This is just to complete the Cooker Saga. It's all domestic stuff, but no apologies! My new cooker, and what I can cook up with her, mean a lot to me.
The man coming to birth Black Beauty was due to arrive at 3.00pm yesterday. I was all ready, the cooker space all cleaned up and hygienic, and ready for my dark lovely (as black and shiny as the best Welsh anthracite, I reckon) to be hosed up, safety chained, and pushed into position:
As it happened, the couple who are my next door neighbours arrived home just as the fitter began his work, so I invited J--- (the female half) in to get a sneak preview of the cooker, which she hadn't yet seen. Then a nice cup of tea for the fitter as he attended to his various checks and adjustments.
There was absolutely nothing amiss with the cooker. No setup hitches at all. I was thrilled to see her spring to life, with those blue flames jetting from the burners!
But he seemed to make all kinds of gas and safety checks. He had me very concerned for a while because my kitchen is only just big enough for two gas appliances to be burning at the same time (the other being the old boiler, which has its own exhaust pipe to the outside but isn't a 'sealed unit' as such). Was the cooker hood a 'carbon' one? I really had no idea. I was told that for my kitchen setup, having a carbon filter in the cooker hood wasn't good enough: I needed a proper pipe through the wall, to vent cooking gases into the air outside the house. Meanwhile, I promised to buy an electronic CO2 alarm from B&Q or Homebase or wherever.
Afterwards I discovered that the cooker hood did vent into the air outside, via an outlet that I found on the exterior wall of the house. Phew! I had baulked at finding another few hundred pounds to get a hole made in my brickwork this side of next Christmas. Mind you, the grease filter on the cooker hood was in a dire state: I ordered a replacement online straight away.
By 4.00pm, after a chat, the fitter had gone and Black Beauty was ready to go. The last of the protective stickers had been peeled off the front. She was a handsome sight:
It was time for Afternoon Tea and Toast. So I got out a slice of toasting bread from the freezer, stuck it under the electric grill, and here's the result, the inaugural Masterchef effort:
That's the 'official' Belling grillpan. I'd also kept the old grillpan from Mum's Cannon cooker, and that could be used too. I thought it was a good idea to have two pans, because you sometimes need to grill two quite different things for the same meal, and washing up while cooking isn't convenient. Anyway, the old one fitted fine, had the slight advantage of a bakelite handle, and matched the new cooker nicely:
Later on I cooked the first proper meal. I kept it dead easy, but wanted to add boiling, frying and grilling to Black Beauty's proven repertoire. So it was sirloin steak, little new potatoes cut in quarters, mushrooms and broccoli. It turned out great. Here's a shot under the cooker hood light, with another under the stronger illumination from a lounge lamp - take an average for appearance:
Whatever you think, this was a delicious meal! I washed it down with elderflower cordial.
Tonight it's fish. Hake, new potatoes and courgette. Just right after a couple of glasses of wine at the pubby après-Clare Project Tuesday get-together in Brighton!