Making salsa, pizza, baking bread in the outside oven and baked beans using our own simple special recipe:
The oven behind Almond is for the exclusive use of the guests staying at Almond. However, you can always ask them if they would mind you using it. It is a good way to get to know your neighbours and cook together. Wood is precious in the Alpujarras and even though we have some we still have to purchase more so please be careful how you use the oven and if you want to make a BBQ, it is advisable that you buy a bag of coal from any local supermarket.
How to use the oven – it’s not difficult but at the same time it can be very frustrating when your bread gets burnt or your pizza is not cooking quickly enough. As a rule, start a small fire in the heart of the oven and when it is well lit then push it back towards the far wall and put some more wood on it. Always leave the door a bit open and keep the top closed. Do not ever let children or even yourself open the door with your face near it. It really could do some harm as it gets incredibly hot relatively quickly. Always turn your face away when you are opening the oven door.
Take care: Also make sure no-one ever looks into the oven from the hole on the top. It could be terribly dangerous and burn your eyes.
Now suppose you want to do various dishes as well as bread in the oven. We normally have pizza, meat or any main dishes first and then cook the bread and then right at the end we do our overnight beans.
For pizza, you do not really need much wood. Get the oven going quickly with small bits of wood and when it is really hot make your pizza and stick it in. It should take anything between 10 and 20 minutes to have it ready, depending on you like your pizza. Also if you are going to use the oven to make bread then of course you use the bread dough for the pizza too.
You can either use the pizza plates or cook the pizza directly onto the bricks. If you want to put them directly on the bricks then you should clean the area with a wet cloth first.
If you are going to bake fish or cook meat then you need a couple of larger pieces of timber right at the end so that they burn slowly. Do remember to leave the door a bit open otherwise your fire will die due to oxygen starvation. Depending how big the fish or meat is you can then cook it as you wish.
If you want to continue using the oven and make bread then when you have cooked everything just stick your bread in at the end. If it is flat bread it only takes a few minutes but if it is in a tin it could take anything up to an hour, depending on the oven temperature but remember a hot oven will burn your bread very quickly. I find the best temperature is about medium hot with the door slightly open (some 10 cm open) and top hole closed with a brick.
Now it is late in the evening and you want to use the energy left to make delicious Mexican style beans for breakfast (wonderful with fried eggs and a real freshly made chilli sauce on the top).
Put a previously soaked pot of beans and leave it in the oven. Close the oven and leave until the morning.
For further information please see Mexican style beans and refried beans in our recipe section.