Daily Archives: Sunday, 18th Jan 2009

Weekend Breakfasts

Now I’m mostly settled back in at home, and getting used to my new kitchen, I’ve started what I hope will be a new habit: having a good breakfast at weekends. For quite a while, I’ve been having croissants at the weekend, but now I’m after a bit of variety (and perhaps a little less butter).

Yesterday, it was more lunch than breakfast, having had to go to work in the morning, but the idea was there. I was pointed at Jamie Oliver’s breakfast eggy crumpets and decided to give them a try. I had some good bacon, nice fresh chillies and free range eggs, so all I needed was the crumpets. All you do is fry the bacon until it’s crispy (well, that’s how I like it, anyway), finely chop a chilli pepper and add it to your whisked egg. Shove the crumpets into the egg and watch them soak it up, then add them to the pan and fry until golden.

I had a bit of egg that the crumpets didn’t soak up and some spare bits of chilli, so I threw that into the pan and added a fried chilli egg to the mix. And it was lovely. I’d never have thought of doing that with a crumpet, but I’m quite sure I’ll be doing it again.

This morning, after a couple of espressos and a shower, I went out for a paper, then came back to cook breakfast. More bacon, some mushrooms sliced and fried in a little garlic butter and a fried egg. Finished off with a couple of slices of toast and a large glass of apple juice. Nice.

White Lies – To Lose My Life…

Hmmmm. White Lies have been getting a lot of attention for a new band. Appearing on various lists of acts most likely to be big in 2009, and all that sort of thing. Well, I’d heard the current single To Lose My Life quite a few times and enjoyed it without actually knowing who it was, and further investigations led me to think that this was indeed my kind of thing. Yes, they’re another of those indie bands with a Big Vocal and something approaching a Wall of Sound featuring sounds that at times call to mind such classic acts as The Jesus and Mary Chain and the inevitable Joy Division. Perhaps the most recent successful band they could be compared with would be Editors, but they’re not quite as cheery as those guys.

Anyway, I pre-ordered the album (due out tomorrow) from iTunes, and got an email this morning telling me it was available for download. I’m giving it a listen now, and I like what I’m hearing. It’ll no doubt take a few more listens to really get into it, but so far it’ll do very nicely indeed.

Sample lyrics from the title track:

Let’s grow old together and die at the same time

I said “I’ve got no time I have to go”
And I was more right than I will ever know
He said “my heart is fate” well mine’s regret
and left him crying next to the chapel steps

All of which is either complete nonsense or deeply profound. Either way, it all sounds good, and it’s well worth a listen.

Krups Nescafe Dolce Gusto KP210040 Coffee Machine

It’s been four years since I bought my Senseo coffee machine for the office, which is quite a long time for me to keep using anything. Over the years, I’ve found a variety of pods for the beast, which have varied in quality from not at all good to not bad. And there’s the problem, really. At its best, the coffee coming out of the Senseo is “not bad”, and I suppose I haven’t really been happy with it for a while. So, a replacement seemed like a good idea. For practical reasons, it would have to use some kind of pod or capsule – the tea bag style pods the Senseo uses are about the limit of messiness I’m prepared to have at work. Now there are a number of systems on the market, and these days the pods for them are widely available in supermarkets and online, but most of the machines are quite expensive. Now as this is purely for convenience at work, I wasn’t prepared to spend too much.

All of which led me to investigate the Dolce Gusto system. Hardware by Krups, coffee by Nestle, with a wide range of drinks available from espresso to hot chocolate. But as the machines used to cost the best part of £100, I hadn’t looked that closely. But what’s this?? Down to £65 from Amazon? That stuck me as a lot more reasonable, so I did some research, reading reviews, checking availability of pods and so on. Reviews from people who actually like coffee were generally positive, so I went to have a closer look at the machines in some Newcastle department stores. Well, they looked OK, and I was pretty much ready to pop back to the office and order one from Amazon, until I noticed the special offer in Fenwick’s. They had a red one on display with a sign indicating it was reduced to £60, which at around £5 less than Amazon was irresistable. So I found the small pile of boxes and picked one up to buy it. And woo hoo, it was reduced even further – down to £49.95, which was about what I paid for the Senseo, and therefore seemed about right.

Back at the office, I moved the Senseo out of the way and unpacked the Dolce Gusto. Now this was originally a premium product, so the box contained some freebies – a mixed selection of pods, a quite nice cup and saucer and a glass for cold drinks (which it also does). After setting it up (which involved running some water through it a few times to clean the tubes), I tried my first espresso. And while it’s not as good as I get at home with Illy dark roast in my Gaggia, it’s a lot more satisfying than the Senseo can manage. I’m told that the hot chocolate is well up to standard, too, so it keeps my staff happy as well as me.

So, overall, I’m happy with my new coffee making device. If you’re after something that makes quite acceptable coffee with little to no mess, and which looks really cool, you can’t go far wrong with one of these.  Supplies are available in major supermarkets or direct from Nestle. If you get one, make sure you register online – if you do, they’ll send you a voucher for a free pack of pods and give you 200 points for their loyalty scheme. Each box of pods has a unique code inside, which will give you 11 points. And points add up to buy things from the online store – anything from pods to cups to actual Dolce Gusto machines. One thing to note is that the site refers to a registration card in the box and tells you to use the code from that to register your machine. There was no card in my box, so I called the helpline, who immediately gave me a code to use, so I suspect missing codes are quite common.

Weight Report – 18 January 2009

Ooooh!! Today’s weight is the lowest so far this year. It might possibly be related to me having a nice healthy salad with my dinner last night. Or something like that.