Valentine’s Day <3

[Versão em PORTUGUÊS no fim da publicação]


In Brazil, we don’t really celebrate Valentine’s Day the same day (and way) as in other cultures. As I explained here, Brazilian Valentine’s Day is celebrated in June 12th. Nevertheless, thanks to the wonders of the Internet and globalization, all sorts of holidays are becoming more and more popular around the world and Valentine’s couldn’t be different.

As you probably already know, in most western countries, boyfriends and girlfriends usually exchange gifts and (try to) do romantic things together on Valentine’s. In Asians countries, however, girls are traditionally supposed to give chocolate to boys instead (and receive gifts from them on the White Day, a month later).

As for me, I decided to celebrated it in eastern style (since we already have the all-romantic-gift-exchanging-thing in June): I gave a very popular homemade type of chocolate to Felipe. It’s called “Brigadeiro” and it’s certainly one of the most appreciated deserts in Brazil.


The Brigadeirois a common Braziliandelicacy, created in 1940. It is common throughout the entire country, as well as in Portugal, and is present in practically all the major Brazilian celebrations. The Brigadeiro is made from condensed milk, powdered chocolate, butter and chocolate sprinkles to cover the outside layer. It can be cooked in the oven or the microwave, in the form of individual little balls. It can also be eaten straight from the pot once it is done cooking. – Source: Wikipedia


The Brigadeiro I made is a little different from the regular recipe, since I added some cookie layers to it, making it more pastry-like. If you’re willing to try it and be amazed by Brazilian Brigadeiro, here goes the recipe of the one I made (It’s very quick and easy to cook and speechlessly delicious):

Cookie Layered Brigadeiro

Serves: 2 portions

Ingredients:

For the chocolate layers (which is also the regular recipe for traditional Brigadeiro):

  • 1 can of condensed milk
  • 3 tbsp of cocoa/chocolate powder
  • 3 tbsp of fat-free whipped cream
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • Chocolate Sprinkles (to cover the outside layer)

(You can use all-veggie options for those ingredients if you want)

For the cookies layer:

  • 200g of medium-sized cookies of your choice (I used a Brazilian brand called “Passtempo” that is Felipe’s favourite.

In a cooking pan, mix the condensed milk, butter and chocolate powder. Take it to medium fire and keep stirring until it boils and gets creamy and more consistent. Turn off the fire, add the whipped cream and stir to combine.

Keep stirring until it boils and gets more consistent

Keep stirring until it boils and gets more consistent 

In a recipient of your choice, crumble half of the cookies to form the first layer, then add half of the previously made chocolate. Add another layer of crumbled cookies and, finally, the last layer of chocolate (you can add more layers if you want). Sprinkle the chocolate sprinkles (lol?), wait until it cools down a little, serve and be marveled! ;P

You can keep it refrigerated for around 2 days.

Cookie Layered Brazilian Brigadeiro for Valentine's!

Cookie Layered Brazilian Brigadeiro for Valentine’s! 

Don’t forget to tell me what you think of it and please share your chocolate recipes too. Happy Valentine’s~!


[Portuguese translation below)

Valentine’s Day – O dia international dos namorados ❤

No Brasil não comemoramos o dia dos namorados da mesma forma (e data) que em outras culturas. Como eu explico aqui, o dia dos namorados no Brasil é festejado somente em Junho. Todavia, graças às maravilhas da Internet, todos os feriados estão se tornando cada vez mais globalizados e não poderia ser diferente com o Valentine’s Day.

Como provavelmente já sabem, na maioria dos países ocidentais os namorados costumam trocar presentes e (tentar) fazer coisas românticas nesta data – que fora do Brasil é celebrada em 14 de Fevereiro, em homenagem à São Valentim (daí o nome Valentine’s Day ou “Dia de Valentim”).

Nos países asiáticos, entretanto, no dia dos namorados as moças costumam dar chocolates (tradicionalmente caseiros) para os rapazes. Estes, por sua vez, devem presentear as moças um mês depois, no White Day.

Quanto a mim, decidi celebrar do modo oriental (visto que em Junho já temos a troca de presentes romântica tradicional). Eu preparei para o Felipe um tipo chocolate caseiro muito popular no Brasil: o Brigadeiro – o qual é certamente um dos doces mais apreciados do país (e se você está lendo isto em  português provavelmente já conhece, não é? 😉 ).

Pois bem, o brigadeiro que eu fiz é um pouquinho diferente da receita padrão  – É um tipo de torta de brigadeiro com cookies que é super simples e rápida de fazer mas, ainda assim, incrivelmente deliciosa! Se quiserem experimentar, aqui vai a receita:

Torta em Camadas de Brigadeiro com Cookies

Serve 2 porções

Ingredientes:
Para a camada de chocolate:

  • 1 lata de leite condensado (de preferencia light)
  • 3 colheres de sopa de chocolate em pó
  • 3 colheres de sopa de creme de leite leve ou light (é mais saudável, viu gente?)
  • 1 colher de sopa de manteira ou margarina
  • 1 pacote de Chocolate granulado

(Todos os ingredientes podem ser usados também em suas versões vegetarianas)

Para a camada de cookies:

  • 200g de cookies (de sua preferencia) picados. Eu usei o de Passatempo da Nestlé, que é o favorito do Felipe.

Numa panela, misture o leite condensado, o chocolate em pó e a manteiga. Mexa sempre em fogo médio até levantar fervura e ficar com consistencia de brigadeiro de colher. Apague o fogo, misture o creme de leite e reserve.

Mexa sempre até ficar ferver e ficar com consistencia de brigadeiro de colher

Mexa sempre até ficar ferver e ficar com consistencia de brigadeiro de colher

Num recipiente de sua escolha, adicione metade dos cookies picados para formar a primeira camada. Em seguida, adicione metade do brigadeiro previamente reservado. Adicione a segunda camada de cookies e, por fim, a última camada de brigadeiro (se preferir pode fazer mais camadas, sempre intercalando os cookies com o brigadeiro). Polvilhe o chocolate granulado à gosto, espere esfriar, sirva e se delicie!

Se sobrar (o que acho difícil rs), pode guardar por até dois dias na geladeira.

Torta em Camadas de Brigadeiro com Cookies

Torta em Camadas de Brigadeiro com Cookies

Não esqueçam de me contar o que acharam e também compartilhar suas próprias receitas nos comentários. Feliz Valentine~! ❤

 

9 Christmas/New Year unusual traditions you find in Brazil

There are many Christmas/New Year traditions around the world. Some are quite conventional and some are completely different.

Despite being officially a secular state, the most prevalent religion in Brazil is Catholicism – because of this you can see many references to Catholic saints and other holy characters in Christmas decorations around here. On the other hand, during the New Year celebrations there are more references to African rooted religions such as the Yoruba, where many Brazilians perform good luck rituals to have a more prosperous year. And there are even some traditions that aren’t attached to any sort of spiritual meaning, but have been going on for so long that now it’s impossible to dissociate them. And because Brazil is a very interbred country, many of those traditions are inherited from somewhere else but Brazilian people have certainly added their own personal touch to them.

Take a peek at some of the most curious Christmas/New year traditions you’d commonly witness in Brazil during the festivities:

1 – Panettone

You know Christmas is coming in Brazil when you start seeing Panettones for sale just about everywhere – From the convenience stores to the more exquisite shops.

Originally from Italy, traditional Panettone is a type of sweet bread loaf with mixed comfits fruits. Yet there are many other variations like chocolate chips and chocolate mousse stuffed. No Christmas party is complete without at least 1 type of Panettone!

IMG_1307

Comfit fruits Panettone: The more traditional one and my favourite (my sister bought this one for me) ;P

2 – Raisins, raisins everywhere… And comfit fruits:

During the end of the year celebrations in Brazil you can find Raisins and Comfit Fruits not only in the Panettones but almost everywhere, as many other traditional dishes use them in their recipes.

vaiteruvapassa

The christmas promotional stickers from the gift brand “Imaginarium” being for and against raisins. It says “Don’t put raisins anywhere” and “Yes, there shall be raisins”.

Some people are so tired of finding raisins in everything (specially in rice) that went as far as creating Internet Memes begging for it to stop.

I personally like them. 😀

3 – Chester:

As in several other places in the world, Roasted Turkey is usually the main course on Christmas feasts in Brazil. However, there’s a specific kind of Chicken that has gained a lot of popularity over the years because of the more affordable price: The Chester.

chester

Perdigão’s Chester (Image Source: Revista BRF)

Presented (and trademarked) in 1982 by a large meat company called “Perdigão“,  Chesters are artificially selected chickens with larger breasts and thighs and a more tender meat.

(Since I’m vegetarian, I’m totally out of this one though)

4 – Lentils, Nuts, Hazelnuts, Walnuts and Dates:

There’s a (originally Italian) superstition that says if you eat a tablespoon of lentils during the turn of the year you are going to have an abundant table for the rest of the new year to come.

LentilhaSorte-sheila

Lucky Lentils (Image Source: Nestlé.com.br)

Many sorts of nuts are an Arabian tradition that brings wealth to those who eat them.

fotolia_5369825_XS

Nut to bring you wealth (Image Source: Internet Archives)

5 – Grapes:

Eating 3 or 7 (or whatever your lucky number is) grapes at the New Year’s Midnight will bring you prosperity, lucky and plenty of food. It was an inherited tradition from Portugal.

grapes

Grapes (Image Source: Greenmarketglobal.com)

6 – Specific colored (or new) underwear:

Yes, you read it right. It’s said that if you wear new underwear in the New Year’s eve it’ll bring you lucky in your love life. And another belief probably derived from African religions, says if you wear white underwear on the same occasion it’ll bring you peace, purity and harmony.

true-colors

Pick your fortune! (Image Source: lighthouse8.com)

There are some variations of this superstition, extending the new clothes to your whole outfit during both Christmas and New Year. Also, if you wear outfits in specific colors during the turn of the new year you’ll achieve different goals. The more commons (besides the white for peace and harmony) are yellow for money, red for passion, pink for love, green for hope and health, and blue for serenity.

7 – Coarse Salt, Champagne and jumping:

During the New Year celebrations, washing your belonging with coarse salt or sea water will keep all negative energies away. 

Jumping three times while holding a champagne glass without spitting a single drop will also achieve the same goal. But if you get soaked in champagne by others it is considered good fortune for you. Jumping over 7 waves on the beach is also said to bring you good fortune.

8 – Leave offerings for the goddess “Iemanjá” at the sea/river:

It’s a ritual that also comes from the African religions. Leaving an offering for the goddess on New Year’s eve is supposed to help you to meet the most diversified goals in the year to come. The offerings may vary according to your specific goals but they are usually roses and flowers.

lucianohuk

Brazilian TV presenter Luciano Huck delivering his offering (Image Source: ofuxico.com.br)

9 – Popular TV Shows:

On Brazilian open Television Channels (like Globo) some Christmas/New Year special shows have been happening for so many decades that they also became sort of a tradition. Like Roberto Carlos’ end of the year specials.

Roberto Carlos is a very famous pop-singer that has been presenting an end of the year special show for more than twenty years by now. He’s the favorite of most grandmas in Brazil. Many other Brazilian artists also host their special shows during holidays, like Xuxa (famous as TV for children presenter) and Luciano Huck (another TV presenter).

fr_rc-rosas

Famous Brazilian Pop-Singer “Roberto Carlos” at his end of the year special (Image Source: Internet Archives)

And what about the place you live? Are there any uncommon end of the year traditions? Tell me all about it!

About the current political situation in Brazil

This week the Chamber of Deputies president Eduardo Cunha and other opposition representatives began a process to impeach Brazil’s president, Dilma Rouseff. And although it was already rejected by the Supreme Court, the overall mood in the country isn’t cheerful.

Brazil is currently facing a crisis so bad that more than 59% of the people thinks our president should be impeached. I’m not really a political person but there are some matters that cannot be ignored and I must say, despite I’m not in favor of our current president, I don’t see how an impeachment could improve the situation either. Kenneth Rapoza from Forbes synthetized my opinion about this whole situation on his article: Why Impeaching Brazil’s President Dilma Is A Bad Idea that I strongly recommend you to spare a few minutes to read.

It’s a real shame that some parties seem to be taking advantage of people’s discontent (and a bit of political ignorance) to stir things up even more. We all have the right to be completely “fed up” with this whole chaotic situation, but as magnificently stated by Forbes, impeaching our president won’t solve anything and will probably just make it all worse.

 

My Dog Got Sick

I mentioned before that my dog was sick but was recovering. Unfortunately he’s got badly sick a little afterwards – While I was overseas he was infected with a protozoan called Giardia. He was treated and by the time I returned home he was almost 100% healthy again. But then, while still on treatment for giardia, he started to show all the symptoms again so the treatment continued and he’s got even worse.

My dog

My dog “Raik”, while doing fuild therapy – It was horrible to see him like that

My dog has always been a little “annoying”, he’s the yapping kind, full of energy and loves food above almost anything in the world. So when he reached the point where he stopped eating or drinking and would prefer to be laying down somewhere all day I got really desperate and took him to another vet.

First I want to say that I don’t blame the previous vet for anything. I think all the procedures he made were reasonable, but I think sometimes you are so close to the problem that you can’t see straight and maybe that’s what happened.

Anyway, I took him to a new vet and he said that since my dog was being treated for Giardiasis for so long it was really unlikely that he was still infected, it must be something else that was causing those symptoms and he was going to start over from the scratch. He requested many exams like Blood tests, X-Rays and Ultrasound and he found out my dog was suffering from Pancreatitis. He then started a new treatment and slowly my dog is slowly getting healthy again.

(In short: Pancreatitis is a very bad disease where the Pancreas starts to digest itself. The symptoms can be very similar to those of Giardiasis)

At the waiting room of the new vet, he was probably feeling a lot of pain. But fortunately that was the begning of his recovery

At the waiting room of the new vet, he was probably feeling a lot of pain. But fortunately that was the beginning of his recovery

It was horrible to see him the way he was – like an empty shell of himself. I felt a little frustrated because I’m studying to be a vet and it seemed like I couldn’t do anything to save my own dog. Felipe (my boyfriend) said I shouldn’t bother, I just left my freshman year and there’s still a lot for me to learn, but still…

My whole family was seriously worried about him and I must thank my mother greatly for being such a huge help taking care of him.

My dog is now all crazy about food again, he’s yapping and annoying all neighbours again, almost all symptoms are gone and I’d say he’s around 80% of full recovery, thanks goodness!

So here’s my advice: sometimes you really need a second opinion, about all things in life. Because sometimes people are too close to the problem to see streight.

Review: Magnífica 70

Magnífica 70 is a brazilian TV series produced by HBO Latin America and directed by Claudio Torres. The first season has 13 episodes with 52 min duration each and (as expected from any HBO series) it’s visually amazing! Remarkable work of the cast aside – Costumes, scenarios, every single detail fits perfectly into São Paulo at the 70’s, where the story takes place. Although the plot may sound a bit plain at first, as the story goes on it really catches the interest of the viewer, not to mention all characters are deeply well-developed.

Magnífica 70 promo poster (source: Internet Archives)

Magnífica 70 promo poster (source: Internet Archives) – All rights reserved to HBO and associates

During military regime, Vicente (Marcos Winter) is a censorship agent with a boring life and a failed marriage. But everything changes when he censures a movie that leads him to meet Manolo (Adriano Garib) and Dora (Simone Spoladore) – a producer and an actress that work on that movie. As they try to convince Vicente to release their film, they introduce him to a world of magic and glory called cinema. And the censorship agent falls inexorably in love, initiating the old conflict between what’s desired and what’s forbidden.

Manolo, Dora and Vicente (Source: Internet Archives)

Manolo, Dora and Vicente (Source: Internet Archives) – All rights reserved to HBO and associates

Since Brazilian movies during the 70’s were mostly headed by a genre called “pornochanchada“, a mix between comedy and soft “adult content”, in order to make a faithful recriation of that time and place expect to see a considerable amount of graphic material. So I wouldn’t recommend this series for the ones who are under 18 (as mostly HBO series though). Nevertheless, Magnífica 70 is a series that’s going to get you amazed. Definitely worths watching!


PS: Season Two was already confirmed!