OK, cooking might not be the perfect term for today’s recipe. There’s no stove involved, no oven, no tears from slicing onions; prep time will be less than 5 minutes. On the other hand, the results will last much longer (not too much longer though, if you love bringing friends little food presents, like I do).
Not only has my friend Claudio released his first book this fall, Stevan Paul, author of the blogs Dem Herrn Paulsen sein Kiosk (sadly now closed) and Nutriculinary has compiled the most charming anecdotes of his culinary life in restaurant kitchens and elsewhere (each garnished with the one or other recipe) and turned this into the a neat little book titled Monsieur, der Hummer and ich. Knowing Stevan, his precise power of observation and his amazing ability to captivate people with stories, both told and written, his book brings all that to the reader and more. What I like best? The chuckle effect, triggered by his wittily expressions and tone, when turning page after page…
The first recipe that caught my immediate attention was Stevan’s coffee liqueur for sundayafternoondrinkers ([very] literally translated…). If you invest 5 minutes in its preparation and are patient enough to then let it sit at least for one week on your kitchen shelf, you will be rewarded with the most fragrant golden digestive you can imagine.
Stevan suggests to spice up your coffee or black tea with it (spot-on for the upcoming winter season), preferably warmed up a little beforehand, simply to intensify its aroma. I think it tastes fantastic on its own, too.
Below you’ll find Stevan’s original recipe and the small changes I’ve made in brackets – this is my new always-at-the-ready emergency gift for every occasion:
Add the rock sugar, the spices, the coffee beans as well as the grappa to a clean bottle, which is closable [I skipped the allspice, because I had run out].
Let the liqueur infuse at room temperature for at least a week [I let mine infuse for almost two weeks]. As soon as the rock sugar has dissolved and the spices/coffee beans have sunk to the bottom, the liqueur is done [I poured it through a fine-mesh sieve, discarded the spices and distributed it over a couple of small bottles I bought here]. Keeps well for several weeks.
Recipe source: Monsieur, der Hummer und ich von Stevan Paul, p.70
Prep time: 5 minutes, infusing: ~1 week
Ingredients (yields ~ 0,5 liter):
150 g brown rock sugar
1 cinnamon stick
2 star anise
5 allspice berries
25 coffee beans
500 ml grappa