Thursday, 13 October 2011

Visiting a kopi luwak plantation

I always start my day with a warm cuppa coffee, even on the weekends or lazy days that I wake closer to noon.  We have a little nespresso machine at home which makes it real easy to get a cup going even when I’m half awake and groggy in the morning.  I love standing over the machine as coffee gently flows into the cup, sniffing away at the fresh smell of coffee.  

(US$6 for this espresso size cup of kopi luwak)

Herr Scherrer & I were in Bali on a short holiday a few weeks ago and we had the chance to visit a small coffee plantation specializing in the production of kopi luwak, also known as the civet coffee. We also took some photos that I want to share here.

(Civet cat - key to production of kopi luwak)

Believed to be one of the world's most expensive coffee, kopi luwak's manufacturing process is somewhat unique and a little peculiar.  Civet cats are fed ripe coffee cherries and the coffee beans pass through its digestive tract intact and is then defecated.  Thereafter, the beans are collected (yes yes a little yucky, collected from the civet's droppings), thoroughly washed, dried and roasted.  As a result of stomach enzymes of the civet, coffee produced from these beans is believed to have a unique aroma and less bitter. 

(Fresh coffee berries that are fed to the civet cats)

(Various types of coffee that we tried at a little rustic cafe within the
coffee plantation - with ginger, with cocoa, with vanilla, etc)

(Yes, this is poop of the civet cat - you can see intact coffee beans in it)

(Coffee beans collected from the droppings of the civet cat. 
It'll have to be washed & dried before roasting.)

(Trays of coffee beans collected from the droppings of the civet cat. 
The ones towards the right have been washed clean.)

(Coffee beans are roasted over fire)

(Left: Roasted coffee beans are pound to ground using this; Right: Sifting ground coffee power)

(Coffee berries on trees, still green and not ready for picking)

We paid about US$6m for a small espresso cup of this kopi luwak.  There was a little rustic cafe within the plantation.  It was definitely good coffee, but I’m not quite sure if I would be able to tell the difference in a taste-test.  We had an interesting time though walking through the small plantation and snapping photos.

(A little rustic cafe serving kopi luwak within the plantation)

Within the same plantation we also saw them growing/producing cocoa, vanilla & cinnamon - all useful baking ingredients!

(Cocoa plant & fruit)

(Left: Vanilla pods; Right: Cinnamon tree bark)

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Baked salmon with honey mustard pecan crumb

Sometime it is the little things in life that makes us happy.  Like me finding a new yummy dinner recipe that takes only 30 minutes to prepare - perfect for a home cooked meal after a day in the office.  

When things are not too busy at work I like leaving the office early, pop by the supermarket on the way, and arrive home with enough time for me to finish preparing dinner by the time Herr Scherrer gets home.  Sometimes I'm a little later than expected and he chips in with a quick salad.  There's so much happiness in the kitchen!

For dinner earlier this week I tried a lovely recipe for baked salmon fillet:  Its almost the easiest & quickest dinner recipe one could have!  I know its not a dessert recipe but its so fuss-free that I felt I had to help spread word about it. 

I had all the ingredients I needed at home except for the salmon fillets, which I had no problem finding in the supermarket on my way home.  I kept the cooking time short, about 8 to 10 minutes, so as to maintain moisture in the fish.  I didn't ground my pecans too fine so the crumb would still be crispy.  The blend of honey mustard sauce, salmon and ground pecans was unbelievably delicious. Yum!


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