We set up lots of tables, because we had RSVP’s from 26 people, so it turned out that we could just fit them in undercover in case it rained. Kim was after a cafe look, which I think she pulled off. Everyone loved the set-up.
Here is the drinks table right next to the oven. The base doesn’t get hot, however later in the night, the outside of the oven heats up to about 50C, so it is a nice warm position after sunset.
The tables are all set up for an efficient operation. Each person bought their own freshly made pizza’s, some homemade from scratch, some store bought pizza bases with extra toppings, but all looked excellent. I put some cutting boards which were just scraps of laminated wood so I could put the hot pizza’s straight on without making a mess. Each person cut their own pizza and served themselves once I let them know their meal was ready.
David was very excited and getting into the festivities early. Whilst he was maintaining the fire, I was inside giving Kim a hand with preparing all of our food.
Nice and hot, with about an hour to go before the guests arrived. As it was getting dark, around 4.30pm, the first guest arrived and the party got going. Lots of laughs.
No further pictures, however here is one of the oven in action that one of the guests took. Once the 3 hours had elapsed, I pushed the coals to each side and tested the temperature with our Infra-red Thermometer. The walls were 627°C (1160.6°F), and the oven floor was ~400°C (750°F). I let it cool down for 15 minutes before we cooked the first pizza. When cooking, I wore a ball cap that has LED lights in the brim, so I can see into the oven to ensure the pizza was browning on top. The first pizza took about 3 minutes to cook, and the last took 10 minutes. All infused with that lovely smoky flavour that one only gets from this type of oven.
Once sufficiently brown on top, I then removed the pizza from the tray, popped it on the peel (paddle) and browned the bottom of the pizza on the floor of the oven. Every meal turned out well, and the final count was 21 pizzas, 8 jacket potatoes, and 3 garlic breads!
One thing that I learnt was to keep the oven at cooking temperature (above 250°C) by putting a few small logs either side on top of the coals every 15 minutes or so. Not too much flame, just enough to make fresh coals.
When all of the cooking was finished I declared the kitchen closed, and sat around the brazier for the evening. Besides the cooking, which I really enjoyed, the highlight of the night was Kim’s sing-along. She had prepared a song list that included old favourites such as Country Roads by John Denver, I’ll Be There For You by the Rembrandts, and my favourite Delilah by Tom Jones. Kim played her guitar so well that it was very easy to follow along and many were singing all the lyrics. So cool, and it made the evening come alive.
What a great way to thank friends and members of the group for helping us to make the oven. A great celebration!