in #hive-1205863 months ago

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"It's broken!!!!" There was a shocked silence.
Then; "Does that mean we are going to starve?!" The whispered question from my eldest.
"We could eat breakfast in the garden, with the chickens." From the youngest.
"Considering you just wiped the last of that avo on your face" smiled my Husband mischievously; "eating all our meals from the garden should delight you"
"But what about my stove?!!!!" I wailed "It's broken!!!!! How will I cook and bake?!!!!"

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The demise of my oven and stove is a monumental crisis on our homestead. In our years striving for self-sufficiency we have learned to do a lot ourselves - from scratch. That means I use both my oven and stove on a daily basis. Considering the sky rocketing price of gas here in SA I half suspected FarmerBuckaroo had orchestrated the permanent retirement of my big gas oven. Last week it seemed like doomsday. My goats milk cheese was only half made. Just for that day I had sourdough bread, rusks, bobotie and cheesecake lined up. Plus I needed to refresh my wax wraps. When I tried to impress on my nonchalant Husband the crisis this had thrown me into he shrugged and said; "There's always the pizza oven."


That pizza oven was built by a friend who is a mastercraftsman. It is huge. It was built under pressure because we had big plans. That was 5 years ago. It has never - yup - NEVER - been fired up. Over the years we've talked quite seriously about spending one day a week cooking for the the pizza oven. But my lovely gas oven in the kitchen in a civilized household was so much more convenient. Instant. Uncomplicated. Until the said oven broke. Forever. Sniiiiiiiff. Take away your stove and what do you have? Either hungry people or an ingenious solution. The pizza oven was that solution. Following the drought we have a lot of dead thorn trees - which means a lot of firewood. While FarmerBuckaroo was assembling wood and learning how to cook - every and anything - I was prepping meals. Which, of course, included PIZZA!!!


Knowing what I had planned, my family remarked that I was over ambitious for a first attempt using the pizza oven - fire - to cook and bake. The Husband set up our camping cooker with our massive potjie pot - a heavy cast iron tripod pot. Any frying of onions and spices I did there. Based on the time needed as well as the temperature I figured out what needed to go in when. Then we just had to figure out for how long, based on constant checking. And make sure nothing burned!


While the pizza oven was heating up I whipped up my family's comfort food Ice-cream and my own - chocolate (if you don't already know the recipe watch this space!!) Then the serious cook-up began! We did curry and a couple roasts plus breyani and Bobotie We were quite surprised by the smokey flavour of the Bobotie but it truly enhanced the dish.


Because everyone likes full bottles of snacks I made two big batches of cookies and Rusks. Plus our favourite pre-breakfast snack; muesli (granola to some countries) We had tried baking the potatoes and butternut directly in the fire. They were delicious hot but terrible warmed up the following day.


Of course I couldn't spend the ENTIRE day preparing food and not bake cake!! Creme Caramel was tricky. It's a baked custard which needs to bake in a bath. The carrot cake was also tricky simply because the pizza oven needs an occasional stick or stoke and moving other dishes interfered with the cake. It didn't exactly flop but it still tastes delicious.


Pizza was a winner. No surprises there considering it was baked in a pizza oven! The three breads I baked are amazing. The sourdough blew us away, in taste and texture. Our only down side was that you cannot leave the pizza oven unattended. While the cookies and muesli were baking at the end of the day we ran around tending animals. They started burning. Not a train smash but lesson learned. While I ended up doing all the food preparation hats off to the hard working Hubby who sweated at the pizza oven all day.


When the reality of the broken stove first hit home I had visions of campside cooking. Which is fun the first time but not as an everyday solution. The meals from the pizza oven have been beyond our wildest dreams. Yes, it is a lot of forethought and a hectic day of cooking. But I have the rest of the week's meals prepared (or frozen). Maybe living without modern conveniences, like a stove, is not really the end of the world. After all, we really do enjoy eating a large amount of our diet straight from the garden....



Awesome post! I loved it. I can relate with everything, except the broken stove. I have two functioning ones, so lucky me!

But I also have a pizza oven that me and my dad built ourselves. And it is the best cooking equipment there is! I love doing everything in it as you do! I still have to do rusks, that is on my bucket list. There is something special to a sourdough bread in a pizza oven. I worked in a bakery for a couple of months in which we baked the loaves in a pizza oven. My method is to make pizzas, then bake bread in the cooling oven, and then throw in a couple of thick pieces of roast overnigth. Pizza ovens are just the best!

I really enjoyed reading your post! Oh yes, I also found an awesome source for fire: palm fronds. I have so many, and they cost so much to drive away. So I use the "woody" parts to fire up my pizza oven like you use the thorn wood. As wood can be very expensive for us here in the suburbs.

Palm fronds?!! Now that is interesting. Thank you for sharing. We can use those as back up.

It's wonderful that you also have the experience of cooking in a pizza oven. There's no looking back for me. I think this is the new solution. The only draw back is there's no impulsive cooking. Tell me, have you ever baked sourdough rusks? I'm tempted to try

Palm fronds?!!

Indeed! They do not make anything that resembles a coal, but they produce enormous amounts of heat. So I preheat the oven with loads of palm fronds and resort to wood when I start the pizza.

The only draw back is there's no impulsive cooking.

Right! It takes so much planning and prepping and to utilize the oven and all the stored heat, you need to cook loads of food or bake loads of stuff.

Tell me, have you ever baked sourdough rusks? I'm tempted to try

Nope, but have also been tempted for a couple of months by the idea. I want to try two things: Sourdough rusks fermenting the dough like normal, and one in which I ferment the flour fully and then only add it when I completely ferment the flour (I think 72 hours or so). Obviously, the latter will be much sourer, but I am interested in seeing if it works with all the sourness.

I have dried out some sourdough bread, as I think this is the most authentic type of ancient rusks?? But they were a complete fail haha. The texture was way too chewy and not crumbly like normal rusks.

Oh yes! I remember that you mentioned not to long ago wanting to try the rusks. And with the discard? My quick recipe with discard (I hate throwing away) is to make flapjacks. My family now refuse to eat sourdough flapjacks

Why are they refusing to eat it? Are you making it too often? 😅

Oh, you should totally try scallion pancakes! Take sourdough discard and add scallions, chives, green onions, anything in that line, and make thicker style pancakes. The sourness and the scallions create an awesome savory taste! Yum, now I am hungry haha.

I will either write up something in the future or hopefully remember to let you know how the sourdough rusks went 😅

Yup. Something like that. Let's just say it was on the menu more than once or twice a week. But that scallion that sounds like a winner!

I used this guy's recipe if you'd like to take a look:

Oh yum!! Thanks

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This was such an awesome post! It took a hard broken oven to get that pizza oven in motion. I have to admit, you are pretty fast on the uptake and you are a fast learner too!

Cooking pizza in the specialized pizza oven, has a learning curve, and yet, you cooked your week's worth of food in it? I bow down to you, my queen. Who does this? I am always amazed at what you can do when you need to.

Your poor children wouldn't know what to do with a mom that is not supermom. This was such a great post! Thank you for recapping the highlights of your adventure! I have actually learned quite a bit about these ovens!

Hive on!

Well I had to learn fast. But, I believe that our years here having to always come up with that plan B .... C .... D .... Pizza oven ;) Has taught us to be innovative. And in a hurry.

Thank you for your sweet words, as usual Denise

Wow what a lovely post. You had to come up with a solution in no time.
What a saviour you are.
Well done

Thank you for taking the time to read it @ijohnsen

Love your Foodie post!

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I so enjoyed reading your post!
I am amazed at your resourcefulness!

Thank you so much @silversaver888

Thank you. I guess necessity is the mother of invention ;)

Indeed, it is!

Plus our favourite pre-breakfast snack; muesli (granola to some countries)

We (Hungarians) call it müzli. And it was often my breakfast in my childhood. Sometimes I still eat it.

Greetings from Hungary.

It reads the way we pronounce it! Amazing the similarity in many words between different countries

And also sounds the same. Just/only the writing is different. Greetings from Hungary.

this is cool, with the cooking process it will definitely taste more delicious


I always wanted to have that kind of stove since I have seen great foods that are being cooked on them (which were always great tasting foods).

The pizza oven is now our favourite way of cooking

And I bet it was enjoyable too, cooking outside like that! I can't believe you had it for five years and never fired it up! I love the idea of an outdoor kitchen, but in the end you go for convenience. Then something forces you outside to cook like that and it's lovely! what a cook up - you are amazing in the kitchen!

I know...I was blushing when I wrote that. And now we plan on using it every week. It really is an amazing oven

I feel you! I think I would also starve without my oven lol... but OMG some serious batch cooking in the pizza oven. Love it and it seems like everything turned out great! I hope that we can get most of our meals from the garden too in the near future... Very inspiring!

Very rewarding to eat out of your own garden. I hope it is a reality for you @amy-goodrich

Cool to read this and imagine a homestead in SA! I'm looking forward to getting back out in the bush

Thank you. We are truly blessed to have our beautiful SA homestead @movingman

Good thing you had it as back up! It's great it worked so well on the first trial.

Yup! And tomorrow is the second run.....

Lovely read, although I understand a broken stove isn't fun. At least now you immediately appreciated the pizza oven! the pizzas and all other stuff looks delicious btw :)