In the kitchen with Luciana

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In each edition of BBMag, Chef Luciana Berry, semi-finalist of Master Chef Professional UK in 2014, will bring fresh cooking advice and her famous kitchen recipes. Let’s cook!

Hi everyone! It’s such a pleasure to be able to share some of my cooking experiences here in the land of Her Majesty. Everyone who meets me knows how immensely proud I am to be Brazilian and I have spent much time here trying to promote a Brazil that most foreigners are unfamiliar with! Our mix of exotic ingredients and tropical cuisine is, although little explored, our calling card. Regretfully, there isn’t much investment to promote our culinary flair, and so every time I’m hired for an event or the like, I try to show a little bit of who we are. Brazilian cuisine is very rich, simple, honest, colourful, vibrant and full of varied cultures, races and music! In any simple Brazilian dish there is a story, and it fascinates me to tell it. People ask me where I buy my ingredients here in London and I always answer: in African shops, Indian, Pakistani, Chinese, Caribbean, Portuguese, Spanish, Italian, Lebanese, Japanese…a real mix, much like our own identity. A mixture of a little bit of everything in the world makes us – in my opinion – the owners of the most comprehensive and tasty food there is.

luciana-berryAnd why do I like to cook so much? The answer is simple: because I like to eat! I run a catering company that brings happiness and good food to the table of people who like to celebrate life in the tastiest way: with friends, with wine, with chat and with good food. I design a custom-made menu for each client. I like to explore people’s feelings and construct a menu that transports them back to their fondest childhood memories. I always ask them about smells and flavors that they still recall, just by closing their eyes. It is a journey into the past, like any sweet recollections of the early years. Nowadays there are so many wonderful chefs who cook with such professionalism and skill, that I can’t help feeling grateful for being part of a profession that is defined by such intense dedication. Put all this together, throw in a pinch of something special to remind you of the past, add your essence and personality, and you have something magical. This is my motto, being a chef in England. Behind everyone’s personality is a menu. And it’s up to me to extract all the possible information possible to prepare a menu that is just … you!

Along our gastronomic journey here at BBMag there will be several simple and quick recipes that have a little Brazilian touch. Everything you need to make your life a little easier and bring a spot of our Brazilian culture to your home. I hope you have fun and, please, send in any questions or suggestions so that we can create a fun, communal kitchen here at our Gastronomy page.

Yummy… Here is my first recipe! Enjoy your food!

As per the picture, it looks like a bean stew or cassoulet. A cassoulet is a typical dish from the south of France, made with white beans and pork, or duck. It’s like a French version of feijoada (Brazilian stew made with beans and meat). Soya is a bean that originates from China and Japan and is rich in nutrients like calcium and phosphorus. As such it helps combat osteoporosis and prevents chronic degenerative diseases, such as breast, cervical and prostate cancer. Its chemical structure is similar to estrogen, the female hormone, and helps relieve colic pains during menstruation. So girls, let’s eat more soya. No doubt the men will love this idea too. My recipe was so successful that I just had to share it with you, for the good of our health.

Ingredients (Recipe for 6 people)
500g of soya bean
250g of beef jerky or dried meat
100g of bacon
500g smoked sausage
2 onions
10 cloves of garlic
2 bay leaves
20g of coriander
1 bunch of mint
20g of paprika
2 liters of broth
100g of tomato paste
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

For pimentinha (pepper sauce):
2 stalks of chives
½ pepper
½ yellow pepper
½ red onion
½ lemon
Salt and pepper
Olive oil

Preparation
Leave the soya to soak in water for 8 hours and then drain through a sieve. Cut the dried meat and place in a saucepan with water. Bring to the boil, then immediately change the water for fresh water. Repeat this process 6 times until the meat loses its salt.

Take a large, deep pan and add olive oil, and begin to sauté the dried meat. Let the pan brown a little, without letting it burn. Add the diced bacon with onion and chopped garlic. Sauté a little. Knead the small lump of coriander and mint with a mortar and add to the pan with paprika. Add the extract and let simmer. Sauté everything and add the soya. Mix well and add the broth with the bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then simmer to soften the soya beans. With a normal saucepan this should take about four hours, but in a pressure cooker it is much faster. Add a little water if it begins to dry. Two hours before cooking, add the sliced smoked sausage. Make the pimentinha by cutting or lightly ‘bruising’ the ingredients in the mortar and pestle, then season with lemon juice, olive oil, and salt and pepper. Serve with rice or quinoa.

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Luciana Berry

Luciana Berry, Chef, Brazilian (from the State of Bahia) and ambassador for Brazilian cuisine in the UK.

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