rémy-de-Provence


Les Baux-de-Provence


Les Baux-de-Provence


Les Baux-de-Provence


Les Baux-de-Provence


Les Baux-de-Provence


Gordes


Calanque de Sormiou between Marseille and Cassis


Calanque de Sormiou


Calanque de Sormiou


La Ciotat


Pampelonne


Pampelonne


Saint-Tropez


Port Grimaud


Saint-Raphael


Nice


Nice


Nice


Nice


Villefranche-sur-Mer


Villefranche-sur-Mer


Principauté de Monaco


Principauté de Monaco

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