Friday, October 28, 2011

Porlex Mini Coffee Grinder

I've recently invested in a new coffee grinder in the transition from pre-ground to beans. After some research online I ended up purchasing a Porlex Mini hand grinder from eBay (direct from Japan!).

The unit is well built of stainless steel, and includes an integrated rubber band for storing the detachable handle. Many of the reviews I read noted the following benefits:

  • Solid construction of stainless steel
  • Quality ceramic burr which is hard wearing
  • Minimal issues with static electricity build up when the weather is unsavoury

Some problems which people have encountered are:

  • Burr is held in place by a spring, and therefore the grind can be more variable when at coarser settings;
  • Plastic bumps on the 'nut' can wear out after some time so it no longer stays in place, although this can be fixed by alternatively using a washer and two nuts to hold the burr in place (a more permanent fix)
  • Burr is made of a ceramic which can be easily broken if dropped.
  • Instructions are in Japanese, although the instructions have been translated to English and are available here

Overall I think its a good hand grinder for $60 AUD (which included free shipping). I've found I can grind beans for 1-2 cups of coffee in about 60-90 seconds. The unit is also compact enough to move between home and work in my pack (or take travelling), and the band is great for keeping the handle and unit together when not in use.

For the home espresso machine my first grind I set it to 5 clicks from maximum and found the grinds to be a little coarse, resulting in a weak brew. I've found that setting it to 2 clicks from the maximum produces a good grind size for espresso. Yet to try it for the Moka pot at work, for that I'm thinking 5 clicks should do the trick.

If you are after a source on eBay from which to purchase, I purchased mine from seller cafebozu, Japanese seller with free shipping (they packed it really well too).
Also found this guide to determining the grind size based on the equipment you are using, might come in handy.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Low Fat Chicken and Bacon Fettuccine

You'll need:
500g Fettuccine
200g Short Cut Bacon
1 Chicken Breast
8 Medium Size Mushrooms
1 Onion
1 400g Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Ground Chilli / Chilli Flakes (Optional)
Spring Onions or Parsley to Garnish
Ground Black Pepper
Parmesan Cheese

 To do this:
1. Chop onion, slice mushrooms, chop spring onions parsley, slice bacon into squares and chicken into 1cm strips and set aside.
2. Brown onions in a pre-heated pan, add mushroom and heat for a further minute. Transfer to a medium saucepan.
3. Return pan to heat with some oil. Cook chicken until brown and transfer to saucepan.
4. Bring a large saucepan of water to the boil and add fettuccine.
5. Return pan to heat with some more oil. Add bacon and transfer to saucepan once slightly crispy.
6. Pour can of cream of mushroom soup into saucepan, along with approx 1/4 can water.
7. Lightly simmer sauce until pasta is cooked.
8. Take pasta off boil and drain, return to the saucepan and crack one egg into pasta, and slowly combine. The heat will cook the egg somewhat.
9. Transfer some sauce to the pasta and combine to prevent it sticking. Plate up pasta into large bowls and top with sauce, garnish with spring onion/parsley, parmesan cheese, ground black pepper and some chilli.


This is a great dish prior to a big run to get some carbs in, a little protein, and packs in some salts too (from the can of soup) for summer training sessions. Using cream of mushroom soup is a good base for other pasta dishes too.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Wholemeal Muffins

You can put anything you like in these muffins (fruit works best). Take the generic muffin mix as a base and work from there. For the below I made date/walnut in one, and apple/banana for the others.

For the generic muffin mix you'll need:
3.5 cups Wholemeal Flour
1/2 cup LSA Mix (or linseed meal)
3 Tablespoons Chia Seed
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
1 Tablespoon molasses
2 cups milk
2 eggs
250ml natural yoghurt

For Date and Walnut -
3 large handfuls of dates roughly chopped, and soaked in boiling water
2 handfuls of walnuts roughly chopped

For the apple and banana -
1 Apple sliced into cubes
2 Banana (sliced/mashed) - save some slices to place on top

To do this:
1. Combine the flour, LSA mix, chia seed and cinnamon in a large bowl, and form a hole in the centre.
2. Whisk the eggs, milk, yoghurt and molasses in a bowl and pour into the centre of dry ingredients.
3a. Add apple and banana
3b. Add dates (including water) and walnuts
4. Mix until just combined
5. Spoon mix into muffin tray (the quantity above makes 12 medium sized muffins)
6. Top each muffin with a slice of banana or piece of walnut, and dust lightly with cinnamon
7. Bake in a pre-heated oven (170deg celsius) approx 25-30mins (less for fan forced), test using a knife - when it comes out clean these guys are done!

Enjoy with a fresh espresso coffee. These keep well in the freezer/fridge, and are great microwaved to serve hot.