Cooking for Two Feasts at Once! (and how to manage it at leisure)

We had a particularly social Chinese New Year this year. My brother, who lives in Auckland, came home for two weeks of holiday. Several expat Kiwi-Taiwanese friends also came back to New Zealand for their new year holiday this year.

Since we *needed* a feast for Chinese New Year’s Eve on Sunday, and mom wanted to make a traditional Taiwanese slow cooked pork, AND Big Bill the clay oven produce the BEST slowed cooked meat, I decided fire up the oven, throw a pizza party on Saturday, and slow cook the meat overnight.

I took note of the timeline on the day of the firing so you can have an idea how I can mange to produce so much food at once (and perhaps be a reference if you are learning to cook with a clay oven), while keeping the whole day enjoyable! (No rush, no stress!)


6:30pm: Feast No. 1 started off with yummy pizzas.

Guests, young and old, enjoyed feeding themselves!

I was expecting ~20 pizza eaters, and I usually go by the rule of 1 cup of flour per head. Usually we’ll have some dough leftover which gets turned into focaccia, but occasionally we do manage to just finish all the dough for pizzas. So I’m going to make 5 batches of pizza dough, each calling for 4 cups of flour.

I also planned to make a batch of naan because I have none left in my freezer. Then I wanted to bake a loaf of butter twist and a loaf of sourdough bread.

A friend gave me a big bag of apples a few days ago, so I decided to do some baked apples in coconut custard.

And at the end of the night, I would put a chicken, two rolled lamb shoulders (1 dish), and a pot of pork to sleep in Big Bill. Claire, who we would dine with on Sunday, said she’d also bring a meat dish to be slowed cooked in the oven. These goodies would be served on Chinese New Year’s eve – the night of the big feast!


8:50pm: Naan breads were cooked after everyone’s happily fed on pizzas.

9:40pm: Leftover pizza dough got turned into focaccia.

10:10pm: 2nd batch of baking consisted of a twisted buttery loaf,

a loaf of sourdough bread,

and baked apple in coconut custard.

Finally the meats for feast No. 2. were cooked. This is a chicken with soy sauce and lemon juice.

Slow cooked lamb with rosemary and garlic.

12:30pm: Start the first stage of sourdough bread since it requires 6 hrs +.

2:00pm: Prepare chicken with soy sauce and lemon juice and refrigerate.

2:10pm: Walk into the garden for some rosemary for the lamb and ended up mucking around in the garden for half an hour…

2:40pm: Prepare lamb with rosemary and garlic and refrigerate.

3:30pm: Start making 5 lots of pizza dough, each taking 20 mins in my bread maker.

4:00pm: Start fire.

5:30pm: Do the second stage of sourdough bread.

5:40pm: Make dough for a loaf of butter twist. Also get Native Kiwi to peel, core and slice enough apples to fill a 24cm flan dish. Lemon juice were squeezed over apples to prevent browning. Put these apples in the refrigerator.

6:00pm: Make dough for a batch of naan just as everyone arrives.

6:30pm: Start making and eating pizzas. Everyone really enjoyed creating, shovelling pizzas in and out of Big Bill, and devouring the pizzas. Four year old Jennifer completely fell in love with the process!

8:20pm: Shape the butter twist.

8:30pm: All pizza eaters happily fed. I realised we had lots of dough left over. Knead olive oil into pizza dough to make focaccia (roughly 60ml olive oil per batch of dough).

8:50pm: Cook naan in Big Bill with the dying embers still around the sides.

9:20pm: Gently turn the focaccia out of the bowls they were kneaded in. Smear olive oil over and sprinkle with salt. Push dimples into focaccia.

9:30pm: Sweep the embers out of the oven and wipe the hearth clean.

9:40pm: Put two focaccia into oven, bake for 20 mins. Oven temp 200 C.

10:10pm: Pour coconut custard mixture over apples in the flan dish. Put butter twist, sourdough bread and apple custard pie into oven. Bake for 40 mins. Oven temp 180C.

11:00pm: Put chicken with soy sauce and lemon juice, two rolled lamb shoulders with rosemary and garlic (1 dish), and a pot of pork with soy sauce and garlic shoots (from mom), and another giant chicken (from Claire) into the oven. Oven temp 160 C. These would stay in the oven overnight. And we feasted on these for Chinese New Year’s eve 🙂

So that’s how I do two feasts with one clay oven 🙂

Would you be tempted to cook with a clay oven? 🙂

Taiwanese pork stew in soy sauce and garlic shoots.

And a giant 2.8 Kg chicken with sage stuffing.


3 thoughts on “Cooking for Two Feasts at Once! (and how to manage it at leisure)

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