Therapeutic coffee…

My coffee really came into its own today.

This morning, within seconds of getting out of bed, I slipped straight into a bout of pulmonary oedema. Not a bad one, like that which put me in hospital last month, but I’m not sure there’s any such thing as a good one, though bleeding was minimal and my breathing, while impaired, was tolerable. The serious element, though, was that my inhalers did little to improve the situation.

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Reclaiming my life…

Well, sort of, anyway.

Since I went down with what was eventually diagnosed as ME, but might equally be the long-term effects of being struck by lightning or even the earliest stages of Addison’s Disease, I lost a chunk of every day to enforced “rest” – by which I mean I was pretty much unconscious for much of the afternoon, and often the evening, every day.

I eventually figured out that by not eating lunch this didn’t happen in the afternoon, and so I got back to some semblance of normality. However, this year the problem has not only returned, it’s expanded into every evening, the end result being – aside from losing a large part of my day – that I couldn’t sleep at night (I’ll gloss over the perversity of the severe pain that kept me awake at night failing to do so during the day/evening!).

So I thought – COFFEE! That keeps people awake…

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A new obsession?

It’s been suggested, not altogether unkindly, that my new-found interest in espresso is becoming something of an obsession. Weeell – maybe…

However, it follows logically – for me, at least – from breadmaking, something that can be done within the constraints of my disability, and which gives me pleasure. If that’s obsession then, fine, bring it on.

My normal activities, pre disability, revolved around backpacking, rambling, cycle camping, and sea angling. I was also a very good cook, albeit with little artistic flair but, hell, I enjoyed it, and I enjoyed, even more, cooking for others.

All of that’s history. What I am physically able to do, these days is Continue reading

La Pavoni Europiccola – some tips and a word of caution…

If, as I did, you order your machine from Caffé Italia, in Italy (they have a UK base – why don’t they keep stock there?), when you unpack it you’ll find about a zillion pieces of chopped expanded polystyrene in the outer carton (none of which, bizarrely, protects the inner carton, containing the machine, from impact. Go figure. Delivery, by the way, took 3 days – I’ve had many UK deliveries that took longer and cost more.

I also found it had a Continue reading

Manual espresso machine musings…

I’ve decided to buy myself a lever-operated, entirely manual, espresso machine, not least because I’ve had, and continue to have, a really shitty time lately and, hell, I deserve to be cheered up.This is the tale of that machine, and a warning. . .

Note: On an espresso machine, the “group” is the part where the coffee is brewed. The “group head” is that part which is fixed to the machine. The removable part is the “portafilter” (Italian, porta filtro – filter carrier), and, naturally enough, it contains the filter. Now, on with the show… Continue reading