End of Big Bill’s Winter Hibernation

Native Kiwi’s birthday marks the beginning of spring. This also presented a perfect opportunity for Big Bill to wake from winter hibernation. Sadly Native Kiwi’s parents could not come on the day we fired up Big Bill the clay oven, so I had big plans to cook for TWO parties on one evening!

I started the fire in Big Bill at 4 pm.

6:00 pm: Pizza time!

Our friend Paul was amazed how much his twin toddler girls ate. When they requested more, he made them individual wee slipper pizzas.


8:30 pm: After everyone’s happily fed, I made a batch of naan while the oven is still relatively hot.

Then it’s time for focaccia.


Followed by sour cream polenta bread.

Then an egg and butter bread twist. (Forth batch of baking by now!)

The 5th batch of baking had a baked potato salad, a broccoli and blue cheese quiche and a butter bread twist.

Finally, at the end of the night, casseroles went into the oven after all the baking 🙂

Two pots of Moroccan lamb and a chicken slow cooked in soy sauce and lemon juice. These babies slowed cooked in the oven overnight. Everything’s falling off the bone yum on the second day!

Oh, there were also some kumaras (sweet potatoes) left in the oven over night and I made them into a salad on the second day. The roasts and bakings done after the pizza feeding frenzy all became a feast for the birthday “after party” with Native Kiwi’s family on the second day.

If you like what you are seeing, keep tuned 🙂 I’ll gradually put up all the recipes for all the food you see here!


6 thoughts on “End of Big Bill’s Winter Hibernation

  1. A great post imported kiwi!

    mouth watering at all the goodies you have made, cant wait for the recipes and love how you cook in stages of heat in “Big Bill” with the pizzas in first and casseroles going in last, that’s great 🙂

    • Thanks 🙂 it’s been a learning curve since we built Big Bill. Very different from being able to set the temp and time on a conventional oven with a glass door! I want to gradually put up my ‘learning journal’ because most people see wood fired ovens more just as pizza ovens, which is a big shame.

  2. One day when we can move back to ChCh (sigh, a good few years yet) I am SO going to ask your advice on how to build my own version of Big Bill.
    This sort of joined-up cooking is totally my cup of tea! That Lamb has my mouth watering already!
    Recipes? YES PLEASE!

    • Thanks Kiwidutch 🙂 It is exactly my intention to spread the good words about this kind of cooking through my site 🙂 A few of my friends are seriously considering building their own too. I have to admit I didn’t just dream up building one in my backyard one day. A couple of really good friends built one in their backyard and that’s why we ended up building ours.

      • …just a thought… wouldn’t it be cool to get an old door from a coal range from a scrapyard for the door? they are cast iron and would look great too!
        You’d have to build a rod into frame to hinge it on, or hinge it, of course… but talk about ‘fusion cooking” LOL!

      • Yeah, that’s a cool idea. You probably don’t even need/want a hinge, just so long as it can stay in place to shut the oven. The right size might be hard to come by though. That’s why I decided to just mould one out of clay – simple and works well.

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