Coffee makers Nespresso are celebrating the launch of their exclusive new flagship London Boutique on Regent Street, and what better way to do this than by joining forces with two-Michelin-starred chef and Coffee-lover, Phil Howard, to create a series of recipes inspired by their quality Grands Crus.
"Coffee can be a fantastic, versatile element in sauces, marinades, stocks and even crusts, bringing out the strong flavours of the other ingredients in each dish".
As well as a menu of recipes, the chef has penned his top tips on how to create restaurant-quality dishes with coffee from the comfort of their own kitchens.
“I’ve always thought of coffee as a fascinating ingredient” says Howard. “I love drinking it and my scientific background has made me very curious about how to match it with other foods. The common misconception is that coffee only works in sweet dishes like Tiramisu, but actually, it can be a fantastic, versatile element in sauces, marinades, stocks and even crusts, bringing out the strong flavours of the other ingredients in each dish.
“I’m a big fan of Nespresso – I’ve had a machine at home for many years and am pleased to be able to serve their high quality and well-sourced coffee to my guests at The Square too. It was fascinating to work with each of the sixteen Grands Crus and experimenting to discover with which ingredients and flavours work best with each quality blend. I am looking forward to putting the short ribs on my menu in the autumn.”
Phil Howard’s top ten tips on cooking with coffee:
- Be open-minded about how to use coffee in your cooking. See coffee as simply another ingredient as opposed to the drink we have come to love! Coffee – like chocolate - is used in cooking in the countries in which it is grown, and with careful use can enhance both savoury and sweet dishes, bringing its magnificent aroma to enhance its heavyweight background flavour.
- There are two ways to impart the flavour of coffee into dishes. The first, as an espresso or lungo, is the more aggressive and requires strong bold flavours to deal with it. It also mellows with cooking and in doing so helps to bring out key flavours of the other ingredients of the dish. The second is the addition of coffee grounds to the dish which imparts more of an aroma than an intense flavour.
- Coffee is most successful in savoury cooking when included in recipes which have inherent sweetness already present in them (like spare ribs) – or where the dish would be served with a sweet accompaniment (like duck liver parfait with a fruity chutney).
- Coffees with a touch of Robusta, like Nespresso’s Ristretto Grand Cru, are often intense, with roasted notes. They provide rich cremas, and their strength and richness go well with the texture and flavour profile of desserts with cereal or toasted ingredients, or with granola style dishes.
- Coffee can be applied as a simple dressing to both sweet and savoury food and works particularly well with nut oils. A chocolate brownie with vanilla ice cream and a dressing of espresso and hazelnut oil works fantastically well, alternatively, check out my recipe for Tonka Brûlée with Nespresso Fortissio Lungo.
- Coffee works fantastically well with chocolate, but be sure to serve an intense and bitter coffee with a milk chocolate based dessert, or a mellower coffee with a bitter chocolate dish. This allows the pairings to balance and the flavours to sing loud and clear.
- Marinate meat that is to be chargrilled with some coffee grounds to achieve a simple and effective aromatic finish. This works particularly well with a sweet relish or sweet curry dressing.
- Always add the coffee at the beginning of the cooking process rather than the end – this allows it to harmonise with the other flavours it is surrounded by and give the flavours added depth. You can really see how well this works with my recipe for Coffee Glazed Short Rib Of Beef with Creamed Potato and Roasted Carrots.
- To appreciate coffee as a more mellow flavour, incorporate it into rich, creamy desserts such as rice pudding or crème brûlée. People quite often enjoy milk in their coffee, and by blending the coffee with the richness of cream, and neutralising bitterness with sugar – a similar taste experience is achieved.
- Use coffee as a seasoning in pastry work or desserts by adding small quantities of coffee grounds to biscuit mixes, pastry doughs or cakes. It doesn’t have to be the dominant flavour if you don’t want it to be. Add it to recipes that have flavours which work well with coffee in the first place – such as those containing nuts, chocolate or orange.
If you want to learn more about Nespresso’s range of quality Grands Crus, drop into the newly opened flagship Boutique on London’s Regent Street to explore the entire product range and discover more about coffee in the multi-sensorial Tasting Area.
View Phil Howard’s coffee-inspired recipes at nespresso.com/ultimate-coffee-creations