What do you think about Big Bill’s new season fashion? I think the red hat really brings out his lips, and doesn’t he just look so pretty in front of the neighbour’s cherry blossom? (His chimney top burnt out a while ago…)
On Saturday, with a storm raging along the alps, but giving Christchurch a warm though windy day, Big Bill was screaming to me for a good fire. I was given a wild duck and a shoulder of lamb a while ago, and it was good to finally get them out of the freezer, so I can fill the freezer up with loads of bread instead! 🙂
I fired up Big Bill at around 2pm after I shaped my sourdough breads. Because it was really windy, I chucked in two big logs so the fire would not burn too quickly. After 1.5 hrs, the flame died down enough for me to push the embers to the rim and start cooking naans, followed by some pizzas for our late lunch.
Then for the first time, I tried cooking a focaccia with the embers still in the oven to see how it’d turn out. The crust burnt a little, but otherwise it’s pretty good.
Then the embers were taken out and two fat loaves of sourdough went in, each being 1Kg in weight, and just short of measuring 50cm x 20cm. I wanted to squeeze two smaller loaves in as well but because I didn’t plan the geometry in advance, I had to leave the smaller loaves for later.
The sourdough bread went into Big Bill at around 230C. I left them in for 40 mins, and by the time they came out, the oven was around 190C. Then the two smaller beetroot and blue cheese loaves went in, as well as a tray of chocolate and berry muffins.
Thirty-five minutes later, I took the bread and muffins out and put in a pot of duck with taro and garlics, as well as the shoulder of lamb in a curry saucy paste I created to imitate this really nice lamb curry I recently fell in love with at a local curry place. The temperature of the oven was just over 160C when the meats went in. I left them in there until before dinner on the second day (keep it well warm, you see), so they were in Big Bill for nearly 24 hours.
We enjoyed the duck, lamb, loads of bread, and salads from the garden, for a very good Sunday dinner with Kiwi Bird’s parents. The wild duck had a very nice taste – much leaner and fleshier than a farmed duck I tried cooking once. The lamb was extremely succulent and tender, and full of flavour! And remember I mentioned many times slow cooked meat in Big Bill falls off the bone? Here’s some evidence. I picked the bone out of the shoulder with my fingers!
Recipes for some of the food here:
And some of my 2-cents-worth on baking holey sourdough bread is here.