Like it or not, the cold, winter months are fast approaching. With the rising detriment of staying warm, both to the environment and our bank balance, it seems our ancestors had the right idea swearing by an open fire.
Now we’re not suggesting you go totally primitive with two tree branches and lots of elbow grease – instead we propose a 21st century upgrade: Wood Burning Stoves are about to become all the rage.
A Wood Burning Stove conjures up images of great warmth, dancing flames and quintessentially British style. Not just aesthetically valuable, cosy and intimate, these stoves are also a friend to the environment; wood is co2 neutral, renewable and free to the forager.
And we’ve saved the best until last. As if you needed another reason to invest, wood burning stoves are a foodie’s dream, adding an effortless twist to a variety of tasty mealtime favourites.
Yes, you read that right. Form an orderly queue…
The original comfort food, a baked potato is the perfect, simple dinner to warm you up on a winter’s weeknight.
Wrap your potato in two layers of tin foil and then, using a long handled toasting fork place it in a corner inside your wood burning stove. Move the hot wood and ash slightly to the side and go and occupy yourself elsewhere for an hour – (preferably in the stove’s close vicinity – the aroma from a cooking potato is not to be missed).
When time’s up, remove your potato from the wood burner and unwrap the foil to reveal the perfect jacket – crisp, earthy skin encasing light, fluffy potato - with a distinct taste you can only get from a real, open fire. The added smoky flavour goes well with the simple addition of butter, salt and a little pepper. Lunch is served!
Wood Fired Pizza
If you’ve ever been to Italy, you’ll understand the significance of an authentic, wood fired pizza and why the Italians are so passionate about them. The taste is worlds apart from the Chicago Town pizzas you find in the Tesco freezer aisle.
So why not give yourself an authentic Italian treat and cook your pizza the way it was meant to be cooked – over wood fired flames.
If you’re feeling adventurous, you can make the dough yourself, but for a quick and simple dinner time treat, buying it readymade is just as delicious.
Prepare the sauce using Italian staple ingredients: fresh vine tomatoes, garlic, olive oil and basil. Peel and finely slice the garlic, then fry in a good amount of olive oil until lightly coloured. Tear up a handful of basil leaves, and add them to the pan, along with your tomatoes. Use the back of a wooden spoon to mash up and squash the tomatoes as much as you can. Finally, add lashings of salt and pepper.
When your sauce comes to the boil, immediately remove the pan from the heat. Using a sieve, strain the sauce into a bowl – then put your smooth, tomato mixture back into the pan, bring it to boil, then simmer until it’s the perfect consistency for spreading on a pizza base.
Add whichever toppings take your fancy - (at the moment we’re loving broccoli, fennel, sausage meatballs and heaps of mozzarella).
Full English Fry Up
For a refined twist on the English classic, substitute gas for something a whole lot more authentic.
The traditional cooked breakfast is taken to new heights when cooked using real fire and solid fuel heat.
Simply place a pan on top of the wood burning stove and get frying for a Sunday brunch you’ll never forget.
Why stop at food? For a Christmassy take on stove gastronomy, fill a cast iron kettle with dry red wine, cinnamon sticks, whole cloves, allspice, orange rind and sugar (or sweetener if you’re prepping for Christmas party dress season).
Let the delicious mixture simmer away, all the while filling your home with the sweet scent of Christmas.
These American favourites are classics for a reason – they’re pretty damn irresistible.
Pop a marshmallow on the end of a wooden skewer and hold briefly inside your wood burning stove, until nice and gooey.
Sandwich your melting marshmallow between two graham crackers (digestive biscuits work just as well) and add a piece of chocolate of your choice – heavenly doesn’t cover it.
Last, but by no means least, this cupboard staple tastes sensational when toasted by a real open flame!
Simply place your bread on the end of a long handled fork and toast to desired level of crunchiness. Spread with butter or jam and enjoy while still piping hot.
Have a recipe you think would work well cooked on an open flame? Share it in the comments section below!