More Espresso machine maintenance

Well, I finally got around to getting a replacement control box, and a new pump.  For just over 6 months I’ve been making pour-overs (and enjoying them) – while my espresso machine sat idle.  The control box was behaving erratically, I suspect because of excessive heat within the machine.  Then the vibe pump failed around New Years.
So, I replaced the control box with another Giemme RLO 1E/1S/3C/F, and the pump I ended up replacing with a different one – an MG 071 Fluidotech Oscillating Pump.  This pump is a 70W pump, vs. the 52W Ulka vibe pump – should fill a little more quickly, resulting is shorter cycle times, and hopefully, last longer.  Another really pleasing feature, is that it’s SUBSTANTIALLY quieter!
Everything was easily swapped out – and after getting the boiler refilled, everything is working great once again!
I think I might tear it down again though in the not too distant future, and see about rewiring the machine so that I can tidy up the wiring, and relocate the control box in the space where the water reservoir was (I have the machine plumbed in, so no water reservoir is required).
I also found a place where I might be able to get the old control box repaired – would be nice to have a backup that didn’t cost so much!

New Garden


Decided to try a bit of gardening this year – and my son Davis and I built 3 raised garden beds, each 3′ x 5′, from cedar 2×6’s.  We also got some large planter pots, 3 of them, that are about 2′ in diameter, and a couple feet tall.
This past weekend we picked up the soil, and Davis and I filled up the garden beds.  Then Tracey and I decided on vegetables.  Here’s what we’ve planted, mostly from seed:

  • Zucchini (green and gold varieties)
  • Radishes
  • Cucumbers
  • Butter lettuce
  • Kale (planted some seed, and also 2 plants from the garden center)
  • Carrots (a multi-color variety)
  • Green onions
  • Jalapeño pepper
  • Red Chili pepper
  • Sweet Bell pepper
  • Tomatoes (in one of the planter pots)

While at the garden center, we also picked up some flowers and herbs that we’ve planted in large planter pots.  The herbs are in a big pot by the pizza oven which should be handy 🙂
Now we just have to remember to water and weed everything!

Pork Loin Roast BBQ'd on the Rotisserie

Made this for Mother’s Day – and it was delicious!

Pork Loin Roast BBQ’d on the Rotisserie
Recipe Type: Main
Cuisine: BBQ
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 10 – 14
  • Marinade
  • 1 teaspoon fenugreek seeds
  • 1 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1 teaspoon coriander seeds
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated nutmeg
  • 1 teaspoon mustard powder
  • 2 tablespoon olive oil
  • 8lb Pork Loin Roast
  1. Night before, add spices to mortar & pestle, and grind up nice and fine.
  2. Add olive oil and mix well with spices
  3. Rinse roast under cold water and pat dry.
  4. Rub oil and spice mixture all over the roast.
  5. Place into ziplock (I used a FoodSaver bag, and then vacuum sealed it), and into the fridge overnight.
  6. Next day
  7. Take roast out of fridge, then set up BBQ for rotisserie cooking, and start the BBQ, lighting the rotisserie burner only.
  8. After 40 to 45 minutes, put roast onto rotisserie spit, and place drip pan onto BBQ coals beneath the roast.
  9. Cook for approximately 18 to 22 minutes PER Pound, until internal temperature gets to 150 degrees F.
  10. Remove from BBQ and tent with aluminum foil for 15 minutes before slicing and serving.
Served the roast with apple sauce.

The rest of the menu consisted of steamed carrots, prosciutto wrapped asparagus spears roasted in the oven, baked potatoes with cheddar & bacon, and a delicious kale, pear, pumpkin seed, and spinach salad with a balsamic vinegar dressing.

New tankmates

Recently I added a couple small bristlenose pleco’s to the aquarium.  They are small right now, not quite 2″ in length.  Their maximum size is around 6″, which works nicely – I definitely didn’t want a common pleco, which can grow over a foot long!
They are very good at staying hidden, but this evening for the first time I saw both of them out for a little while at the same time 🙂


The current residents of the aquarium:

  • 4 Denison barbs (or indian flasher barbs)
  • 6 Siamese algae eaters
  • 2 Bristlenose plecostomus
  • 2 Salt and Pepper corydoras
  • 6 Red Phantom tetras
  • 6 Black neon tetras
  • 6 Neon tetras
  • 8 Head and Tail Light tetras

I also added a digital thermometer – much easier to read than the little plastic strip I had stuck on the front glass!

Roasted Potato Samosa Pockets

Roasted Potato Samosa Pockets
Recipe Type: Vegan
Author: Ray
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Serves: 4
  • 1 bag little potatoes – halved or quartered as necessary
  • 1 can chick peas – rinsed and drained
  • 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbsp garam masala
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tbsp tomato paste concentrate
  • juice from 1/2 lemon
  • 1 tbsp. red curry paste
  • 1 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large bag cleaned baby spinach leaves
  • 4 pitas – cut in half
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  2. Using a mortar & pestle, grind the garlic and garam masala into a paste.
  3. Mix the paste, olive oil, chick peas and potatoes thoroughly and spread out onto a baking sheet.
  4. Roast for 15 minutes, turn the potatoes and give the chick peas a good shake, then cook for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  5. While the potatoes & chick peas are in the oven, mix the mayo, yogurt, parsley, cilantro, tomato paste, and lemon juice.
  6. Heat large sauce pan over medium heat, add remaining tbsp. of olive oil, and curry paste.
  7. When the curry paste becomes fragrant, add mayo/yogurt mixture, and add the potato chick pea mixture from the oven (and turn the heat off).
  8. Toss the mixture and place into serving dish.
  9. place pita halves into microwave to warm them up.
  10. Fill the pita halves with spinach leaves and a few large spoonfuls of the potato/chick pea mixture, and enjoy!

This was a delicious and easy recipe