Monday, April 8, 2024

Apple blueberry bars and 2024 resolutions

Barrinhas de maçã e mirtilo / Apple blueberry bars

My dear and lovely readers, I hope you are all well and having a very nice year so far. It has been a very, very long time since I last posted something on this blog, so I would be surprised if anyone stopped by, but anyway I would like to talk to you today about New Year’s resolutions (in April – I know, I know). 😊

In the beginning of 2023 I made a list of resolutions for that year and I kept it very small to avoid frustrations: I wanted to finish writing my e-book (in Portuguese) and publish it (did it on June 2), to exercise more often (still to be improved in 2024, but I started and it was very good for me) and to treat myself more kindly than I used to (this is a work in progress so it is on the 2024 list as well).

To my surprise, the e-book has sold many copies, I have received several emails and messages from people who bought it saying they loved it, also received photos of some of the recipes being prepared at my readers’ homes… It was one of the best things I had in my whole life.

By early January this year I decided to write again the list of resolutions, and again I would keep it small: one of them was to keep blogging, at least once a month, even though blogs cannot compete nowadays with Instagram and TikTok (I must be honest and say that I don’t even know how to use the latter, I’m too old for that). So far I have managed to keep that promise for my blog in Portuguese (I even posted twice back in February), therefore I will do the same with this blog in English.

I’ll start with these delicious apple blueberry bars, that were meant to be blueberry bars only, but when I checked my freezer, I saw that my blueberry stash was not as big as I thought. One look at my counter and the beautiful apples I had brought home a couple of days before almost smiled at me, begging to be used: they were the perfect pair for the blueberries and the bars turned out wonderful.


Apple blueberry bars

own recipe


Crust and topping:

2 cups (280g) all purpose flour

1/3 cup (46g) fine corn flour/corn meal (not corn starch) – if you cannot find it, replace with all purpose flour

¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon fine salt

1/3 cup + 1 tablespoon (total of 78g) granulated sugar

¾ cup (170g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled



2 medium Gala apples (total of 250g)

1 cup (150g) blueberries, fresh or frozen (unthawed)

¼ cup (50g) granulated sugar

1 teaspoon corn starch

pinch of salt

½ tablespoon lime or lemon juice


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Lightly brush a 20cm (8in) square baking pan with butter, line it with foil leaving an overhang in two opposite sides and butter the foil as well. Set aside.


In a medium bowl whisk together the all purpose flour, corn flour, cinnamon, salt and sugar. Add the butter and whisk it in using a fork until you get coarse breadcrumbs texture. Transfer 2/3 of this mixture to the prepared pan and spread it evenly on the bottom. Press the mixture down onto the bottom of the pan (using your fingertips or a small measuring cup) to make the crust of the bars. Freeze the base and the remaining mixture for 10 minutes while you prep the fruit.


Core the apples, remove the seeds and cut into 1cm (little less than ½ inch) cubes. Transfer to a medium bowl, add the blueberries, sugar, corn starch, salt and lime/lemon juice and mix to combine.

Remove the pan and bowl from the freezer. Spread the fruit evenly over the base and sprinkle over the remaining mixture – you can squeeze portions of the mixture in your hand to create different sizes of crumbles if you like.


Bake for 35-40 minutes or until golden. Remove from the oven and let cool completely over a wire rack before slicing and serving.


Makes 16


Friday, September 3, 2021

Lime poppy seed waffles and memories of traveling

Waffles de limão e sementes de papoula

Living in pandemic times is tiresome, and one of the things I miss the most is traveling: from time to time I browse the photos I took in past trips. First I thought that it would be painful to see those photos, but actually it felt really good to realize the privilege I had to know so many wonderful places. Even with the vaccination process going forward, traveling abroad will no longer be like it used to, given the Brazilian currency is completely devaluated. Traveling abroad is now only for a selected group of people, like it used to be in the past, when I was a kid and a teenager.

I look at the photos and think of the wonderful places I visited, the beautiful museums and parks, the restaurants and delicious meals I had. It makes me nostalgic, but happy at the same time.

While browsing my travel photos on a flash drive, I found a folder with recipes I made a good while ago but, for some reason, I did not post here because I did not like the photo, did not like the recipe result, or because of a certain ingredient, like these waffles: poppy seeds have been hard to find in Brazil, therefore I ended up forgetting about the recipe.

Weeks ago I was finally able to buy some poppy seeds and immediately baked an orange cake with them – after that, I posted these waffles on my blog in Portuguese, and now I post them here too. The waffles are delicious, perfumed with lime and with an extra crunch from the poppy seeds – I hope you like them.


Lime poppy seed waffles

own recipe, adapted from these waffles


2 tablespoons granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 2 large limes

1 ¼ cups (175g) all purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

pinch of salt

1 tablespoon poppy seeds

1 large egg, room temperature

¼ cup (60ml) extra virgin olive oil

¾ cup (180ml) whole milk, room temperature

2 teaspoons lime juice

½ teaspoon vanilla extract


In a medium bowl, place the sugar and lime zest and rub them together with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add the flour, baking powder, poppy seeds and salt and whisk well.

In a small bowl, whisk together the egg, olive oil, milk, lime juice and vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir just until incorporated – do not overmix.

Heat a waffle iron until very hot; lightly coat with nonstick spray – my waffle maker is nonstick, so I do not coat it.

Working in batches, cook waffles until golden and cooked through. Transfer to a wire rack set inside a baking sheet and keep warm in oven until ready to serve.

Makes 5-6 waffles

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

Green bean, tomato, feta and cannellini bean salad

Salada de vagem, tomate, feta e feijão branco / Green bean, tomato, feta and cannellini bean salad

It is super cold in Sao Paulo today – it is the winter after all – and I have been trying to keep myself warm with lots of clothes and buckets of hot tea (I might make soup for dinner to boot).

However, I know that many of you reading me on the top half of the planet are having a very intense summer, including devastating effects in some places due to extreme heat and storms. I do hope you are well and safe, and that things get back to normal soon.

I will share with you today one of my favorite salads, one that I have made several times and that I like specially to take to the office for lunch. It is not even a recipe to be honest: I start by grilling the green beans in a hot nonstick frying pan with a little bit of olive oil and half a clove of garlic, some salt and pepper (I later discard the garlic – it is only to perfume the beans).

When it is cool, I add halved cherry tomatoes, diced feta cheese and cannellini beans from a can.

The dressing is a very simple vinaigrette made with olive oil, lime or lemon juice, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper: everything added to an empty jar and shaken until creamy. When I take this salad to work for lunch, I pack the dressing separately and add it to the salad minutes before eating.

A fresh, colorful meal, made in minutes and without using the stove too much – I hope you like it. xx

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Lemon pistachio yogurt cake - yes, cake again :)

Bolo de iogurte, pistache e limão siciliano

Here I am once again with cake. :) 

Days have been pretty busy around here, lots of work, back at the office twice a week, but all in all everything is fine. I took my first vaccine shot two weeks ago and I felt something I hadn’t felt in quite a long time: hope.

It was quite an emotional moment for me, when a mix of feelings emerged: happiness and relief, and at the same time anger because of all the people who have died because the psychopath who is the president of my country refused to buy vaccines, because he wanted to make money out of it – corruption in its most disgusting shape.

One thing I have not changed on my weeks is baking a cake to snack on in the afternoons: my husband and I got completely hooked on that. The Epicurious yogurt cake recipe continues to be a hit in my house, and I have made it so many times since quarantine started that I have lost track of it. So easy to put together, so adaptable. 

This version I made with lemon and pistachio and it turned out amazing – very tender and sort of marzipany in taste, even though I used pistachios instead of almonds. My favorite take on this recipe, tied with the apple version.


Bolo de iogurte, pistache e limão siciliano

Lemon pistachio yogurt cake

adapted from the Epicurious recipe, once again


1 ¼ cups (175g) all-purpose flour

½ cup (50g) pistachio flour (finely ground hazelnuts)

2 teaspoons baking powder

¼ teaspoon table salt

1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 2 lemons

¾ cup (180g) plain yogurt

½ cup (120ml) vegetable oil – I used canola

2 large eggs, room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

2 teaspoons Cointreau (optional)


To sprinkle to cake:

1 tablespoon granulated sugar


Preheat oven to 180C/350°F. Brush with oil a 6-cup capacity loaf pan (22x11cm/8.5x4.5in), line with baking paper leaving an overhang in the two longer sides and brush the paper as well.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the all purpose flour, pistachio flour, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, rub sugar and lemon zest with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Whisk in yogurt, oil, eggs, vanilla, lemon juice and Cointreau (if using) until smooth. Fold in reserved dry ingredients – if batter is too lumpy, whisk for a few seconds – do not overmix or the cake will become tough.

Pour the batter into prepared pan and smooth the top. Sprinkle with the sugar. Bake for 50-55 minutes, or until a skewer or toothpick inserted into center of the cake comes out clean.

Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes. Carefully and using the paper as a guide, remove cake from pan and transfer to the rack to cool completely.

The cake can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Serves 8

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Rangpur lime cake

Bolo de limão cravo / Rangpur lime cake

When I first started cooking from foreign books, magazines and food blogs, I was amazed to find out so many new ingredients – and until some point in time, I was not able to find some of them in Brazil.

Almond extract was one of them – I could only find the synthetic stuff here, so when I first went to New York, in 2012, I brought home a small bottle of Nielsen-Massey’s almond extract. To my surprise, when I tried it and baked it for the first time, I found it… weird. It was not what I expected – to me, it still felt artificial. So after that I went back to using Amaretto to replace almond extract in recipes, as I had been doing before my trip with great success.

When I saw Claire Saffitz making her almond poppy seed cake on YouTube I was immediately interested in the recipe – since I wanted to bake something but did not have much butter in the fridge – plus my good friend Ellen had told me the cake was truly wonderful.

First I thought of making the cake using Amaretto instead, but then I decided to tweak Claire’s recipe just a little to flavor the cake with the lovely Rangpur limes I had brought from the farmers’ market – the cake turned out tender and absolutely delicious, perfumed with the limes and the smell took over the apartment while the cake was in the oven - it smelled so good it was very hard to wait for the cake to cool to slice it. 😊

If Rangpur limes are not easy to find where you live, go ahead and use lemons or limes instead.  


Rangpur lime cake

slightly adapted from Claire Saffitz’s almond poppy seed cake



1 cup (200g) granulated sugar

finely grated zest of 2 large Rangpur limes (about 60g each lime)

1 ½ cups (210g) all purpose flour

¾ teaspoon baking powder

¼ teaspoon salt

¾ cup (180ml) whole milk, room temperature

2/3 cup (160ml) canola oil

1 large egg, room temperature

1 large egg yolk, room temperature

½ teaspoon vanilla extract

1 ½ teaspoons Rangpur lime juice

1 tablespoon Cointreau (optional)



1/3 cup (46g) icing sugar

½ tablespoon (7g) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 teaspoons Rangpur lime juice


Preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F. Brush with oil a 6-cup capacity loaf pan (22x11cm/8.5x4.5in), line with baking paper leaving an overhang in the two longer sides and brush the paper as well.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, rub together sugar and zest with your fingertips until sugar is fragrant. Add flour, baking powder, salt, and whisk. Set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk well the milk, oil, egg, egg yolk, vanilla extract, lime juice and Cointreau (if using). Pour over dry ingredients and then mix in high speed for 1 minute or until batter is smooth.

Transfer to prepared pan and bake for about 80 minutes, or until risen and golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool in the pan over a wire rack for 15 minutes, then carefully unmold using paper as guide.

In the meantime, make the glaze: sift the icing sugar into a small bowl, add the remaining ingredients and whisk well until you get a pourable consistency (add more juice if necessary).

After unmolding the cake, peel off the paper from the sides of the cake (only the sides at this point, since the cake will still be very fragile to be turned around) and pierce the cake all around with a toothpick. Brush with the glaze on top and sides, until all the glaze is absorbed. Cool completely before serving.

Cake can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Serves 8-10 slices

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