On trips to Ethiopia one of my favourite things by far has been Ethiopian coffee, made in homes and cafes from freshly roasted and ground beans and served quite strong in small cups with sugar, and if you’re lucky, a sprig of rue. Sometimes spices such as clove, cinnamon and cardamom are thrown in with the roasting beans for a delicately spiced version.
Espresso drinks are also very popular in cities, especially macchiato (with incredible ‘macchiato art’ of which any London barista would be envious). Italian influence in some areas of Ethiopia is also visible in the food and architecture.
I put all these things together to come up with this recipe for an Ethiopian themed Secret Kitchen dinner. Remember to freeze the bowl of your ice cream maker in advance if you have that sort!
This dessert is really easy, yet really impressive, and what’s more can be made the day before. If you can’t get espresso flavoured dark chocolate, replace 50ml of the cream with strong espresso. In either case you may want to sweeten the mix slightly by adding a spoonful of sugar to the cream as it heats, but this will depend on how sweet your chocolate is. For an alternative, try using another flavour of chocolate, such as orange or chilli… (Adapted from a recipe by Nick Nairn.)
This recipe comes from Mia Kristensen of CPH Good Food in Copenhagen, who I collaborate with to run New Nordic cuisine classes in London. This recipe featured in our Summer 2012 class.
Don’t be put off by all the steps in the recipe. You basically need to separate half a dozen eggs and use the yolks to make a simple sponge and the whites to make a simple meringue. The rest is basically fresh fruit and cream! In any case, it’s well worth the effort.
This cake is so easy – you can throw it together in ten minutes. It always goes down really well when we make it in cooking classes. Rhubarb, orange and yoghurt make a delicious combination. But you could omit the orange flower water, or substitute rose water, or just use vanilla. Enjoy the cake warm or cold, at tea time or for dessert. It pairs beautifully with a dollop of creamy yoghurt. The recipe is adapted from one by Leanne Kitchen.
Turkey is the world’s leading apricot producer, and the town synonymous with their production is Malatya, in eastern central Anatolia. The orchards around Malatya provide some 95% of all of Turkey’s dried apricots. I try to buy the dark brown dried apricots as the bright orange ones have been treated with sulphur.
If you can get mulberry or grape molasses – called ‘pekmez’ in Turkish – add some to the syrup to make this dessert extra delicious. In Turkey these apricots would be served with buffalo milk clotted cream, called ‘kaymak’ in Turkish. You can use regular cow’s milk clotted cream, crème fraîche, whipped cream or mascarpone. This recipe is adapted from Ghillie Başan, a cookbook writer.
Panna cotta is really easy – you just need to remember to make it in advance so it has time to set in the fridge. You could use any combination of milk and cream, even crème fraîche or yoghurt. Panna cotta is lovely served with fresh, poached or candied fruits and something crunchy like a small, crisp cookie.
The best baklava in Turkey comes from the southeast, notably the town of Gaziantep, which is surrounded by pistachio groves and known for its master baklava makers. Traditionally it would be made with yufka, which is a super-fine dough rather like filo, and baked in a round dish called a tepsi in a wood-fired oven. There are all kinds of different baklava shapes – layered, rolled, twisted and coiled – and it can of course be made with different nuts – walnuts, pistachios and hazelnuts being most common. For added flavour use honey instead of some or all of the sugar.
This French pastry-less tart (actually more like a puffy, fruit-studded thick pancake) is traditionally made with unstoned cherries, but you can stone them if you like, or substitute plums or other fruits.
If you do stone the cherries, pop the stones in a jar and cover with the strongest, plainest alcohol you have (97% from Italy, or the strongest vodka you can find). Store somewhere dark and shake the jar every now and then when you remember. Several months later you will have kirsch!