There is little that is more appealing than al fresco dining in the summer months. Indeed, there is something quite liberating about dining outside of your usual setting. Whether you prefer picnics, informal barbecues or fully blown cook outs, eating outside should feel like a different experience from the norm.The trouble with many out of doors dining experiences is that the food on offer can often be limited. This is usually because of available cooking equipment.
Of course, it is possible to prepare your food in the kitchen and bring it outside. However, this is not so much fun for the chef. Outdoor cooking should be a sociable experience for all involved; friends, family, and the hosts. So, to improve your next al fresco get together why not invest in some new cooking equipment that is suited to exterior dining? And at the heart of your selection should be an outdoor oven.
When it comes to outside entertaining, pizza ovens make for a great new center piece. Your guests will enjoy the warm glow of a wood burning pizza oven. Pizzas are extremely popular and getting your guests to add their own toppings usually means that everyone has a satisfying meal. Brick built pizza ovens are relatively easy to construct and fit in well with most patios.
Traditional looking pizza ovens will have a modest wood store beneath them. Wood is the preferred heating method to get the authentic al forno, or baked flavor. Nevertheless, pizza ovens are not just good for cooking pizzas. They are equally well suited to baking flat breads, rice dishes, fish, meat, tapas dishes and even soups. This is because a pizza oven will cook from above, with the heat reflected from the dome at the same time as from convection currents, from below.
If adding a pizza oven to your garden seems like a good idea, then why not extend the idea. Arrange one side of your patio, or a corner, to make a miniature kitchen. With the pizza oven at the center, add stone or brick built wings to either side that can act like the base units in a regular kitchen.
Add cabinet doors to the front and a counter top above. For the full kitchen look, install a sink with running water, so that you don’t have to keep returning to the house for fluids or to wash your hands. And the addition of a kettle barbecue will complete the look, giving you the ultimate in flexible catering options.
The Chimney Oven.
Chimney ovens are a good choice of outdoor oven if your cooking area is adjacent to the home. The chimney can be constructed to run up the outside of the home in many cases. This will mean that cooking odors and smoke don’t get into the house, which can be unpleasant.
Mediterranean style chimney ovens have more than one cooking compartment so you can cook things at different temperatures. They are great for slow roasting meat and baking bread. But chimney ovens don’t need to be used to cook at all. You can simply use one as an elegant patio heater making them fine alternatives to electric devices.
Barbecues are not just for griddle cooking. Of course, most people associate barbecues with cooking burgers, sausages and other easy-to-handle meat portions. However, covered, kettle-style, barbecues allow you too cook more sophisticated meals. Contemporarily styled stainless steel barbecues are great for cooking joints of meat slowly, so that they are well done all the way through.
Choose one with a window, so that you can inspect the cooking without letting all of the heat escape. Modern barbecues will often have a storage compartment for you to keep cooked food stuffs warm whilst you get on with another job. That’s great if you want to socialise whilst you get on with the serious business of food preparation.