The Coffee Machine we Use to Make the Best Italian Coffee

There is nothing as disgusting as taking ill-prepared espresso. At its best however, you could take more than two cups of espresso and still want some more. And if you get espresso from a real expert, you will probably want to spend the whole day enjoying the drink. Most Italians could also make good espresso for you. However, you can also learn how to prepare the drink at your home. In my home, we have been avid drinkers of espresso for long. I have only been to Italy once, but I have studied and learnt from experts how to make their coffee. Below, I have discussed how to make Italian coffee with the machine we use at home: Sage by Heston Blumenthal

Before we bought the Heston Blumenthal machine, we had a MelittaCaffeo Barista coffee maker. The machine was actually great and reliable at bean-to-cup coffee making. It was manual like the Sage model and you could make lattes within minutes. Unfortunately, it didn’t have the advanced customization features we get from the Sage coffee machine. And to give you a clearer picture, here are the main features we find useful from the machine.

What to Look for in the Best Coffee Machine

  • Flexibility

    The Sage machine comes with a dual boiler. But despite this, it makes the best milk based drinks I have tasted. The quality of its espresso and latte for instance are exemplary, especially if you know how to make the drinks the Italian way. On the other hand, the 2.5 liter machine is light. Again, it measures 40.5*37.8*37.7cm to save a lot of your kitchen space.

  • Quality

    With my many years of experience with coffee machines, I can differentiate a high quality maker with a poor quality by a few seconds’ glances. The sage model screams high quality straight from its full metal body construction. Its compact, square shaped design with a stainless steel front also indicates the good quality the coffee maker represents. Fortunately, you also get a good looking espresso when you buy the Sage model. It is stunning in every aspect, and I have always tried to make it retain that state for the eleven months it has been in my kitchen.

  • Efficient

    Efficiency at making espresso is one reason I feel the Sage machine is the best coffee maker you could possibly buy. With its two boilers, I get to prepare espresso fast and with a delicious taste. This is certainly because the machine ensures you don’t lose heat as you prepare the espresso. In the end, you get the best tasting drink in the shortest time possible. On the other hand, the coffee maker has a tap controlled steam wand, plus it can make hot water on demand to help you make huge amounts of coffee faster than other machines.

  • Multiple Accessories

    If your family members have different tastes when it comes to coffee, you can feed them properly with the Sage machine. It comes with several important features such as the four-58mm filter baskets that you could use on both single and double shot espresso. The filters also come in either single or dual wall varieties to suit your specific needs. The double wall filters are however better for me as an espresso maker. With ground coffee, these filters even out pressure flow to help achieve a sublime tasting espresso. Other accessories I enjoy with the Sage are its jug which I use for frothing. In addition, I also love the tamper which fits accordingly inside the filters. The machine also comes with a razor shaped metal sheet that helps level the coffee grounds already placed in the filter.

How I make my Espresso

As I had earlier mentioned, the Sage is a quiet, customizable coffee maker. Before making “Italy standards” espresso, it helps you check your water’s hardness. It comes with a water strip for this purpose, after which you can set it appropriately. Actually, expect to put in some extra effort with manual machines, but in the end they have great results. With the Sage for instance you have to insert a water filter into the reservoir before adding water for instance. Finally, you also have to flush some water out just to confirm it is fit.

Other than those steps, I find every other step in my espresso making process to be similar with other machines. It takes about two minutes for instance to heat up, although you have the option to set it on the auto wake mode. If you are new to making espresso, it is worth noting that it takes some extra efforts to make unique and better tasting espresso than what you get from restaurants. The types of coffee grounds you use, the water and heating temperatures all tend to influence the quality and flavor of your espresso.

The 3 Specialties on our Italian Menu

You love Italian dishes? So does everyone in my family. My wife’s family is of Italian origin and they certainly love Italian food. On the other hand, I run an average sized restaurant where most of our customers are middle aged Americans. I would say they are loyal patrons. However, my customers have also been good friends, including my wife who taught me how to speak a little Italian. With time, I have also perfected the art of preparing their dishes. You ask, what are my favorites? Stick with me in the next few minutes and I will teach you how to prepare 3 of our most popular Italian dishes at the restaurant.

  • Torta del Nonna

The Torta del nonna is an Italian specialty you can’t miss at our restaurant. People love the dish, especially when you give it a twist by adding chocolate color to the usually sweet pastry. Again, you could have this dish at any time of the day, but especially when you want to try something sweet and something Italian. But without further ado, here is how to prepare it.

Ingredients

  • Plain Flour ( 280g will serve 6-8)
  • 2 slightly beaten egg yolks
  • Icing sugar, about 75g
  • Cold, unsalted butter (Works well when already chopped into cubes)
  • 1 liter full-fat milk

To act as fillings

  • 1l full fat milk
  • Pipe nuts (75g)
  • 2 oranges (optional)
  • 250g golden caster sugar
  • Vanilla pod
  • Several egg yolks

Method

  1. Using a food processor, pulse the flour together with butter and icing sugar until it forms a breadcrumbs like appearance. Add your egg yolks carefully, pulse a few seconds more and then place the mixture onto your working area. Knead the mixed dough and then flatten it to appear like a disc. Wrap it into a cling film and let it chill for about 20 minutes.
  2. While the dough chills; make your filling. It takes a few minutes. Basically, pour the milk into the sauce pan. Add the scraped vanilla seeds and heat the milk. On the other hand, whisk the remaining egg yolks as you wait for the milk to heat. Once heated, let it cool.
  3. After twenty minutes, remove the custard dough and place it onto the sauce pan. Meanwhile, the milk should add the beaten egg yolks into the cold milk. On the other hand, continue whisking the custard dough as it heats gently. After a few minutes, push it onto a dish and cover it.
  4. You can make your pastry taste better by rolling it between baking parchments. Cover it with a cling film and let it chill. After wards, line it with baking beans and place it into an oven. Once golden brown, remove it and place the custard dough at a reduce heat. You can then add the orange zest, chocolate and ricotta. Finally, remove it, add the wobbly fillings on top and chill it for at least three hours. Finally, add sugar icing and serve.
  • Fig and Prosciutto Pizettas

This meal takes less time to prepare, but it is very delicious. The preparation method starts with making dough. Once done, you heat the oven to about 200C. After that, knead the dough into ball shapes. Dust the kneading surface with some flours and then roll out the balls into thin sheets. Add some crème fraiche, shallots and parmesan. Add the mozzarella, salt to add flavor and don’t forget to include pepper. Dip the dough into your oven for 15 minutes before sprinkling the pizzettas and prosciutto. Finally, you can add vinegar, mix with oil and serve.

  • Rabbit Pappardelle

If you love wine, white meat and pasta, here is an Italian meal you may want to taste. It takes about 2 hours to prepare, but you could do it for one hour in the case of a small family. The basic ingredients we use are the rabbit, onions, and garlic, white or rose wine, mustard, pappardelle pasta, chopped bacon and double cream. Cooking the meal is also easy. Simply, brown the jointed rabbit into heated oil until it looks brown on all sides. Remove it and add the following: onions, carrots, garlic clove and tomato puree.

After 15 minutes, remove these items and return the rabbit to cook fully. It should take one hour. Once done, shred the fully rabbit to remove every bone. Once again, return the shredded meat but this time with half less the liquid. Meanwhile, cook pasta as guided by the pack instructions. Drain water from the pasta, and add the mustard cream and parsley. Remove the sauce and place it on a heated pan for a couple of minutes together with the now cooked meat. Serve the food with parsley leaves and grated Parmesan if you wish

You can certainly replace some ingredients from Italian dishes, especially the citrus fruits that tend to affect the original flavors.

Our Recipe for the most Delicious Vegetable Pizza

Vegetable pizzas are great for the health conscious, meat allergic person. They taste good also, but better yet is that you could prepare them within thirty minutes. To vegetarians especially, a vegetable pizza allows you to have a well-balanced meal without having to eat meat. At our family, we encourage vegetable pizzas by preparing different flavored pizzas at different occasions. Our kids love them, and we all get to satisfy different tastes without losing appetite on eating pizzas. Below, you can find a recipe of our most loved vegetable pizza.

For starters, there are several variants of non-meat pizzas to choose from. The first one is the margherita pizza, whose unique ingredients are tomatoes and mozzarella. Then there is the mushroom pizza, the four seasons-pizzas and the cheese pizza. Each of these types will have different taste, and different health benefits. Obviously the best flavor will be your personal choice, but here are health benefits you may want to get from every pizza you prepare. Adding tomatoes will guarantee your family of Vitamin A and C. Spinach on the other hand provide minerals such as magnesium and iron. Olives help fight heart diseases while mushrooms help fight chronic diseases as they contain antioxidants. Mozzarella and onions help add flavor on the other hand.

So what’s our favorite? My family loves the Pizza margherita. It is a pizza you could prepare in less than thirty minutes even if it is your first time making it. You probably have already tasted it already, and I bet you loved it. Didn’t you? One other thing to love about this pizza is that it asks for very few ingredients. With enough dough, tomatoes and a mozzarella, you could make a basic margherita in a few minutes. For the novice cook it might seem hard to prepare however, but not after you read our guide below.

Usually, good chefs in a restaurant prepare a pizza in about four steps. It also takes four quick steps to prepare the margherita. You start with preparing the pizza’s the base; the tomato sauce, toppings and then finishing. The last two steps are almost too easy to be called steps, but if you miss them; then you won’t be preparing a delicious pizza. All in all, here are our ingredients and the preparation method for a pizza for 4.

For the Base

  • 300-250g wheat flour
  • Sachet instant yeast (at least one table spoon worth)
  • 2 table spoon worth of olive oil

The Sauce

  • 1 crushed garlic clove
  • 100ml tomato passata
  • 1 tablespoon of dried basil (Fresh can still work)

The Topping

  • Enough cherry tomatoes
  • 125gms of sliced mozzarella

Finishing

  • Basil leaves

Preparing the margherita actually takes less time than preparing. For us, it takes roughly thirty minutes before we can gather around and enjoy the pizza. Here is how you can go ahead and prepare it for your family as well.

Step by step recipe

  • Step One: Tackling the Base

    Using a large bowl, pour the flour, yeast and salt. Make a well in the middle and add 250ml of lukewarm water. Add the olive oil and begin to stir gently with a widen spoon until you achieve a wet dough. If it is too wet, add some flour. If it is too dry, add some warm water as well. Place this dough onto an ideal surface already sprinkled with flour. Knead for 5 minutes and then cover it with a paper towel to rise a bit.

  • Step Two: The Sauce

    The sauce takes less than a minute to prepare. Simply mix crushed garlic with the passata and season to add taste. Now you can leave the sauce alone and head back to making the base.

  • Step Three:

    Once the dough has risen to the desired size, knead it a bit further. Split it into two balls and roll it onto another surface sprinkled with flour. Using a rolling pin, spread the dough balls until they appear like thin crisps, although there are supposed to be big in size. Preferably spread them into 20cm long, circular shaped sheets. Don’t worry about the dough not rising, as this will happen in the oven later. Place these rounds on actual baking sheets.

  • Step Four: Adding the toppings and Baking

    Heat your oven to 220C with gas 8. On the top shelf of your oven, place an upturned baking tray. Spread the tomato sauce over the bases using a normal spoon before scattering the cheese and tomatoes. Add the olive oil on top and season. Lift one pizza while on its sheet and place it in the oven {on top of the upturned tray). Bake for about ten minutes. Serve it with oil and basil leaves and then repeat that step for the second pizza.

It is that simple, and if you followed every step accordingly, you will have a delicious and nutritious pizza.

Choosing the Right Faucet for the Bar

As a bar owner, you probably want the best for your customers. That means that even the faucet your employees use has to be the best. The seats and tables have to be great as well. However, not all items in the bar are easy to purchase. Buying a faucet for instance can be challenging bearing in mind that you have to choose between the typical kitchen faucet and the bathroom faucet the manufacturers mainly stock. But what do you purchase? Read our guide below. You could also compare the best kitchen faucets on the market by checking out the site topfaucetsreviewed.com. They got reviews and guides on how to choose the right faucet for your needs.

What to Look for in the Right Faucet for the Bar

  • Single versus Double Handle Faucets

    Single handle faucets are pretty much more common these days. They give the faucet a cool modern look while they are also easier to use. Their handles are often located somewhere on the faucet or sometimes beside it. On the other hand, double handle faucets make controlling water temperatures and water flow adjustments easy. They also look classic; if that is your style. Ideally, the number of handles doesn’t matter that much, as it basically depends on your personal style.

  • Arc heights

    Here is a feature you should be keen to consider. The market is full of either high arc or low arc faucets. But they adequately cater for the type of person you are. If you are tall and have your bar sink at level slightly higher than your waist, then a low arc faucet might work just fine. A low arc faucet also works fine when you don’t want your view for the restaurant or anything else gets restricted by a high arc tool. The high arc tools on the other hand work greatly where you have large glasses or vessels to clean. They also work well with both short and tall people.

  • The Sprayer

    Well, the sprayer doesn’t have much use in most bars, but it is important too. A good sprayer helps you rinse the sink properly, plus it makes cleaning curved glasses feel easier. So, how do you choose the spray type? A pull down sprayer works better where you have a big high arc faucet. You can always pull it down and use it for whatever purposes you have in mind. A pull out sprayer on the other hand helps you fill large vessels placed beside the sink easier.

  • Number of Holes in the Sink

    Does the bar’s sink come with a single hole? Are there two or three holes? Note that number and use it to guide you while buying the bar’s faucet. As we had earlier noted, most faucets in the market today come with single handles. These faucets also ask for a sink with a single hole. Two hole sinks on the other hand work well with double handle faucets that have a soap dispenser or a separate handle. Three hole faucets and four whole sinks mainly work with traditional style faucets. Such faucets have separate handles. But for the modern bar, a single or double hole sink is just fine.

  • The Mounting area

    The mounting surface depends on the place you wish to install your faucet at. You may also be guided by the number of holes in the sink, your preference as well. A deck plate faucet for instance sits underneath the faucet and works best where you are replacing a double handle tool with a single handle faucet. It enables you to install the new faucet without adding extra holes for a soap dispenser for instance. Other faucets simply don’t come with any mounting surface. The handles, the faucet and the soap dispenser are all connected directly to the sink’s holes. They make replacing new parts easy, plus they work greatly with bars.

  • Design and Finishes

    If you want the best for your customers, also buy the best for your employees. A good looking faucet will complement the interior décor and add elegance as well. You can choose from up to 20 different styles available in the market, but make sure you go for a unique style. The construction should however be durable. Settle for a brass made faucet, as it doesn’t corrode nor attract dust. On the exterior, a stainless steel finish offers the best looks and ease of maintenance.

  • Costs

    When buying a faucet, its value should be of more importance to you. However, you must also consider your budget. Faucets come in a very wide price range, with some costing less than $50 and others on the upwards of $2000. The main goal however is to ensure you get a tool that can serve the intended purposes but still be able to afford it. Most faucets priced under $350 for instance can serve all the needs you have. You can also find a luxury style bar for about $500, and live to cherish its looks and modern convenient features.

Choosing an Air Purifier for a Restaurant

People love a restaurant with great food, but they enjoy the dining experience more. Most families actually love to create memories in cool restaurants where they can dine and wine without getting affected by excessive heat, kitchen fumes or dust. That means you need a great air purifier and a great air conditioner. In the next few minutes we shall guide you on buying an air purifier for the restaurant, and hope you also gets tips for buying other equipment as well. To see air purifier reviews to also help you with making the right purchasing decision, read the article with a comparison of best products on  forhealthyair.com.

  • Tip 1: Buy New

    Buying all equipment a restaurant needs to run effectively can be financially challenging. Despite this; never settle for an old machine. You could buy a few second-hand tools if you want, but not machines prone to generating ozone or ions like some air purifiers. The best performing air purifiers will reduce efficiency with time; and you certainly don’t want to end up with a purifier that can’t purify anything. Instead, save money and research on the best performing new air purifiers.

  • Tip 2: Look for Value, not Cost

    These days, it is difficult to know an air purifier’s value by checking its price. Instead, check for the specs and see what benefits it has that other machines lack. Don’t also go out shopping for a restaurant air purifier while on a tight budget. You will be tempted by the many cheap machines that probably can’t perform efficiently at your restaurant. With this in mind, check for such features as the CADR rating, the air purification technology and reputation among other customers.

  • Tip 3: Must have HEPA Filters

    There are a few features an ideal restaurant air purifier should have, but HEPA filters are the most important. With restaurants especially, a HEPA filter run machine is able to trap dust mites, dirt and particles that could spoil the dining experience of your customers. Don’t settle for any HEPA however. Go for true HEPA purifiers that also have carbon and pre-filters to eliminate chemicals and odors. In the end, you want a purifier that can eliminate virtually 100% of unwanted air contaminants without leaving any side effects behind. And that’s why ion releasing purifiers are a no for someone like you.

  • Tip 4: Should be good at odor removal

    Admittedly, there are few good air purifiers that can eliminate odors and cooking smells from the air. And unfortunately, smells from spilt milk, burnt food or cleaning solutions are what dread customers most. However, you could still find an ideal air purifier that will eliminate these smells. The best purifiers in this area come with activated carbon filters and have high ratings in numerous reviews. Besides that, ensure the purifier measures up with the size of our restaurant. All purifiers are designed to purify certain sized rooms. With this in mind, buy the best purifier for your restaurant.

  • Tip 5: Consider the Operating Costs

    Air purifiers ask for a considerable amount of money on operating costs. On average, a great performing HEPA run purifier will cost an average of $350 every year for changing the filters and for electricity consumption. However, different air purifiers also have additional filters that ask for more in maintenance. A machine with a pre-filter, a carbon filter and a HEPA filter for instance will cost more in operating cost than a smaller sized machine. A whole house air purifier is also more likely to ask for more; but depending on the usage as well.

  • Tip 6: Buy a Quiet Purifier

    Noise level is important with any machine. With work places actually, noise level is even more important. Imagine the noise that comes from customers as they eat, the waiters talking to the chefs. Add now the noise produced by a noisy air purifier. It is definitely not healthy. A quiet purifier on the other hand gives everyone in the restaurant a peace of mind. Note however that air purifiers have to make some noise for them to work efficiently. As such, pick a more powerful machine and run it on the quiet fan speed to give everyone peace in the restaurant.

  • Tip 7: Check for Convenience Features

    Modern air purifiers come with multiple features that could make your experience with the machine enjoyable. For instance, check for a servicing indicator. It helps you know when the purifier is jammed up for you to unclog it. In addition, check for a programmable timer. This feature lets you have control over the purifier’s operation. It helps you switch the purifier on even before you start working or switch it with ease. Other features like a programmable panel to help manage the fan speeds, remote control and automatic adjusting features are very important to look out for.

In the end, ensure the purifier looks durable and that its manufacturer has the will to send technical support whenever it develops a problem.

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10 Rules for Starting a Successful Restaurant

Changing demographics and work commitments are some of the reasons people prefer to dine out these days. Some people just don’t want to put the effort into baking the fresh bread they love. Others hate cleaning the dishes. But you know what? These are all potential customers, and you only need to start a good restaurant and they will come running for your services. But how do you start a successful restaurant when you are not even a chef? The following 10 rules will give you some tips for starting and running a successful restaurant.

  1. Know your target customers

    Most new entrepreneurs have troubles accepting the fact that they can’t attract everyone into their restaurant. You have to segment the market and choose a certain demographic to target as customers. There are different groups of people who could be potential customers. You could segment the demographics based in age for instance. Alternatively, you can segment your customers based on their level of incomes, but the most important bit is to understand what they value.

  2. Be a good planner

    If you seriously want to succeed as a restaurant owner, develop a passion for the job and always plan for what to do next. If you are passionate about the cooking or satisfying customers, you will definitely want to be a good manager of how things flow at the restaurant. And you don’t have to start a long, overly ambitious plan. Just make a simple budget of what you intend to buy for the restaurant. Plan about the interior designs or call someone to help you out. Plan on the policies to use based on your personal market research.

  3. Choose the best location possible

    You’ve probably visited a good looking restaurant where all employees stay idle for lack of customers. Maybe their services were excellent, and Wi-Fi was full mode. However, such a business can’t possibly make half of what a busy, small, restaurant in the middle of New York City would. The main problem here is its location. As such, choose a location that draws crowds. Choose a place that is easily accessible, mostly by the target customers you had in mind.

  4. Test and try out new dishes

    By the way, what dishes do you plan to be serving in your restaurant? Well, be sure you have dishes to suit everyone who comes in. In fact, invite people over to the new restaurant for the simple exercise of testing your dishes. Again, continue asking for feedback from customers throughout the first six months about the food and pricing. If you get any negative feedback, work on it. Again, train your employees to improve on dishes every now and then.

  5. Hire enough staff, pay them well

    If customer is king, employees also have a great title in that monarchy. A motivated, trained and confident employee will always treat your customers properly. On the other hand, if the manager is equal to the task, and the junior staffs don’t feel underpaid, they will help run your restaurant in the best way possible.

  6. Have a good marketing team

    Marketing is what lifts small, corner restaurants into chain restaurants. That means you need a good marketing plan, and a team to help spread the word about your restaurant. You don’t have to be a big team. Instead, a few people distributing food samples during community events, offering discounts and advertising in local media will work effectively. Don’t forget online marketing though, and especially social media.

  7. Manage funds diligently

    If you could save enough money to start a restaurant, you can be a good manager of money. Start your finance management with how you buy equipment and furniture for your restaurant. If you are fine with that, take care of your bills for at least six months. Yeah, the first six months are always difficult for any business. And finely manage funds for the everyday running of the restaurant.

  8. Work hard

    When starting out, you will play the biggest role in the success of the restaurant. At times you will work as a cook; you may need to chop vegetables or seat customers. Be prepared for all that unattractive work. And work hard until the restaurant is steady.

  9. Keep track of inventory

    In trying to please customers, you may end up losing money. As such, only spend enough money on food and inventory. Keep your prices competitive and don’t overpay the employees as well.

  10. Learn

    Finally, do everything possible to increase your knowledge about running a restaurant. Take an accounting course for instance. Attend workshops for restaurant owners and go with a few employees as well. In the end, you want to be more updated and more competitive than all the other restaurants around you.