Valoriani wood-fired ovens are versatile cooking appliances, whether you are a home cook or a top chef aiming to follow in the steps of Valoriani owners such as Jamie Oliver or the River Café’s Ruth Rogers. No matter how much we try to emphasise the versatility of our wood-fire ‘pizza’ ovens, however, people seem to think we are suggesting just cooking the odd jacket potato here, or tin of roast veg there.
For this reason, we have decided to take you on a little culinary tour in this blog, globe-trotting to highlight some of the many dishes of an international flavour that you could cook in your Valoriani wood-fired oven. Hopefully, you will then be able to find your wings and test out dishes other than pizza or, if you are a restaurant owner, join others from the Indian, Middle Eastern and North African cuisine sectors who already use Valoriani ovens for their non-ltalian menus!
Global Dishes to Cook in Your Wood-fired Oven
Let’s start on home soil with England. What could be more English than a good old hot cross bun or a warming bread and butter pudding. You can easily cook both of these treats in your wood oven, using the oven floor and a baking tin, respectively and produce lovely results – a slightly smoky cinnamon-flavoured bun on which to melt your butter on the one hand, or a beautifully cooked, yet moist, traditional pud on the other.
Everyone knows that the leek is one of the symbols associated with Wales, but not everyone appreciates that they could easily turn out a great chicken and leek pie in their wood-fired oven. What you could do is to give your leeks some time in the oven before chopping them up for you pie, to get a distinct smoked taste to them. Then, once encased in the pastry, you can cook the pie as you would in a conventional oven. Why not cook some wood-fired cauliflower to go along with it?
We thought it worth mentioning the wood-fired marvels that chef Niklas Ekstedt is creating in his restaurant in Stockholm. You may not be able to get hold of any reindeer, but you can experiment with various types of wood in your DEFRA-certified Valoriani wood-fired oven, as long as it is ready-to-burn. Birch is one wood that naturally sits well with some Scandi dishes, so don’t just experiment with your menu, but with your woods as well!
Paella dishes were traditionally prepared over wood, so it should come as no surprise to hear that paella can be cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. It will benefit from that lovely smoky taste to the rice that you may have experienced whilst on your travels in a Spanish village. Give it a go!
Basically, anything that you could cook in a tandoor oven can be rustled up in a Valoriani wood oven, which will cook with fire and radiant heat in the very same way. This is why Indian eateries are turning to us for their commercial ovens, as our wood-fired ovens can turn out dishes like chicken tikka, but also bake flatbreads, succulent lamb curries and much more besides. Pizza ovens can turn out all of your on-trend turmeric delights, so get currying!
Sri Lankan cuisine is known for its wonderful fish curries and cooking these in a wood-fired oven can provide you with great balance to your dish, which in Sri Lanka’s case will often come with a coconut sauce. Blending the smokiness of the wood into a fish dish of any kind results in stunning flavours, but with a Sri Lankan fish curry like a Malabar curry, you probably want to be looking for something similar to a seer fish – a type of mackerel. Sea bass cooks beautifully in a wood-fired oven, so you could always create a wood-fired seabass and coconut curry.
What could be better than dipping nachos into a chilli con carne, fresh from the wood-fired pizza oven and with a lovely smoky flavour to it? Chilli con carne is ridiculously easy to cook in a Valoriani wood oven and will give you that feel of cooking around the campfire between the cacti. Come on amigos, what are you waiting for?
Bobotie is synonymous with South Africa and this delicious moussaka-like blend of curried meat and fruit can be cooked to perfection in a wood-fired oven. Cooking it with a real flame will add depth of flavour and will finish the milk and egg topping of this dish off with aplomb.
The cooking environment of a wood-fired oven can be very similar to a tagine, if you have a good clay construction to your pizza oven, as is the case with Valoriani and its unique ‘cotto’ clay – just one factor that distinguishes Valoriani from all other ovens on the world market. For this reason, tagine dishes cook fabulously in a wood-fired oven and in a Valoriani oven, you could be cooking them overnight, using the heat that you retain in your oven after a day’s cooking. This will not disappear into the night air leaving your oven cold – as with most ovens – next morning, as this is a Valoriani we are talking about!
Middle Eastern flatbreads are a scrumptious treat to turn out of your wood fired oven and you can experiment with these to your heart’s content, using the clay floor of the Valoriani oven as your cooking base. Spice them, add fruits, try different thicknesses and also different woods and a new world of tastes awaits you!
Moving from flatbreads to French galettes is one small step when you are a Valoriani owner, so get that wood-fired oven up to temperature, pick some deliciously fresh fruits to use, such as strawberries, blueberries, cherries or peaches, and create your own sweet galettes for summer. Of course, if you love your savoury treats, there’s no need to worry, as vegetables like asparagus, mushrooms and broccoli will work just as well.
Sauerkraut is one of the dishes we all associate with Germany and a smoked sauerkraut, flavoured using the flames and wood of a wood-fired oven, has a wonderful taste that makes the vegetable much more than just a humble cabbage. You could add some bacon to it, if you just wish to cook this treat alone and use it, hot or cold, as a side dish. However, did you know that pork and sauerkraut is a dish eaten on New Year’s Eve amongst the Dutch community of Pennsylvania? You could cook your pork as a roast or chop it to cook with your cabbage as a casserole style dish. If you leave your casserole in your wood-fired oven at a low temperature, it will be doubly tender and delicious.
Hopefully, our little globe-trot around 12 countries has given you so much more of an idea of what it is possible to cook in a wood-fired oven. Do not be scared of the flame. Anything you can cook in a standard oven is typically possibly in a wood-fired oven, but will come out of the oven with a whole lot more flavour and give you heaps of satisfaction, knowing you’ve cooked it with wood. Don’t hold back, experiment and share your pics with us. We’d love to see what you cook.