Wood-fired oven recipes to inspire you

I always love finding new ways to cook and I was very interested in learning all about the versatility of the wood-fired oven. While everyone knows they’re great for cooking pizzas, that’s only a tiny part of their capability as David and Holly Jones from Manna from Devon Cooking School are on a mission to prove.

I was lucky enough to meet them at a recent workshop where they cooked a delicious menu for us in the stylish Morsø wood-fired ovens. Everything from beautifully light focaccia, succulent peri peri chicken, Greek-style kebabs and even a fruity dessert.

Wood-fired ovens

Up close on the stylish Morsø wood-fired oven

David and Holly hold wood-fired oven cookery courses at their school Manna from Devon overlooking the River Dart in beautiful South Devon – one of my favourite areas of the UK. It’s such an amazing area for food-lovers that’s well worth a visit. You can find out more on www.foodanddrinkdevon.co.uk

The Jones’ fabulous Wo0d-Fired Oven Cookbook is a comprehensive guide to how to cook with your oven, including plenty of inspiring recipes. Here are three to whet your appetite and motivate you to branch out and do more than make pizza in this amazing outdoor kitchen. Buy the book for £9.99 by clicking here.

Scallops with chilli and mint

Serves 6 as an appetiser

Like all fish, scallops respond well to the hot temperatures in the wood-fired oven – they get a good charring on the outside, which adds to the flavours of the recipe. By baking the scallops in their round shells you won’t have any dishes to wash.

12 large cleaned scallops with their shells, also cleaned

juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

1 tbsp chilli oil

2 tbsp olive oil

25g butter, softened

1 clove garlic, peeled and crushed

2 tbsp finely chopped fresh parsley

2 tbsp dried white breadcrumbs

salt and ground black pepper

4 tbsp roughly chopped fresh mint

fresh, crusty bread, to serve

Wood-fired oven recipes

Build up the fire in the oven until the temperature reaches 300°C/570°F. This will take about 60 minutes. When it is up to temperature, push the fire to the back of the oven with a metal peel or coal hook, and keep the door open to encourage a hot fire with high flames.

In a bowl, mix the lemon juice and grated rind with the chilli oil and olive oil, the butter, garlic, parsley and breadcrumbs. Season well.

Cut the scallops in half to make discs and put them with their roes back in the cleaned half shells. Divide the breadcrumb mixture over the scallops.

Put the shells on a baking sheet; use two if you need to. Place the baking sheets in the oven, as close to the fire as possible. Keep the door open and bake for just 4–5 minutes, until the tops are golden and sizzling.

Carefully move the baking sheets to the front of the oven, using a metal peel to do so. Pick up the baking sheets, but be careful to keep them level so you don’t lose any of the delicious juices.

Sprinkle the chopped mint over the scallops and serve immediately with some fresh, crusty bread to mop up all the juices, remembering that the shells will be very hot.

Roast duck with orange, star anise and cinnamon and roast potatoes

Serves 4-6

Duck, like pork, cooks beautifully in a wood-fired oven – the fat melts through the meat, keeping it juicy and tender, and the skin crisps up well. It makes a rich meal, so all you need to go with it is some braised red cabbage or a watercress salad.Wood-fired oven cooking

1 large duck, about 2kg

juice of 2 oranges

2 whole star anise

1 cinnamon stick

2 tbsp redcurrant jelly

1 small bunch fresh sage

1.5kg floury potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks

2 tbsp canned duck or goose fat or olive oil

100ml red wine

600ml chicken stock

2 tbsp plain flour

salt and ground black pepper

Build up the fire in the oven until the temperature reaches 190°C/375°F, this will take about 40 minutes. When it is up to temperature, push the fire to the back of the oven with a metal peel or coal hook, and close the door to retain the heat.

Put the orange juice into a small pan on the stove and simmer gently with the star anise and cinnamon stick for 5 minutes to infuse the orange juice. Stir in the redcurrant jelly and simmer gently for 10 minutes until tacky. Remove the spices and season the liquid with salt and pepper. Set aside.

Prick the duck skin all over with a skewer. Generously brush the orange and redcurrant liquid over the duck. Put the bunch of sage in the duck’s body cavity.

Put the potatoes in a large roasting pan and spoon over the duck fat. Put the duck on a wire rack and place in the roasting pan, over the potatoes. Open the oven door and put the roasting pan on the oven floor.

Close the door and roast the duck and potatoes for 1 hour, then take the roasting pan out of the oven. Remove the duck and rack from the roasting pan, drain off the excess fat and any juices into a measuring jug (cup), and turn the potatoes over. Replace the rack and duck, and return the roasting pan to the oven for another 30–60 minutes. Separate the fat from the meat juices in the jug, and set both aside.

Check that the duck is cooked by inserting a skewer into the thigh to make sure the juices run clear. The potatoes should also be cooked through and crisped up by all the duck fat that has been released.

Transfer the duck to rest on a platter. Drain the rest of the juices from the roasting pan into the measuring jug.

Put 2 tbsp of the reserved duck fat and the flour into the roasting pan and stir together on the stove. When the flour has absorbed the fat, stir in the juices from the jug with the red wine and the chicken stock. Keep stirring until it has come to the boil then simmer for 10 minutes. Season the gravy with salt and pepper.

Carve the duck meat and serve it with the gravy and potatoes and some braised red cabbage.

Cook’s tip

Any leftover duck is delicious shredded and served cold in sandwiches or wraps. Duck fat is great for roasting potatoes so do keep any left over in the refrigerator for just that.

Apple pie with spices

Serves 6

Another all-time classic, apple pie is delicious baked in a wood-fired oven, which crisps up the pastry on the top and the bottom of the pie, giving a crunchy outside and a tender fruity inside. Use the lower heat of the oven to cook the eating apples initially and then build up the fire to get a higher temperature for cooking the pastry. This recipe uses a mixture of dessert apples, which hold together well in the pie, and baking apples, which collapse more during cooking; the baking apples provide a contrasting tartness to the sweeter eating apples.

675g eating apples, peeled, cored and cut into wedges

2 large cooking apples, peeled, cored and chopped into 2.5cm pieces

50g butter

50g caster sugar

50g light muscovado (brown) sugar

1tsp each ground mixed spice, cinnamon and ginger or 15ml/3 tsp apple pie spice

juice and grated rind of 1 lemon

2 pieces ready-rolled shortcrust pastry 30 x 30cm

1 egg, beaten with a pinch of salt

clotted cream, ice cream or custard, to serve

Build up the fire in the oven until the temperature reaches 200°C/400°F. When it is up to temperature, which will take about 40 minutes, push the embers to the back of the oven using a metal peel or coal hook. Leave the oven door closed to retain the heat.

Put the apple wedges, butter, sugars and spices in an ovenproof dish. Cover the dish tightly with a lid or some foil, and put the dish on the oven floor. Close the door and cook for 12–15 minutes, until the apples are tender, stirring a couple of times during cooking.

Take the dish containing the apples out of the oven, and close the door to keep the heat inside.

Transfer the apples to a large bowl and gently fold in the lemon juice and rind. Set aside to cool.

Line the base of a 25cm/10in deep ovenproof pie dish with one of the sheets of pastry, pressing it into the bases and sides. Spoon the cooled apples in to the pastry-lined pie dish and spread evenly. Lift the second sheet of pastry with the rolling pin and carefully place it on top of the dish.

Trim the pastry, using a sharp knife, and crimp the edges together. Make a couple of steam holes in the top of the pie with the knife.

Use the trimmings to cut out some pastry leaves or any other pattern to put on top of the pie, if you wish. Stick them to the pie with the beaten egg and brush more of the egg wash all over the top of the pie. Place the pie in the oven for 25–30 minutes, until the pastry is cooked, crisp and golden.

Remove the pie from the oven, and rest on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Serve warm with clotted cream, ice cream or custard. Any leftovers can be reheated or eaten cold with a piece of good Cheddar cheese.

You can find out more about Manna from Devon by clicking here.

 

Recipe: Spicy pork kebabs

Recipe: Spicy Pork Kebabs

I’ve recently got back from Spain and I’m missing those wonderful Spanish flavours. So today I decided to make pork kebabs inspired by the Pinchos Morunos we had for lunch on the beach at Arena bar in Mar de Cristal. A real simple dish where the beautiful flavours come from the spicy marinade.

I griddled the kebabs on my Morsø griddle pan, a wonderful way to keep meat moist while also achieving that lovely browned outside. Morsø‘s new Nordic Cookware collection can be used in the oven, on all types of cookers, including induction, on the grill and the barbecue.

Exclusive offer

Check out the whole fantastic Morsø range at morsoe.com.  And exclusively for Eating Covent Garden readers there’s a 15% discount if you order cookware on the Morsø website. Simply quote the code nac15 when you order.

Morso griddle

The stylish Morso griddle ready for cooking

Makes 12 skewers

1 kg pork fillet, diced

For the marinade

4 garlic cloves, peeled and chopped

2tsps smoked Spanish paprika

2 tsps ground cumin

2 tsps ground coriander

2 tsps ground thyme

Juice of 1 lemon

4 tbsps olive oil

Mix all the spices and herbs together with the lemon juice and olive oil.

Add the pork and mix well together. Marinate for at least three hours, ideally overnight.

Thread the pork pieces onto skewers. I used mini bamboo skewers.

Griddle over a high heat for about 10 minutes, turning them as they brown.

Morso griddle

The diced pork marinades in herbs and spices

Morso griddle

The pork on bamboo skewers ready for griddling

Morso griddle

The deliciously browned pork kebabs

Keeping to my Spanish-inspired theme, I served the kebabs with these little padron peppers which I simply fried up in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil in my new Morsø frying pan.

Morsø frying pan

Padron peppers sizzle in the Morsø frying pan

Morsø frying pan

The non-stick, large Morsø frying pan is great to cook in

 

Find out more about Morsø by clicking here.

 

 

Recipe: Barbecued ribs in the CharBroil Big Easy

Barbecued ribs in a Chinese-style marinade

I love a good rack of ribs. Earliest memories take me back to a Greek restaurant in Harare, Zimbabwe called the Acropolis where we’d tuck into huge plates of ribs. It was a real treat eating with our fingers until all that was left was the piles of bones eaten clean. A somewhat messy business – which seems to make it all that much more enjoyable. And I guess the fact that we so rarely visited restaurants also helped make for an amazing experience. A bit different from my frequent restaurant going days now!

One of the beauties of ribs is that you can marinade them to produce many different dishes, there are so many potential flavours. Today my mixture infuses lovely Asian flavours. I like to marinade them overnight to the flavours really infuse.

The Big Easy offers a unique way to cook ribs. You suspend them from the side of the basket using the handy hooks supplied. The come out beautifully moist and flavoursome with a slightly crispy exterior. Genius!

This recipe uses 12 ribs which is great for two people with the tasty coleslaw accompaniment.

CharBroil Big Easy: Chinese-style ribs

The beautifully browned ribs

For the marinade

100ml hoisin sauce

2 tbsps soya sauce

2 tbsps sweet chilli sauce

1 tbsp runny  honey

2 tbsps teriyaki sauce

Mix all the ingredients together and place in a dish. Add the ribs and make sure they are thoroughly coated. Cover and put in the fridge for at least 3 hours, ideally overnight.

The instructions

Slice between the first and second ribs about 20cm in and use the hooks from the Big Easy kit to hook onto the basket that slots into the barbecue.

Turn the barbecue on to three-quarters heat and leave to heat up for about 15 minutes.

Place the basket into the barbecue and cook for 30-35 minutes until the ribs are browned and slightly crispy.

CharBroil Big Easy: Coleslaw accompaniment

Crispy, spicy coleslaw

For the spicy coleslaw

2 cups of white cabbage, thinly sliced

2 carrots, peeled and thinly sliced

Half a cucumber, thinly sliced

4 tbsps mayonnaise

1 tbsp sweet chilli sauce

Mix the mayonnaise and chilli sauce together and combine with the vegetables.

CharBroil Big Easy: ribs in basket

The ribs clip easily onto the basket

The CharBroil Big Easy is the UK’s first three-in-one barbecue which you can roast, grill or smoke in. Find out more about this amazingly versatile barbecue by clicking here.

Recipe: Peri Peri chicken on my CharBroil Big Easy

Recipe: Peri peri chicken legs

It’s that time of the week again – barbecue time on my Char-Broil Big Easy. Today I’m trying to perfect my peri peri marinade. Peri peri (or piri piri as it’s sometimes spelt) is Portuguese in origin and is very popular in the African countries of Angola, Namibia, Mozambique and South Africa.

Most people associate peri peri with restaurant/takeaway chain Nando’s – and not surprisingly as it has over 1,000 outlets in over 30 countries around the world. I’ve had my share of Nando’s chicken and delicious it is, too. They also constantly produce fabulously clever TV adverts which you should google and check out – they’ll give you a real laugh.

Anyway, I digress. Today I’ve come up with this beautifully simple peri peri marinade which adds a real bite to chicken. I only marinated for about three hours – overnight would be better. And then cooked it on the grill of my Char-Broil Big Easy for around 20 minutes. The legs came out crispy on the outside and beautifully succulent inside.

I served the chicken with some slow-roasted cherry tomatoes which I cooked in the oven on low for about an hour. A match made in heaven.

Serves 2

2 legs of chicken, skin on

For the peri peri marinade

3 large fresh chillies

1 clove garlic, chopped

1 tsp sea salt

1 tsp oregano

1 tbsp paprika

200ml olive oil

100ml red wine vinegar

Roast the chillis whole in the oven at 180C for about 20 minutes until softened and slightly blackened

When they have cooled slightly, discard the stem and add them into a blender with the garlic, salt, oregano, paprika, olive oil and vinegar.

Blend until you have a liquid marinade.

Rub the marinade thoroughly over both sides of the chicken and leave to marinate in a bowl for at least two hours, turning regularly. You can do it overnight to increase the flavours.

Cook the chicken on the grill of the barbecue for about 10mins each side, checking regularly.

The chicken marinates next to the cherry tomatoes awaiting slow roasting

The chicken sizzles on the grill

Close up on the juicy, crispy chicken legs

All ready to serve

Slow roast tomatoes

Serves 2

About 10 cherry tomatoes, on the vine

4tbsps olive oil

Pour the olive oil over the tomatoes

Roast in a low oven (around 90C) until the tomatoes are soft and sweet – about an hour.

Char-Broil Big Easy tomatoes

There’s something irresistible about the sweetness of slow-roasted tomatoes

Have you perfected a peri peri marinade? Do you think it’s better than mine? Do get in touch, I’d love to try it.

Find out more about the fabulous Char-Broil Big Easy at charbroil.eu.

 

Tasty breakfast ideas with Vita Coco coconut milk alternative

So today I’ve taken up the challenge to come up with a breakfast idea using Vita Coco – a coconut milk alternative which is great for those with dairy intolerances and tastes delicious, too.

Of course, while I was pondering it I came up with two ideas, so decided to share them both with you. One is a more healthy option – a satisfying ginger porridge. Or you could treat yourselves with my tasty cardamom pancakes.

I had the idea of using spices in my breakfast dishes as their health benefits are widely accepted and they add a tasty element of surprise – the perfect way to wake up your taste buds. Plus coconut and spices are wonderful partners.

Ginger porridge with pistachios, raspberries and honey

This ginger porridge has a real zing and ginger’s anti-inflammatory effects can help with muscle pain and soreness, it’s great for treating nausea and is even thought to help lower blood sugar. The pistachios add a nice crunch and the sharpness of the raspberries works wonderfully with the sweetness of the honey. A great way to start your day.

Serves 2

Ginger spiciness goes perfectly with raspberries and pistachios

The ingredients

80g Quaker oats

500ml Vita Coco coconut milk alternative

1 tsp ground ginger

A handful of shelled pistachios

10 raspberries

About 2 tbsps runny honey

The instructions

Pour the milk into a pan and add the ground ginger. Heat to a low simmer and add the oats. Stir until thick and creamy.

Split the porridge between two bowls and top with the pistachios, raspberries and honey.

Add a dash more of Vita Coco if you like your porridge a bit runnier.

Ingredients for a delicious porridge to start your day

Spicy pancakes with cardamom and vanilla

Pancakes always seem like a real breakfast treat. These are spiced up and sweetened with the addition of cardamom and vanilla. I love the taste of cardamom and it’s said to help with digestive problems as well as being a good detoxifier. Ayurvedic medicine swears by the tea as a means of fighting depression. And it’s really delicious in pancakes!

Serves 4

Fluffy pancakes with a touch of exotic spice

The ingredients

140g self raising flour

1 tsp baking powder

1 tbsp caster sugar

1 tsp ground cardamom

130ml Vita Coco coconut milk alternative

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 large egg, beaten

2 tbsp melted butter or olive oil

The instructions

Mix the flour, baking powder, caster sugar and cardamom together in a bowl.

Mix together the milk, vanilla, egg and butter.

Pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and beat with a fork until you have a smooth batter.

Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium and add a knob of butter. When it’s melted, add a small ladle of the batter. Wait until it begins to bubble, turn and cook until golden brown.

Continue until you’ve used all your batter.

Serve with blueberries.

This recipe is an entry into the Dairy Free Style Your Breakfast challenge with Vita Coco and Foodies100. See more great breakfast ideas at http://vitacoco.com/uk/


Cooking with tasty Yorkshire lamb in Malton

So back in May I entered a couple of my new lamb mince recipes in the Lamb Recipe Challenge and my tasty lamb koftas won first prize! How fabulous is that! My prize was a trip to the foodie town of Malton in Yorkshire for a Cooking with Yorkshire lamb workshop.

Try the recipe for my delicious award-winning lamb koftas.

Sweet and spiced lamb koftas to savour

Sweet and spiced lamb koftas to savour

LAMB BADGE

And then it was time to discover more secrets about cooking lamb. In October we hopped on the train from London, heading for the lovely Yorkshire town of Malton. It’s described as the foodie capital of Yorkshire and despite being relatively small it’s packed with individual shops including three butchers, a raft of bakeries, fruit and veg sellers and a monthly market, among other things. You can read all about the town and what to do there in a later post.

Today we’re heading for the Malton Cookery School for some butchery know-how with lamb, starting off preparing the cuts we’re going to use and then making a range of tasty dishes. We were presented with an impressive array of meat and under the careful eye of our teacher Gilly began to slice and trim, using every bit of the lamb on offer.

I’m sharing a couple of simple recipes we cooked on our course which are perfect lamb accompaniments.

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These are the cuts we started with

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After our skilled butchering we were left with these

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The class focusses on their tasks

Lamb cutlets were trimmed, flash fried and served with a simple and amazingly simple and tasty soubise sauce which I had to share the recipe for with you. This sauce is great with all types of meat.

Soubise sauce

30g butter

225g onion, chopped very fine

4 tbsp double cream

For the béchamel sauce

20g butter

20g plain flour

300g milk

Make the bechamel sauce by stirring the flour into the melted butter, adding the milk and stirring until smooth.

Soften the onions in the butter until very soft but with no colour. Add the cream and the béchamel sauce. Blend in a blender until smooth and serve with the lamb cutlets.

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A luscious lamb lollipop with creamy dipping sauce

We used the shoulder cuts to make a rich, satisfying tagine.

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A comforting bowl of lamb tagine

We also prepared a chunky ratatouille to serve with the king of our cuts – the lamb fillet. I love this recipe as it’s not mushy like ratatouille can be, rather a bed of colourful vegetables topped with a tomato sauce makes the perfect bed for the lamb.

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A rainbow of crunchy vegetables

Lamb fillet with crunchy ratatouille

Serves 4

For the tomato sauce

1kg ripe tomatoes, skinned and chopped

1 onion, chopped

1 clove garlic, chopped

For the ratatouille

Large knob of butter

1 red onion, chopped

1 red pepper, skinned and chopped

1 courgette, chopped into small dice

1 small aubergine, diced

1 plum tomato, skinned and diced

For the meat

2 cuts of best end of neck

1 tbsp oil

To make the sauce

Cook the tomatoes, onions and garlic in a splash of oil until very soft. Blend until smooth.

Cook the diced vegetables in the butter in the following order: onion, pepper, courgette, aubergine and tomato. Make sure they still have a good bite to them, we don’t want mushy veg!

For the meat

Season the lamb with salt and pepper. Heat the oil in a pan and seal the lamb on all sides, cooking for about 10 mins. Set aside to rest while you dish up the ratatouille.

Reheat the tomato sauce and spoon onto the plates, top with the diced veg and slice the rested lamb fillet into noisettes. Arrange on the vegetables and serve.

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Rare and tender sliced fillet of lamb

Find out about the range of courses at Malton Cookery School. There’s plenty to choose from including cooking with seafood, game, meat and even baking.

It’s a really enjoyable, fun and informational experience and I came away with plenty of ideas and inspiration for new lamb feasts. Bring on the next #LoveLambChallenge