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Friday, 22 June 2012

Final Coffee Set Match Challenge Blog Post

Sign photographed at Kings Cross Railway Station on my way home after a 14hr day in London
This is my last Lavazza Coffee Set Match Challenge blog post, but will it be the lucky last?!  You see, I'm in the final, just me and Mulia are left in the competition.  This is my chance to sum up all that I've learnt during the Challenge and wow the judges (yeah, as if!) with my last few coffee creations. So with that in mind, grab a cuppa and have a read of this rather long final blog post. 

Previously coffee was my drink of choice, in the morning to wake me up, in the afternoon to keep me going, and in the early evening to get through dinner for 5 and bedtime routine for 3 kids.  I've learnt so much about how coffee is produced from bean to cup, different blends and flavours, and also that coffee can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.  It is far from just a drink!

You can check out the coffee journey from bean to cup on the Lavazza website, along with details of how the company has grown and how Lavazza takes care of coffee growers and supports communities.

The challenge has been really hard work but has also pushed me to be a better cook and baker.  I have tackled Macaroons which are now no longer my baking nemesis, incorporated coffee into more dishes than I ever thought possible, and managed to not be bouncing off the walls despite an increase in my caffeine intake. 

A HUGE thank you to my husband and three daughters who have helped me in the kitchen, taste tested, washed dishes, encouraged me, and put up with me being overtired and overstretched.  I've had to be more organised than usual to fit in quality time with my family during the challenge process whilst doing everything that I normally do (part-time work, running my own business, Church obligations, other blogging commitments and volunteer community work).

I decided the best way to thank those who have helped with childcare, grocery shopping trips, put up with my angst and suffered through soldiered on taste testing all the coffee recipes I have made throughout the challenge was to host a dinner party.  The dinner party menu was, of course, packed full of coffee treats.  Luckily the recipes all went down well and nobody was moaning that they were fed up with coffee. LOL  Thankfully the weather was glorious and sunny so we were able to have a proper BBQ.  For those unable to come along, I gave them a bag of baked goodies instead.

Here's what I made for the dinner party:

Drinks and Nibbles

I made some Epressotinis, mocha milkshakes and chilled espresso slushies for those who wanted a coffee based drink.  There were also other non-coffee based beverages available.

I also made some of Helen's Coffee Candied Almonds but sprinkled a little salt, chilli powder and cumin into the mix to give them a savoury kick.

Main Course

The main course was served with salads from this Meal Plan on my blog.

Espresso BBQ Sauce

I made this sauce so that my vegetarian friends could have some with their vegetable kebabs and I could give some away to other friends who were unable to attend the dinner party.

2 Tblsp oil
2 onions, finely diced
½ cup chopped garlic
½ cup chopped fresh coriander
1 chilli, however hot you like it
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chilli powder
zest and juice of 1 lemon
¾ cup coffee beans
¼ cup dark muscovado sugar
180ml red wine vinegar
250ml ketchup
2 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp freshly ground pepper
500ml passata

Heat the oil in a large saucepan over a moderate heat.  A the onion, garlic, coriander, chilli, cumin, chilli powder, red pepper, lemon and coffee beans. Cook, stirring constantly, for a couple of minutes until the onion starts to soften but not colour.

Add the dark muscovado sugar, red wine vinegar, lemon juice and ketchup to the saucepan. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the volume has reduced by half.

Stir in the salt, ground pepper and passata.  Cover and simmer over low heat for 2 to 3 hours, stirring occasionally.  You should end up with a lovely rich BBQ sauce.  Adjust the seasoning to your taste, strain to remove the coffee beans, then put into sterilised jars.

Coffee Marinated Beef Kebabs

2 garlic cloves, crushed
1 tsp salt
2 Tblsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 Tblsp olive oil
½ strong espresso
2 Tblsp red wine
1 Tblsp fresh rosemary, finely chopped
a couple of decent grinds of ground pepper
750g of beef streak cut into chunks

Mix everything together in a non-metallic dish.  Add the chunks of steak and then allow it to marinate for several hours or overnight in the fridge.

Make up the kebabs by threading the chunks of steak with slices of pepper, whole button mushrooms, cherry tomatoes and onion wedges onto skewers.  BBQ for about 12 to 15 minutes, or if it's raining just cook them in the oven.


Tiramisu with a twist

200g amaretti biscuits
50g butter, melted
80ml/4tbsp freshly brewed espresso
20 sponge fingers
2 x 250g tubs mascarpone cheese
50g icing sugar
Berries and flaked/grated chocolate for decoration

Crush the amaretti biscuits to fine crumbs then mix with the melted butter.  Press the crumbs into the base of a 10 inch springform cake tin.  

Make the espresso and allow it to cook slightly whilst you prepare the creamy filling.

Put the mascarpone and icing sugar into a bowl and mix together until completely combined.  Add a couple of tablespoons of espresso and beat this in well.  Spread half the mascarpone mixture over the biscuit base. Dip the sponge fingers in the cooled espresso and lay them on top of the creamy filling.  Spread the remaining creamy filling over the sponge fingers and use grated chocolate and/or berries to decorate the top.

Chill the tiramisu for at least 30 minutes to an hour before you serve it.  

Coffee Souffle

This recipe makes either 4 larger souffles in 375ml capacity souffle dishes or 8 souffles in 185ml capacity ramekins.  Here's what you'll need:

Melted butter and 2 Tblsp to grease and prepare the ramekins with.

1 Tblsp cornflour
1 Tblsp plain flour
125ml milk
1 Tblsp/15ml very strong espresso
4 free range egg yolks
2 free range egg whites

Preheat your oven to 180°C. Grease your ramekins with melted butter using upward strokes then coat the insides with caster sugar.  Shake out any excess sugar and then put the ramekins on a baking tray.
Combine the sugar, cornflour and plain flour in a small saucepan.  Gradually whisk in the milk and espresso.  Put the saucepan over a medium heat and cook, whisking constantly, until the milk mixture boils and thickens slightly.  Take it off the heat and gradually whisk in the egg yolks.  Be careful to whisk the mixture constantly and add the egg yolks gradually or you will end up with scrambled eggs. 

Use a stand mixer or n electric beater to beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.  Use a metal spoon to fold one-quarter of the egg whites into the coffee mixture to loosen it.  Fold in the rest of the egg whites in 3 - 4 more batches until just everything has just combined.

Gently spoon the mixture into the ramekins and smooth the surface.  Cook in the preheated oven for 20 minutes or until the souffles are well risen.  I served mine with mixed berries.

Unfortunately putting berries on the top of the souffle made it sink in the middle *sigh*

And here's what was in the goodie bags of baking:

Double Chocolate and Espresso Biscotti

These biscotti have a delicious subtle coffee flavour with the added bonus of chocolate chunks, for those who like a treat with their coffee fix.  I used freshly brewed espresso from my Lavazza machine along with some of their mellow brew coffee grounds.

300g (1 1/2 cups) plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
125g chilled butter, diced
1/4 cup coffee grounds
150g ground almonds
220g caster sugar
3 free range eggs, lightly whisked
60ml freshly brewed espresso
100g dark chocolate chunks
100g milk chocolate chunks

Preheat your oven to 180C.

Put the plain flour, baking powder and salt into a large bowl. Rub the butter into the flour mixture so that it looks like breadcrumbs.  Add the ground almonds, caster sugar and free range eggs. Add enough of the of the freshly brewed espresso to form a soft dough.  I added it a tablespoon at a time. Add more flour if the dough is too sticky. 

Lightly knead the dough on a floured surface for a couple of minutes until it is smooth.  Divide dough in half and roll each portion of dough into a log about 2 inches/5cm wide.  Flatten the dough logs slightly and put them on a baking tray lined with non-stick baking paper.

Bake the dough logs in your preheated oven for 25 minutes or until they are lovely and golden. Take them out of the oven and leave them to cool on the tray for about 10 - 15 minutes.  

Use a sharp serrated knife cut the logs diagonally into 1 inch/2.5cm thick slices.  Put the slices on to the warm baking trays, lined with non-stick baking paper, and bake in your preheated oven for 10 minutes until lightly golden on top.

Turn the biscotti over and bake another 10 minutes. Take the biscotti out of the oven and leave them to cool on the trays.  You can store the biscotti in an airtight container for up to 4 weeks.

Espresso Fudge

15ml/1 Tblsp strong espresso
500g sugar
100g butter
500ml milk

Put the espresso, sugar, butter and milk into a heavy based saucepan and stir the mixture over a low heat until all of the sugar has dissolved. Do not boil the mixture until the sugar has dissolved.

Once all the sugar has dissolved, bring the mixture to the boil without stirring it.  Boil the mixture for about 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally to stop it sticking to the bottom of the pan or burning, until a sugar thermometer reaches 116C.

Remove the fudge from the heat and beat the mixture with a wooden spoon for about 5 minutes or until it becomes grainy and thick.  Pour the fudge in to a 18cm square cake tin lined with non-stick baking paper.  Mark out squares on the surface of the fudge.  Leave to cool completely then cut into pieces and store in an airtight container

Coffee Cake Pops

I made a coffee cake using this recipe:

½ tsp baking soda
125ml espresso, cooled
175g butter, softened
1 cup castor sugar
3 free range eggs
2 cups self raising flour
½ cup soured cream

Grease and line a 23cm/10 inch round cake tin.  Dissolve the baking soda in the cooled espresso and set aside. Beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time with adding a tablespoon of flour with each egg to stop the mixture from curdling.  Stir in the sour cream then fold in the flour and cooled espresso. 

Sift the self rising flour and fold into the creamed mixture with the cooled coffee. Pour the mixture into the prepared cake tin.

Bake at 180C for 35 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.  Cool the cake in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

I made homemade buttercream icing made from: 100g butter, 1½ cups icing sugar, 1-2 tablespoons strong espresso.  Beat everything together until smooth then use as icing or combine with cake crumbs to make cake pops.

To make the cake pops:

Crumble the cake into crumbs and add the buttercream a tablespoon at a time, mixing until you have a fudgy consistency.

Mould the mixture into whichever shape you like and then chill them in the fridge for an hour to firm up.  Melt either white chocolate or candy melts in a bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.  Dip the cake pop sticks into the melted chocolate then insert into each cake pop.  Leave this to set for 15 minutes then dip the cake pops into the melted chocolate and turn to coat.  Decorate how you like with sprinkles, sugarpaste or edible glitter.

Coffee, Hazelnut and Chocolate Chunk Cookies

150g butter, melted and cooled 
125g light muscovado sugar
100g caster sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 free range egg, lightly beaten
30ml espresso (or 2 tsp instant coffee dissolved in 2 Tblsp boiling water)
300g flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150g dark chocolate chips
150g chopped hazelnuts

Preheat your oven to 170C.

Mix the melted butter and sugar together then add the vanilla extract, egg and espresso.  Beat until light and creamy, before adding the flour and baking soda.  Stir them in gently.

Finally add the chocolate chips and stir through the mixture.  Divide the mixture into 16 balls and lay them onto two baking trays covered with non-stick baking paper.  Flatten the balls slightly either with your hand or a floured fork. 

Bake for 15 minutes or until golden on top. Remove the cookies from the oven, let them cool for 5 minutes on the tray before transferring them a cooling rack to cool completely.

And finally . . . . . .

To be in with a chance to win one the fantastic Lavazza Wimbledon prizes look out for promotional cups on take away Lavazza coffees, or enter the fabulous giveaway online at http://promotion.wimbledon.lavazza.com/

Prizes include six pairs of tickets to Wimbledon, 90 Lavazza A Modo Mio Favola Plus Wimbledon Limited Edition coffee machines and 500 sets of four exclusive espresso cups created especially for the tournament.


  1. Wow, what a fantastic set of recipes! Well done.

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  3. More a Dolce Gusto drinker myself, but my gosh those recipes look yummy! Going to try those coffee marinated beef kebabs tomorrow... (Thank you for the idea)

  4. Wowsers! You surely deserve to win this challenge as you've been so dedicated and enthusiastic throughout! I love your teacup cake pops, I might have to try making some of those :-)

  5. You are one clever and inspirational lady you know. All look SO great, right now a piece of fudge would be lovely though!

  6. What an amazing journey I enjoyed reading it. I love the cake pops especially, they look so tricky though. I will have to try them at some point on my own cooking journey. You were both amazing finalists I bet the judges had a tough decision.

  7. You'll find it slightly easier to work with the candy melts if you add enough vegetable oil to *just* pour off the spoon.


  8. A wonderful cake pop recipe, Michelle! Absolutely killer for a coffee 'n' chocolate fanatic like me. I've highlighted the recipe over at my little cake pops blog: Coffee Cake Pops! :)


  9. Those cookies look divine! Where does the coffee go in? How do i make up the espresso (i.e. how much coffee to the 30ml of water?)

    1. You add the coffee with the eggs to the creamed butter and sugar. I used espresso from my coffee machine but you could use 2 to 3 tsp of instant coffee to the 30ml water.

    2. Thank you for clarifying - it isn't in the instructions... Also, you say they are hazelnut, but they are not listed in the ingredients nor the instructions? Did you mean 150g chopped hazelnuts rather than 150g white chocolate? Thanks!

    3. Hi, I have updated the recipe. You do indeed use the chopped hazelnuts instead of the white chocolate that was mentioned previously in the recipe.:)