A brick oven is capable of an almost endless variety of cooking styles. With almost all types of cooking, you should bring the oven fully up to heat, then prepare it for the type of cooking you want to do by moving the fire and coals, and letting the oven temperature reach the range where you will be cooking. How long you fire your oven depends on how much cooking you will be doing, and how long you want your oven to hold its heat.
Remember that you can only take out heat from the oven that you put in. If you are going to be cooking a lot of pizza for a large party, or baking lots of bread or a large roast, fire your oven longer. If you are making pizza for the family for a mid-week meal, you can fire your oven for a shorter time -- typically only until the dome goes white.
Measuring temperature-you can use an infra red temperature gun-point at the oven floor where you will be cooking-300 degrees C required
Put your hand inside quickly-too hot to stay and its ready OR throw some flour on the oven floor and watch how it behaves-browning rapidly is ready.
The main cooking styles are:
How to make the perfect pizza -in summary This is great!!! Paste the link below into your browser. Its for Napolitano but the base-making technique and cooking applies to any pizza
Preparation Time-15 minutes
Makes 3 pizza bases
Pre-heat the oven to 225°C
Combine the tomato paste with the harissa and garlic; using the back of a dessert spoon smooth the tomato mixture over the prepared base; spread evenly.
Arrange the eggplant and zucchini on top on the base; scatter with the olives, chilli and caraway seeds. Drizzle over a little olive oil and place in pre-heated oven for 20-25mins until base is crisp and golden.
Remove from the oven and scatter with torn fresh mint leaves(growing fresh under table)before serving. Enjoy!!
Roasting in the oven (higher heat than Baking)
vegetables and casseroles before either covering them with a lid, or with liquids, and for
dishes that will cook completely before the outside either burns or becomes too brown.
Roasting temperature range between 315ºC - 230ºC, or lower than high heat fire-in-the-oven pizza cooking, and higher than traditional baking. In order to Roast, first bring your oven up to pizza temperature and then allow it to drop in temperature and the fire to burn down, but not out. Push the coals to one side. The combination of a fully fired oven, along with a low fire enables you to sear and brown dishes, and then allow the oven to slowly drop in temperature for longer cooking. There should be no visible black on the dome, a medium sized bed of coals and a small flame of 2"-4" high. The door may be left off for shorter roasting times (under one hour) or positioned inside the arch opening to help regulate the heat for hours of roasting. Add small pieces of wood as needed to maintain temperature. You can move your pans around inside the oven, and remember that the oven will be hotter on the side with the fire and/or coals-so rotate pans.
WOOD-FIRED ROASTED CHICKEN
Sprinkle a little salt down the gaps and push in the chopped herbs. Drizzle in a little olive oil.
Beer Can Chicken(Iconic Aussie recipe)
1 whole chicken
2 Tbsp olive oil or other vegetable oil
1 opened, half-full can of beer, room temperature
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp chopped fresh thyme leaves, or 1 Tbsp dried thyme(fresh in herb garden at rear of BBQ)
1 Tbsp black pepper
Make sure the beer can is open, and only half-filled with beer (drink the other half!) If you want, you can put a sprig of thyme (or another herb like rosemary or sage) in the beer can. Lower the chicken on to the open can, so that the chicken is sitting upright, with the can in its cavity. Place the chicken on the cool side of the grill, using the legs and beer can as a tripod to support the chicken on the grill and keep it stable.
Cover the grill After an hour, check the chicken and refresh the coals if needed.
Then keep checking the chicken every 15 minutes or so, until a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh reads 70°F - 75°C. The total cooking time will vary depending on the size of your chicken, and the internal temperature. A chicken will usually take around 1 1/2 hours.A way to tell if the chicken is done is to poke it deeply with a knife (the thigh is a good place to do this), if the juices run clear, not pink, the chicken is done.
Carefully transfer the chicken to a tray or pan. "Carefully" because the beer can, and the beer inside of it, is hot. One way to do this is to slide a metal spatula under the bottom of the beer can. Use tongs to hold the top of the chicken. Lift the chicken, beer can still inside, and move it to a tray. Let the chicken rest for 10 minutes. Carefully lift the chicken off of the can. If it gets stuck, lay the chicken on its side, and pull out the can with tongs.
You can also use an open can of baked beans (remove the label) instead of the beer. The chicken juices will run into and flavor the baked beans, which you can then use as a side dish for the chicken.
Chicken stock or juices/ drinks etc can also be tried(remember half a can or tin only)
WOODFIRED ROASTED EGGPLANT
WOODFIRED ROASTED LAMB
and about 10 times randomly about the leg, poking your finger into each cut to make a bit more room. Rub the skin with the lemon and push the rosemary into the cuts and on to the skin. Stuff the anchovy fillets into the cuts. Season the outside of the lamb with salt and pepper. Put a little oil into a roasting tray (preferably a heavy one) and add the lamb.
Roast, in a wood fired oven that is about 220° F, turning every 30 minutes until cooked.
Baking (at conventional oven temperatures)
Close the oven door space with bricks etc to hold in heat and steam.
Recipes-buy some Laucke Bread mix at IGA and follow the instructions
the front of your oven, and sliding a free standing cast iron grill (spares under the BBQ)
into the oven and mounted on a couple of bricks, you can enjoy grilling that sets seared grill marks, and seals in moisture for food that is crisp and not dried out. With heat from the grill itself, from the coals and radiating from oven dome above, the brick oven is a great BBQ.
Also, try experimenting with different pots and pans-we have cast iron/enamel Dutch Oven styles available.You could bring others. A grill pan pre-heated in your oven gives food nice sear marks, and a terracotta pan and steel pan give roast potatoes a different texture and flavor.
With thanks to Forno Bravo and Heat Beads
Stuffed Peppers With Feta, Pecans and Cherry Tomatoes
Hungary peppers look sort of like small, squat, deeply ridged red bell peppers. They have a deep, sweet flavor, like red bell pepper concentrated. If you can't find them, substitute pimento peppers or small red bell peppers ? but you will probably need more stuffing to fill them.
Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds and ribs from inside the peppers.
Place pecans in a dry skillet and toast in your wood oven, tossing occasionally, until fragrant, about 5 minutes. Remove and allow to cool. Break the feta into small chunks and place in a bowl. Add the cherry tomatoes, parsley and olive oil. Roughly chop the pecans and add to the mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Stir well.
Stuff the mixture into the cavities of the peppers up to the top. Transfer peppers to a baking dish and cover tightly with foil. Bake in wood oven until the peppers are just beginning to get tender, about 10-15 minutes depending on the temperature. Remove the foil and allow the peppers to continue cooking until the filling is bubbly and golden brown on top. Remove from the oven and serve.
Fire Roasted Tomato Pizza:
Peter's Classic Dough
Can of DiNapoli Fire Roasted Diced Tomatoes (14.5 Oz)
Thinly sliced Pancetta
Fresh Wild Arugula
Build the pizza by placing fire roasted tomato solids on the dough. I left the juice in the can.
Drizzle with a little olive oil.
Tear the mozzarella into pieces and place them around the pizza.
Cover with slices of the pancetta
Into the oven?
Top with chopped fresh arugula
It tastes amazing!
The salty pancetta with it's own crispy bits from baking, and the somewhat peppery arugula goes well with the sauce!
Monster Red Nose pizza
May-June is the perfect time for preserving olives. Here's the TVS recipe
1. Pick the olives fresh from the tree- we have a few larger olive fruit species (Kalamata) just for preserving.
2. Make a cut length way on each olive with a sharp knife
3. Place in a bucket with fresh water and then change the water each day for 7 days.
4. Make a brine using 100gms of salt to each litre of water (the water level should just cover the olives).
5. Bring the brine to boiling point.
6. Allow the brine to cool for 5 minutes.
7. Place the olives in steralised sealable jars.
8. Cover with the brine, seal and leave for 1 month.
9. Before using a jar of olives, wash off the brine, cover in olive oil, add fresh garlic, fresh rosemary, and leave overnight for the flavours to go through the olives.
(Fennel, fresh chill are also nice flavours. Always keep the jars topped with olive oil to cover the olives).