Wednesday, September 09, 2015

Coffee: Real, Mock, and as an Ingredient.

I have written several posts in the past on coffee-substitutes, and at one time also began an archive of recipes using coffee (the real thing) as an ingredient. I am going to add to both today, starting with an item that could just as easily fit into my occasional ‘Extreme Kitchen DIY’ series.

A local newspaper (the Tweed Daily ) from the magnificent coastal end of the border between the states of Queensland and New South Wales, gave the following advice in its issue of 19 June 1942

Now that tea is rationed and pure coffee is becoming hard to obtain, methods of making substitute coffee are being looked for by every house-wife. Mrs. Mary Farrelly, whose work in connection - with wheat and its benefit to health was well known throughout Western Australia during the last war, when tea increased in price, has given here her recipes for making coffee from wheat, which were used by a great number of people with success.
WHEAT COFFEE: 1 teaspoon salt, 2lb. finest bran, 2 cups finest ground, wholemeal flour, ½ cup thin treacle, 5 cup boiling water. Put treacle in tin over the fire to thin it, add water (hot to the treacle). Mix bran and wholemeal flour together, then add treacle and water. Mix all well together, place in thin layers in baking dishes. Bake dark brown, stirring well. Do not burn, otherwise coffee will be bitter. Dry well, then put in covered tins and keep. To make the coffee allow 1 teaspoonful for each cup and 1 extra tablespoon, or in the ratio of 7 tablespoons for 6 cups. Pour 6 cups of boiling water on to the 7 tablespoons of coffee, boil for ¼ hour, strain. When bottled will keep about 3 days. Heat coffee and milk separately.
Another Recipe: Put 3lb. of clean whole wheat into a baking dish, damp well, and add 2 to 3 tablespoons of dark brown sugar and a level dessert spoon of common salt. Mix together well. Bake in oven until almost black on the outside. Stir occasionally. Grind very fine in a small hand wheat-mill, then keep in an airtight tin. Put a large teaspoonful in a cup (more if strong coffee is needed), pour, a little boiling water over, and mix thoroughly. Then add milk and water until the cup is full.
WHEAT WATER: Take 2 ½ tablespoons of fine ground 100 per cent whole wheat flour, a pinch of salt, and one quart cold water. Boil 25 minutes, then strain through a gravy strainer into a basin. Half fill a glass with wheat-water and fill up with milk. Wheat water is a good nerve builder. Half a pint should be taken daily. It may be taken hot or cold.

No matter how bad my nerves, I don’t think I could ever drink Wheat Water, but perhaps it might appeal to others!

As for real coffee as an ingredient in cooking and baking, I like the following ideas from
Coffee Cookery (New York, c.1940), by Helmut Ripperger.

Baked Steak
Take a steak about two to two and one half inches thick, and brown it quickly in butter in a heavy frying pan. Place it in a baking dish adding, chili sauce, A1 sauce, mushrooms, button onions, salt, pepper, and a generous dashing of paprika.
This should bake in a moderate oven for about two hours, basting the meat from time to time. Fifteen minutes before the steak is done, add a cup of very strong coffee to the sauce in the pan, and baste more frequently until done.
Mrs. Joseph Martinson's recipe.

English Coffee Sweet

Beat a quarter of a pound of butter and three ounces of sugar to a cream and add one half a cup of strong black coffee and mix well. Split a sponge cake in half and pour the mixture over it. Put the two halves together and weigh them down with a heavy plate. Cover with whipped cream and chopped salted almonds. You will meet up with this under a number of names, but it is truly an English recipe.

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