27 | Jul | 13

Richard Johnson

All Fired Up

High up on every cooking enthusiast’s wish list you’re likely to find a wood-fired oven. Combining the elements of food, fire and being outdoors, it offers the perfect ingredients to fuel a man’s primal instincts. Or — at a push — a woman’s. But how do you learn the basics? David Jones, co-owner of the Manna from Devon Cooking School, has three Bushman ovens on-site. And a passion for all things wood-fired. So why not check out one of his courses? Although the shape and building materials of wood-fired ovens may vary, the thing they have in common is how efficiently they produce and retain heat. In Europe, the communal bread oven was pivotal to village life for many centuries. The baker would use the oven early in the morning to bake his bread and then other villagers would use the residual heat in the oven to cook their evening meals. Depending on the recipe requirement, dishes can either be cooked in a flash (thin-based pizzas can be cooked in a few seconds), or slow-cooked over hours. It’s a skill worth learning. I smell a new business in the offing….There’s a course this weekend, but book in now for next month.

PS How do people rate Bushman ovens over the less ‘branded’ offers out there?