Hey, did I tell you we had a baby? He’s called Adriano. He’s gurglely, he gets me up in the mornings, and he’s the prettiest one I’ve ever seen. I bet all new Mums say that. . .
Well, enough kidding around, this little baby didn’t come from the stork he came from Argos where they have loads of fab coffee machines. We picked out this beautiful espresso machine because we wanted to be able to make proper lattes and cappuccinos at home but not rely on capsules.
To go back to my metaphor, there’s a few things you need to get before you bundle of joy arrives, you will need:
- Somewhere sturdy to put him
- A small metal jug for frothing milk
- a spongey cloth for wiping your milk wand
- An old paint brush or pastry brush for cleaning the head
Before we made the commitment of welcoming him into our home, we wanted to make sure we would actually use him and not leave him neglected in a corner. One thing we were sure of was that we needed a good looking, easy to use machine which would give us Barista style coffee and we certainly got that – see picture. Well perhaps not quite Barista standard, but they make a hundred a day. Give me a month, there’ll be latte art all over the blog!
Another key factor for us was ease of cleaning, Adriano certainly comes up trumps in that department. The main milk nozzle comes off for rinsing, and we have a few quick steps we take each time:
- remove the handle and bash out the spent coffee. rinse
- remove milk nozzle and wipe milk wand with cloth (if used)
- brush the head and coffee-pusher-downer. Rinse brush
- remove the drip tray (2 parts) and rinse.
- before I make the next coffee the next day I run hot water through the head to clean out any bits left in there.
There are comprehensive instructions with the machine, but I thought you might like to know how easy it is.
Another way we warranted the work top space for the coffee machine was that we could use the fabulous espresso for baking too, so without further ado here is our espresso cake.
- 175g soft butter or margarine
- 175 golden caster sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 175g self raising flour
- 1 shot espresso
- little milk if necessary
Icing and syrup
- 3 tbsp (approx) proper maple syrup
- 250g icing sugar
- 1 shot espresso
- 70g butter
- Preheat oven 180′c, and grease and line 2 x 8 inch round cake tins
- Cream the butter/margarine and sugar together until fluffy
- With your mixer on high, beat in the eggs, one a a time, adding a little of the flour if the mix begins to curdle
- Add the coffee and sift in the flour, fold to mix to a dropping consistency, adding a little milk if necessary
- Divide the mix between the tins and bake for approx. 20 mins, until springy to the touch
- Turn out of tin and remove the lining paper. brush with maple syrup and allow to cool
- Whilst the cake cools cream your butter until soft and fluffy
- Add the icing sugar to the butter, it should take on a bread crumb appearance, slowly add the espresso (depending on how long you let it run, you may not need it all) until the buttercream is spreadable.
- When the sponges are cool sandwich together with half the buttercream and then top with the other half. I simply spread it over with a pallet knife and topped with some chocolate covered coffee beans but you could use the traditional walnuts or sprinkles.
Do you have a much loved coffee machine or has yours been neglected?I’d like to say thank you to Argos for sending us this coffee machine but would like to reassure my readers that my opinions were not influenced. As always the words and opinions you read here are all my own, I’m just a little bit in love with Adriano!