My Wood Fired Oven

I’ve been getting a lot of questions about my wood fired oven lately so thought I’d do a bit of a blog post on it. There will no doubt be loads missing but if you’ve got any questions drop me a line.

I’ve wanted a wood fired oven ever since we bought our first house but like a lot of things I never got round to doing it

Last year I spent a lot of time tidying the garden, putting some new decking down and generally sorting stuff out that has been neglected for the last 6 or 7 years.

As part of the tidy up I demolished my old cold frame as what ever grew in there was always devoured by bugs or slugs. This left me with the perfect space for a the wood fired oven and started months of research and pricing up of various options.

Originally I’d intended to build one, River Cottage style one from local clay or shop bought firebricks, so downloaded loads of instructions, PDFs and videos,  but given my lack of DIY skills and some of the prices I was getting back for materials, I decided it would only end up costing a small fortune and looking rubbish. or falling to bits over the winter.

I then started looking at various pre build options and had pretty much settled on one of three ovens, the first being an Amigo oven which looked just the job, big enough to get a couple of pizzas or a roast in plus had the added benefit of being able to add a spit to for spit roasting. Unfortunately after measuring and re measuring the various access points to our garden I couldn’t figure out a way of getting the oven in other than hiring a rather expensive crane and lifting it over the house or garage. So my attention switched turned to option two, the Jamie Oliver wood fired oven, but after doing a bit of reading and seeing a few photos I decided I preferred the Stone Bake Oven Company (SBOC) and their Mezzo 76.

The Mezzo is built in the UK and made from a reinforced composite which comes in 3 separate pieces with the biggest piece being the dome, which when turned on it’s side it would leave plenty of room to get through the gate into the garden, with the added bonus of being of either leaving it as it came and being able to take it with us should we move house or to insulate it and turn it into more of a feature as many others had done judging by the brilliant photos on the SBOC website.

After a few emails back and forth with SBOC I decided to order one along with the free accessory pack. The oven took about 2 weeks to arrive, which gave me time to sort a base for it out. I got a mate to build a simple 3 sided brick wood store using the same weathered bricks that the garage is built from. This meant that when the oven arrived we could just lift the pieces into place and the oven would sit on the top with no need for any cement or fixings. The oven arrived in two separate deliveries, the accessory pack and chimney arrived first followed by a pallet full of the rest of the oven. The two sections of base were easy to lift into place but the dome took 3 of us to lift and manoeuvre into place but it was easy enough once we’d all got a good grip of it. I’d already decided I wanted to spray the silver chimney and the door black so had ordered some stove paint from ebay so gave them a quick spray before putting them in place, the chimney was a bit of a tight fit so i had to sand a little bit of the oven away round the hole so it sat in place properly. As I’d decided not to insulate or cover it I’d also ordered some sealant to paint the oven with just as added protection from the elements and after a couple of coats the oven was ready to go, no need for pre firing or anything like that as the oven comes ready to use.

I’ve now had the oven for a year or so and have loved almost every minute of it. Firing it and getting used to the heat took a bit of getting used to and a lot of experimentation with wood types and sizes. I’ve found that the best logs to use have to be really really dry, with as little moisture in as possible, this helps the oven get up to temperature quicker and means that there’s very little smoke after the first 5 minutes. I’ve been using a mix of kiln dried birch and oak depending what’s on offer at my favourite log store…Reservoir Logs, who send the logs all the way from Scotland, which have been much better quality than anything I’ve found locally. I’ve found that splitting the logs down into chunks no thicker than my wrist means they catch light easily and don’t put the fire out, something which happened all too often in the first few weeks. I’ve also found yorkshire trading do some brilliant natural firelighters that are cheap as chips and really get the fire going. Then that keeping an eye on the soot on the oven dome helps tell when it’s ready for cooking as the soot burns off the hotter the oven gets.

I’ve experimented with lots of different doughs, I’m still on the hunt for the perfect pizza crust but am really happy with what i’ve been producing so far, they cook really quickly when the oven is up over 400 degrees C, giving a nice light airy and crispy crust provided you don’t over do the toppings. Once i’d got used to doing pizza I started experimenting with other dishes such as steak, beer butt chicken, pulled beef lasagne and chicken tandoori with naan bread, like using the heat as the oven is getting up to temperature to cook things like bacon wrapped jalapeño poppers, wurst-lollies, chestnuts and other pre pizza nibbles. Then using the heat as the oven cools down to cook bread, cakes, crumble or big trays of vegetables for pasta or sandwiches the next day.

Getting a wood fired oven is genuinely one of the best things i’ve done, it’s been used most weeks since I got it and i’ve got lots of plans for new dishes and new pizza toppings….that and waiting for my san marzano to ripen so I can use them to make sauce again rather than tinned toms from the shop.

As soon as I get chance I’ll post a couple more of the recipes on here.

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Spiced melting feta and chickpea salad

This is another recipe I  saw on the good food website and had to try, with added spice of course. I served it with some lamb kebabs. I used mint sauce mixed with some lemon juice and a little sugar istead of the fresh mint. Also served it with a nice big dollop of tzatziki and a flatbread.

Serves 2 or 3

Ingredients for the saladspicy-melty-feta


  • tsp red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil or olive oil
  • good pinch of dried oregano or 1 tsp fresh, chopped
  • 175g canned chickpeas, drained
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • half a green pepper, sliced
  • 10cm/4in piece of cucumber, cut into chunks
  • 6 pitted Kalamata olives, halved and rinsed to remove excess salt
  • 3 tomatoes, cut into wedges
  • small handful mint leaves or a couple of tablespoons of mint sauce, mixed with lemon juice and a little sugar.

Ingredients for the cheese

  • 2 tsp plain flour
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder
  • 1/2 tsp hot paprika
  • black pepper
  • 100g reduced-fat feta, cubed
  • 1-2 tsp rapeseed oil or olive oil



  1. Mix the vinegar with the oil and oregano in a bowl. Pile in the rest of the salad ingredients, but don’t toss yet.
  2. Mix the flour, cumin, pepper, paprika and chilli powder, then toss in the feta to coat. Heat the oil in a non-stick frying pan and briefly fry the cheese, flicking the pieces over to cook on all sides. Toss the salad, pile onto plates and scatter over the cheese to serve.


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Spicy Stuffed Aubergine Recipe

This is an adaptation of a recipe I saw on the telegraph website, I made it because i’d never used oats as a topping on anything other than crumble before.

Serves 2


  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 galic cloves, crushed
  • 1 red pepper, de seeded and chopped
  • 1 large courgette, diced
  • 1 large aubergine
  • 400g tinned tomatoes.
  • Pickled jalapeno
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1tbsp hendersons relish (worcestershire sauce)
  • 2tbsp porridge oats
  • 2tbsp grated mozzarella or cheddar.
  • 1tsp paprika
  • 1 tbsp breadcumbs
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 3 tbsp parmesan
  • tabasco
  • sugar
  • salt
  • pepper


  1. Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees C
  2. Cut the aubergine in half, scoop out the flesh leaving about 0.5 cm of flesh round the edge.
  3. Lay the aubergine face down on a tray and bake for 10-15mins until they soften. While they bake it’s time to make the filling.
  4. pour the olive oil into a pan and heat, fry the onion, garlic, red pepper and courgette along with the chopped red chilli, ad a pinch of salt and season well with pepper, fry until soft (about 10mins)
  5. Add the hendersons relish, paprika, tarragon,and tomatoes, simmer for 15-20 mins until you have a thick ratatouille.
  6. Taste then season with salt, pepper and the sugar.
  7. Mix the oats, mozzarella, parmesan, breadcrumbs, chilli flakes and paprika together.
  8. Spoon the ratatouille mix into the aubergine, pressing down nice and firmly.
  9. Top with the parmesan mixture.
  10. Bake for 10-25mins then serve with a nice big salad.

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Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers Recipe

Since getting my wood fired oven (more on that soon) I’ve been experimenting with ways to use the heat as the oven gets up to pizza temperature to cook snacks or starters, I saw a photo of some of these on Instagram so decided to give them a go, the picture used a fancy bit of kit from Thuros but as I didn’t have one I improvised with a bit of wood that I soaked in water and drilled some holes in.

It’s now been a regular dish, pretty much every time the oven is fired I make a version of these. If you don’t have a wood fired oven you could easily do them on a BBQ or in a normal oven.

If you are using cream cheese then you can mix the hot sauce with it first before putting into the chilli’s. Depending on the thickness of your bacon and size of your peppers you may need to use more than one slice, or use a rolling pin to roll the bacon out a little. If you are veggie you could use veggie bacon or leave the bacon out all together.


  • 1 packet of fresh Jalapeños or sweet bite peppers (Aldi, Tesco and Asda all seem to stock various varieties)
  • 1 bottle hot sauce
  • Cheese, cream cheese, mozzarella or feta works really well…as does chilli cheese for that extra kick.
  • 1 packet of smoked streaky bacon
  • 1 packet cocktail sticks, soaked in water
  • 1 packet wooden skewers, soaked in water
  • 1 block of wood, soaked in water then drilled to hold the skewers.


  1. Slice the top off the chilli’s, remove any seeds.
  2. Slice the cheese into small chunks and half fill the each chilli, add a splash of hot sauce to each, then top up with cheese, cramming as much in as you can.
  3. Wrap each chilli with a slice of bacon. Secure in place with a couple of cocktail sticks.
  4. Insert a skewer through each chilli and place into the block of wood.
  5. Roast in front of the fire until the bacon is crisp and the peppers are soft.


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Poached Eggs with Sriracha creme fraiche

This might seem like a bit of a strange recipe but it was absolutely delicious, apologies for the poor photo I decided to try and poach my eggs in an egg poacher to save faffing with a pan so they came out a little wedge shaped…not the most attractive of poached eggs but they tasted great.



  • 2 British Lion Eggs
  • 2 slices of thick cut bread
  • Butter
  • 1 tablespoon creme fraiche
  • Big squirt of sriracha sauce.


  • Mix the sriracha with the creme fraiche, set aside
  • Poach your eggs, how ever you prefer, you could use Delia’s method or Jamie’s
  • Toast and butter your bread
  • Top the bread with the eggs
  • Spoon a dollop of the sauce over the top. Enjoy!

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Spicy Lamb Stuffed Courgette Recipe

I saw a similar recipe in the freebie Marks and Spencer Food app on the Ipad a few weeks ago and decided to jazz it up a bit, it’s since been made regularly and has become a firm favourite.

Serves 2


  • 2 large courgettes
  • 250g lamb mince
  • 1/2 red onion, finely chopped.
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp oregano
  • 1/4 tsp tarragon
  • 1/2 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • Salt
  • Black pepper
  • Small bunch of flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • Small bunch of fresh mint, finely chopped
  • 1 chilli, sliced.
  • 8 cherry tomatoes or small san marzano tomatoes, chopped
  • 10g grated parmesan
  • 20g bread crumbs


  1. Pre heat oven to 180 degrees
  2. Cut the courgettes in half length ways, scoop out the centre…you can use this for fritters or throw it away.
  3. brush the outside of the courgette with olive oil and place skin side down on a baking tray.
  4. Season the courgettes with salt and pepper, plus the chilli flakes, bake in the oven for 15-20mins until soft.
  5. While the courgettes are cooking, head some oil in a frying pan, fry the onion until soft then add the garlic, cinnamon, oregano, tarragon, cayenne. Fry for 30 seconds
  6. Add the mince and cook until brown
  7. Stir in the tomatoes, mint and parseley, season with salt and plenty of black pepper.
  8. Spoon the mince into the courgettes, mix the breadcrumbs and parmesan together then sprinkle over the top.
  9. Bake in the oven for 15 mins until the breadcrumbs are nice and crispy.
  10. Serve with a nice big green salad.




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Cajun Rice Krispie Chicken

This was a bit of an experiment as I fancied something different to breadcrums, crushed up crisps or crackers and was inspired by some prawns we had from Iceland at Christmas.

It’s really simple and really tasty, the mayo could be spiced with all sorts of things but I had some left over hairy dieters cajun spices that i’d mixed up a while back that needed using.

These would be great for buffets or snacks while watching the footy but we had them with some wedges and veg.

Serves 2


  • 6 tablespoons low fat mayo
  •  1tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 tsp white pepper
  • plenty of salt and black pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli powder
  • 2 chicken breasts, sliced into goujons
  • 150g of rice krispies


  1. Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Mix the herbs and spices apart from the salt and black pepper with the mayo and place in a dish
  3. Put the krispies in another dish, season with salt and black pepper. Crush some of the krispies up with your finger, this helps coat the chicken more evenly.
  4. Dip each chicken slice in the mayo followed by the krispies then place on a sheet of baking paper on a baking tray.
  5. Place in the oven for 20-30mins until golden and the chicken is cooked.
  6. Serve.

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Spicy Sausage and Apple Roll

This is such a delicious recipe whether you serve it hot or cold, it can be made as one big sausage roll or separate little ones.

You can use what ever sausage meat you like as long as it’s good quality, you can buy sausage meat or take the meat from some sausages and discard the skins.

Last time I made it I served it with mash and a cider sauce.


  • 1 packet of ready rolled puff pastry
  • 6 spicy pork sausages, skins removed.
  • 1 red onion. sliced,
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 tsp Dijon mustard.
  • beaten egg
  • knob of butter
  • 1/2 tsp poppy seeds
  • 1 Granny Smith apple or Bramley apple, cored, peeled and roughly chopped.
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 1 tbsp chopped sage


  1. Pre heat your oven to 200 degrees.
  2. Heat a frying pan, add the knob of butter and fry the onion until soft and translucent, add the apple and fry for a couple of minutes.
  3. Remove from the heat and sprinkle over the herbs, salt and a lots of black pepper. Leave to cool
  4. Mix the sausage meat, mustard and apple mixture in a bowl.
  5. Place a piece of greaseproof paper on baking tray
  6. Unroll the pastry, and cut it half, place one half on the baking tray.
  7. Top with the sausage mix, leaving a 1cm gap around the edge.
  8. Brush the edge with beaten egg then place the other half of the pastry on top.
  9. Trim off any excess and then press the edges with a fork to seal.
  10. Cut through the pastry on the top with a sharp knife to form a lattice shape.
  11. Brush with beaten egg, sprinkle with poppy seeds and the chilli flakes.
  12. Bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the pastry is golden and has puffed up nicely. It may take a little longer depending on the thickness of your meat.

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Chilli Chicken Kiev

This is a bit of a combination of recipes I found on the internet but with that added chilli twist.

It’s not too difficult to make but does require a couple of hours in the freezer just to make the final few steps a bit easier.



  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 40g butter, softened.
  • 1 chilli of your choice, diced
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1/2 tsp dried tarragon
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley (can use more if you like.
  • lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 eggs,
  • Panko breadcrumbs
  • Plain flour
  • Oil for deep frying.
  • Salt and black  pepper
  • White pepper
  • 1/2 tsp chilli powder


  1. Mash your butter, garlic, herbs and fresh chilli, add the lemon zest and juice, season with a good pinch of salt and plenty of black pepper, split into two, place on some cling film and roll into two thin sausages. Place in the fridge while you prepare the chicken.
  2. To prepare the chicken, carefully butterfly the chicken breasts using a sharp knife. Place them under some cling film then gently bash out with a rolling pin so they are nice and flat and even. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Place a sausage of butter in each chicken breast and roll up, folding the edges in as you go. Wrap tightly in cling film to form a nice smooth shape. Place in the freezer for 2-3 hours.
  4. Put the flour in one bowl, beaten eggs in another and the breadcrumbs in a third bowl, Season the flour and breadcrumbs with salt and pepper. Add the chilli powder and a pinch of white pepper to the breadcrumbs.
  5. Pre heat your oven to 160 degrees.
  6. Remove the chicken from the cling film, roll in the flour, then the egg, then the breadcrumb, followed by the egg again and then the breadcrumb for a second time.
  7. Heat your fryer to 170 degrees, fry the chicken for 7 minutes. Drain then place on a baking tray and cook in the oven for another 7 minutes. You may need to adjust the times depending on the thickness of your chicken.
  8. Serve with sweet potato fries and a big green salad


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Spicy Sticky Pork Tenderloin Recipe

I’ve fallen back in love with pork tenderloin and can’t stop eating it, whether it’s grilled, griddled  or BBQd it’s a tasty and relatively low fat dish. It also takes on almost any flavours you throw at it. So the next two posts on here will be two of my favourite dishes that I’ve made recently,

Serves 2 or 3

IngredientsSticky spicy pork tenderloin

  • 1 pork tenderloin, trimmed of fat and sinew
  • 2 tbsp runny honey
  • 1 tbsp Worcester sauce
  • 1 1/2 star anise
  • 1/4 tsp fennel seed
  • 1 tsp brown sugar
  • salt
  • pepper
  • 1 tsp chilli flakes
  • 1 clove of garlic, crushed
  • vegetables to serve with


  1. Mix all of the ingredients apart from the pork in a bowl,
  2. add the pork and coat well, leave to marinate for as long as possible.
  3. pre heat your grill to a hot setting
  4. place pork under the grill, grill for 14-20 minutes, turning every few minutes, baste with the left over marinade when turning.
  5. rest for 5 minutes then serve with vegetables


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