It has been a dream of mine for a long time to have a country kitchen with a traditional wood stove. Even before I was married I would cut out photos of kitchens from the English decorating magazines. I still have that scrapbook from the late 1980's. Most of the kitchens had timber cabinets and Agas or Rayburns. Those kitchens were classic farmhouse kitchens - they have not dated and the only indication that these were 80's kitchens were mug trees on the benches and the occasional Austrian blind at the window!
My husband also loves the old wood stoves and in recent months as winter approached, we started discussing installing a wood stove against the stone feature wall in the family room. I even dared to ask the price of the new Rayburns at the barbecue store. I somehow kept myself from saying 'How much?' or 'Are you having me on? I could have a whole new kitchen for that.' I brought home the brochure and dreamed a little more!
So it was onto eBay to check out second hand stoves for sale and there were a few but pick up only from Victoria (a very long drive!) and instructions to bring 4 strong men! Little did we know that some friends had an old wood stove sitting under their house that they had purchased 10 years ago with the intention of one day restoring and installing in their kitchen. We approached them - would they be willing to sell? The answer was yes! We found another strong man to help us lift the stove onto the ute and a few weeks ago Stanley came to live with us! He needed a little work but was not in bad shape at all for an old guy. You can still buy new parts for these stoves - they are still being made.
He is of Irish descent!
Now we do live in Australia - we will not be making use of Stan during our hot summer months so he is not a replacement for our modern stove. Stan has an Italian girlfriend and she lives just around the corner!
I have been giving Sylvie the opportunity to prove herself over this last week and can report she cooks like a dream! The best cakes, muffins and bread I have ever made and the pizza function produces perfect pizzas. I am in kitchen heaven! I love the old wood stove but I also love the new Ilve and believe they can coexist happily together in this family home.
Stan is a little jealous but I'm going to give him the chance to prove himself with my next sourdough loaf. Have you ever tasted wood fired sourdough bread? It is something else! But have to say, Sylvie baked yesterday's sourdough beautifully - a better rise, better crust and crumb than all my previous loaves.
So expect more kitchen posts and more recipes in the days to come. We are in the midst of planning an 18Th birthday celebration for my son. The guest list reached 86 yesterday - I did not realize we knew so many people! The stoves are going to be busy. I am going to be busy!
The old white fridge has been moved out of the kitchen to the office/library which means a few more paces but it is actually not that inconvenient. It needed to be moved to accommodate Sylvie and the original layout of the kitchen was not good - a fridge next to a stove is not a good idea but this is the configuration we had to live with when we bought this house.
My husband wants to make the office into a walk in pantry but I have chosen for the shelves to hold books for now rather than tins of tomatoes. I would love a walk in pantry - it is another of my kitchen dreams together with a dresser to hold my favourite china.
My beautiful china which awaits a dresser on which to display it - one day!
Another extravagant gift from my husband. A set of Scan pans, they are, in my opinion, objects of beauty. He rarely brings me flowers or chocolates - he knows the way to my heart is pots and pans, dishes and stoves! He did not know he would need to buy his wife a new stove to use these on when he bought them. I highly recommend them.
More things from my home which I love - books, china, a vintage sewing machine and patterns - all found at garage sales!
It has been worth the wait. It seems slowly but surely all my dreams are being fulfilled in this place. We have lived in so many places and packed up the boxes so many times when rented homes proved unsuitable or were sold by the owner. I can remember longing for somewhere to be settled, a place to call home which would be the place my children would have the fondest memories of and always want to return to. We are now planning for that future, the renovations are for the long term, when in the not too distant future, God willing, grandchildren will sit around our table. We are not planning to downsize! We need to upsize! The living room is being renovated to accommodate another sofa (involves moving a door). A window seat is planned for the corner window in the family room. All these renovations are planned with people in mind - places to sit and talk over cups of coffee, a warm kitchen that welcomes and produces home baked food to nourish the people I love.
I hope you enjoyed seeing my new stoves which are going to help me so much as I start to upsize my cooking for this big family that God has blessed me with. Wish I could find the SD card for my camera - had to use my son's 3.5 megapixel Olympus for these stove shots - sorry they are not the best quality.
Do you have experience of cooking on a wood stove? I'd love to hear from you.
Until next time,
With Love and Joy