It seems odd that as a person that comes from the UK, the spiritual home of the tea drinker, my day always starts with a wonderfully rich black coffee. To be honest I‘ve never been a tea drinker and have a sneaky feeling that the English need to drink tea has actually played its part in the steady decline of its economy, after all the tea break says it all.

Coffee on the other hand gives me a chance to get the old grey matter working and with the totally amazing choice of coffees in New Zealand that means anywhere anytime. When you look around the world there are only a few countries that truly love coffee, for me they are New Zealand, Australia and Italy. What about the rest of the world I hear you ask, well we’ve already touched on the English with their need for Tea so they can’t join the club, the Americans serve insipid dish water with the sole purpose of making a profit and the French use the coffee as a way of diluting the Cognac after dinner.  As for the rest they either don’t care or serve it so strong that it would dissolve the spoon and keep you awake for 24 hours.

So here we are in one of the true homes of the coffee lover, where we have what seems like hundreds of small boutique coffee brands all steeped in the combination of science and alchemy that is the art of the coffee roaster.

This is New Zealand so I don’t need to bang on about buying local, as you already know which coffee you love and head for the café that serves your favorite brew. What I will say is don’t forget that coffee can be a great ingredient in cooking too, from cakes to coffee crusts on lamb, it can be incredibly versatile. This weeks recipe is the Italian classic Granita, the wonderful combination of coffee ice crystals, cream and warming liqueur. The perfect pick me up as we head towards summer.

Coffee Granita

Visit any of the wonderful pavement cafes in Rome and you’ll find this refreshing late-morning favorite being enjoyed by locals and tourists alike.

Serves 4

750ml Espresso or very strong hot coffee

150g Sugar

300ml lightly whipped cream

2 tablespoons of  8th Tribe Dark Spice

Method

Dissolve the sugar in the hot coffee, allow to cool, then pour into a shallow metal tray and freeze for 30 minutes.

Remove from the freezer and, using a fork, bring the partially frozen coffee from the edges into the still liquid centre and return to the freezer.

Repeat the fork treatment every 20 minutes until the mixture has become soft crystals of coffee ice, all separate, opaque and pale brown in colour. This should take about 2 – 3 hours.

Serve the Granita in well-chilled glasses, layered up with the whipped cream and 8th Tribe Dark Spice Liqueur.

My Tip

Don’t be tempted to use a whisk on the freezing coffee as the idea is to coax the ice crystals to form, and this is best done with a fork. Remember this is a granita not a sorbet , and the delicate crystals are what you’re looking for.

Booze Match

You’ll see from the recipe that I’m using 8th Tribe Dark Spice Liqueur, For those of you that haven’t tried it yet it’s a Green Walnut and Spice Liquer made right here in the Bay by Distillerie Deinlein at the top of the Minden. Whats more it tastes fantastic.

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