My life does not revolve around cooking chicken, or cooking . . . or chickens, for that matter, but I left off at the point where I was about to treat the people I like best to a chicken cooked in ignorance in an – until that point – untested word burning oven while somewhat under the influence of white Rioja (it was more or less Christmas). I feel duty bound to report it was a success in the hope this might encourage anyone who cross-references recipes and frets over the right and wrong way of doing things to just get stuck in and have a go. Er, I should add the bottom line rule (particularly applicable to meat and bread): if it’s not cooked, don’t eat it.
I’m going to get myself some heatproof gauntlets and designate one day a week Oven Day. I can’t see it working, but it’s a good idea in theory because once you’ve spent the morning sawing wood and an hour and a half heating the hole in the wall it seems a shame to only cook a pizza which takes around two minutes. Although it does of course heat the house which, with its thick stone walls is doing a fantastic job of repelling the balmy heat of the garden around it.
Anyway, if you are going to research wood burning / pizza oven cooking, I’d recommend a visit to Traditional Oven (traditionaloven.com) for fantastic, no fuss advice on everything from building them to using them, plus traditional oven porn – a gallery of photos from around the world. ‘It’s easy’, they say, ‘don’t fret!’ And this is probably true.