Adventures in solar cooking

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(Two posts in one day – OMG!)

Last year we bought a rather expensive solar oven with a view to using our abundant free energy to cook as many of our meals as possible. I tried a few things which didn’t work as expected so, as is my way, I sulked a bit and gave up. David has had huge success with heating water to do the dishes, but other than that it really hasn’t been used.

Inspired by all the potatoes our neighbour gave us recently and with a yearning for garlicky roasty sort of potatoes, I decided to have another go today. We’ve had a run of really hot days and there was no way I was turning the normal oven on, not even for potatoes. I did a bit of research this morning and determined that the golden rule is to get the food in the oven as early as possible and not to worry about overcooking. So, at lunchtime, I coated a load of potatoes in olive oil, rosemary & minced garlic, popped them in a roasting tin with a lid and put them in the oven. And, since no matter how much I wish it were so, a big plate of garlicky roasty potatoes doesn’t really make a balanced meal, I added a dish of butternut squash, courgette, red peppers & red onion.

Six hours later we were ready to eat. I like the fact that it is (apparently, yet to be tested) almost impossible to overcook things in a solar oven so as long as it has been in there long enough, you just serve up when you are ready to eat. And other than putting it in the oven, you do nothing until then. Perfect kind of cooking.

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The potatoes were delicious – they don’t get crispy like proper roasted potatoes but they do have that slightly chewy edge which is yummy. And because they cook for so long, the garlic gets quite sweet so you don’t notice the four-cloves-in-two-servings-of potatoes* much. In fact, next time I might even add more garlic – just don’t visit us the next day. The roasted veg? Meh. I knew they wouldn’t roast, more steamed, and they didn’t look that wonderful but they did taste great. Not as good as properly roasted veg but OK for something that doesn’t heat the house up or cost anything to cook.

More experimentation on the way. I think it is essential to try the recipe for Brownie Pudding that I found and then fiddle around with the normal stuff like rice & beans & chilli.

*There may have been more than two servings of potatoes in the pot. There are no servings in the pot now.

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5 responses »

  1. That looks absolutely delicious. I am not surprised. Since the cooker doesn’t make things crisp/burned, I’ll get Jan to send you the recipe for the most exquisite chocolate thing I’ve ever tasted. Go solar!

  2. Excellent – another solar oven does it’s job 🙂 Did you get the SunOK solar oven which is made in Portugal?

    If you want some info on solar cooking or some solar oven recipesidea’s you can find them here: http://freefromthesun.blogspot.co.za/ The “Introduction to solar cooking” and all the recipes are available on separate pages – you can find them on the top right hand corner. I still have to add the meat, bread / biscuits and desserts to this blog. Hope you find them useful 🙂

    • Hi Dani. Actually it was your blog that first introduced me to the idea of solar cooking! I bought your recipe e-books a couple of years before getting the oven but have been a bit slack and not looked at them since actually buying it, so I need to go through them again. And yes, we got the SunOK one – partly on your recommendation, mainly because it is a Portuguese product 🙂

      I’ll have a read through the other info on your blog soon.

      • Wow – that’s great – I know you won’t regret buying the SunOK. The owner of SunOK, Nuno, is fantastic – a true gentleman!

        Then you have all the info – I decided that I couldn’t / shouldn’t be greedy, and decided after 3 – 4 years that I should make all the recipes available to whoever wanted them. So, I am in the process of putting them all onto “Free from the Sun” blog.

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