Tagged Brazil

Ora-Pro-Nobis

For those of you who understand Latin you will recognize the words above as “pray for us”. If you are familiar with Brazil, and with the state of Minas Gerais, you will know that it is also the name of a plant.

Specifically a kind of cactus – though this might come as a surprise even to those who are acquainted with it – with the scientific name Pereskia aculeata. It is an undemanding clambering plant with fiery thorns and oblong leaves. Its spectacular flowers give off a pleasant fragrance, but alas only last for a day or two.

Ora-pro-nobis flowers
The gorgeous flowers appear between January and March. Sadly their beauty is short-lived, as they die within a day or two.

In Minas, and to a lesser degree in other regions of Brazil ora-pro-nobis is part of the culinary tradition. The leaves, rich in proteins, vitamins, fibers, iron, calcium and other minerals, are used in the sauce of stewed chicken or meat. Or they may be sauteed with garlic as a side dish. Raw they can be an ingredient for salads. More and more recipes incorporate them in nontraditional ways.

Ora pro Nobis leaves
The leaves of the ora-pro-nobis plant are an important ingredient in the culinary tradition of Minas Gerais.

A number of medicinal properties are attributed to the plant as well. The leaves release a mucus when cut, which is popularly used as anti-inflammatory ointment for skin irritations or in case of burns.

So, after all, where does the unlikely name originate? Legend has it that people were harvesting the plant in the garden of a parish priest while overhearing him praying in Latin. They liked the ring of it and the name stuck.

I guess now I owe you at least one traditional recipe.

 

From my Kitchen: Farofa de Ora-Pro-Nobis

Farofa is essentially  Brazilian, and simply cannot be translated. Its base is coarse manioc flour (“farinha de mandioca”), which gets roasted in fat with any number of other ingredients – often including eggs – to become a flavorful crisp side dish for meat or chicken. It’s also great with barbecue.

farofa de Ora pro Nobis

Here is my ora-pro-nobis version:

Ingredients:

1 tblsp cooking oil

50 g bacon, finely cubed

1 small onion, finely chopped

2-3 cloves of garlic, minced

1/2 red or green bell pepper, finely cubed

1 cup ora-pro-nobis, finely chopped

1/2 – 3/4 cup coarse manioc flour

salt, dried oregano and black pepper to taste

 

Preparation:

In a non stick skillet heat the cooking oil and add the bacon, fry until crisp. Add the onions and garlic and sautee until golden, then throw in the peppers and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. Add the ora-pro-nobis, cook until they start wilting, about 1 – 2 minutes. Season with the dried oregano, salt and pepper.  Finally gradually pour in the manioc flower, stirring constantly until it reaches a crumbly consistency.

 

Farofa de ora-pro-nobis

Ingredientes:

1 colher de sopa de óleo de cozinha

50 g de bacon cortado em cubos pequenos

1 cebola pequena cortada em cubos pequenos

2-3 dentes de alho picado

1/2 pimentão vermelho ou verde cortado em cubos pequenos

1 xícara de ora-pro-nobis picado

1/2 a 3/4 de xícara de farinha de mandioca

sal, orégano e pimenta do reino a gosto

 

Modo de preparo:

Esquentar o óleo em uma panela antiaderente e em seguida acrescentar o bacon. Deixar bem frito e adicionar a cebola e depois o alho. Assim que ambos tiverem dourados adicionar o pimentão e continuar cozinhando aproximadamente 5 minutos. Acrescentar as folhas de ora-pro-nobis  e cozinhar mais 1 – 2 minutos, até  o ora-pro-nobis muchar. Temperar com orégano, sal e pimenta do reino. Finalmente adicionar a farinha aos poucos, sempre mexendo até chegar na consistência desejada.

 

I hope you enjoyed our little excursion into the kitchens of Minas Gerais. We always appreciate your comments. Please follow us on facebook or sign up via e-mail if you like to be kept up-to-date on our posts.

 

 

Diamantina in Detail

Starting today “diamantina diary” will introduce new contributing photographers, both professional and amateur, each of whom will present us with their very own perspective of this enchanting town.

Today’s feature is by Raquel Galiciolli, a longtime Diamantina resident.

“Diamantina,

Uma cidade fotogênica e muito fotografada. Difícil descobrir um ângulo ainda não registrado. Ainda assim, ouso revelá-la através de detalhes. São  eles que me encantam, diariamente.Um passeio atento por suas ruas nos permite perceber que se trata de um lugar inesquecível.”

          Raquel, fisioterapeuta por formação, saúde pública por escolha e fotografia por paixão!
“Diamantina,
a photogenic and much photographed town. It’s hard to find an angle that hasn’t been recorded yet.
Still I dare to reveal her through details. It’s they which enchant me, every day. An attentive stroll through her streets makes us realize that this is an unforgettable place.”
          Raquel, physiotherapist by training, public health by choice and photography by passion!
            
Rua do Amparo - Amparo Street
Rua do Amparo – Amparo Street

 

Torre - Church tower
Torre – Church tower

 

Passeio - Sidewalk
Passeio – Sidewalk

 

Igreja São Francisco - Saint Francis church
Igreja São Francisco – Saint Francis church

 

Janela - Window
Janela – Window

 

Catedral - Cathedral
Catedral – Cathedral

 

Torre da catedral - Cathedral tower
Torre da catedral – Cathedral tower

 

Entardecer no centro - Eventide in the center
Entardecer  – Eventide

 

Lua cheia - Full moon
Lua cheia – Full moon

Thank you Raquel for sharing these beautiful images with us. We hope to see more of your work soon.

 

Thanks for visiting. Please click on the post title to leave your comment.

Obrigada pela visita. Favor clique no título do post para deixar seu comentário.

 

Chimerical Diamantina

These black and white pictures taken in Diamantina by Jorge Vasconcelos were selected by the photographer from the series  “Visão Plástica – Beleza e Descaso” (Plastic Vision – Beauty and Neglect).

They were taken with a Holga, an analog camera with a plastic lens. The imperfections of the lens blur the edges and distort the images in a unique way, imbuing them with a soft, dreamlike quality.

 

Igreja do Rosário - Rosário Church
Igreja do Rosário – Rosary  Church

 

Chafariz - Fountain
Chafariz – Fountain

 

Vista da torre da Igreja N.S. do Carmo - View from the tower of Our Lady of Carmel Church
Vista da torre da Igreja N.S. do Carmo – View from the tower of  Our Lady of  Carmel Church

 

Cemitério - Cemetery
Cemitério – Cemetery

 

Cruzeiro - Cross
Cruzeiro – Cross

 

Pau do Cebo - Grease Pole
Pau do Cebo – Grease Pole

 

Basilica S.C. Jesus
Basílica S.C. Jesus – Sacred Heart of  Jesus Church

 

Mercado dos Tropeiros - Muleteers' Market
Mercado dos Tropeiros – Muleteers’ Market

To see more of Jorge’s work go to www.flickr.com/photos/jorge-vasconcelos/sets/

 

Thank you for your comments!

Obrigada pelos seus comentários em português!

I’m working out a few bugs right now. Meanwhile please leave your comment on the Welcome page. Thanks!

Impressions from the Cerrado

Ask people from around the world what they associate with Brazilian landscapes, and most likely they will come up with two images: lush tropical forests and endless beaches.

However Brazil is a country of continental dimensions – it’s actually bigger than the lower 48 states of the US – and accordingly features a wide variety of natural sceneries.

The Cerrado, a vast tropical savanna ecoregion of Brazil according to Wikipedia, actually makes up about 21% of the country. Wooded areas alternate with open country, often dotted with bizarre rock formations. The topography can be dramatic and offer spectacular vistas.

Diamantina is located in the Serra do Espinhaço mountain range, one of the core regions of the Cerrado. The following pictures are intended to provide a brief glimpse into this unique landscape.

Cross above Diamantina
Cross above Diamantina

 

Landscape near Diamantina
Landscape near Diamantina

 

Rock formations at Gruta do Salitre
Rock formations at Gruta do Salitre

 

Road from Diamantina to Itamarandiba
Road from Diamantina to Itamarandiba

 

Cristais Waterfall
Cristais waterfall

 

Landscape with rocks
Landscape with rocks

 

Landscape with rock
Landscape with solitary rock and bromelias

Photos by Jorge Vasconcelos. To see more of his work go to www.flickr.com/photos/jorge-vasconcelos/sets/

I’ll be delighted to hear from you!

Será um prazer ouvir de você!