I was lucky enough to be asked by Specflue the sole distributor for MCZ Group’s appliances in the UK and Northern Ireland to demonstrate for potential customers at the Hearth & Home exhibition in London, cooking on the fantastic J.Corradi Wood Burner for 5 days as a chef. Who loves raw heat from an organic source this is a a good as it get without camping or living in a log cabin.
The solid top with remove able rings enabled me to cook chime food, sitting the wok in the hole and frying in real time for awaiting customers visiting the exhibition, it was fast, consistent and gave the food a fantastic taste. Once the rings were replaced I took some relatively cheap skirt beef steaks rubbed them with a little oil and seasoning and sealed them for 2 minutes on each side then slicing up and placing them on a fresh green salad. Because of the heat the meat is sealed extremely quick retaining all the juices and keeping the meat tender.
To prepare a stew or tagine the centre of the stove has enough heat to seal and start the cooking process, then push to the side where the heat is cooler to finish cooking. This stove top is as good as any professional cooker found in the top restaurants in London.
Using the wood burning oven is a fantastic tool to bake the best bread, whether it's an Indian Naan, Italian ciabatta or a beautifully crisp Mille feuille, the secret is to have a spray handy to create steam during the cooking process, if the logs are too hot just spray a little water on the logs. This is the most basic form of cooking resulting in flavours from 100 years ago using a 21st century oven that can heat a home efficiently and best of all it's a clean use of natural fuel.
I would recommend this wood burner to anyone, if they lived in an apartment or a country cottage it would complement any kitchen, making a house a comfortable home. - Chef Hugh McGivern
Here below is a recipe I prepared during the Trade Show and that was particularly appreciated by visitors.
Focaccia cooked in a wood-burning oven
Strong white bread flour: 500 gr
Salt: 2 tsp
Dried easy blend yeast: 2 sachets
Olive oil: 2 tbsp and some more for drizzling
Cold water: 400 ml
Place the flour, salt, yeast, olive oil and 300 ml of water into a large bowl. Gently stir with your hand or a wooden spoon to form a dough then knead the dough in the bowl for five minutes, gradually adding the remaining water.
Stretch the dough by hand in the bowl, tuck the sides into the centre, turn the bowl 80 degrees and repeat the process about five minutes.
Tip the dough onto an oiled work surface and continue kneading for five more minutes. Return the dough to the bowl, cover with cling film and leave to rise until doubled in size.
Line two large backing sheets with backing paper. Tip the dough out of the bowl and divide it in two portions. Flatten each portion onto a backing sheet, pushing to the corners, then leave to prove for one hour somewhere warm.
Preheat the wood-burning oven to 220°C. Drizzle the loaves with oil, sprinkle with fine sea salt and add other ingredients like oregano, sage and chopped black olives to taste. Then back in the oven for 20 minutes.
When cooked, drizzle with a little more olive oil and serve hot or warm.
Chef Hugh Mc Givern
In his 30 years of experience as an Executive Chef, Hugh McGivern reached the four corners of the world. Originally from Glasgow, he served his apprenticeship in the army and then continued as Food Manager for the Carnival Cruise Lines, constantly travelling and adding international flavours and ingredients to his cuisine. From Michelin restaurants in London to the personal chef to Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson and His Majesty King Abdullah II of Jordan, he also cooked for Barack Obama and most of the European Royal Families. Heavily involved in nutrition and rules for preparing health food, he has developed programs for people with dementia in collaboration with 3 English Universities.
The cooker that was tested by Chef Hugh McGivern is the J.Corradi model Country 180 LGE. It is a combined range cooker that works with wood logs/gas/electricity, with firebox, wood-burning oven, multifunction electric oven, cast iron cooking grate, stainless steel customizable hobs. This cooker is available in the "thermo" version also, in order to have hot water for radiators or underfloor heating.