More Espresso Videos

Another quick post of a short video I took of an extraction on my Rancilio Silvia espresso machine.

The shot is a little fast, basically because it was the first shot I pulled with a new blend of coffee that I roasted myself. So I’m still dialling in my grinder for the right length of shot for this blend.

Still it tastes quite nice… a sweet fruity front palate, good body, and a slightly winey lingering taste.

The blend was:

Panamaria Special A – 60%
PNG Serehini AX – 30%
Ethiopian Yirgacheffe – 10%

The coffee is about 3 days old at this point…and has very nice solid crema.

Latte are once again sucks… But I added it in because I’m filming them all these days anyway. I have no doubt whatsoever that the minute I put the camera down and try to pour another rosetta it will come out perfectly.

Beef & Red Wine Ragout: Video Vanity

So for now here is the next episode in the egotistical world of my video blogging adventure.

Feel free to skip watching the video, as it’s basically 5 minutes or so of me cutting up vegetables and then throwing them in a pan. For those less inclined to listen to direct requests, or who have a particular love of 90’s French house music… then play on !

Here’s some photos in the meantime.

Family dinner

Beef & Red Wine Ragout

Beef & Red Wine Ragout

On the roasting trail again

my ritual

Well having officially run out of all the beans I’ve been given, it’s back to roasting my own coffee for the time being.
I seem to waver on and off between roasting my own and buying beans from others. I find my own technique doesn’t produce the results as well as the beans I buy from local roasters (well mainly 5 Senses). This could be due to the fact that I’m using an IMEX CR-100. A tiny popcorn popper style roaster that has neither the thermal stability nor the capacity to roast coffee the way it needs to be. If you’re not a purist though, it does a reasonable job, and I am officially the hardest person to please with my own efforts.

The upside to it though, is that I have full control over how my coffee turns out, and can take all the credit when I make someone a delicious espresso or latte on my silvia (espresso machine) :)

So here’s a quick video I pulled together of me roasting some coffee at home. It’s not particularly exciting, but some of you who have never seen what green coffee looks like before may find it interesting.

The coffee blend I used was:

Indian Tiger Mountain A – 60%
PNG Sirehini – 30%
Costa Rican Tarrazu – 10 %

Sorry for the crappy audio/blair witch cameratography/random merengue tracks playing in the background.

You wouldn’t believe how much I laughed when I put those titles and credits on the video. Apologies to anyone who has multimedia skills… Making dodgy videos is just too easy these days.

Home Coffee Roasting

Latte Art Video: A brave new world

Ok, well i’m not sure if this is going to go anywhere or not, but I’m toying with the idea of doing some video blogging… Just short clips of various/random kitchen/food/me getting drunk and falling over comically type things. I’m aiming for somewhere in between Jamie Oliver’s trip to Italy, and the Funniest home video where the guy gets hit in the nuts with a stick.

So as a first effort, here is perhaps one of my crappiest ever efforts at pouring latte art. Not helped by the fact that I had to hold my phone with one hand, and normally use it to tilt the cup towards me a little… But no excuses…

So there you go… Video blogging… Feel free to let me know if this is in any way amusing/interesting/helpful/cathartic, and I may or may not continue.

To infinity and beyond !

Sandcastle Organic

A lazy Sunday afternoon in Perth. They’re all lazy afternoons when I’m involved. I have a natural aversion to waking up before noon on the weekend, and today was no different. Wandering around the house in a barely awake haze, I was too lazy to even eat breakfast or (shock horror) make coffee.

So after a mild case of cabin fever, the eventual decision came… Let go out. Where ? Fremantle !

Now I don’t like to regionalist when it cames to where I eat. A lot of people in Perth get caught up in the whole North of the River vs South of the River thing… Not to mention the Western Suburbs vs Hills people. Personally I really don’t care where I am as long as the food is good and the weather is nice. Having said that however, I live a good 45 minutes drive from Fremantle (home of many a good restaurant and an occasionally decent football team), so it’s not like I pop down every day.

Sundays, therefore, are the day to conquer the distance and let the tastebuds soak up the quasi meditteranean vibes that Fremantle always seems to have on offer.

Restaurant of choice today was Sandcastle Organic on South Terrace in South Fremantle. I’d been told good things about the organic beef there and they were also given a write up in the most recent edition of Spice Magazine. I have to admit, I’m sometimes skeptical of organic food. Not because I don’t think it’s legitimate, or inherently good, but mainly because I see the term “organic” as a catch phrase bandied around by marketers with flagrant disregard for what it actually means. Most accurately illustrated by a type of “organic” flavoured yoghurt I was recently asked to try. In the end it’s my stomach (and initially tastebuds) that make up my mind about a place, and so it was with that in mind that we decided to go.

Sandcastle Organic

So after finally getting ready and making it down there it was 3pm, and we were the only people in the place. Lucky for us the kitchen was still open and we had our pick of the tables. We chose alfresco. The warm autumn sun is just about all my complexion can handle… So I make the effort when I can.

Hola ! We're in Italy !

After not having breakfast and it now being the late afternoon, we were pretty hungry. Sharon got a curry puff and I ordered some bread and olive oil. I think i subconsciously judge a place by the quality of it’s olive oil. Luckily they use some very nice organic stuff that was quite peppery and managed to hold its own against the balsamic vinegar.

Olio e Pane

On to the mains. I couldn’t go past the centre cut fillet of beef on oak smoked mushrooms… The decision was made and a glass of Grenache Shiraz Cabernet to go with it. The beef was excellent, although sadly, not cooked the way I asked. I asked for medium rare and it came out a most definite medium. Still tender, but scarcely pink as far as my eyes could tell in the glaring 4pm autumn sunlight. It was already late enough though, and it was still very edible, so I waived the offer to recook it, and instead was offered my drinks for free… a lovely compromise.
Organic Vino Rosso

Centre Cut Fillet

Sharon ordered the smoked tofu and roast tomato en croute (on cru), with cumin potatoes, which was also particularly tasty.

Smoked Tofu

Overall the food was great. Rich earthy flavours and complimenting textures from each dish we tried. Definitely a place to try if you’re looking for a healthy change or a tasty distraction from the sterile masses. The owners are very friendly people too, good service is always a delight.

Sand Castle Organic
11/396 South Terrace
South Fremantle
(08) 9335 2445


Fruit Salad

Aka the lazy man’s dessert.

This is really just a numbers boosting post and brought about by having some photos that turned out ok for once.

So…without further ado… Fruit salad !!

Simple fruit salad


Seedless Grapes
Pineapple (real pineapple)
Passion Fruit


Procure fruit, chop up fruit, throw fruit into bowl. Cut passion fruit open, scoop out the good stuff… Mix through.

Serve with ice cream for added cliche (I did, it was great).

The end.

Lamb Roast

Roast dinners were my staple when I was growing up. Every Sunday without fail, that magical smell would waft out of the kitchen, lamb, parsnip, pumpkin, potato, peas, carrots, mint sauce, and lots of gravy. We looked forward to it every week, perhaps the one meal we never got tired of (God knows tuna mornay and macaroni cheese had their day).

So this meal was a bit of change to Mum’s original method for cooking a roast. I found a nice leg of lamb at the butchers, and feeling industrious, decided to bone it out and butterfly it myself. A relatively simple procedure, although it’s just as easy to ask the butcher to do it for you.

Once I’d got the bone out, and scored the outside and butterflied the inside… It was all systems go with herbs and spices. A good slosh of nice olive oil and a solid covering of maldon sea salt and cracked pepper, then push as much rosemary as will fit into every little gap you can find. I also made up a spice mix in my funky new mortar and pestle, it was coriander seeds, cumin seeds, fennel seeds, and black peppercorns.

My secret crush

So a coating of the spice mixture went over the seasoned lamb, which was then thrown into a roasting dish and plied with libations of a spicy shiraz I happened to have somehow forgotten to finish.

Butterflied Leg of Lamb

The flavours were already building, and so into the oven it went to cook on a medium low heat (about 150 C) for around 3 hours or so. A covering of aluminium foil (or aluminum of you’re North American, or tin if you’re from NZ), to keep the heat in and stop it from drying out too quickly, and off to get the veges ready.

Dan and Mabes turned up soon enough, with more lovely Shiraz procured the day before from Sandalford in the Swan Valley, and so we cracked the bottle while we waited for the rest of the vegetables to cook.

I had some really nice Kestrel potatoes that are perfect for roasting. I also had some japanese pumpkin and a nice bulb of fennel.
(I’ve just realised I’m using perhaps the worst adjectives in history here. Why do I keep refering to everything as ‘nice’ ? Hrmm, like you need justification that I haven’t been using rancid vegetables or something… anyway)

So sliced it all up into roastable chunks, onto a roasting dish, did the usual mantra of adding olive oil, salt, pepper, spices, and then into the oven for as long as it takes to get them nice and crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside (Actually I cheated and preboiled the potatoes a bit).

The rest was simply waiting and watching and smelling. A glass or two of Shiraz all round and an account of how much effort was involved in getting it, and it was time to dish up.

The lamb was amazing. Lamb is perhaps one of the most luscious comestibles I can think of, when prepared just right. Encrusted with herbs and spices, wallowing in a rich red wine marinade… waiting to soak up every precious little bit of flavour…
The meat was done to a perfect medium… soft delicate and moist. I took the lamb out of the pan and sliced it up, then putting the roasting dish back on the stove top, adding a little cornflour and thickened up the red wine and pan juices to make a delicious gravy.

I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking, but in a word… delicious. A lovely relaxing night with close friends, great wine, and great food.

My Lamb Roast

Lamb Roast

Pink is the new black