Getting to know Africa includes experiencing the vastly different - and yummy - expressions of each culture through food. We grew up eating these bran rusks!They are delicious no matter what age you are. A lovely crunchy treat to enjoy with a good cup of coffee or tea. We call them our version of biscotti!
Every one of us makes them slightly differently. We have experimented with the dried fruit ingredients. We've tried dried cranberries, blueberries, dried mixed fruit (chopped up), a variety of different types of raisins, dried dates . . . just use your creative culinary imagination! You can omit the dried fruit entirely, but we think they are better with the addition of fruit.
We love sharing our family recipes with you but please remember you can search online and find lots of variations on this dish and other terrific African recipes. An online recipe site we use over and over again is The Congo Cookbook. My East Africa Journal is also a great source for recipes. afrolems.com - A food blog for Nigerian, African and International recipes is a great source. Visit them - they have a really nice selection of recipes and the instructions are laid out in a really easy to understand manner. AllRecipes and Food.com are also good resources. Just a simple web search will turn up a wide variety of recipes for you to try.
- 600 grams sugar
- 3 eggs (we recommend extra large)
- 1 kg of self-raising flour
- 500 grams of butter
- 1 tsp of salt
- 1-1/3 cups of milk (we use 2%)
- 1 tablespoon of baking powder
- 200 grams bran flakes
- Raisins, cranberries, dried blueberries, etc. Use your judgement. We put in about a half cup.
- Set the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Grease two loaf tins. We use spray canola oil. There are butter flavour sprays as well if you prefer.
- Now cream the butter and sugar.
- Once you've creamed the butter and sugar, you can add the eggs. Beat this mixture well after adding eggs. We add the eggs one at a time and beat each one into the mixture.
- Add your dry ingredients but not the bran or the dried fruit yet.
- Mix your dry and wet ingredients. Then add the bran and then the dried fruit. We add both gradually so they get incorporated evenly into the batter.
- Divide your batter in half and put each half into a greased loaf tin.
- Bake the loaves for about 45 to 50 minutes. Make sure to test them in the centre to make sure they are completely "baked through". Ours are usually done at just over 45 minutes.
- It is really important to let the loaves cool completely before slicing into rusks.
- Once completely cool, cut the loaves into about 1/2 inch slices.
- Set your oven to 100 degrees Fahrenheit
- Place the slices on parchment paper on a baking tray
- Dry the rusks in the oven. We find it takes about 2.5 to 3 hours. Check frequently as you don't want them to burn up. You just want to dry them out.
In the end, you will end up with a tasty, crispy treat. They keep well in a biscuit tin and we even layer them into a plastic container (with a good seal), between parchment paper and freeze some "for a rainy day". They aren't quite as good once frozen but as long as you allow them to naturally come to room temperature, they are still pretty good. A trick we use is to put a piece of paper towel at the bottom (under a layer of parchment paper, and another piece at the top, over a piece of parchment paper. This helps to "wick" any moisture away from the rusks. We've related how we make our rusks but we'll also share a terrific recipe we came across for a similar rusk. This recipe is "truly terrific" and we highly recommend it. They are called Ma's Buttermilk Rusks. This is a recipe you'll want to make over and over. Ours are always a little different each time we make them, which we think adds to the delight!
Enjoy your Bran Rusks with an authentic, single origin coffee! Our Taste of Africa coffees are simply superb.
Or just a warm, brown beverage? All kidding aside, we actually have a friend who says just that. Her theory is that if you are only going to have a couple of cups a day, you should truly have the best coffee experience possible.
A self-admitted "coffee snob", she boycotts many of the more popular national coffee chains, claiming that what they sell is "just a warm, brown beverage" but not coffee. She finds it hard to believe that people who will go to great lengths to buy the best wine for their dollar, don't apply the same logic to the coffee they consume on a daily basis. So, how do you ensure you are drinking great coffee?
Buy the best coffee beans you can afford. Locate a roaster of single origin, micro-lots who only roast in small batches and ship each batch within a few days of roasting. Stop buying "grocery store", pre-ground coffee. Coffee brands that dominate the grocery store aisles roast a phenomenal amount of coffee per year. They bank on their customers either believing they can't afford a better coffee or keep drinking inferior coffee due to inertia and lack of knowledge. So, they often blend Arabica with lower-quality Robusta coffee beans.
Our aforementioned, coffee-centric friend says "you may as well brew sawdust"! Never buy the coffee beans in the gravity-feed displays in grocery stores. You have no idea how long those beans have been around since roasted. Furthermore, if you use the store grinder (part of the coffee bean display), you run the risk of "contaminating" your selection with other flavours that have been run through the grinder. We once (in desperation, because we had run short of our supply of single origin/micro-lot/fresh roast) bought a small amount of beans from the grocery offering and ground them on the spot. When we brewed the coffee, it came out tasting like some vile, chemical tasting peach overlay flavour. Again, a warm brown beverage - but definitely not coffee! Buy whole bean coffee and make sure you determine the following info:
- What is the area of origin
- What period of time in the year is the coffee harvested
- When was the coffee roasted
There are other pieces of valuable information a good roaster will tend to provide. Look for evaluations of flavour (like chocolatey, fruity, etc.), as well as the degree of roast. What grower (or cooperative) produced the coffee? Was it hand picked? Sun-dried? Is it Fair Trade or certified organic? At what altitude was it grown? Experiment with roast levels. Many people believe they only like dark roasts. What many don't realize is dark roasts tend to mask the real flavour of the bean. Unfortunately, the large scale coffee companies (whose products you find in your local grocery store) tend to produce darker roasts because it's easy to consistently produce and a darker roast reduces the mass of the coffee - thus reducing shipping expenses. Try lighter roasts. They are far superior and you will be very surprised at the complex flavours you will experience. Invest in a decent brewing system. Whatever you decide to use, keep it clean. While we use a very good drip system most of the time, we also really like the French Press system. Look for upcoming blog articles in which we will discuss a variety of brewing systems and the best methods to follow. We don't mean to castigate every grocery store brand. There are a few truly respectable roasters who are producing quite decent beans and distributing them through grocery chains. But remember, truly great coffee is readily available and will be a much more satisfying indulgence. Single-origin, micro-lot, freshly roasted is our mantra! And you don't get that in a grocery store!
We love coffee so much, we decided to begin producing our own roasts. Our whole bean coffees are all from Africa (where a large percentage of truly great coffees come from) and are named after endangered or vulnerable species (in keeping with our support of charities who benefit species at risk). Africa is often called "the birthplace of coffee". In our opinion, Africa is a source of excellent quality and extremely flavourful coffee beans. To ensure the best possible coffee experience, we roast in frequent small batches, taking care to preserve and enhance the natural flavours of the bean. Please try our small lot freshly roasted coffee. We think you will truly enjoy these lovely roasts...
What an incredible idea! Every once in a while, someone crops up and sends us something that makes us go, "Yeah, right on!". (You can tell what generation we're from!)
Moyee FairchainTM Coffee - Revolution In A Cup - clearly defines the issues and their aspiration to provide a way out of development aid. The global coffee chain became dominated by only five large multinationals.
- Consumer prices went up
- Coffee quality went down (due to mixing beans from different origins to achieve a globally uniform taste and the use of mediocre quality beans)
- Coffee quality and "unique taste" suffered
Moyee's intent is admirable. We wish them great success! Our coffee mantra is single origin, freshly roasted in small lots. Why? Because that's what produces excellent quality and unique taste.
Please take a look at our whole bean coffee. Named after endangered or vulnerable species (we believe awareness is a powerful tool), our coffees are carefully selected, handcrafted, single origin micro-lots, freshly roasted in small batches to provide the best possible coffee experience to our loyal customers. We're also committed to fair trade (and organic whenever possible).
Single-origin, micro-lot, freshly roasted is our mantra! And you don't get that in a grocery store!
Africa is often called "the birthplace of coffee". In our opinion, Africa is a source of excellent quality and extremely flavorful coffee beans. To ensure the best possible coffee experience, we roast in frequent small batches, taking care to preserve and enhance the natural flavours of the bean. Please try our
We think you will truly enjoy these lovely roasts. We are currently offering - a sweet and juicy coffee with stone fruits and apricot qualities. Ethiopian Wolf is handcrafted, naturally sun-dried and is both Fair Trade and Organically certified.
This exceptional blend is predominantly a delightfully twisted mix of Ethiopian whole bean with a little bit of South American pizzazz. The result is a smoothly decadent, creamy and balanced flavour we know you'll enjoy! Try our recipe Bran Rusks, with our delicious coffees. A truly terrific combination!