Thursday, August 2, 2012

Cooking on "Ye Old Wood Stove"

For many years I had dreamed of cooking on a wood fired stove.

The idea seemed to me to represent all those aspects of home making that I enjoy.
The beauty and love of  Hearth and Home. The desire to feed our family both physically and emotionally by creating that warm atmosphere in the kitchen which is to me, the heart of any home.

I guess  it all began when I was talking to a friend and how she mentioned that they were renting their home out and how it had a wood fired cooking stove.
I remember saying 'isn't that hard to cook on?' and her response was one that delighted  and intrigued me for many years to come.
So when we looked at building our home over 8 years ago one of the  have wan to have items for me was to have a wood fired oven. I seriously decided that I ONLY wanted a wood stove and not have a back up electric or gas one.
The reason for this was I have know other people since my first introduction to wood stoves who have both and they tend to only use the wood stove in the colder months. I did not want this to happen to me
If I had  a wood stove I wanted to use it all the time and rather than fall into the temptation of using the 'back up one we simply  did not install one........and this ha been  a decision  I have never regretted!!
I had always imagined a beautiful Aga Stove but after research on different brands (and the fact we could not get a wood burning one in Australia but had to have gas) we finally ended up with this great Thermalux Grand Cuisine.

I admit even though I loved the cooking capacity of the stove I still loved the look of that Aga. So the way around this was to have my dear husband and older sons to make a beautiful surround around the stove complete with mantle over the stove and light in under the stove top.
They also built a wood box to one side that looks just like a cupboard and I have marble tops on the sides.
These we picked up for $50 each as odds
One of the things I always loved when looking at those beautiful magazines was the way that the Aga stove was always surrounded by a beautiful cupboard arrangement and mantle. When I looked at the  plain and quite sever lines of the Thermalux Grand Cuisine I was just, well honestly, a little disappointed with the look of it. It did not look as pretty as the magazine versions and although I loved the fact that the stove was so very very big, having huge hot plate options and very large stove capacity as seen above, I wanted the pretty version.

In regards to actual cooking capacity I have been able to put three trays of food on both sides of the ovens and then underneath there is a warming oven or very slow cooking oven that also has two selves.
I can't tell you how much I have loved this space, especially at times when we have huge 'cook ups'  like when we are doing Christmas, Easter or birthday cooking
As you can see there is quite a bit of room beside the stove to put hot things on without worrying about the timber tops. The wood box is very large and able to hold a fair day's amount of wood within it. I just need the wood box fillers to actually bring it in off the verandah each day!

On the other side of the stove I have a post and pans shelf that has, well most of the most used pots for everyday use.
Once again the space beside the stove allows for many things to be placed on top.
Of course you can see that there also is a large amount of actual cooking room on top of the stove for large pots and as I have for many years had a kettle boiling on the stove, it is just another plus for this stove.

The kettle can be boiled and then placed on the side simmer plates to keep warm all day so it is a very easy step to put the kettle on for a 'cuppa'

Cooking on a wood stove is so very, very easy. I guess it is a  matter of getting used to it, but I hardly ever check the temperature gauges and cook mostly by how the fire looks and how long the fire has been hot for etc.

Our older girls have pretty much learnt to cook using this oven and they can not imagine cooking on anything else, nor can I for that matter as I really love it.
It is a complete picture of cooking and providing warmth for your family in so may ways, including having people stand in front of it to keep warm while chatting to you as you do the cooking.

If I was building a kitchen again I would make this stove a  priority again.
There is nothing so beautiful tasting as a Christmas Cake that has been cooked in a wood fired oven over a long period of time.
Or baked lamb and apple crumble or gingerbread cookies or muffins or scones or............

How I have loved it  BUT stay tuned for  more interesting news in my next post - The Times they are a-Changin' ........

Blessings to you and your homes,


nancy-Lou said...

I, too have a love of wood stoves...although it has been a while since I cooked on one. The one I had, also had a water reservoir on the side, for hot water to be available at all times. It is the custom in Canada to have a "summer kitchen" to cook in so the house doesn't heat up. There also was a wood stove in the house kitchen for colder days. One of my fond memories was coming indoors after a cold winter day and opening the oven door and warming our feet....of course the stove was not that hot then. I loved your blog about your wood stove...everything tastes so much better cooked in a wood cooker. Especially bread. Loved hearing how you and your girls use your stove. I would imagine you will be moving it too? Or perhaps getting a new one?

Gae said...

Dear Nancy-Lou,
Big week here preparing for Stephen to leave for the new job, see next post.
I actually love the idea of a Summer kitchen as a separate thing. Is that how it was for you

Emma H. said...

Dear Gae, we just got a Thermalux Grand Cuisine and I am finding the instructions are not detailed enough. Would you be willing to give me a few tips? This morning I was trying to cook crumpets and can't work out how to get the stovetop hot enough, without cooking them directly on the hotplate. The ovens got really hot, up to 230 on the right, but the top still just slow-cooked. Slow cooking is great for some things but not others!

Also the damper controls and dilution control I just don't understand the workings of. Perhaps I need a diagram or something. I'm not sure what the purpose of them is and what they do.

Love your marble tops on either side, I have been wondering what people do to "turn off" a pot that has finished cooking, ie where to put it! Also where to put that container of batter when making pancakes or crumpets. I'll have to show my husband.

How do you go in the summer? Too hot?



Anonymous said...

No matter cooking or heating, I like to use wood stoves, I think wood stoves make me think of pastime and childhood. Anyway, it is an interesting thing to retrospect the past good times.

Serge said...

These wood stoves are great not just for cooking, but in keeping the kitchen area warm as well! You don't even have to turn your central heating system on when you need to cook during those cold winter months.

Jamal Mohamed said...
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