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Posts tagged ‘cafe roma’

Part I: The crumpet saga

My top* Trademe purchases to date, ranked according to a weighted assessment  are:-

1/ Panasonic bread machine – $60
2/ Breville Cafe Roma espresso machine – $20
3/Leather motorcycle jacket that I’ve never worn, although I’m sure that will change any day now – $10

* Note: ‘Top’ is calculated according to a combination of: value for money, frequency of subsequent use, and/or unbelievably cool. My waffle iron would have made the #3 slot, except the seller still emails me embarassing photographs of herself. The espresso machine would have made the #1 slot, except the woman who sold it to me refuses to email embarassing photographs of herself.

I use the bread machine pretty much daily since acquiring it just over two months ago. There were several false starts: the honey oatmeal bread with the soggy bottom; the cranberry walnut bread where the yeast didn’t activate so much as die a long, slow, painful death; the country seed bread that redecorated the kitchen.

Then our landlords sent me a recipe for their Acclaimed White Bread For Which They Are Renowned Throughout The Sounds. I can’t write too much about it because I get emotional. But oh! The golden, explosively crusty exterior concealing a light, aromatic, most tender of interiors that you just want to snuggle up to and/or roll around in, the whole emitting such a glorious bready smell. I just- it makes me feel so- so-

Sorry! Sorry! But I did warn you.

Then Meep introduced me to Alison Holst’s range of cookery books, specifically ‘The Bread Book‘. Alison Holst has been around for centuries – or certainly as long as Andrew can remember – and is apparently a Kiwi icon, which I presume means she has a purple perm, a thrilling bosom concealed behind a pinny, and says things like, “First catch your weka”. Certainly, the introduction to ‘The Bread Book’ would appear to support this:

However excited you may be about the wonderful things a new machine will do, you may be daunted by the idea of ‘getting the thing going!’

Since my children were 10-12 years old, I have found that the best way to learn about a new machine is to encourage them to read the instructions and use the machine. I then get them to show me what to do, and operate it under their supervision, preferably several times. After this, I am ‘away laughing’, can now read the instruction book and understand it, and can see just how simple the machine is.

I was initially put off by Alison’s inability to either a) read, or b) grapple with the complexity of pressing three buttons. However, I was encouraged by her eager grasp of ‘the lingo’.

Due respect: Alison’s recipes produce outstanding results. Furthermore, whereas I am generally a fan of Antipodean cooking, it often has an unhealthy fixation on fats and dairy produce; yet Alison’s bread recipes favour oil over butter; keep the salt and sugar to a minimum; and substitute wholemeal flour for plain.

Husband and I look significantly more robust and vigorously healthy. Yeah, I’m not sure how many kilos it translates to; I’m afraid to weigh myself. We have enjoyed multigrain bread, wholemeal bread, yoghurt bread, muesli bread, cinnamon raisin bread, hot cross buns, pizza bread and fruity oatmeal bread with toasted almonds.

But then . . . then there were the crumpets.

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More maintenance

Me: I had to fix the espresso machine as well-

Husband: Don’t tell me. It sheared in two, so you went down to Mitre 10 and purchased some heavy industrial machinery and a mask, and welded it back together in the kitchen. And now it works perfectly.

Me: You know, sarcasm doesn’t suit you at all.

Husband: Ok, what was wrong with it?

Me: After your whole shearing/welding scenario, it sounds a bit lame. Er, ah, well, so there was water leaking around the filter.

Husband: Maybe you were packing the coffee too tightly-

Me: I considered that, so I tried packing the coffee loosely, but it was still leaking; so I tried half-filling the filter, but that didn’t work either; so I filled it right up in case there was too much pressure building up in the space at the top. Then I cleaned the head and ran water through the machine to dislodge any burnt coffee grounds, and then I scrubbed the O-ring even though it appeared to be fine-

Husband: Wow, you really considered the options.

Me: I did! I objectively analysed the problem and applied logic and guile to test and eliminate the issues according to cause probability. So then I emailed Breville’s Customer Support-

Husband: Really?

Me: Yeah, but all they did was write back and ask what model it was. Useless bastards.

Husband: When did you contact them?

Me: This morning.

Husband: You expect a lot from your customer support, don’t you?

Me: I just don’t see why they can’t support customers, as per their job description.

Husband: Fair enough. So-

Me: Well, I’m still waiting to hear from them. But I managed to fix it in the meantime-

Husband: For the love of God, HOW?

Me: Changed the brand of coffee.

Husband: . . .

Me: It was too fine a grind, so I’ve gone back to Robert Harris. Seems to have done the trick.

Husband: You’re a genius.

Me: I’m pretty special

Espresso

Haze: You brought an espresso machine – on a ski weekend?

Me: Indeed. By the way, there are terms and conditions surrounding its use.

Haze: Oh?

Me: Yes. You can have coffee as long as you don’t mock me. However, if you mock me for bringing an espresso machine along with a measuring spoon and tamper and milk frothing jug, you don’t get coffee.

Haze: No problem. Nige, is that ok with you?

Nige: Absolutely.

Me: John will be torn.

John: I’m torn

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