At last our long awaited bread oven arrived this week. Weighing in at 700kilos it took two brave men(hubby Mick and good friend Marcel) to winch it into place using ropes and chains tied to next door neighbours slightly sickly apple tree. Scary stuff but amazingly it all went to plan so Mick set about making the dough for our first pizza, plus a bread and butter pudding to cook in the residual heat. The fire was lit and the slight drizzle failed to dampen our spirits as we waited for the oven to reach the desired heat. That was our first mistake. We now know that it takes at least 2-3 hours for the oven to heat up so instead of a lovely puffy pizza cooked in 3 minutes, we waited what felt like hours for the pizza to even slightly brown. Mistake number two was to leave the wood in the back of the oven and close the door. We eventually decided we were so hungry we had to eat the thing whatever the consequences. Only half the pizza was even a bit edible as Mick flicked ash onto it as he tried to get it out of the oven. Sadly the base had the texture of wet cardboard and tasted predominantly of, well, smoke. The bread and butter pudding was slightly more edible, but still had a weirdly kippered aftertaste. So the lesson is that you can either leave the wood int he oven and cook with the door open or rake it out and cook with the door shut.
Day two and it was chicken legs on a bed of veggies on the menu. Mick lit the fire at 5.30 and two hours later raked out the wood into a huge industrial roasting tin he picked up at a brocante. This was a highly dangerous operation as the logs were still flaming nicely. Mistake number three. We decided to cook the veggies a bit first before adding the chicken. That was mistake number four as the veggies were wonderfully browned while the chicken remained stubbornly pale and flabby. In the end supper was a pile of admittedly perfectly nice roast veg but no chicken which had to be finished off in the Smeg to have for lunch the following day.