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Baking a pavlova in an outdoor pizza oven? “Yeah, right,” was my first reaction when I saw the recipe in Recipes from the Kiwi Pizza Oven: Wood, Fire and Friends by Alan Brown. Then I read the instructions and, maybe, it can be done.
Not only is this book magnificently illustrated by photographer Todd Eyre, it has also got the most amazing range of recipes and comprehensive instructions to go with them. Not just weights and measures of ingredients but the practical aspects of how to fire up the oven – fire to the sides, not the semi-circle at the back, which is what I have done.
The introduction is where you get the first impression that this is not just a recipe book. It immediately impresses that while having a wood fired outdoor pizza oven can be a lot of fun, it is not a plaything. Rather, it can be a very practical 24-hour oven which can handle everything from a pavlova and a treacle tart, to char-embered veg, pork ribs and, of course, pizza.
The practicality of this 258-page book is further emphasised with each recipe, which begins with an opinion of the quality and character of the ingredients, then the ingredients themselves, advice on the temperature requirement and other cooking or baking instructions.
I don’t usually fire up my pizza oven in the winter but I just might for a couple of pizzas for lunch tomorrow: spiced brisket in coconut milk for dinner, and overnight baked African cornbread with friend egg and bacon for breakfast on Sunday.
Oh, by the way, I use a hand-held temperature gauge which will be even more useful now that author Alan Brown has indicated the different parts of the oven to burn at different temperatures.
Reviewed by Lincoln Gould
Recipes from the Kiwi Pizza Oven: Wood, Fire, Food and Friends
by Alan Brown