WA Barista Academy

Just been hanging out with Ben of the newly formed Western Australian Barista Academy. Soon to be holding the WA state heats of the Australian Barista Championships.

Here’s a nice shot taken a few short minutes ago on my phone. Trying to put them roughly in sequence to show a bit of the technique Ben uses to dose, tamp and pull shots…

Mazzer Robur


Hands of a master Part 2


Hands of a master Part I


LaMarzocco Linea

The Linea

Espresso shot LaMarzocco Linea

The shot (not the best one we pulled)

Was a Rosetta

The latte art… just after Ben had almost knocked the cup over :)

Roasting on hold…

Well it’s sad times here in roasting HQ. My IMEX CR-100 (otherwise known as the cheapo Korean wunderkind coffee roaster) has officially kicked the bucket.

I have no idea what I did to it, but as soon as I plug it into a power point and hit go, it shorts my entire appliances circuit in my house, causing much unhappiness to the rest of my non power surge circuit breaker tripping appliances, just sitting there minding their own business.

So in a very sad moment for me I was forced to buy some pre-roasted beans today… of dubious freshness as well, seeing as I can’t be sure if the roast date is the 2nd or the 7th of March.

I may move on to try some pan roasting, but from what I can gather at a glance it’s a lot of effort to try and get any sort of evenness in roast colour and consistency.

If anyone has any bright ideas then feel free to let me know… I’ve got about 20kg of beans just sitting there waiting for me to roast them up…and nothing to do it with…

IMEX CR-100 Coffee Roaster. (high tech mod)

R.I.P little roaster… You served me well…

Actually what am I saying… It lasted less than six months and carked it… piece of crap…

Beetroot Fettucini with King Prawns in Creamy Peccorino Sauce

Beetroot Fettucini with Prawns in Creamy Peccorino Sauce

Possibly my longest recipe title to date, and a very tasty one at that.

This dish is basically the result of getting inspired by the ever inspiring Anthony of Spiceblog. Whilst some cooks take simple homely recipes and tart them up into some kind of quasi-faux gourmet dish (ala Jamie Oliver), I tend to do the reverse. That is, find recipes that are original and inventive and then find a way to bring them down to my level :)

So while Anthony used grated fresh beetroot in his version, I substituted a can of beetroot slices in juice to get the dark purple colour that so often stained my fingers as a child. This was actually the main reason I made the dish, because I was hunting in the back of the pantry, came across the can of beetroot and thought a) what the hell is this doing here ? and b) what can I do with it ?

A quick check of the internet and it was go time. I had some nice ’00’ rated pasta flour and picked up some prawns and few fresh herbs, and it was all good to go.

So… Ingredients:

* Beetroot Slices (Or fresh if you’re not inclined to use anything that comes in a can)
* Pasta flour
* 2 Eggs
* King Prawns – Shelled, Deveined
* Cream
* White wine
* Cheese (Anthony used Gorgonzola, I substituted Peccorino)
* Basil
* Cracked Pepper
* Red Onion

The directions are pretty simple. If you like, you can go and look up some websites that tell you how to make fresh pasta, I won’t be offended… My procedure is pretty simple, so you may want some other options.

Basically take the pasta flour and make a mound out of it, make a hole in the middle and crack the eggs into it. Slowly work the eggs into the flour and when they’re completely worked in, add the beetroot. In my case, I blended the beetroot slices into a puree, which turned into a dark purple viscous concoction. Seeing as it has a lot of liquid in it, you won’t need any more water to get the dough to the right consistency. So at this point I started slowly adding the beetroot puree to my pasta dough, mixing it in slowly to take up all the flour. This was a pretty slow process as the puree was a lot wetter than I thought it would be, so I kept having to add flour to get it back to a nice firm springy level.


Once it feels right start kneading the ball to get some elasticity into the dough. Add more flour to the sticky patches as necessary. Then once you’re happy with how it feels, roll it out flat and work it through your pasta roller and cutter… No pasta maker I hear you say ?? Then just roll it as flat as you can with a rolling pin, or bottle, or vaguely cylindrical shaped object and then use a knife to slice strips off for fettucini.

And thats the pasta done.

For the sauce I fried the onion and garlic in olive oil until it was soft, then added white wine, let it reduce, added cream, let that reduce, added the prawns (which need no time at all to cook), added the peccorino, added the basil and some cracked pepper and let it all simmer away nicely for a few minutes.

Then cook the pasta (which also takes no time at all for fresh pasta) in salted water, plate it up, and cover with the sauce.

Then you can optionally fumble around for a few minutes trying to take a photo of it, and rave to your girlfriend/wife/significant other/pet at how well it turned out… as I did, or you can just eat it and let the creamy goodness work its magic.

Red is the new White

Chicken & Cherry Tomato Penne

This was a meal that Sharon made because I in a non-cooking mood. Yes it does happen sometimes, and she’s always there to step in and make something tasty for me. Malaysian style curry is her speciality, but she is a woman of many talents, and this simple pasta dish was just the thing for a quiet night in.

Cherry Tomato & Chicken Penne with Basil


* Chicken breast
* Cherry Tomatoes
* Red Wine
* Tomato Passata (is that a tautology ? I think passata is inherenty made from tomatos…)
* Basil
* Onion
* Penne
* Parmesan to serve

Directions are simple, slice the chicken into elegant strips, fry them in a little olive oil and some cracked pepper. Set aside when they’re almost done.

Then cook the onions, cherry tomatos, and whatever other vegetables you may decide to throw in. Reduce it down to a sauce, then beef it up with some redwine, basil, and the passata. Let it simmer for a while and reduce down further before adding the chicken back in.

Cook the penne until its just al dente and plate it up. Serve the chicken and sauce over the top and sprinkle with a little black pepper and parmesan to finish.

Total cooking time… me: 0 minutes ! Sharon: 10 – 15 minutes… Now who said fast food can’t be good…

Tasty Penne