When I first moved to America I met (or more likely was forced to meet) a lot of other nannies from all over the world. It is common practice for them to all meet once a week and talk rubbish about anything and everything. I for one, did not really take to these said gatherings, preferring to make my own friends and actually talk to people I liked as opposed to people I should have liked. There was the exception of a few wonderful girls (you all know who you are) that I would spend all of my spare time with forming a life long bond.
While hanging out with said girls one day, I was introduced to Anahe, she didn't live in my area but was friends with some of the other girls and she wanted to take us to experience Brazilian cuisine. I was intrigued but also a little apprehensive. I guess you could say I was bought up a little sheltered when it comes to my home town. I grew up in a quiet little surfing town, besides a train that ran every 2 hours we had no public transport, we rode our bikes or skateboards everywhere, everyone knew everyone else's business and I'm pretty sure there has never been a homeless person living on our streets. I'm sure you could imagine my brief anxiety when she walked us through bustling downtown (I will leave out the town name) where there were homeless people, gangs of probably very harmless men hanging around in clusters (I have been told they wait for contractors to pick them up for a days work), run down buildings that hold brothels, people dealing drugs in plain sight out front of crack houses and mounds of garbage piled in the curbs.
While I starred bug eyed and took it all in, they all ignored me. Everyone went about their own business and I soon discovered that while it was very out of the norm for me, this was how it was downtown, and walking about was not an issue, however, maybe I wouldn't do this alone at night. Finally we arrived at our destination (a run down dirty looking building that screamed food poisoning), and instead of taking a seat, you took a plate and joined the line of people that were winding their way around a brilliant hot bbq pit. we piled our plates high with salads, hot potato bakes, pasta and freshly sliced bbq meats and then weighed them to figure out how much it cost. I think it was about $7 a pound, don't ask me if that is a good price, I have no idea! Good deal or not, the food was amazing, fresh and free from salmonella.
I didn't over indulge because I had my eye on the dessert cabinet. Passionfruit mousse, flan, an assortment of cakes and cookies and the all famous Brigadeiro. After getting a run down on all the desserts, what is in them and how they are made, I couldn't pass the Brigadeiro. Sweetened condensed milk cooked down with chocolate and rolled in sprinkles (traditionally chocolate sprinkles), this simple dessert has the taste of creamy caramel and a hint of chocolate and is a staple in most Brazilian homes. Sizes vary from golf ball to marble and can also be rolled in coconut, cocoa powder or chopped nuts, which ever way it comes it is delicious!
Many thanks to Anahe for introducing me to the wonderful world of Brazilian cooking, I would never have tried it if it weren't for you. Hopefully on my next visit to America I will remember where this little gem is hiding.
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 tablespoon of butter
2 tablespoons of coco powder (I am told that Ovaltine is traditional but if you cant get that, coco powder is fine)
Sprinkles to coat
- Lightly grease a tray with butter.
- Place all ingredients in a medium saucepan and stir over low heat continuously until mixture thickens. You should be able to scrape the bottom of the pan and the mixture will take a few seconds to cover it over again. This process will take roughly 15 minutes.
- Pour mixture onto tray and allow to cool completely.
- Once cool, grease hands with a little butter and roll mixture into balls (I made mine about a teaspoon and a half).
- Roll each ball in sprinkles and place in a paper cup.
These can be stored at room temperature or in the fridge. I prefer mine in the fridge because it makes them a little chewier but it is entirely up to you!