The new cooker

The new cooker

This handsome cooker replaces a decrepit, paper-thin predecessor which was apparently well overdue to blow me up.

The stove that came with the house finally exhausted my patience. The door got too hot to touch. It was either full on or off and more often than not turned itself off part way through cooking something critical. When I noticed the rust holes in the bottom of the oven, through which one could see that only half the burner was ignited, I decided it was not too extravagant to treat myself to a new one.

On Monday the new cooker arrived but it could not be installed until yesterday.
Apparently, in Spain, the hose connecting the cooker to its propane cylinder must be replaced at least every five years or it becomes dangerously porous. The one on my gas cylinder had a printed expiry date of 1992 – which made it at least 25 years old and, according to the man who should have installed it, well overdue to cause an explosion. So a trip to the nearby shopping centre, Flix (pronounced fleece), seven kilometres down the road, was necessary to buy a new hose from the nearest hardware store.

This morning I decided to test-drive the thing. I am not sure if the regulator is also faulty, because, although the flame is a fierce, blue halo, it does pulse rather alarmingly up and down. Perhaps it will settle with time. Still, I could not resist cooking a pizza – four cheeses with a topping of aubergine and fried onion rings. It came out perfectly: crisp, golden, sizzling and smelling heavenly.

Feeling more adventurous by the minute, and in need of some chutney, I checked the pantry for possible ingredients. There was home-made vinegar, the remains of a couple of home-made chilli salsas, a bowl of water-melon pulp left over from the jack-o-lantern, a basket of drying figs, a bucket of Jerusalem artichokes, several cloves of garlic, a pot of fresh-picked huckleberries and a string of onions. There was also a packet of cashew nuts approaching their sell-by date.

This pantry unit was already in the utility room - it has 12 cupboards and is an absolute godsend.

Some of the dried fruit, preserves and chutneys in the store-cupboard.


So there you have it. Two jars of cashew relish with figs, water-melon, chilli and ginger and two jars of artichoke chutney with huckleberries, onions, garlic and green pepper sauce for the pantry, and a pot of the left-overs of both mixed together for immediate use with barbecued pork ribs or cheese on toast.

Actually, they are all absolutely delicious.

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