Australia Day Pavlova

OMG, I don’t even remember the last time I posted a new recipe. It has been a while but I am back. My post today is going to be about my first pavlova. My friends were doing this amazing Australia Day lunch and I put my hands up to bring a dessert. And then all the frenzy began looking up on the Internet for a recipe that would be appropriate to Australia day celebration. I decided to make a Pavlova.


I found the recipe on the Kitchenaid website and did a few modifications. Used 2 tsp of white vinegar and 4 tsp of cornflour. I also didn’t whip the cream with sugar as thought would be too sweet. I add the coulis to cut through the sweetness of the pavlova. I baked my pavlova on the same plate I was going to serve it on as the oven temperature is so low that it is not a risk to break the plate and after bake the pavlova can be quite hard to transfer to another plate. Saw this tip on tv a few days before make my pavlova and it was great.

I had a bit of weeping from he pav. I have read that it is from the sugar or humidity. Hopefully next one will have no weeping at all.

The pavlova was a success. It feeds a crowd! If you wish to make a small one the recipe can be halved. It’s a pity I could not take more and better photos to post, when I looked again the pavlova was gone. Everyone loved it! It is definitely one of the best pavlovas I’ve ever tried and I will sure make it again. Actually, it is already in my easter lunch menu.


(recipe adapted from the Vanilla snow pavlova featured on the Kitchenaid website)


  • 8 large egg whites, at room temperature
  • Good pinch of salt
  • 400g caster sugar
  • Seeds scraped from one vanilla bean or 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 tsp cornflour
  • 2 tsp white vinegar
  • 1 tsp boiling water (optional)


  • Combination of fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and cherries.
  • 500ml thickened (or pouring) cream
  • Raspberry coulis


  1. Preheat the oven to 120°C (100°C fan forced). Line a baking sheet with baking paper.
  2. Place the egg whites and salt in to the mixing bowl of an electric mixer and whisk on speed 2 or 4 until soft peaks are formed. Be patient as take a bit long tho reach soft peaks but beating the egg whites in lower speed at the start of the method produces a very strong meringue.
  3. Add the sugar in one go and turn to speed 6 until the sugar is combines then increase to speed 10 and mix for 10 minutes or until the meringue is very thick, creamy and glossy. Scrape down the sides of the bowl regularly with a spatula.
  4. Add the vanilla, cornflour, vinegar and boiling water (if using). The boiling water adds  lightness to the shell. Add the water on the side of the bowl. Mix on speed 1 until just combined. Do not over mix. If you don’t want to mix on the electric mixer, use a big metal spoon and fold all the ingredients through the meringue and do not over mix.
  5. Dollop and spread the mixture onto the lined baking sheet.
  6. Bake on the bottom shelf of the oven for 1 hour 45 minutes or until shell is firm and dry. Turn oven off and allow the meringue to cool completely with the oven door slightly ajar.
  7. For the coulis I used 100g of frozen raspberries mixed with 2 tablespoons of caster sugar. Heat until the sugar melts and form a nice syrup. Pass through a sieve and leave to cool completely. Keep on the fridge to be used when you are ready to assemble the pavlova.
  8. For the topping, whip the cream until soft peaks.
  9. To assemble the pavlova, spread cooled meringue shell with cream and generously pile the berries on top, drizzle with the raspberry coulis.
  10. The meringue will keep, without the topping (in a sealed container) for 1 to 2 days. Top with cream and berries to serve.



Chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies

Sorry for being away for so long. I was traveling overseas and soon I will post my adventures!

As every Friday I always bake something for the weekend, I decided making some cookies today! The recipe is from “Donna Hay”. They are yummy! Chocolate and hazelnut is a match made in heaven. A cookie and a big mug of hot chocolate is the perfect combination in this cold weather.

These cookies are easy and quick to make. I prefer them more crunchier and thin than chewy and thick . If you want them smaller just use one tablespoon of the cookie mixture.


Chocolate chip and hazelnut cookies


  • 125g butter, chopped
  • 1 ½ cups (225g) self-raising (self-rising) flour
  • ¾ cup (135g) brown sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (105g) chopped hazelnuts
  • 2/3 cup (100g) milk chocolate chunks

P.S.: I substitute the milk chocolate chunks for dark chocolate chips


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (390°F).
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Set aside to cool slightly.
  3. Place the flour and sugar in a bowl and mix to combine. Add the butter, egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Stir through the hazelnuts and chocolate.
  4. Using your hands, moil 2 tablespoons of cookie mixture into a flat round and place on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper, leaving room to spread. Repeat with remaining mixture.
  5. Bake for 10-12 min or until golden.

Makes 18

** To check if the cookies are done, look at the bottom not the top. If you wait until the top looks right you risk overcooking them. To check, lift a cookie with a spatula so you can see underneath. The bottom should be deep golden. Cool on trays as the cookies will continue to cook after you’ve removed them from oven. 



Banana Bread

Friday is baking day. I always bake something for the weekend, my husband loves to take something with him when he drives very early to play golf. Today is Banana bread. All that ripe bananas in my fruit bowl that we didn’t eat during the week transforms in a delicious treat for the weekend. This recipe is from Dona Hay’s book “Fast, Fresh, Simple”.


Banana Bread


  • 175g butter, softened and chopped
  • 1 cup (175g) brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 cup mashed banana
  • 3 eggs
  • 2 cups (300g) self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder


  1. Preheat the oven to 170ºC (325ºF)
  2. To make the bread, place the butter, sugars, cinnamon, banana, eggs, flour and baking powder in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat in medium speed for 1 min or until just combined.
  3. Pour the mixture into a greased 28cm X 8cm loaf tin lined with non-stick baking paper and bake for 1 hour or until cooked when tested with a skewer.


Cream Caramel

Sorry, so long since my last post.

Today my post is about one of my favourites desserts, Cream caramel or “Pudim de leite condensado” as is known in Brazil.

I always make Cream Caramel when I need a quick dessert. This recipe is how we make it in Brazil.



  • 1 condensed milk tin
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 ¾ cups of milk
  • 4 tablespoons plain flour

For the caramel:

  • 2 cups caster sugar
  • 1 cup water


  1. Make the sugar caramel first. Place the sugar and water in a pan over medium heat, stir until the sugar dissolves. Boil, uncovered, without stirring, until mixture turns light golden brown. Pour in a coffee cake pan (the one with a hole in the middle), spread on the sides and leave to cool.
  2. For the cream caramel:  Pre heat the oven 180°C. Blend all the ingredients together and pour over the caramel sauce.
  3. Put on the oven covered with aluminium foil in a tray with hot water reaching half of the cream caramel pan (Ban Marie). Leave on the oven for 45 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
  4. Leave to cool down before turn it on a plate.



Chocolate Banana Cupcakes

Today I am going to post my husband’s favourite muffin/cupcake recipe. I always bake something for him on the weekend and this recipe is the one that he asks for. I found this recipe in my sister-in-law’s book called ‘The Golden book of chocolate’. Since then, I have made them many times.


Chocolate Banana cupcake


  • 1 cup (150g) wholemeal flour
  • 1 cup (150g) all-purpose (plain) flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup (200g) caster sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 large very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped


  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C/gas 5 (375°F).
  2. Arrange 20 baking cups on baking sheets.
  3. Mix both flours, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  4. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at high speed until creamy.
  5. Add the eggs one at a time, beating until just combined after each addition.
  6. With mixer at low speed, beat in the bananas, followed by the mixed dry ingredients, alternating with the milk.
  7. Stir in the chocolate chips and walnuts by hand.
  8. Scoop the batter into the cups, filling each about two-thirds full.
  9. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean, 20-25 min.
  10. Cool the cupcakes on wire rack.

Makes: about 20 cupcakes

Hope you enjoy them as much as we do!


Moqueca Capixaba

Moqueca Capixaba

Moqueca is one of the many traditional dishes from Brazil. I love it! It’s fresh, light, not many ingredients and easy to make. Basically it is a fish stew. Moqueca capixaba is the moqueca made on the State of Espírito Santo, where I used to live. The Moqueca capixaba is different from the other moquecas made in another parts of Brazil. The ingredients used to make it are olive oil (not palm oil), onions, garlic, tomatoes, coriander and ‘colorau’ (this is a red powder made from the urucum seeds used do give colour to dishes in Brazil), coconut milk is never used.

Clay Pot

To cook we use a traditional clay pot/pan, made also in my State, which is famous for the ‘Paneleiras’ ( women who made the clay pots by hand). I haven’t brought a clay pot from Brazil yet (yes, I know!), but I found this one here in Melbourne, made in Colombia. It’s not the same but work well.

Moqueca can be made with fish or others seafood such as prawns, crab, lobster, soft-shell crab, mussels, blue swimmer crab, or a mix of fish and seafood. Also, very good indeed, the version using bananas.

MOQUECA É CAPIXABA, O RESTO E PEIXADA! This is a famous phrase in Brazil and means that moqueca is the one made in the State of Espírito Santo (people from there are called capixaba), the rest is just a fish stew.



1- Onion, 2- Tomatoes, 3- Lemon, 4- Coriander, 5- Garlic, 6- Colorau, 7- Banana, 8- Fish

I make in Australia a adapted version of the moqueca. If you don’t have a clay pot and you don’t want to purchase one, you can make in your normal pan (just let you know that the taste from the clay pot is special). In this recipe I used the ‘colorau’ because I brought from Brazil in my last trip but I usually substitute it with tomato paste (still really good, adding some colour and making the sauce less watery).


  • 1 kg white fish fillets (firm fish) – I tried with lots of different fish, but the ones that I liked the most are snapper and flathead tails.
  • 6 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1  brown onion, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 lemon
  • 1 bunch coriander, chopped
  • 2 teaspoon of colorau
  • 2 tablespoon tomato paste ( as a substitute to using the colorau)
  • Salt to taste
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil plus more to drizzle
  • You can add some prawns as well, it’s delicious.


  1. Wash the fish, put in a bowl and add the lemon juice and sprinkle with salt. Set aside.
  2.  in a bowl, mix the tomatoes, onion, coriander together.
  3. On the pan, medium heat, put 1 tablespoon of olive oil, add garlic and a bit of tomato, onion and coriander mixture and 1 teaspoon colorau or 1 tablespoon of tomato paste. This is to make a base for the fish.
  4. Arrange the fish on top of the base, add the prawns on that stage if you want. Cover with the remaining mixture, sprinkle with salt and colorau (or the other tablespoon of tomato paste), drizzle with olive oil.
  5. Cook in medium heat for approximately 20 to 25 min or until fish is cooked.

Seves 4-5

– Serve with steamed rice

– If you like chilli, I always make a fresh chilli chopped on olive oil and lemon to eat with it.

– The clay pots retain heat for long time, so will continue cooking the food with the heat off. So, be careful not to overcooked the fish or seafood.


To make the banana side dish I also had to make some changes. I could not find here the type of banana we use in Brazil. It’s called “banana da terra” also known in other countries as Plantain. This kind of banana only can be eaten cooked. I use normal bananas instead. This is a delicious dish. Many people might be thinking that is a bit strange but the combination of the sweetness of the banana with the acid tomatoes and the saltiness of the dish work really well together.


Moqueca Banana


  • 4 bananas, chopped in diagonal, approximately 3 to 4 cm
  • 2 tomatoes, chopped
  • 1/2 brown onion chopped
  • 1/3 cup coriander, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 teaspoon colorau or 1/2 tablespoon tomato paste
  • Salt to seasoning


  1. Place the olive oil, garlic, colorau or tomato paste on the pan, in medium heat, until fragrant.
  2. Make layers with the banana, the mix of tomato, onion and coriander, sprinkling with salt.
  3. Cook for 15 to 20 min in medium heat.
  4. Serve with Moqueca and rice.

Serves 4

Enjoy it!



When I came to Australia I found it a bit strange to see avocado in salads, toast, and as a part of a savoury dish. Of course I had tried guacamole before in Mexican restaurants but for me that was the only savoury dish made with avocado. In Brazil, we mainly use avocado to make desserts, smoothies or eat it fresh sprinkled with sugar. The Avocado smoothie recipe below is so creamy and delicious – quite filling too. We also use avocados for face masks and hair treatment. There are many types of avocados, in Brazil they are bigger than in Australia and the skin is green and shinny. Avocado is a wonderful fruit, rich in vitamins A and E, helps lower cholesterol, powerful antioxidants and good for hair and skin.

There is an avocado tree in my Grandma’s house and I remember when I was a kid we use to drink a lot of avocado smoothies. My favourite thing was to put the smoothie a little bit in the freezer and the texture was almost like an ice-cream. My dad loves avocado with sugar for breakfast!

Have fun with avocado and try the smoothie recipe below!



  • 1  ripe avocado
  • 400ml of low fat milk or water (I prefer milk)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 tablespoon lime juice (if you don’t have lime, you can use lemon)


  1. Cut the avocado into two halves, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh.
  2. Place all the ingredients in a blender and whizz until smooth.
  3. If you think is too thick, you can add a little bit more milk/water.

Serves 2



  • 3 ripe avocados
  • 2 limes
  • 2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 2 jalapeño chillies, seeds removed, finely chopped (optional if you don’t like it spicy)
  • 1/2 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup coriander chopped
  • salt and ground black pepper
  1. Cut the avocado into two halves, remove the stone and scoop out the flesh in a bowl.
  2. Mash the avocado with a fork or use a potato masher. I personally don’t like to blend it as I like the texture when is just mashed.
  3. Add the lime juice, tomatoes, chillies, onion and coriander. Stir all together gently.  When I can not find jalapeños chillies I use the bird-eye chilli.
  4. Salt and pepper to taste
  5. Serve with corn chips, on toast or as salad.

Serves 6

Next post – Moqueca Capixaba Recipe (Brazilian seafood dish)

Happy Halloween!

Today is Halloween, what are you doing tonight? Is the day to do things like carving jack-o’-lanterns,  telling scary stories, watching horror movies or maybe go to a costume party. Have you thought about your best spooky Tricks and Treats for tonight?

Many ideas for food come to my mind, cupcakes with orange frosting, toffy apples, biscuits and cakes with scary decorations, red drinks and of course, something with pumpkin.

Inspired by halloween I am going to post today a pumpkin soup recipe.


  • Ingredients:
  • 1 x 2Kg whole butternut pumpkin
  • 1 large brown onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon turmeric
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 3½ cups (875ml) good quality chicken stock
  • Salt
  • Ground black pepper
  • Olive oil
  • Sour cream to serve

I always like to roast my pumpkin before making the soup,  add a nice taste to it. Preheat oven to 220ºC (435ºF). Cut the pumpkin in big pieces and scoop out the seeds. Place the pumpkin skin side down,  the whole onion and garlic cloves on a baking tray. Drizzle with a little oil, sprinkle the salt, black pepper, turmeric, coriander and nutmeg. Roast for 55-60min or until the pumpkin is just soft and starting to brown. Scoop the pumpkin out of the skin, take the skin from the onion and garlic. Add 1 cup of chicken stock, then puree using a blender or a stick hand blender until smooth. Add remaining stock to the soup, place saucepan over medium heat until is heated trhough. Seasoning to taste and serve with a dollop of sour cream.

Serves 4

Hope you have a good Halloween night!


Pink October

Everyone knows that october is the pink month. Time to get together and help the National breast cancer foundation support those affected by breast cancer.I embraced the cause this year baking some cupcakes for my husband’s work pink breakfast. It was very rewarding knowing that my cupcakes could help people.

Here are the recipes that I used and my beautiful cupcakes:


This recipe is from I used some pink food colouring paste on the icing and  the pink ribbons on top just to finished off. In my oven just took 20 min to bake.



  • 125g butter, chopped coarsely
  • 75g white chocolate, chopped coarsely
  • 1 cup (220g) caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup (125ml) milk
  • 1/2 cup (75g) plain flour
  • 1/2 cup (75g) self-raising flour
  • 1 egg

White chocolate ganache:

  • 1/2 cup (125ml) pouring cream
  • 345g white cooking chocolate, chopped coarsely


  1. Preheat the oven to 170°C/340°F. Line 12 hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Stir butter, chocolate, sugar and milk in small saucepan until smooth. Transfer mixture to medium bowl; cool 15 min.
  3. Whisk sifted flours into chocolate mixture, then the egg. Put 1/4 cup of mixture into paper cases.
  4. Bake about 30 min. Stand cakes in pan 5 min before turning, top-side up, onto wire rack to coll.
  5. For the chocolate ganache: bring cream to the boil in small saucepan, remove from the heat. Add chocolate, stir until smooth. I refrigerated the ganache until the time for piping and before doing it I beat it with an electric hand mixer until light and fluffy.

Makes 12

(Recipe adapted from the book Classic Cupcakes – The Australian Women’s Weekly)


The dark chocolate mud cupcake I made using the same recipe than that of the White Chocolate Mud cake above. I just substituted the dark chocolate  instead of the white chocolate.



  • 90g softened butter
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup (110g) caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup (150g) self-raising flour
  • 2 tablespoon milk

Butter cream:

  • 185g softened butter
  • 2 ¼ cups icing sugar
  • 1/4 cup (60ml) milk
  • Food colouring ( I used pink icing paste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Line 12-hole muffin pan with paper cases.
  2. Beat butter, vanilla extract, sugar and eggs with electric mixer until light and fluffy.
  3. Add the sifted flour and milk and beat until pale colour.
  4. Put the mixture in paper cases and baked about 20 min.
  5. Stand cakes in pan for 5 min before turning top-side up, onto wire rack to cool.
  6. Butter cream: beat butter in a small bowl with electric mixer until as white as possible, beat in sifted sugar and milk, in two batches. tint butter cream with food colouring.

Makes 12

(Recipe adapted from the book Classic Cupcakes – The Australian Women’s Weekly)

I piped the icing on all my cupcakes because I think they always look better but you can choose how to put the icing on it. Don’t be scared to try piping, it was my third time and I am still learning.

Hope you enjoyed my first post!