Monday 24 July 2017

It's grown arms and legs noo...

It's grown arms and legs noo...

I realise it’s been a year since I last posted anything. I’ve been really busy!

Completing the job involved building a patio. All the earth had to be moved by hand as there’s no access from the street.  Then I decided to build a roof to keep the oven drier. I was using a lot of wood to get rid of moisture from the Aberdeen weather.  I was not convinced the oven was really waterproof.  I think rain was getting in from the front and being drawn in through the base.  The roof was difficult but I had help from Dad and a friend of his who gave advice on tiling.  The tiling on this shape of roof was very time consuming and wasted a lot of tile cuts. Had it been planned better from the start of the project I may have saved some of the work. I think the type of tile for this roof was important though and gave it the Mediterranean look I was imagining.

The oven is finished and is an amazing thing. I’m so glad I built it, it makes me very happy. 
I never thought I’d be able to complete the job and have such an amazing oven that I can be proud of having built myself. 
If anyone is thinking of embarking on this I would wholeheartedly encourage it.  It is a lot of work. Most of which you don’t see. It takes a little bit of skill but it’s not impossible to master. The way I look at it is if you make a mistake you can go back and correct it. If you follow the plans from the Forno Bravo and listen to some of the advice from others on their Forum it can be a great help in avoiding any major errors.
I was totally in the Dark when I started this project. As far as I am aware I think I am the only person in Aberdeen to have built an oven of this type. Nobody else has been crazy enough to start!  I had nobody to turn to for advice.
 A few of my friends have said they want to build one after having spent a day with the oven.   It’s more than just an oven.  When you have friends over for pizza the kids just love getting involved, everyone want’s to have a go at Pizza. I cook so much more than just pizza as well. Everything tastes so good in the oven. Meat, potatoes, vegetables, soups, curries, porchetta!!

Although the oven is finished I think I will keep up this blog as record of what can be done with the oven. I’ll post recipes and photos. If you find it interesting please let me know and leave a comment. It will encourage me to keep it up!


 SCALLOPS!! Cooked in the oven.

Chicken cooked in the oven, then made stock and soup from the bones.

 Roof construction
 How to lay ridging to the profiled Roman tiles.
They look terracotta but they are made from concrete.

 Used a red dye in the cement

 Party time.

Thursday 28 July 2016

Fitting a flue

 I've had to use a bit of thought on how to get the small throat I gave the oven to connect to the Flue pipe.  There's not an anchor plate available so after playing around a bit I come up with the best solution I could. There may be better ones but I am not aware of any.  If I was building this oven again I would change the size of the throat opening for the vent.  I did make it bigger all ready but I think it would benefit from being wider and a bit deeper.  My oven still works but this is an improvement I think could be made.
 One issue is how to prevent the metal flue expanding and cracking the mortar.  I bought a stove adapter for the flue, meant for going into a stove or boiler, there is no anchor plate available and if there was I don't have a big enough area to attach one. I wrap the flue adapter on the outside with a layer of cardboard and use a cut piece of polystyrene from some packaging to get the height and to stop cement falling through later.  My idea is the cardboard will help me to form a shape for the adapter with heatproof screed that is larger than the size of the adapter by about 3mm all round.
 From this I get a solid form surrounded in Firebricks so it is pretty strong.  Later when it's dried out I remove the adapter and screed all around the firebricks on the outside ond over so they are protected from the weather and insulated well.  I refit the adapter using a lot of Heatproof silicon that is meant to be safe up to 1250c but later I read it should not be exposed to a flame, which worried me bit so I lined the inside of the flue where it is joining the vent and the silicon could be exposed to a flame. I lined it with some Fibre Blanket I found on ebay that is only a few millimeters thick and stuck it with the Vitcas Ceramic Fibre Glue.   I have read of lots of people having problems with silicon fitting the flue with the silicon disintegrating and cement breaking up...   I hope I won't have this problem... I hope my precautions will be enough to stop it...   I'll let you know if this falls to pieces.

 This is the 8 inch twin wall flue adapter, you can see the vent opening lined with the ceramic fibre. Ideally the vent should be shaped better but this still works.

 The flue makes a big difference to the draw and keeps smoke away better. There is a damper fitted as well. The flue wasn't cheap but it is making a big difference and will be needed to get up through the roof of the Gazebo later.

Running costs  £1828.76 to date.

£7.99 Silicon 1250c heatproof sealant.
£2.39  Ceramic fibre 12"X 24" millimeter thick (eBAY)
£9.84 Vitcas Ceramic Fibre Adhesive (eBay)

Flue Supplies
£117.82  8" twinwall (T/W)  1m lenght
£134.75  8" Draft Damper T/W
£38.53    8" Roof Support T/W
£95.40    8" All weather cowl T/W
£42.60    8" Adaptor  to single wall T/W

New running cost - £2278.08

Things I learned so far...

A Nutella Pizza is ace.

Steaks taste fantastic in this oven as does anything I cooked so far. Vegetable potatoes, bread, all taste considerably better.
I have made the best pizza I ever tasted and I still don't know exactly what I am doing. I haven't used the 'proper' pizza flour yet either.
I really liked the tomato, cheese, artichoke, mushroom and whole egg in the middle pizza.

This oven is ace...  I don't know why there aren't more of them. It's so satisfying and there is a marked improvement in flavours. This is way better than a Barbecue or a domestic oven. It's just the wood thing I guess that puts people off it, the work involved with getting the timber and cleaning the oven and pre heating....  When did we lose touch with this type of cooking?  Am I going to start piling on the pounds now? So many questions... So many recipes to try...

Monday 25 July 2016

First pizza and experimenting

 It took about 6 days of burning ever increasing fires to cure the oven.  The way to tell this is when the black soot clears from the inside of the dome.  You can see it is all black in the photo above.

The temporary chimney worked okay after the fire was burning for a while but lots of smoke comes out the front  as you can see by the blackening below. I'm also having problems with moisture getting into the oven with the constant rain everyday this summer.  So I decide I will be building a roof over the oven,  the waterproofing of the dome was not sufficient.  With this in mind the chinmey will need to be much longer to claer the 'Gazebo' roof. So I decide to go for a stainless twinwall flue pipe.

 This is what happens if you don't cure your dish....!!

 The first Pizza!!
Aberdeen Angus Ribeye - The best I have ever tasted. I am amazed how good steak cooks in the oven, it retains all the juiciness.
The bread tasted much better as well. I don't think I want to cook in a normal oven again. I am enlightened!!!