I have a gas stove that works with bottled gas on my back verandah. I got the gas model when one of my children was living with me and I thought he might not like to cook on the wood stove. That turned out to be wrong... in fact everyone seems to like the wood burning model in the kitchen. I use it all the time.
Yesterday I was talking to a friend, and he was cooking a boiled Christmas pudding on his gas stove and bemoaning the amount of gas that it took. This is the very situation where the wood stove comes into its own. Once the fire is alight, there is no reason not to cook any extra dishes at the same time.
This afternoon I cooked pozole for dinner, and while the fire was going I cooked a steamed pudding on the side of the stove, using the same fuel.
The smaller pot (in the picture below) contains soup and the big (spaghetti) pot is where I steam the pudding.
Pozole... this is an Mexican/Indian dish that is usually made of pork (traditionally a pig's head) and corn, among other things. The corn is prepared as hominy. I have found a source of canned hominy (at Garganos, in Adelaide) and hence my plan to make pozole.
I couldn't get a pig's head, or even much in the way of pork. (I haave made a not to get some pork from the market next time I'm over there... there is a producer who has range fed Berkshire pigs and I feel better about eating those anyway. Our local butcher didn't have much, but I did get a small piece of pork from the bucket of bones and I supplemented it with a sheep's neck, and it worked quite well. (I'm even sure that any Indian or Mexican housewife would be able to deal with lamb as well as any piece of pork, given the situation.)
I boiled the meaty pieces with an onion, a chilli until the meat was falling off the bones.
I took the meat out, added some tomatoes that I'd bottled last summer, and the hominy and some garlic, cumin and salt to make the soupy broth.
The meat looked pretty messy, but once the good bits were picked off the bones, it was all under control...
Then I added the meat back to the broth that was back cooking with the hominy and tomato... this is the broth and hominy ready for the meat to go back in.
I cooked it for about another 40 minutes and here it is... with sliced cabbage sprinkled on top... so good!
It is a slightly spicy soup with the main ingredients being meat and corn and apparently it is a precolumbian style dish from Mexico. It is traditionally served with lettuce or cabbage, radishes and lime.... we just had the cabbage, but it tasted good.
Steamed pudding(cooked at the same time, as shown above)
This is the least expensive pudding I can imagine, and one of the easiest to make.
This is one cup of white flour and a teaspoon of baking powder with a big tablespoon of butter ready to combine... you do this with your fingers and rub it all together until...
... it looks like this and then add up to half a cup of sugar (depending upon how sweet it should be.)
Then add an egg and enough milk to make a thickish batter...
Butter the pudding bowl and put some yummy stuff in the bottom. This is golden syrup ( a more refined sugar syrup than treacle) but you can use jam or whatever makes a sauce or flavouring for the pudding.... it's a good way to use up the last bit of all kinds of stuff in your cupboard.
Put the batter in on top of the golden syrup.
Cover the basin with greased paper and then the lid. If you use a pudding bowl (a ceramic one) then it's necessary to use paper and a tough rubber band, but it works just the same.
... and the pudding! with golden syrup soaked into the top of it. We ate it with bottled peaches and icecream.
The whole meal was prepared at the same time... using the same amount of fuel for everything. It took a couple of leisurely hours, with intermittent looks at the fire and meanwhile I checked my email, opened a bottle of wine, and tried the new cheese from Paris Creek.
This is the life... wood stove, cheap food, good wine and the internet!