Week in review – January 25, 2009

2009- Year of the Coffee Bean

Welcome to 2009 – this is my first update in a while and I’ve been strangely absent but now I’m back (sort of). You’ll have probably seen the deluge of email with pictures from the European trip in December so I won’t bore everyone with that again.

Apart from a wonderful time in Europe, I brought back an appreciation that in general the coffee here is terrible and rarely excels. In Europe, the cafes served coffee that was lively and exceeded my expectations on so many levels.

My current effort to replication such quality has led me to somewhat of an obvious solution – change the beans. Lavazza espresso beans are now my poison of choice for my Capresso C1000 machine and the crema and general quality of the coffee has increased tenfold. I have augmented this device with something more suitable as a portable device and added a Nespresso C100 to my collection of coffee devices. It makes great coffee from the pods and is as good as the Lavazza should you choose one of the stronger pods.

Steve’s museum of coffee appliances will open in 2009 and will feature a Capresso C1000 SuperAutomatic, Nespresso C100 (pod), Bodum French Press, Italian stove-top espresso, a good old filter machine and perhaps a vacuum pot also. Claudia is mystified by my array of methods for coffee production but one must have the right tools πŸ™‚

Coffee time Coffee time

Coffee goes well with bread. Whole Foods make a great French Brioche however strangely once I bring it home, parts of it go missing. I also made Yorkshire Pudding the other day which came out well enough however never seems to look like ones from jolly old Blighty.

Beware the knot thief Another Yorkshire Pudding

Seems to have arrived although briefly. We had a minuscule snowfall last week that probably amounted to a quarter inch. It was cold as well last week, one night dropping to around 16f. Enough to freeze most of the water in the fountain on the porch.

Cats and snow Frozen fountain

New cat
After the unpleasant events of December, we adopted a Russian Blue cat earlier this month. We’re going through the adjustment period now as they get used to each other and some days are better than others. They likely ambush each other for fun but sometimes end up chasing each other around the house with some snarling. It’ll pass.

Tsarina takes a nap

Tsarina likes to sleep. Actually she pretty much can sleep anywhere. She also is highly addicted to catnip and we are seeking professional help for her to get over the addiction πŸ™‚

Not the most flattering pose Where's the other one?

Year ahead
Will be a busy one. Claudia is off to study in Paris come October for 4-5 months. For me, this year at work will be an exciting one with many projects to occupy and entertain. We also have St Joseph now to protect the house and the supply of coffee beans (probably a good idea since the cats generally sleep on the job).

St Joseph for the House of Joe

Also this year I have a lot of reading to do with a number of books purchased last year and yet to be started. I also am attempting Spanish and since I have an on-site consultant, it will be quite an adventure.

Books – Paris after the Liberation is currently on the night stand. It’s very interesting and highlights the fractures in the various alliances during the war. Yes, I’ve been reading it for a month or more now but haven’t dedicated as much time to it as I’d like.

Movies – Traitor is next in the Netflix queue – will see how that one is. I’m not holding my breath for it to be more than a couple of hours entertainment. I have however added many of the top nominations for Oscars to the queue and those might yield more lingering thoughts. Beyond “well, that’s 90 minutes of my life I won’t get back”.

This made me laugh at the Netflix site…. To be tempted and then to have it snatched cruelly away.
Netflix on demand

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