Coffee Talk

Today

Library books and dvd gotten, order for others placed – I joined a new library today. Pens, oranges and coffee bought. I was rather chuffed to see Whittards was still in the centre of Leeds (a favourite of mine back in the 20th century) but somewhat perplexed by their descriptions of coffee beans – lemon and cacao, or blueberry heaven with a cherry on top and so on. So often I don’t know whether I’m in a baker’s, Lush or a cafe! The person behind the counter spoke quickly in a whispering voice – not helpful with the din of a grinding machine in the background. He looked at me in that what do you know about coffee way. I looked at him in that how come you don’t know your Brazilian from your Continental. Show me the beans I said. I need to see them and smell them.
Yes those I said. How much he asked. Go for it I said, I won’t be getting any more for a year oh and I want them ground extra fine for Turkish/Greek coffee, can you do that? That’s finer than fine. Fine enough to powder my face with. So he got on with the job, took my details, struggled to spell my email address and name. I gave him my business card :p Then he asked me: what kind of machinery do you use to make Turkish coffee? <cue Oliver Hardy stare at the camera from me>. I replied in my best non-patronising manner: a coffee pot with a long handle that goes on the hob/stove top. A small non-stick saucepan would do. He looked a little taken aback. Bless…. #coffeetalk

Karen Eland

 

One more black coffee

Play in background while reading: 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LJ5Ub8j0CpA

Mirko sat, staring through the trees, willing for the answer to come to him from the leaves in the wind. Nothing made sense, nobody was saying what was really on their mind. He sighed. He breathed in deeply and held his breath til his body shook. Still nothing came to him.

One more coffee, he thought to himself, that will work. A butterfly made a delicate flighty dance towards him as he was about to get up. He changed his mind and stayed where he was to watch it. It was a beautiful yellow with beige and black spots, not too small or too large -just right.

Mirko stretched out his arm and the butterfly obliged. He mixed a sugar cube into his small glass of water and poured a drop in to the saucer of his Turkish coffee cup. The butterfly walked down Mirko’s arm and perched on the end of his finger which sat in the sugary water. A delicate proboscis reached out trustingly. Once it had finished it, the butterfly made its way back up Mirko’s arm and settled on his shoulder. It made him smile.

He got up and stepped in to his compact kitchenette and reached for the coffee pot. There was enough left for one more. He poured the dark rich treacle in to his small cup and slipped in a sugar cube, stirring gently with a small silver spoon. Mirko looked at his shoulder, the butterfly had gone. He shrugged.

The phone rang in the flat. Maybe that was her. Perhaps she had an answer. He stepped in to his living room and answered the call. He listened to the words, quietly spoken, serious and without hope. It was over, she said. It was as he suspected, another man. He put the phone down and went back to the balcony , collecting his cigarettes on the way.

As he sat  down on his chair in the corner, he noticed something in his coffee. At first he thought the butterfly had fallen in. But no. Instead it had left an imprint of its image on the surface of the dark coffee, a kind of thank you, a note of friendship. Mirko nodded to himself, appreciating the symbol, the gesture, and wondering how it was that animals could be so thoughtful and appreciative, and humans not. He sighed and took a sip, staring back out across the trees.

Gibanica

There is no set recipe for this dish, it’s all down to how you like it.

Firstly let me explain something about gibanica (gib-an-it-sa). It isn’t eaten as a main course or a starter. It’s rarely eaten with anything else, although it seems some like it with a bit of sour cream. It’s normally served all by itself, either straight after the main course at a slava or other big sit-down meal; or  just with a coffee, followed by a piece of walnut torte or figs and yoghurt.

I didn’t like it as a child – or rather it didn’t like me -eggs and cheese didn’t agree with me. I make it now and then, when the mood takes me. And each one is different.

What you need:

1 large round enamel tevsija. You don’t have one? Then any good-size oven dish will do – a deep one.

1 packet of fresh Greek or Turkish filo pastry – but you will only need to use half the sheets.

Alternately make your own filo! Just a good plain flour, warm water and olive oil – plus patience and working by the feel of the dough. I used to make it with my mother and stretch it over the dining table.

http://fahriyeskitchen.blogspot.com/2010/01/making-your-own-filo-pastry-yufka-at.html

Anyway, let’s carry on.

Pre-heat the oven to pretty hot.

Take a large bowl and in it crack 8 medium-size eggs

Whisk them and add a little salt.

Add approx 250g of butter or margarine or olive spread

Add 250g of cream cheese  low or full-fat

Grate approx 300g of a white crumbly cheese like wensleydale into the bowl

Add around 500ml of milk semi-skimmed or skimmed

Now gently break up the butter and cream cheese in the mixture,whilst stirring round the crumbly cheese and milk. What you should have is a lumpy mixture, not too runny. Taste it, it should be slightly salty.

Oil the base of your oven dish and take two sheets of filo. Place them in the bottom all scrunched up like a range of mountains with peaks. Ladle over some of the mixture.

Put on the next two sheets in the same manner and repeat the ladling. Eight sheets are usually enough. The last two go on top -all the mixture should underneath them.

Take a sheet of greaseproof paper and place on top. Sometimes I line the dish with paper as well.

Pop the gibanica in the oven for 30 minutes. It should rise. Take away the paper for the last 10 minutes to let it brown. The gibanica is normally done after 40 minutes -give it another five if you are not convinced.

I like my gibanica warm, some prefer it straight out of the oven, others stone-cold. Keep it in the fridge and it will last up to three days.

How much should you eat in one sitting? My advice is be sensible -it’s very filling even if you use all low-fat, skimmed-milk ingredients. I’m happy to have a piece for lunch followed by some fruit. A slice at breakfast? Yes, very decadent! It’s a great dish for guests when you’re not in a cake mood and you are savoury (like me) rather than sweet. Enjoy.