A Long Time Coming and a Sneak Preview

Big Bill the clay oven had a very long rest this winter. I was going through some stressful times, and not finding much time for playing with Big Bill. Then by chance, Kiwi Bird and I went on a last minute trip, which had been a long time coming, and something we really wanted to do for a few years.


Here’s a sneak peek of where we’ve been. Probably not overly hard to guess? 😉 It was an absolutely amazing trip, and I’ll be writing more for the next while.

The weekend after we got back, I fired up Big Bill for some long awaited Big Bill pizzas and a wee catch up with friends. Also I wanted/needed to make slow cooked Moroccan Lamb for Kiwi Bird’s belated birthday dinner with our family.

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Little Abbie had been unwell for a week, but still managed to eat some pizzas and enjoy some spring flowers. (I was trying to encourage her to pick all the dandelions in my garden!)


For dessert this time, we smeared some Argentinian caramel over the base and topped with chocolates and cashew nuts – definitely a combination to be repeated!


Then I made some naans while there were still embers in Big Bill.


Then two big slabs of focaccia went into Big Bill at ~230C for 15 mins.


Then 2 x 500g light rye and sesame loaves, 2 x 500g onion and poppy seeds loaves, and 1 x 1Kg purple wheat and marsala loaf went into Big Bill at ~210C for 1 hour. (They were all made with sourdough this time.) I used to make 1Kg loaves, but recently started to favour making 500g loaves because they are just easier to handle, and I think has a “prettier” height-to-roundness ratio ;). Baking 4 x 500g + 1 x 1Kg loaves at once seems to fit into Big Bill very nicely too.


The purple wheat bread had half purple wheat flour, and half white flour, plus 3 tablespoons of marsala. The flavour was very nice and warming.


After all the bread, I baked an olive and feta quiche and a pot of Moroccan style chicken in Big Bill at ~160C for an hour. Last time when I used the same chicken recipe, it came out beautifully after 2 hours in Big Bill at around the same heat. So it occurred to me the chicken would be too “soft” if I left it in Big Bill with the lamb over night. Many times in the past when I left chicken in Big Bill over night, even the bones ended up practically melting. It is very nice, but not what I wanted this time. So I decided to put the chicken in with the quiche for one hour, then continued to cook it a little more on the stove afterwards until the chicken became just tender.



At the end of the night, 2 large pots of Moroccan lamb stew and a pot of sliced onions (to caramelise) were put to sleep in Big Bill, and I finally crawled into bed just before midnight.


We had a good feast for Kiwi Bird’s belated birthday dinner with family on the second day.


And of course no one was going to let me forget I owe Kiwi bird his special birthday gateau cake 😉

Recipes you might be interested, and more to come:


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