Dialing in the Espresso

My espresso machine has been working well, but I think I was getting lazy in spending time to properly dial in my beans – but after spending a little time this weekend doing just that – I realized what a difference it really makes!

I was motivated after taking apart the grouphead trying to resolve some excessive water dripping from it – I was going to take the parts into a local shop and basically rebuild and re-gasket the entire grouphead. Once I had all the parts out, and cleaned everything up, I realized it would be a couple days before I could get to the shop – and I didn’t want to be without my morning espresso’s, leaky machine or not!

So back together it went – and shockingly, the leaking went away, and I also found that the shot lever actually moved with little resistance – much like it did when I first got the machine over a decade ago!

Dialing in my shots didn’t take long at all I found – don’t know why I thought it was such a chore. I have the machine dispensing about 2 oz. of espresso in 29 seconds, with the portafilter dosed with 19-20 grams of beans.

The Gecko goes on…

My printer has been idle for a number of months and this past weekend I finally spent a little time fixing up some wiring and actually printed a coffee grinder funnel prototype I started working on. The initial print was great – but after making some changes and starting another print job, I almost immediately ran into issues with blockages in the hotend.

I upgraded the machine with a genuine E3D Titan extruder and V6 hotend, but I’m still not impressed with their performance. Need something better – but what?

Update 🙂 I think I have a plan…

Mosquito hotend by Slice Engineering

Came across a company called Slice Engineering in the U.S.A., that has developed a hotend they are calling the Mosquito. The design is very intriguing, and it looks like it might be 1/2 of the answer I’m searching for.








Bondtech BMG-M Extruder

The other half of the answer is the extruder, and a Swedish company called BondTech has an extruder designed for the Mosquito – the BMG-M. I like the dual gear mechanism they’re using, and from what I’ve read, is a good step up from the Titan.

Horseradish Sauce

Horseradish Sauce

Ingredients

  • 6 oz fresh horseradish peeled, and coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup vinegar
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar
  • 2 tsp Dijon-style mustard
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/8 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup whipping cream optional

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients, except whipping cream in a blender. Be careful of the fumes, they can be overwhelming.

  2. Blend until finely grated.

  3. In a separate bowl, beat whipping cream until soft peaks form.

  4. Fold in 1/4 cup of the horseradish mixture.

  5. Cover and chill for at least one hour before serving.

  6. Store in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Recipe Notes

Heating the grated horseradish mixture tones it down a bit.  If you like horseradish with lots of bite, don’t heat.

Store remaining horseradish mixture (without the whipping cream) in the freezer.

Almond Milk & Lattes

Amazing how time goes by. It’s almost a year since we began a Keto way of eating – not 100% clean, but making an honest effort for the most part. It has proven to be a very positive change, not only in weight loss, but also been very helpful for my wife in managing diabetes.

We used to go through a fair bit of milk, and now we use none. We do go through whipping cream – perhaps a litre a week. Much of that was being used making lattes. Recently, after our blender broke down and I replaced it with a Vitamix, I’ve been making almond milk, and discovered that it is awesome steamed up and used for lattes.

Making the almond milk is so simple. I almost fill a 4 oz mason jar with almonds (unsalted), then fill the jar with water. After putting lid on the jar, I put it in the fridge. The next day, 12 – 24 hours later, I empty the mason jar into a sieve, and rinse the almonds under running water, then dump the almonds into the Vitamix. I add 2 cups of cold water, pop the lid onto the blender and run it at full power for about a minute or so if using blanched almonds, and maybe 30 seconds longer if using almonds with the skins still on them. I then pour the milk through a mesh bag. I’ve been saving the filtered almond pulp in the freezer, and will try using it like almond flour at some point :).

When making a latte, the almond milk steams up very nicely, and get’s slightly thicker and more cream-like. I’m able to get some very good microfoam and pour some pretty decent rosettes. The almond milk has a very mild flavour that doesn’t get in the way of the coffee flavours, unlike some of the commercial almond milks, that have various additives for stabilizers etc.

Egg Bites

These are the egg bite recipes that came with an Instant Pot accessory package I purchased from Amazon.  Just wanted to put them somewhere, as the recipe leaflet is damaged.

Starbucks Sous-Vide Egg Bites in your Instant Pot

Course Breakfast
Keyword Instant Pot, Keto
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 18 minutes
Total Time 28 minutes
Servings 7

Ingredients

  • 4 ea. eggs large
  • 4 strips bacon
  • 1 1/2 cups cheese use your favorite cheddar, or gouda, etc.
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Instructions

  1. Add 1 cup of water to bottom of instant pot, followed by the trivet that came with the pot.

  2. Cut bacon up into small strips and fry.

  3. divide bacon bits amongst the mold cups.

  4. Add eggs, cheese, cottage cheese, cream and salt to blender, and blend until smooth (about 15 seconds).

  5. Pour egg mixture into molds.

  6. Cover egg bite mold with tin foil and gently place into Instant Pot.

  7. Put cover onto Instant Pot, select Steam, and 8 minutes.

  8. Natural pressure release for 10 minutes after cooking is completed, then quick release.

  9. Carefully remove the egg bites from Instant Pot, and let cool down for a few minutes.

Recipe Notes

Can keep these in the fridge for up to a week.  You can also freeze them, and reheat by popping into a microwave for 30 seconds at full power.

Spinach, Egg and Cheese Breakfast Bites

Course Breakfast
Keyword Instant Pot
Servings 7

Ingredients

  • 3 ea. eggs large
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup cheddar cheese grated
  • 1 cup spinach roughly chopped
  • 3/4 cup parmesan cheese

Instructions

  1. Put 1 cup of water into Instant Pot, followed by the trivet that came with your pot.

  2. Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth (about 15 seconds)

  3. Divvy egg mixture evenly into the 7 pods.

  4. Cover with tin foil, then place gently into Instant Pot.

  5. Close lid, select “Steam” setting, for 8 minutes.

  6. Let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes after cooking has completed, then quick release.

  7. Carefully remove egg bites from Instant Pot, and let cool for a couple minutes before eating.

Recipe Notes

Can keep egg bites refrigerated for up to 1 week.  You can also freeze them.  To reheat, just pop into a microwave for 30 seconds at full power.

Special Spinach, Onion and Cheese Breakfast Bites

Course Breakfast
Servings 7

Ingredients

  • 10 oz. fresh baby spinach cooked
  • 1 ea roma tomato diced
  • 4 ea eggs large
  • 4 ea egg whites
  • 1 ea medium Vidalia onion diced
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp white pepper finely ground

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup water into Instant Pot, followed by the trivet that came with your pot.

  2. Add all ingredients to blender, and blend until smooth (about 15 seconds)

  3. Divide mixture evenly into the 7 pods of the mold

  4. Cover with foil, then place gently into Instant Pot

  5. Select “Steam” and set time to 8 minutes.

  6. After steam cycle has completed, let pressure release naturally for 10 minutes, then quick release.

  7. Carefully remove from Instant Pot and let cool for a couple minutes before eating.

Recipe Notes

Egg bites can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.  They can also be stored in the freezer to keep longer.  To reheat from frozen, pop an egg bite into a microwave for 30 seconds at full power.