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Thanksgiving 2014

Hosting Thanksgiving dinner this year, and Tracey wasn’t well for the past week – so I took on the task of getting groceries and cooked dinner for 14.

On the menu:

My daughter helped with some of the vegetable prep, and both kids helped with cleaning the main floor, rearranging the living room, and setting up the additional table and chairs.

I’ll add some links in a bit to the different recipes I used!

It was actually pretty fun – had things coordinated pretty good I think – but I think we need an additional oven to make things a bit easier ;^)

New project in the backyard

bricksPicked up a number of fire bricks, and some insulation brick, in preparation for building a pizza/bread oven in the yard.
Not sure 100% exactly what style I’m going to build – brick or cob/earth oven – but I came across this deal that was difficult to pass up.

With what I have here, I should be able to have a cooking surface almost 36″ in diameter. If I decide to go the brick oven route, I can get more of the fire brick – shouldn’t need any more of the insulation bricks.

Found an article on building a clay wood-fired oven – the approach used for the base may not be as permanent, but I like the simplicity. The materials are largely from a building supply – so pretty easy to get hold of, at a price.

Here’s my list of stuff I’ll need to buy:

  • done – 30 fire bricks ($36)
  • done – 30 insulating bricks ($30)
  • 20 cinder blocks (abt. $60)
  • 5kg pail of cement (abt. $17)
  • 6 bags of jointers sand (abt. $66)
  • 175kg clay
  • wheelbarrow

UPDATE : 2015-07-21
No cinder blocks used – just built up the base with urban rubble, sand, and some concrete.
Materials used so far:

  • 10 bags of play sand (40 lbs. each) – used this in the base, filling in space between the rubble.
  • 12 bags of jointers sand (80 lbs. each) – half was used for the dome form!
  • 3 bags fire clay (50 lbs. each) – ran out while doing insulating layer – so getting a couple more bags.
  • 2 bags cement – used this on the top of base, then layered jointers sand, insulating bricks, and kiln bricks

Here’s the list of other tools/equipment I’ll be using:

  • tape measure
  • large tarp
  • old kitchen knife
  • 5 gallon pail(s)
  • newspaper

Espresso machine maintenance

Andreja Premium schematic with non-standard control box.
Andreja Premium schematic with non-standard control box.

While I plan out what I’m going to do regarding the intermittent control box behaviour in my espresso machine, I decided that it would be helpful to update the electrical schematic for it – especially since its using a non-standard control box.

The control box is actually one that is normally used in the Isomac Tea – a very similar machine to the Andreja Premium.

I figured that I should do some other maintenance on the machine – having received a few grouphead gaskets from Espresso Planet, I figured I would replace that first.  Last time it was replaced was a couple years ago, and it was a bear to remove, so I’m going to try and replace it  a little more frequently.

This was also a good time to clean the shower screen – which was quite plugged up.  Replacing the grouphead gasket more frequently will allow me to clean this more frequently as well.