If we were having coffee you’d notice I’m going for several cups of the black stuff because I’ve had one hell of a hangover this weekend. My fault: DH was hosting his first Gala on Friday night (first time the Gala has been hosted in 20 years at our institution) and we celebrated with the staff and friends before, during and after the event with sparkling wine. I hadn’t eaten much and although there were plenty of nibbles at the after party I didn’t drink any water. I’ve been paying for it all weekend.
I’ve been in a grumpy as hell mood subsequently but I’m cheering up now because today I’m using my Ilve oven and cooktop for the very first time. Today I made (for the first time, too) an apple and strawberry crumble cake. At this time of year in this hot state we can get cheap strawberries. Not always the best quality, but there’s usually enough in a couple of large punnets to make a delicious something. I’m closer to kitchen perfection with my appliances too – my sisters chip in for birthday gifts so that we can get something nice, and I had requested a Kitchen Aid hand-held mixer to go with the lovely old-fashioned Kitchen Aid cake maker thingy DH had bought me for Xmas the year before (Empire Red, folks). I don’t cook very often but Sundays when the family is gathered it’s nice to put together a Sunday Roast and something sweet. My Sunday cooking mostly consists of roasts and something sweet (but super-easy to make), such as scones or a simple cake or pancakes.
The cake was perfect. The Ilve oven is a bit slow. So while it says 200 C degrees, it’s closer to 180 or even 160. I’ve put our portable oven thermometer inside to test the accuracy of the dial and yep, it’s pretty slow. So even though I used the normal oven setting for the cake (which was a bit slow, but this doesn’t matter too much for cakes) I found it necessary to crank up the dial and use the fan-force setting for our roast chicken dinner.
The cooktop is also slow, but I’ve found using Ceran electric cooktops this is normal. We just have to adjust up the temperatures all the time otherwise the setting sits permanently on simmer, whether it’s at 2 or 8. Luckily the setting goes all the way to 12. One better than 11, Spinal Tap! Oh, and one other thing. It’s perfectly level. After enduring 4 years of a cooktop with a 2 degree angle it’s great to finally work with a level cooking surface. I kid you not. This makes a difference.
So Sunday night we set the kitchen table, sat under our new light, ate dinner made with our new oven and cooktop, and were able to switch off the kitchen lights at the end of the day. Bliss.