Saturday, 17 December 2016

Frugality?



Our nights have been quite cool recently; down to -2 C on one occasion. This calls for a good evening fire.

I light our wood-burner at about 4.30 pm each afternoon, plenty of time in advance of when we begin to relax. I fill the interior with wood (right to the top), and fire-up with the help of a good splash of White Spirit. In a matter of 10 minutes or so, the heat really begins to build.

We often put some foil wrapped potatoes in the ash-pan, but recently I've also used the excess heat to cook our whole meal.

Last night for example I made a wine-rich Beef and Duck casserole (don't ask) with Mushrooms and Carrots. some lightly steamed Cavolo Nero, and of course I bunged a couple of spuds under the fire. All cooked perfectly, just with the residual heat of 'Gilbert'; our trusty wood-burner.

Pioneer cooking maybe, but great fun, and I imagine some minuscule financial saving. Why not?




44 comments:

  1. French farmhouse liveing at its finest! I can just imagine the heat from the stove, the smell. It's cold here too at the moment, Arctic blasts, ice on the car the other morning, but not -2.

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    1. It gets a bit hot at times, but great for when it gets really cold.

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  2. I've never thought about baking potatoes in the ash pan. I'm going to try that when we get back to France.

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    1. I use a variety called 'monalisa', they cook well in little time (45 mins). I turn them over half way through, so they don't go black on one side. Wrapped in foil they then stay hot for ages.

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  3. 8 C here this morning. Not too bad, but we'll still have our evening fire.

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  4. Sounds good - it is a few years since I had my cast iron stove on for long enough to cook anything. 27 degrees C here today.

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  5. This sounds like "pioneering" at it's most enjoyable !
    We're much further south, but it's only two or three degrees warmer, and raining.

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    1. I've just checked our long term forecast, and it looks as if we may have rain on the 25th.... we'll see!

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  6. Just like in the 'olden' days. We haven't lit our stove for a couple of weeks as it has been so mild here. Not natural for this time of year.

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    1. I think we've lit ours every days for the past month. Lady Magnon feels the cold more than I do; I have to strip off.

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  7. Mixing the beef and duck sounds like an exercise in thrift too. x

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    1. It was more an exercise in Freezer clearing. The Duck ended up tasting like Beef; but was very good.

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  8. 10c here today but the sun is comeing out.

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    1. Sunny here now; I'm just off to work (plastering again).

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  9. I once went on an Autumn weekend away with friends. I brought a large chicken stew with biscuits with me to heat up the first night. The oven in the cottage didn't work so we had to heat it on the wood stove. I swear it was the best I have ever made. Such a simple please to have a pot of food simmering on a wood stove.

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    1. It's a very primitive pleasure. Turn down the lights, turn off the Radio/TV, and experience the sound and smells of an old fashioned stew. Nothing better.

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  10. It all sounds so comfy. My son and daughter both have wood stoves and love them. I have a gas fireplace and only have to flip a switch, but I miss the smell of the wood burning and the crackling fire.

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    1. It's quite a lot of work, but of a good sort.

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    2. Our fire is gas logs, (easy for us oldies) so when I want to smell a real wood fire, I just go and stand on the terrace outside and inhale the smoke from the houses around who all burn wood !

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  11. That sounds wonderful...one stop heating and cooking. In the new year we are going to have a log burner for the first time and we were going to have a 'pretend' gas one....but really want a proper log one...do they take forever to heat up though?

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    1. Not if you use my method. Fill them up; stuffed to the hilt. A good dose of White Spirit, and they become very hot quite quickly. Of course you need good dry wood.

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  12. Peasant cooking I would call it - and all the better for it Cro.

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  13. It's -3.88 C here today, with light snow, changing to rain around midday. Charming weather. I am glad to have the apartment's radiators hissing away so it's cosy inside.
    All the same, I would like to be able to have the ability to cook meals as you do. That wood burner reminds me of the little cast iron stove that nestled in one of the fireplaces in the Brooklyn brownstone house I once called home.

    Best wishes.

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    1. It's been a beautiful day here, but I've just lit the stove. Evenings can be cool.

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  14. One of the things we enjoy most about camping is cooking over a fire. I would cook on the wood burner every day!

    By the way, great minds think alike...even if their lives are very different. I just slow cooked a beef stew in the crockpot with mushrooms and carrots--no duck, but otherwise probably very similar to your meal. And of course, there's no wood burner in my house. :)

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    1. Beef with carrots is perfect, just add some wine, some mushrooms, and some orange zest (and maybe some duck) and you have a wonderful meal.

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  15. I never knew it was possible to cook like that, silly me. Good to know if ever the power goes out. Keep warm Cro.

    Jean

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    1. Not all wood-burners could do this. You need a reasonably deep ash-pan and a flat topped flat plate. Otherwise, why not?

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  16. When the ambient is warm and cosy, and the food is heart-comforting, why not...sounds very romantic too!
    Foggy, frost and freezing cold here today.
    Nice and warm indoors though.
    Greetings Maria x

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    1. We are having remarkable good weather. Yesterday was beautiful. I don't see too much of it as I am plastering indoors.

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  17. I've baked apples in foil...very successful

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    1. I hadn't thought of doing apples, but I suppose almost anything 'juicy' could be used. I might try Turnips!

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  18. My sort of cooking.. No surprise there eh?

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    1. I just knew it would be. Sensible gal!

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  19. I love cooking on a wood stove, but perhaps not the little stove you have there. The best bread and pies can out of my old McLaren stove. Too bad we couldn't bring it with us when we moved. Cook on, my son!

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    1. I'm amazed that we haven't lit our wood-fired cooker yet this year. I also use ours for bread and slow cooked stews. Unfortunately the thermostat is a tad too primitive for many things. It also makes the house very hot (which is why it hasn't yet been lit).

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  20. They are a necessity here in Canada owing to snow, cold and power cuts. They can at times be lifesavers.. to light a wood stove in a 19th century wood cabin when it's -10c below outside is to know what warmth means...

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    1. I didn't know you were in Canada James. We live in a 300 year old stone house (no wall insulation), and the temperature does fall to around -6 C on rare occasions. We use nothing but wood for our warmth. When we get it right, it's wonderful.

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  21. My Mum used to roast potatoes and onions in our suburban fireplace. They always tasted better to me. Now I only have the wood/oil furnace to build a fire in. We have a forced-air system in our house and the wood fire in the furnace makes the best heat but I do miss having a woodstove or fireplace that I can stare at. Our furnace switches automatically to oil if the wood fire goes out, which is handy if you are going out for the day, etc.

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  22. You do lead a charming and charmed life, Cro!

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