Thursday, February 16, 2012

Cheesy balls

Last time I was in Brazil I think the experience that had the biggest impact on me was the constant munching on pao de queijo. Or, as I named them, little cheesy balls. On that last trip I was in a meeting room solidly from 8am till 7pm and the guy that wheeled in a hostess trolley with a plate of hot cheesy balls, every couple of hours, was a welcome sight. I missed him when I left.

This time I'm all about the bolinhos de bacalhau. Or, as I call them, little fishy balls. When in Rome / Rio, I guess. Not a day has passed without me eating some of these little fried, salty treats. And with just two days left of my trip, I aim to maintain that record.

I haven't abandoned the pao de queijo, though. Only this time I am roaming free in Big Corp, with hardly any meetings, which means no meals-on-wheels. Instead I have to order for myself like a grown up. The girls at the coffee shop in the office don't even attempt to stifle their smirk as I attempt 'pao de queijo'. There's an invisible 'sh' in there that I never quite place at the right point. How I wish I could effect a decent Carioca accent, with all those sshs and qush and hshsh sounds. Or at least, that the girls in the coffee shop spoke sufficient English for me to order 'little cheesy balls' instead.

Undeterred, I have managed to scarf a fair number of these little cheesy balls. Today I had a working lunch and this is how it worked:

Of course, like all enjoyable food experiences, I find myself wondering if I can recreate it at home. There as a many recipes for pao de queijo online as the number of cheesy and fish balls I have eaten this week. That is to say, a lot. Some require overcooked potatoes as a base, others boiling milk and olive oil, and the easiest one looks a bit like a Yorkshire pudding recipe, only with tapioca and cheese instead of flour.

Sadly I think it will be a little while before I get a kitchen of my own to play in. But when I do... well, I'm adding 'making cheesy balls' to my daydream future life, back in the NW5 comfort bubble.


  1. These are known as 'pigeons' or 'Zeppelins' in Lithuania which are much easier to pronouce, except in Lithuanian of course! The Zeppelins are much bigger too - the size of a jacket potato.

  2. you're a high brow finbarr saunders.