starting to heat up, run away, you ducks!
When we cook pizza in the kitchen, we put the oven up to max; about 240 degC, so, knowing we would be eating at about 6.30, we lit the oven at about 4.30. By 5 it had already got to 250 degC and was heating up fast. We put the pizza stone bases in the oven to warm up, and waited.
Our friends, N&S came round at 6ish for drinks and, by then, the oven had reached 350 degC. Amazing! I took one of the stones out, and nearly burnt myself as the oven gloves (LW's prize Cath Kidston mitts!) became blackened and singed.
The dough was risen, the passata had been reduced and the tomato and mozzarella had been sliced, so here goes with our first attempt:
The pizza stone came out of the oven, the dough put onto it, and, before we could even get the ingredients onto the dough, it had started to burn! So the first pizza was a failure; beautifully cooked top, perfectly cremated base.
perfectly cooked top...
...perfectly cremated base lends anonymity to celebrity pizza-eater
So the next pizza required a cooler stone. We loaded it up cool, (added a few slices of chorizo too) and I sprayed a little olive oil on the top as well. Then placed it in the furnace of hades, currently running at a cool 300 degC and, voila! 7 minutes later it was done. This time no charring, but the top was just slightly undercooked. A 3rd and final run (we were starting to get full) and 8 minutes in the oven, and this one was just right! Oh how we laughed. Hahaha!
Now twilight was upon us (not the books, thankfully) and we retired indoors for the dessert, apple and rhubarb crumble cooked in the slowly cooling oven. It still took a scant 20 min and the top was staring to carbonise!
As an accompaniment to the pizza I made a caesar salad: I stole an idea from Masterchef Australia and roasted some bacon drenched in Maple syrup. It was superb! To this I tossed some freshly picked cos leaves, croutons that had just cooled and a dressing with anchovy & garlic that had been battered to a paste, olive oil vinegar and seasoning, thickened with finely-grated parmesan. Yum.
In the end, the pizza oven is a roaring success; not only a really useful 2nd oven and outdoor heater, but, because it imparts some smokiness into the flavour of the food, a really lovely way to cook all manner of roasts and things over the summer. I will keep roasting and posting...