Balmy Autumn Pizza Night

The evening before Kiwi Big Brother and his lovely wife flew out across the ocean, we grabbed the chance and fired up Big Bill the clay oven and ‘played pizzas’ again. It was a very warm and balmy night, making it all the more pleasant to be enjoying pizzas and hanging out in the back garden with Big Bill.

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Big Brother got really good at shoving pizzas in and out of Big Bill, and down the mouth. Somehow that did not seem to have any impact on how much he talked 😉

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Diego the puss in boots watched the pizzas with very hopeful gaze, despite the vegetarian selection for the night. Continue reading

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Big Brother Meets Big Bill

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Big Kiwi Brother and his lovely wife are visiting us 🙂 They live across the wide wide ocean from us, and come visit about every other year. The previous time they visited, our intended pizza party became an indoor affair because the weather didn’t cooperate. The time before that, the Christchurch earthquake had just been, and there was a total fire ban. This time, they finally got to make their own pizzas and cooked them in Big Bill the clay oven themselves!

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Big Brother’s first pizza sadly turned into a sticky cheesy mess, and got mostly sacrificed to the pizza god. His second pizza however came out perfectly and he was very happy to have redeemed himself!

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It was great having our uncle and cousins also joining us on this sunny day. It’s just wonderful to have everyone together! Continue reading

Big Bill gets Hot for Chinese New Year

On the weekend, I got Big Bill the clay oven fired up and piped out 6Kg of bread and 3 big pots of stew ready for my family visiting over Chinese New Year.

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I fired up Big Bill around 11am, and made some pizzas for Kiwi Bird and I for lunch. We kept the pizzas simple, just topping them with home grown tomatoes and basil, with some grated cheese and feta.

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We had a leisurely lunch followed by a little dessert pizza made with cherry jam, rum and raisin chocolates, cashews and bananas.

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I made 4 different kinds of dough around noon on the previous day. I let them rise until nearly double, then put them into the fridge over night. Continue reading

Epic Pizza Time

It’s been very hot and dry ever since Christmas. Thankfully the urban fire ban does not include pizza ovens, so we could still have awesome Big Bill pizzas.

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Jenny took this little clip of the fire dancing in Big Bill – isn’t it cool?

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We had quite a few friends turning up on this hot and sunny day.

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We started off making a classy smoked salmon pizzas with dill and red onions. Continue reading

Flavour Heaven Cured Salmon

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A few months ago, I attended a wonderful workshop at Preserved, where we learned how to cure all sorts of meat. Preserving meat by curing was surprisingly easy! Ever since then, I’ve been trying my newly learnt skills whenever I had a chance.

One of the demonstration that afternoon was a fennel cured salmon, and we got to taste some that were ready (as were all the other ones we learnt to make). The salmon was not further cold smoked after curing. Even though the flavour was lovely, I rather miss the smoky flavour. I haven’t committed to invest in a cold smoker, so when I decided to try my hand at curing salmon, I decided to toast the fennels, and use soy sauce. Soy sauce has that sort of woody, smoky tone, which came from been fermented. The result was so wonderful and drool-inducing, the store-bought cold smoked salmon is no longer an item of desire for us.

Here are the ingredients I used: Continue reading

Thunderstorm Baking

Saturday was gorgeously sunny and hot, but with an afternoon forecast of thunderstorm, I thought it may not be the best idea to invite friends around for an outdoor wood-fired pizza evening. That didn’t stop me firing up Big Bill the clay oven though. I mixed up some sourdough in the morning, and Big Bill bread is just that much nicer than electric oven bread.

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I fired the oven up around 4pm. While Big Bill was getting hot, I made some pizza and focaccia dough, as well as shaped the sourdough loaves. Just when I made a giant pizza for Kiwi Bird and I for dinner around 6pm, rain started promptly.

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It wasn’t too much of a bother running in and out from the kitchen to relay bakings from Big Bill. The yummy wood-fried pizza was definitely worth it! (The rain never actually got very heavy.)

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Then 2 trays of fluffy focaccia baked for 20 mins at over 250C. Half of one also disappeared into our bellies promptly. Continue reading