Have you ever had a cup of coffee so good, you end up calling your waiter at the coffee shop to ask about the coffee’s origin?
Chances are that it would be an African blend and you will probably not have coffee from another region ever again.
That happened to me 15 years ago when I was at Durban International, while waiting to board my first flight to Johannesburg and then to Hong Kong. I was in matric and had written a test at my school in Richards Bay and then we had to rush to the airport.
I plonked myself on a seat at the coffee shop, ordered coffee and it was so good, I couldn’t resist asking the waiter where it was from. I now only ever have African coffee.
Freshly ground and roasted coffee has become a lifestyle for so many young Africans across the continent, with others even starting coffee clubs and alerting each other to new brands to try out.
The coffee connoisseur is also becoming increasingly African, which is great to see. Hence we are also seeing more speciality coffees and tasting experiences in coffee shops.
It’s no surprise that one of the continent’s biggest exports is coffee, and that’s thanks to the sub-Saharan region having the ideal climatic conditions to produce high-end coffee beans.
Ethiopia, Tanzania and Rwanda produce some of the finest coffee beans, which is not surprising as those countries actually have traditions and ceremonies that celebrate coffee.
So why not celebrate Africa Day by using one of our finest products – coffee?
Coffee works well in sweet and savoury dishes. It complements the flavour of chocolate – be it in a mousse, a cake or truffles. In savoury dishes, it adds a depth of flavour, and using it in a marinade or as a rub will enhance the flavour of the meat.
Coffee Cardamom Cake
200g butter, softened
250ml castor sugar
45ml coffee powder dissolved in 15ml boiling water
10ml ground cardamom
10ml baking powder
20-30ml brewed coffee to mix
500ml sifted icing sugar
pistachio nuts for sprinkling
chocolate-coated coffee beans for decorating
Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in coffee.
Sift the cardamom, flour and baking powder and fold into the creamed mixture.
Spoon mixture into a greased 23cm ring pan and bake at 180°C for 20-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean.
Remove cake from the oven and cool in the pan for 5 minutes before turning out on to a cooling rack.
Cool completely, then pour over icing.
Sprinkle with pistachio nuts and decorate with chocolate-covered coffee beans.
Icing: Add enough coffee to the icing sugar to make a stiff glacé icing.
Coffee Pecan Brownies (Makes 15)
375ml castor sugar
160ml cocoa powder
15ml ground filter coffee
5ml vanilla extract
50g pecan nuts, chopped
80ml brewed filter coffee
200g chocolate discs
extra pecan nuts for decoration
Combine the sugar, butter, cocoa and coffee in a saucepan and heat gently until the butter has melted. Remove from the heat and cool for five minutes.
Beat in the eggs one at a time until the mixture is smooth and well blended. Mix in the vanilla and flour. Fold through flour and pecan nuts. Spoon mixture into a lined and greased 26x18cm lamington pan and bake at 180°C for 25-30 minutes until a skewer inserted into the mixture comes out clean.
Allow to cool in the pan. Remove and place on a cooling rack. Spoon over the topping and allow to set. Cut into 15 squares, decorating each with a pecan nut.
Topping: Melt chocolate and coffee together in a microwave.
45ml Jamaican rum
22ml fresh lime juice
22ml coffee-flavoured liqueur
15ml brown sugar syrup
Lime wheel, for garnish
For The Brown Sugar Syrup
To make brown sugar syrup, combine 1 cup packed light brown sugar and half a cup of water in a small saucepan
Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring until the sugar has dissolved.
Reduce the heat to medium-low; cook for 5 minutes, then remove from the heat.
Cool thoroughly before serving or storing in an airtight container (up to several months).
For the Daiquiri
Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice cubes.
Add the rum, lime juice, liqueur and brown sugar syrup; seal and shake until well chilled.
Strain into a cocktail (martini) glass.
Garnish with the lime wheel.
Coffee-Rubbed Steak with Potato and Feta Crush
4x 200g steaks
15ml olive oil
For the rub
30ml ground filter coffee
15ml smoked paprika
15ml brown sugar
5ml mustard powder
10ml salt flakes
a good grinding of black pepper
5ml ground coriander
5ml dried oregano
5ml ground ginger
5ml chilli powder
250g baby potatoes, scrubbed
200g feta cheese
a handful of fresh thyme leaves
salt and pepper
Rub the steaks with olive oil on both sides.
RUB: Combine the ground coffee, paprika, sugar, mustard powder, salt, pepper, coriander, oregano, ginger and chilli powder and mix well. Rub the mixture on both sides of the steaks.
Cook in a griddle pan or on a braai until done to your liking.
Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with crushed potatoes.
POTATOES: Put the potatoes into a saucepan and cover with water. Bring to the boil and cook until the potatoes are soft.
Remove from the heat and drain off the water. Add the butter, feta, thyme and seasoning to the saucepan.
Using a potato masher, lightly crush the potatoes, blending them with the rest of the ingredients.
Recipes: IOL Archives & The Washington Post