Weeknotes 4

  • Opting for a slightly different take on the traditional burns night supper, we picked up an assemble-at-home kit of haggis tacos from Mac & Wild. Recollections of Buckfast-fuelled teenage house parties made me apprehensive about ‘Buckfast sriracha hot sauce’. Still, it turned out to be fantastic and not at all reminiscent of the strong-smelling, tar-like substance prevalent in my youth.

    The kit included a QR code for an accompanying Spotify playlist, mostly featuring the Peatbog Faeries and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers which a friend was quick to brand as ‘tourist pish’. We opted for Skipinnish and some Andy Stewart instead, which made me terribly homesick1.

  • My autumn lockdown purchase of espresso machine and grinder has proved invaluable these past few weeks as one of the most miserable months in recollection comes to an end. A few folks have asked me about what to buy or where to find information, so here goes.

    1. Mostly avoid the subreddits /r/espresso and /r/coffee. The majority of the content seems to be high-quality photos of expensive setups costing £2k+ and slow-motion videos of shots pulled on ‘naked’ portafilters. I’ve found these subreddits to be pretty low quality compared to other hobbyist communities, specifically when you’re a beginner and don’t have a multi-thousand-pound budget.

    2. Watch reviews of equipment by James Hoffman (who incidentally co-founded Square Mile Coffee, the suppliers of my favourite coffee shop in London, Prufrock Coffee). His YouTube channel is excellent, specifically his review of machines under £500 and series on how to dial in espresso.

    3. Be clear about what you want. Are you merely looking for good espresso at home, a new hobby, or maybe a bit of both? Whilst the ritualistic process of using a manual grinder might sound appealing on a lazy Sunday morning, trying to squeeze in a quick flat white before a Zoom call might not be possible, especially if you need to dial in a new bag of beans.

  • I’ve been enjoying playing Grounded with friends this week, as one of the few titles on Game Pass with decent online co-op features and crossplay with Windows. It’s a survival game that feels like a cross between A Bug’s Life and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids with a resource and crafting element. Highlights include bashing an ant to death with a spikey sprig of grass crafted from thistle needles and rope to find materials to make an ‘ant helmet’ armour piece — lots of fun.

  1. It is my belief that scottish-types covering chart bangers produce some of the best music known to man. ↩︎