Brazil is a traditionally catholic country and consequently Mary, the mother of Jesus, is eminently revered. Diamantina has more than half a dozen churches that are dedicated to Our Lady. This one is Our Lady of the Rosary, captured in the late afternoon sun against an ominously dark sky.
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.
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.
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.
Here is my ora-pro-nobis version:
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
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
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.
Sérgio Miranda has been documenting Diamantina with his camera for about 15 years. He switched to digital photography less than two years ago, and has maintained the discipline of carefully studying and composing each frame, rather than shooting indiscriminately and selecting the best images later.
By creating a forum on facebook, “Clickphoto Diamantina“, he’s encouraging others to do the same. Today he is sharing with us a series of nocturnal images, capturing the poetry and magic that can be felt everywhere after the town has gone to sleep.
We look forward to seeing more of Sérgio’s images.
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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.
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!
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,physiotherapistby training,public healthbychoice andphotography by passion!
Thank you Raquel for sharing these beautiful images with us. We hope to see more of your work soon.
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Obrigada pela visita. Favor clique no título do post para deixar seu comentário.