Saturday, August 30, 2014

Hario coffee grinder

Thanks to commenters on this blog, I abandoned my blade coffee mill in favour of a burr grinder, and enjoyed a big improvement in flavour. Now I have upgraded the flavour of my coffee again, thanks to a cheaper device than my Krups electric mill: the Hario Glass Hand Coffee Grinder. Amazon is selling it at the moment for just £13.35.

The manual mill, unlike some electric machines, will not overwork the coffee. It makes you work quite hard, though: on its finest setting, it may demand that you turn the handle for 4 to 5 minutes just to process a couple of tbsps of beans. But a slightly coarser setting will reduce this time by a half.

The biggest improvement I’ve noticed is when I use a stovetop pot (a mocha pot, some call it). The coffee is rich and intense, without a hint of bitterness.

Update (8/2/15) - From time to time, coffee grounds may get stuck in the mechanism. You can feel that the grinds are not catching - the handle is turning too smoothly, and only light sprinkles of coffee are dropping into the bowl. The solution is to give the handle a backwards turn from time to time.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Mayonnaise - the tipping point

My early attempts at mayonnaise never failed. Then a few batches went wrong: I had got complacent. I had to relearn the tyro’s caution. One must add the oil very carefully at first, just a few drops at a time, and whisk vigorously to amalgamate it, before adding the next.

Pouring 150mls (1 egg) or 300mls (2 eggs) of oil at this rate would be very tedious. You do not have to. There comes a point at which you can be much more liberal. It is when the sauce stiffens: you can feel this process, and see it, because the sauce starts clinging to the whisk. Now, you can pour in generous glugs of oil before each whisking, and you are very unlikely to split the mixture.

Mayonnaise recipe
Split mayonnaise, and what to do with it