Potato and spring onion gratin

Most of the people think nowadays that the use of a fire woven is mainly for pizza and maybe bread. In fact, in a fire oven you can bake everything that you bake in a classic oven. The only trick is to master the temperature inside.
For baking a gratin, handling a fire oven is a piece of cake. I had my oven heated at 300ºC. It may look a bit too much and at this temperature, the gratin can become very quickly brown on top. To avoid this, use an aluminium foil ... it will work like a miracle. If you want in the end to give a light brown color to the crust, just remove it and let it bake for few minutes more.

Baking this in a fire oven adds a smoky flavour to the dish and improve the original flavours of the vegetables. Of course, this dish can be cooked in a normal oven also but in my opinion, the taste you get in the fire oven is greatly improved. I probably didn't mention that the spring onions were harvested fresh from my own greenhouse ...

Angel cake muffins

No wonder that this cake is called an angel cake. It is so soft, so pure, so white ... so divine.
I made it only because I remained with 6 egg whites from another recipe and it proved to be a real success for my daughter. She simply loved it !

White flour warm spot levain

This is one of the most difficult bread I have ever made. It is not the process itself that gives you troubles but its schedule. I wanted to make this bread for a very long time but I never found the time to fit it in my daily life.

You make this bread in 3 days. In the first 2 days you grow up a preferment and, at the end of the second day, you prepare the final dough. The loaves are baked on the third day after they have spent the second fermentation in the refrigerator overnight.

More, you need to make this bread during a hot summer. In my case, there were more than 30ºC foreseen in the first 2 days, so it was the perfect time for me to try this bread. If you do not have a high temperature outside during these 3 days when you are in the mood of making this recipe then use a hot spot from your house.

Simple lemon tart

This is probably the simplest recipe of lemon tart I have ever seen. It is quick, does not require any fancy ingredient and the lemon provides a strong flavored taste to the tart.
Usually, the lemon tarts can be decorated with meringue or whipped cream. However, for this time, I chose not to decorate it, to remember its simplicity.

This tart was dedicated for the end of the school year party of my daughter and I can assure you it has disappeared almost instantly from the table. And yes, her second kindergarten year is almost gone, and as a parent, I can only wonder where all this time has gone while she has grown so big. Can we stop the time and enjoy our kids for longer? I think we cannot, so that's why, every moment spent together is so precious as it will never come back.

You can also try other recipes of lemon tarts that I made: Lemon tart and Lemon tart with meringue.

Spicy carrot soup

During the summer, it is a light soup that I like to eat. Vegetable soups are perfect for the hot days, so why not to try a delicious spiced carrot soup.
There is no wonder that so far I tried different recipes for the carrot soups like  Carrot soup or Spicy carrot-zucchini soup with lovage. Which one I like the most ? Well ... all of them are great and it is difficult to chose.

Coconut and chocolate muffins

Quick, tasty, flavoured and delicious muffins.
I did not top them with any creamy or glossy composition as they were meant to be snack for my daughter at school. This is actually the main reason why I usually do not make a creamy top for my muffins.

Although they were for my daughter, I must declare myself guilty of eating half of them myself. I couldn't resist them... so delicious... so soft and so much coconut flavour.

Dark whole wheat spelt sourdough bread with sunflower seeds

This is my third bread baked in the wood oven. If the first 2 were a bit burned, this one I managed to do it better.
As I mentioned before, the tricky part in baking the bread in the wood oven is to get the right temperature for both the air inside the oven and the floor.
Even before buying the wood oven I have made some researches regarding what it should be done when the oven is hot. I have seen people removing the charcoal from the oven, cleaning the floor with a wet cotton towel and then putting the bread inside. This looks quite complicated, considering that you have to handle burning charcoal and then clean inside the oven where the oven is so hot.
I also discovered that there is not necessary to remove the charcoal from the oven and is enough to move it to the side. This is also keeping the oven hot for longer time and avoids any mishandling of burning charcoal.
The second part was about cleaning the floor. I thought (as nobody was mentioning otherwise) that the cleaning of the floor before putting the loaves inside was to avoid that the bread collects ashes on the bottom. This is indeed correct, but there is another reason why: to reduce the temperature of the oven floor and to add a bit of steam in the oven. There are people who dislike having ashes on the bottom of the bread loaves but no matter if you like it or not, ash on the bottom of your bread is not dangerous for health unless it comes from burned chemically treated wood (wood that I do not advise anyway to use for cooking). This reason has in fact more sense and this is what I have tried with this bread. First I moved the burning charcoal to the left side of the oven (as I did with the first 2 breads as well), then, with a tool (made from 2 sticks nailed in a T shape) I have removed any rough traces of charcoal and ashes. In the end, I have put on top of this tool used a wet cloth and clean the oven floor. I have measured the temperature of the oven floor with a infrared thermometer both before and after this operation and actually it has reduced the temperature from 350ºC to 270ºC. This was what made the difference in avoiding burning the bottom of the bread.
The next step was to put the bread inside using a long peel and close the oven almost completely (both the oven door and chimney door) to conserve the heat inside. When you close the oven the temperature goes instantly higher (remember that the charcoal is still inside the oven). Closing the oven completely removes the oxygen inside and the charcoal will stop burning and starts smoking. What I did, was to let the holes in the oven door just a bit open so the burning still continues even during the bread baking. When I am talking about burning charcoal I am referring to the hot wood that has yellow-red color not to the wood on flames. As for making a barbeque, it is expected to wait until the flames are gone before cooking your food. A flaming wood releases a very high temperature and what you need in the oven is a moderate and constant one.

I reached in the end not have a burned crust for the bread. Although the bread was ready in only 30 minutes, in my opinion it could have been taken out 5-10 minutes earlier, or the temperature reduced more before putting the loaves inside the oven. The result was a well risen bread (and that even if it was more a whole wheat bread) and a well cooked crust and crumb. What I didn't achieve with this bread was a shiny crust and deep bread ears... but this, maybe with the next bread.
There is another thing that I would like to mention about a wood fire oven: it is economic and efficient. With only 2 logs I cook 3 pizzas, 3 breads and I can even continue to cook something at around 200ºC for about an hour after. So far, every time I baked bread I also cooked the 3 pizzas. Baking bread works perfectly in combination with bread baking as the pizza needs a high temperature for only 2-5 minutes to be cooked. Making pizza in a wood oven is very simple (not like in the case of bread :) ) and you gain a beautiful crust with a smokey and incredible taste. I'll post in the future some pizza recipes explaining also how to bake it in a wood oven.