Yesterday at 9.00am there was a knock at the door. It was Mickael the plumber, who we had last seen at the start of July, here to finish the plumbing he didn't get done that day. In addition to installing the pipework for the sinks, he fitted the raccordements for the gas stove top.
This means that in addition to the electric oven we have been using for a couple of months we now have a fully functioning cooker top.
rice on the wok burner
It is a Bertazzoni A 90 5 MFE XE, an Italian cooker with five gas burners and a huge 108 litre oven. We were very lucky to get this cooker, as normally it would have been well out of our price range.
Regular readers may remember back in January this year I wrote about the effort needed to find a good cooker at a good price. After that post a blog reader de-lurked to say that they had a cooker sitting on their terrace that they wanted done with.
We rang Chris and Annie (for it was them) and chatted about the cooker, which had been delivered to them by mistake. That is, they had ordered a cooker from the UK, and when it arrived it was the wrong one. Amazingly, the person who subsequently delivered the right one had been given no instructions about the previous cooker, so it was left, sitting on the terrace. After that, the logistics of getting it back just became too complicated.
A large crate is not the right aesthetic for a stylish terrace, and understandably no-one wanted it just sitting there for another winter. We popped over to visit, which was a really pleasant way to spend an afternoon, and after looking at the cooker decided to make a totally inadequate offer to the shop it had come from.
Amazingly, the offer was accepted, so we drove over again, had a nice glass of wine and loaded the cooker into the car and came home. After that it sat in our garage for a couple of months. We had Benoît, one of Mickael's colleagues from Bertucelli's, put in the pipework for the gas in March, then after the kitchen floor was tiled the cooker was brought inside and the electric oven wired up.
And there it sat until yesterday, when the puzzle of why we couldn't find the right flexible to connect the gas was solved - Benoît had soldered on the wrong thread (gas bottle thread is left handed). Mickael sorted it out in no time, and while he was doing that we went off to Yzeures to buy our first gas bottle from the service station (10kg of Butane, costing €9.95 plus a €1 security deposit on the gas bottle itself). Based on our consumption of 250ml camping gas cannisters we figure it will last at least 6 months.
This was such a great leap forward that Susan felt a bit overwhelmed. She opted to start by cooking a simple fried rice to test the double ringed wok burner. This was a success. Somewhat unfortunately, at dinner time we were considerably distracted by a couple of time consuming enquiries about tours, and by the time we got around to cooking it was getting late, so we just had braised pork chops, steamed potatoes and peas. It is obvious the bigger burners are going to take a bit of getting used to as it seems to be impossible to turn them down below 'boiling furiously'. The potatoes narrowly avoided being burnt after boiling dry, but the chops turned out rather well. And the most important thing was that we were using 3 burners at once! It's going to take some time to realise just how much this can expand our repertoire.