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CLEVER COFFEE COMBOS

There’s nothing quite like a good cup of freshly brewed coffee to rev up your day. However, coffee has other uses. Not only does it add flavour to desserts and bakes, the liquid and the grounds make an excellent marinade for meat

Coffee, like red wine, is acidic and acts as a tenderiser for meat. The grounds can be mixed with spices, garlic and sugar and rubbed over meat before grilling. The result is tenderness plus a spicy crust.

Strong, sweet coffee is an excellent baste for roast lamb or it can be added to a casserole.

When making muffins, replace half the milk with strong coffee. Combine chocolate bits with coffee, melt, then drizzle over ice cream. Yum!

Instant coffee can be sprinkled in banana sandwiches, added to milk shakes or smoothies or combined with honey and served with blue cheese and crackers.

Coffee is a good source of healthful antioxidants — it contains more than green tea or cocoa. So two or three cups a day could be just what you need.

And coffee grounds are a great garden booster. If you grow azaleas, camellias, hydrangeas or rhodos, mix your grounds with a few dead grass clippings or straw and fertilise these acid-loving plants.

COFFEE-BRAISED BEEF WITH ORANGE

 This is also a tasty slow-cooker recipe. Braise for 5-6 hours on low or until tender.

1 large onion, diced
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/4 cups strong coffee
4 thin strips orange rind
juice 1 orange
1 cinnamon stick
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1.5 kg piece boneless beef topside or similar

Preheat the oven to 150°C.

Sauté the onion in the olive oil, until softened. Add the garlic and cook for 30 seconds then add the coffee, orange rind and juice, cinnamon stick and sugar. Bring to the boil.

Place the meat in a deep casserole and pour the sauce over. Cover tightly and cook for 3 hours until the meat is very tender. Serves 6-8.

MOCHA CAKE WITH COFFEE SYRUP

This large, deep cake may be frozen whole or in wedges.

Mocha Cake: 3/4 cup dark cocoa
1 teaspoon each: baking soda, baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 3/4 cups each: plain flour, sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1 cup strong coffee, cooled
1/2 cup each: plain yoghurt, milk, canola oil
Coffee Syrup:1 1/2 cups strong black coffee
1/3 cup caster sugar
2 each: star anise, whole cloves
2 tablespoons coffee liqueur, optional

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease and line a deep, 23-25cm round cake pan with baking paper. 

Sift the dry ingredients into a bowl. Add the eggs and liquid ingredients. Beat for 2 minutes to make a smooth, thin batter. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 1/2 hours until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean.

To make the syrup, place all the ingredients except the liqueur in a saucepan and bring to the boil. Simmer until the caster sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat and stir in the liqueur, if using.

Cut the cake into wedges to serve. Drizzle with coffee syrup. Serve with whipped cream. Serves 8-10.

CHILLI RIBS WITH COFFEE BARBECUE SAUCE

Purchase the ribs still attached to each other — 2-3 sets or racks. Both the precooking of the ribs and sauce can be done a day ahead.

2-3 teaspoons ground chilli  
1 tablespoon each: paprika, ground cumin
1 teaspoon coffee powder
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
2kg pork spareribs
330ml bottle dark malt ale
Sauce: 1 cup commercial barbecue sauce
1/4 cup water
1 tablespoon each: brown sugar, instant coffee powder, oil

Combine the ground chilli, paprika, cumin, coffee powder, salt, and pepper in a small bowl. Rub the spice mixture over the ribs. Place in large roasting pan. Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavours to develop.

Preheat the oven to 200°C. 

Boil the beer for about 5 minutes. Pour around the ribs. Cover the pan tightly with foil. Bake until fork-tender, about 1 1/4 hours.

Combine the barbecue sauce, water, brown sugar, coffee powder and oil in a saucepan. Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring often.

Divide the ribs into serving-size portions. Brush with some of the barbecue sauce. 

Grill or barbecue the ribs until just heated through, 2-3 minutes each side. Transfer to a platter. Bring the remaining sauce to a simmer. Serve separately. Serves 4-6.



Columns by Jan Bilton
Jan & Co
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