Tagged: cooking with wine

Sagu – Tapioca Pearls in Red Wine

Sagu - Tapioca Pearls in Red Wine

Having grown up in Brazil, eating Sagu when I was young was definitely one of the few ways to taste some wine and feel a bit dipsy just by having a dessert.

Sagu is a dessert made of tapioca pearls which is a bit different from sago: the tapioca starch is extracted from cassava root while the sago starch is extracted from the pith of sago palm stems.

Tapioca Pearls

Commercially both types of starch are processed into several forms and the pearls are very popular among the Asians, served usually in teas or smoothies.

Tapioca Pearls

The Brazilian dessert is very unique: the pearls absorb the wine and become very chewy. It is served chilled but the combination of the wine and the cloves kind of warm you up. Once you give it a try, you can pretty much say that you have eaten some wine, if it makes any sense.


SAGU by Mais Voce


1 cup tapioca pearls
3 cups red wine
1 cup sugar
10 cloves


In a large saucepan, boil 3 liters of water.
Add the tapioca pearls and stir gently until it boils again.

Remove from heat and cool inside the lidded pot, stirring it occasionally for about 2 to 3 hours.

Using a colander, drain all water and wash the pearls quickly to remove the sticky gum.

Transfer the pearls back to saucepan, add sugar, wine and cloves. Bring it back to heat until it boils.

When boiling, remove from heat and place in a glass bowl. Leave it in the fridge and serve the next day.

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Poached Pear

Poached Pear

The inspiration

I have an aunt who is the queen of the dessert. Lunch with family is always followed by a coconut cake, a bread pudding, a strawberry pie or a meringue tart (one of those where even the meringues are homemade).

The funniest thing is when we come to visit her without any notice and the first thing she says is something like “Wow, I didn’t know you were coming and I haven’t baked anything today!”. Then she makes us a coffee, we keep talking and when we suddenly realise, she has already stuffed and baked a wonderful cake much better that any famous bakery that I’ve been to!

I remember when I moved to Australia and she gave me a gift: my 3 first cookbooks. Three very old booklets, with easy recipes. One of them was actually written by Claybom, an old Brazilian dairy brand. Does anyone remember Claybom?

Well, as pretty much everyone from my mother’s generation cooks very well in the family, the pressure is simple as this: Is anyone in this family going to learn how to cook like them?

No, I (still) don’t cook like them but I love my little adventures in the kitchen so, my dear family, hopefully I will get there eventually! And who knows If I won’t be the one to pass this precious legacy forward?

Poached Pear

Poached Pear

When I saw these little pears at Sydney Markets It reminded me a lot of my aunt and I decided to make a dessert with them. Small, delicate, hard to handle but worthwhile!

The flavour of the pear poached in wine is quite remarkable: it is possible to distinguish the taste of each ingredient in every bite and it’s amazing how all these flavours complement each other!

Not counting the leftover sauce that turned into a delicious jam when thickened a bit longer.

I hope I have the opportunity to make this dessert for my aunt during my holidays in Brazil.

Poached Pear - Ingredients

I got the base for this recipe on Real Simple .


1/2 bottle of dry red wine
1 lemon
1 orange quartered
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 vanilla, cut in half
1 cinnamon stick
5 cloves
10 small pears or 5 large ones, peeled


In a small saucepan mix the wine, lemon and orange juices, 1 quarter of the squeezed orange, sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and cloves.

Remove the core of the pears through the bottom.
Add pears to saucepan and cook on medium heat until boiling. Lower heat, leave the pot unlided turning the pears occasionally for about half an hour or until they are soft.
Using a slotted spoon, transfer the pears to the dishes where it will be served.

Remove the squeezed orange, the cinnamon stick and cloves from the pan.

Bring the pot back to the low heat and cook until the syrup reduce to one third, approximately 20 minutes.
Pour the syrup over the pears.

Serve it warm to enhance the flavours. It goes well with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.

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