Sunday, 1 December 2013


Persian Armenian style Turkish coffee (Ghahveh turk) with Turkish delight (Lokum), Turkish toasted mallows (Krema) and Algerian shortbread biscuits (Ghraiba).

              Coffee is my life source, I love the aroma of coffee roasting or brewing, I love the taste and I love the worldwide cultures around coffee. Turkish coffee is a stand out amongst most other world coffee practices as they don't filter their coffee. Its brewed as a fine powder and drunk with a sludge or slurry at the bottom of a smaller espresso sized cup. As apposed to many other cultures filtering, percolating, drip filtering or plunging brewed coffee. Armenian style coffee is brewed in a pot on the stovetop and is strong in flavour and punch. In the mid 90's I was a resident of Paddington an inner city suburb of Brisbane with a thriving cafe and restaurant scene and I would often walk down at night and sit and have a coffee at a local Turkish coffee shop. The owner would gift me different tasty morsels to have with my coffee because I was regular. Often it would be Turkish delight or baklava, these were cherished times and although I miss that culture of coffee I have now moved out of town 40 km and grow and make my own Turkish coffee. Its not quite the same as the key to the perfect brew is the grind and it must be powder fine which I find hard to achieve and most household grinders have the same problem. So this coffee and sweets plate is a tribute back to those times on Given Terrace.                
               'Krema' in fact means cream not marshmallow but is the closet reference given by most translators I've come across. It was a toss up between the toasted marshmallows or baklava and I decided with the marshmallows. These were made by combining caster sugar, glucose and water in a saucepan over a low heat to dissolve all the sugar, brought to the boil and cooked over a medium heat for 3-5 minutes until the syrup reached 120 deg.c. In a bowl I mixed water and 1% agar agar  and added this to the sugar syrup stirring to combine. With an electric beater I beat egg whites to stiff peak, continuing to beat as I added the syrup gradually before beating for a further 10 minutes until the mixture became thick and glossy. I then folded in some vanilla essence and poured the mixture into a lamington pan lined with baking paper this was then chilled in the fridge for an hour until firm. The marshmallow slab was then inverted onto toasted coconut and cut to portion sizes before coating the remaining surfaces with the coconut.                                                                                                              
                'Ghraiba' is an Algerian version of shortbread, its ingredients are very basic but there are a few paramount rules and techniques that must be followed in order to achieve the 'melt in your mouth' shortbread that makes it stand out from their neighbours shortbread, that being the recipe uses ghee (clarified butter) instead of the conventional butter and the second is the sugar content which plays a big part in the biscuits hardness. Using ghee gives the shortbread its authentic Ghraiba taste and this recipe uses icing sugar as apposed to caster giving a softer mouth finish. So I first pre-heated the oven to 160 deg.c. and in a bowl I beat the ghee and icing sugar until pale adding flour gradually forming a dough with my hands. This was then rolled out 4 mm thick on a floured surface and using a knife I cut the shapes in the dough pricking each biscuit with a fork in the middle to give 4 decorative holes, these were then placed onto a lined baking tray and baked for 10-15 minutes and removed to cool on a wire rack before dusting with a little icing sugar.                        
                'Lokum' or Turkish delight is a traditional Turkish treat served along with Turkish coffee instead of biscuits. Lokum was invented in 1776 by Bekir Effendi a Turkish confectioner who opened a shop in Istanbul. Originally honey and molasses were the sweeteners and flour and water were the binding agents, with rose water, lemon peel and bitter orange as the most common flavours. It became practise around those times in upper high class society to exchange pieces of lokum wrapped in silk handkerchiefs as gifts. Lokum is derived from the Arabic words 'luqma' and 'luqmat' meaning 'morsel' and 'mouthful', plurally 'luqum'. The traditional recipe uses gelatine, I've chosen to use agar instead not for the vegan option but for quicker setting properties. So to make the Turkish delight is very simple firstly I put water, sugar, lemon juice, rose water, pink colouring and agar agar at 4% into a saucepan bringing the mixture to a simmer whisking to dissolve the sugar and the agar powder , once dissolved allow the mixture to boil before removing from the stove, skimming any impurities off the top and pouring into a mould. I then stirred in some chopped pistachio nuts and placed the mould into the fridge to set. After about 15-20 minutes the Turkish delight was ready to slice into cubes and be dusted with icing sugar.    
                 'Ghahveh turk', Persian Armenian style Turkish coffee was the last prep to be plated and was made by grinding some of my 4th season espresso roasted bean to as fine dust as possible with my grinder, from this I measured and added two heaped tablespoons to two espresso cups of water and a little caster sugar in a pot and over a low heat I stirred to dissolve the sugar of which I then brought the brew to the boil as the foam started to rise in the pot I removed the coffee from the stove and poured into an espresso sized clear glass and presented it on the plate accompanied by the three treats.


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