Drink it, cook with it, enjoy it: UK Coffee Week starts on Monday

Drink it, cook with it, enjoy it: UK Coffee Week starts on Monday

When I was growing up coffee was instant, almost always Mellow Birds, and didn’t have a great image.

Nowadays coffee couldn’t be more trendy and every other shop in towns across the province seems to be a café. Baristas slave over gleaming machines to make frothy drinks with fancy designs on top.

I’m a diehard caffeine consumer – every day starts with a double espresso or two so all the flaffing around leaves me cold.

I would much prefer it if the emphasis was on buying good quality beans which have then been transformed into a drink produced by a well maintained machine.

Graham Watts started The Causeway Coffee Company on the North Coast a couple of years ago.

He’d been working in IT in London for 25 years and came home to care for his mother.

It took him some time to carefully source the beans and is passionate about how it’s roasted and brewed.

According to Graham you don’t need a fancy coffee machine to make great coffee – a cafetiere is perfect.

The coffees, appropriately, are named after characters in the legend of Fionn MacCool and the Giant’s Causeway.

Their “Aoife” coffee won gold at the recent Blas Na Eireann food awards.

My first recipe uses coffee in a simple chocolate pot or pot au chocolat if you want to be French and sophisticated.

Coffee, cream and brown sugar are simmered and chocolate added.

Allow to cool and whisk in an egg. Pour into espresso cups and chill.

I’ve paired it with a lemon shortcake using butter and Broighter Gold lemon rapeseed oil. I love the combination of rich coffee with lemon.

We’re in lockdown again now but Causeway Coffee Company and Broighter Gold do mail order.

As well as being a refreshing drink, coffee is the perfect ingredient for desserts and savoury dishes alike.

One of my favourite desserts is affogato – a scoop of icecream, topped with a shot of espresso, and a toot of liqueur if you wish.

It’s simple but sublime with the right raw products.

A good coffee and walnut cake is an Ulster teatime classic and rightly so.

Espresso Martinis have become very popular and with pubs and restaurants closed for a couple of weeks they’re easy to prepare at home.

Take a shot of espresso or strong coffee, allow it to cool, and place in a cocktail shaker with a shot of whiskey and a shot of coffee liqueur.

Add ice and shake vigorously. Strain into a cocktail glass and add three beans on top that signify health, wealth and happiness.

Coffee also works well in savoury dishes. In California, a couple of years ago, I had carrots baked on coffee beans – the sharpness of the beans cutting through the sweet carrots.

Cowboys used to add coffee to the pan they cooked bacon in to make a red eye gravy. Similarly some crushed coffee beans added to barbecue sauce add a nice smoky tone to the finished result.

My other recipe takes inspiration from both these dishes to make a bacon jam. You can buy this in jars but it’s much better to make your own.

Buy good bacon, cook with spices, sugar, maple syrup, coffee and vinegar to make a condiment that’s perfect with grills, eggs, vegetables or served on its own, spread on good toasted bread.

* Every penny raised during UK Coffee Week goes to the charity Project Waterfall working to end the water crisis in coffee growing communities across the world. It runs from October 19 – 25.

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