I had the pleasure of running a workshop session for Suffolk Artlink this week based on recipes from home. My inspiration took me to prepare Brazilian pão de queijo (cheese bread) and Christmas ham.
I have been lucky enough to be invited to work on this project for a few times since 2017. These sessions are an opportunity for me to go beyond sharing my passion for food. I learn a lot from the participants, who are carers with much more experience than me in the home daily kitchen. I confess: I have been spoiled by my family’s exquisite cooking for a good chunk of my life.
In these sessions, I often discover new dishes, different tastes, habits and flavours. I am blessed with so much input from people’s cultural heritage!
One of many lessons is that brits have a way to mix sweet and savoury that is totally fascinating and challenging. I was not used to this combination, so frequent on the local cuisine.
I chose to make #paodequeijo (cheese bread), so traditional in my country, and my grandmother’s ham not to be missed on Xmas, glazed with coke and cloves.
Not for every taste
I’m more of an intuitive or enthusiast cook, to be honest. Cooking is about practicing, which I don’t have that much ‘cause I cook sporadically, but I’m getting there! It is also about feeling it, remembering, experiencing.
During this session, one of the doughs was a little more sticky than I would want. I had to add more flour, cheese, eggs… We made 3 doughs with different cheeses. Amazing how each one of them turned out totally different from another. Cooking depends about the hand, the will, the emotion, the amount….
In the end, the texture of the pão de queijo, which Brazilians love, was controversial. Some of the participants enjoyed it, some were not so keen. However, everyone seemed happy with the food chatting and tasting. One remembered the session before, and shared the struggles with the brigadeiro. A little tip here and there, and give it another go!
This time, one took the cassava flours leftovers, which are base for the cheese bread, to experiment. Victory!
I always feel a bit emotional on these sessions because food is so related to my family, how I grew up, how I truly know to share love.
More flavours from Brazil: