Friday, 18 March 2011

Cooking without an oven

...maybe you thought I had some wonderful recipes for you to make without the use of an oven?  I'm actually hoping some of you can come up with some easy recipes for me.

My oven is electric.  The hob is gas which runs off a gas bottle...normal for most of Turkey.  Last weekend I switched on my oven ready to cook a bread pudding which I had prepared and to roast some potatoes.  I left the kitchen to do something else and when I came back I couldn't hear the familiar whirring of the oven.  I turned it off, checked the trip switch in the fuse box and it was down.  So I flicked it up and turned the oven back on.  It appeared to be least the fan was...but it just remains cold. 

I can't find anyone locally to fix it.  No-one in Milas is prepared to come out to the village to do it....well not for me anyway.  I'm pretty sure Mr A could find someone but of course he's not here.  So I am adapting to life without an oven.  I've blogged before about electrical appliances in this country.  They just don't last.  I've lost count of the number of fridge-freezers, cookers, washing machines and other smaller appliances that we've had to replace in 13 years.  This cooker has lasted 5 years...much longer than it's predecessors.

I transferred the bread pudding mix to a suitable dish and cooked it in the microwave.  It didn't go brown of looked very pale and unappetising but it tasted fine.  I chopped up the potatoes which should have been roasted and sauteed them on the gas hob.   Everything else I've eaten this week has been cooked in a pan on the hob or microwaved.

But I need some more ideas...particularly easy and cheap recipes for the microwave oven, so if you have any bright ideas please let me know.

Mr A's progress:   Work seems to be going well and they have customers.  There is no personnel accommodation however and he has been staying with a friend/work colleague for the past week whilst the man's wife and children were away.  They were due to return last night so Mr A had to move out.  He's now staying in a pansiyon (small guest house) where they agreed to wait for payment until he gets his salary...hopefully at the end of this month.  The small...and very slow...motorbike which took three hours to get him to Kusadasi has been sold to pay a couple of debts.  A wise decision as he is transported to work by company dolmuş so the motorbike was sitting gathering dust.

We are looking at various options which will enable us to be together this year.  We can rent an apartment for me to move over there.  Or Mr A could buy a more substantial motorbike on taksit (hire purchase) and travel home every night which he thinks will take half the time with a more powerful bike.  I worry about all this travelling and the dangers involved, but Mr A doesn't mind this and in any case says that he would really prefer to sleep in his own bed.

It's a case of weighing up the options and looking at what is most economical.  If we rent (and rental charges in Kusadasi are not cheap), we will also have additonal costs of electricity, water, etc....and again these charges are much lower in villages like ours than towns and resorts.  There are things that we won't have like internet connection or a garden for the dogs.  The motorbike option is looking like the most attractive one  at the moment.

I'm used to making plans and having them change from one day to the next, so none of this is out of the ordinary for me.  It's just a way of life here.   So watch this space.


  1. I haven't got much idea about microwave cooking at all I'm afraid. I didn't have one of my own before I met Steve, and never wanted one. Since we've been in Spain we haven't used it much at the Mas because it takes far too much electricity for our solar system to cope with. Try googling.

  2. I wish I could help. The only microwave recipe I have is for applesauce.

  3. I lost count of electrical stuff breaking down in France...but Mr. Fly cured the oven.
    We had had a thunderstorm and the motherboard had gone down...locking his supper inside.
    He went for the door with a screwdriver, extracted and ate supper...and we had no more problems!

    My mind went blank at the mention of microwaves...but for the gas hob what about risotto?
    You can ring the changes on it depending on what you have available and...stroke of could always reheat the remains in the microwave!

  4. Sorry, ayak, I'm another who only uses the microwave for defrosting and reheating. However, if I only had a hob we would eat a lot of soups, stews, casseroles and even pot roasts, all of which can easily be done on the hob and reheated in the microwave. Hope you can get it mended soon.

  5. Build yourself a simple old brick or stone oven outside. Bit like a crude pizza oven. Set it up on a few bricks as legs and light a fire underneath. Just put an old bit of metal something on top as a lid and you’ve got yourself a perfectly good oven. Just put your food or cakes straight inside once its hot, and wrap delicate stuff in foil if ness.

    Use a BBQ. While its heating up, stab, salt and wet your baking spuds. Microwave for 15 mins, then loose foil wrap and put in BBQ for 20 mins. Then open the foil and continue to BBQ bake till done.

    I’ve frequently cooked large roasts in a BBQ in the middle of winter. A BBQ is only a fancy version of a tin vessel with a smouldering fire underneath. Think pre domestic oven days.

    Baked jacket potato’s make the tastiest mash of all by the way. Just spoon out the soft spud, put through a sieve, colander or foodmill with drop of milk and butter and bingo. Perfect tasty mash.

    If you have a big iron stewpot with a lid, put something on the bottom that will act like a trivet or a stand, place it on the hob, then just put your cake inside once its good and hot.

    Pre microwaved spuds will brown off perfectly in a hob top pan. I steam all our veg anyway, then finish off things like carrots and parsnips in a pan with some olive oil and honey if ness.

    You can easily make/adapt a large steamer by using a sieve or a metal colander suspended over a large pan of water. If you don’t have a lid for it, just improvise with something else, or spread some foil over the top. It doesn’t need to fit as tightly as you think.

    I reheat cooked rice in a small sieve over a small layer of hot tap water all the time, with no more than a plate sitting on top of the sieve. Takes about 30 seconds to reheat the rice this way and importantly, it puts essential moisture back into the rice – unlike a microwave which tends to boil the moisture out.

    That’s your lot for now.

    I’m off for a take away.


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