Wood-fired ovens can be found around the world wherever there is access to wood, and although shape and building materials may vary the thing they have in common is how efficiently they produce and retain heat. It is easy to see why wood-fired ovens have survived, virtually unchanged, for centuries; once you've cooked in one you too will be converted to this elemental method of cooking with fire. The wood-fired oven is capable of cooking just about anything, but the amazing thing about it is how perfectly it cooks not only stone-baked pizzas and breads, but also sizzling meat, tender seafood, slow-cooked, smokey casseroles, and even beautifully moist cakes and desserts. This book covers every aspect of cooking in a wood-fired oven, with advice on where to site and construct your oven and instructions on how to season it, light your first fire, and control and maintain cooking heat. The recipes are all specially devised for the oven, and come with step-by-step instructions and photographs. A special chapter contains irresistible pizzas with innovative toppings such as artichoke hearts, Parma ham and basil pesto or caramelized shallot and feta. Once you have perfected your pizzas you will want to use your fired-up oven to cook amazing dishes like fish soup with aioli, jerk chicken, bistecca Fiorentina and marinated pork ribs. The chapter on breads is a revelation, and the wonderful loaves that you bake on the oven floor will convert you to home-made sourdough, ciabatta and naan breads forever. Even desserts and cakes can be successfully created in the wood-fired oven, and in the final chapter you will find tempting recipes for plum and blackberry crumble, meringues, chocolate brownies, and a rich fruit cake. Throughout the book, authors Holly and David Jones give helpful advice and tips on how to make the most of your oven, utilizing the falling heat of an oven fired up for pizzas, for example, to slow cook a meltingly tender casserole for the next day, or even using the oven overnight to roast tomatoes for breakfast the next morning. Whether you want your oven to become a pizza party sensation, the centre of family cookout weekends or your new outdoor kitchen, this book will inspire and delight you.
Holly Jones is a chef of 20 years' experience after studying at Leith's School of Food and Wine. David Jones bakes commercially, and teaches breadmaking classes. Together they run Manna from Devon Cooking School, www.mannafromdevon.com, running courses on cooking in their much-loved wood-fired oven.