Monday, June 11, 2012

The Esse 900.



She's here!!

Our Esse 900 is in our kitchen, all plumbed in and looking mighty fine.

But I guess her once upon a time story began almost 11 years ago when we first moved here. Way back then was when my farmer boy started talking about her. But I wasn't ready. Adding another fire to the house meant more work, more dirt and dust and that the cooking process would be slower and less exact. I just wasn't ready.

But as time went on I could see the merits of using wood as a fuel when we live on 20 acres of forest (self sufficiency and all that), I could see that slow is often a good thing and I was ready to take the next step with our cooking. Apparently a wood cooker cooks like nothing else on earth. And to be honest, I love the look of those big, English ovens and wanted one of them in my kitchen.



And so began the research process. The hours on the Internet, the showroom visits and the quizzing of anyone who had ever owned or used a wood fired cooker.



Eventually we decided on the Esse 900 because she has a huge firebox, she has a reputation for being fabulous for cooking, she could push hot water to radiators and heat the rest of our house and is very efficient and clean burning.


So after a three day installation. After two plumbers turning up at eight every morning and not leaving until six. After ladders and piles of tools and mess and drop sheets. After a massive headache from the first firing and the chemical burning. After issues with air in the pipes. We finally fired her up and started cooking.

Farmer Bren's sourdough went in first. On the floor of the top oven. Oh my.



We've since made soup, apple cake and banana cake.


And the results so far have been AMAZING!!!!!

The very same recipes we have been using for years taste better, moister, richer.


And the puppy is pretty happy with his new spot next to the cooker too.


I guess the only problem is the ugly rubber pipes feeding boiling water into the radiators in all the bedrooms and bathrooms. In my head I had imagined they would be copper pipes or something equally industrial. But they are not. They are ugly and squishy and they move as the water moves.


But I have a plan.

And as you crafters know, there's nothing as exciting as a brand new crafty plan.

Knit, knit, knit, knit..............
Cook, cook, cook, cook..............

How about you?
What have you been cooking lately?
What do you cook on?
Do you dream of your ideal cooker?
Are you hatching a crafty plan?

Bye! x

65 comments:

  1. OH MY GOD.....I have serious kitchen envy...if I lived near you I'd be round in a heart beat to stand near Esse, to drool, to dream oh my do you have an inkling of how jealous I am? You are one lucky girl, not just to have the oven but to have a partner who helps you to make your house your home. Can't wait to see the crafy plan....I'm thinking it's gonna be great.

    cheers Kate

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  2. Wahoo - that's exciting getting a new beautiful cooker like that! Happy Days! May all your cakes be moist and your bread risen!

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  3. Oh how gorgeous! Me thinks that you will be having a warm winter this year. I'm loving your crafty idea.... perhaps some yarn bombing for the ugly pipes? Have fun with your new addition. Enjoy the process of learning how to cook in her and create some yummy food. I'm sure that we will hear of your progress :)

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  4. it seems really amazing!!! I like the cozies for the pipes...!!!!
    xxx Alessandra

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  5. She is beautiful!
    We have been thinking of getting one of these for a while now too - I would love to know how she goes heating your house and what you do in the summer if you want to cook and don't require the heating - perhaps I should just google the answers lol.
    Mx

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  6. She is gorgeous Kate.
    Absolutely. In the end worth all that hassle?
    I can't wait to see what you have planned - he heeee!!xx

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  7. Wow! She looks amazing. I think it's the start of a wonderful new relationship, you'll never look back.

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  8. Wowee! That looks amazing, I always thought my ideal cooker was an electric oven with a gas stove top, but that Esse is beautiful! Love the look of your crafty plan, too. Should make things very pretty, enjoy!

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  9. Colour me green with envy! I first cooked on an ordinary wood stove when I was eight and fell in love with woodfired stoves then. JUst an ordinary wood stove, not a slow combustion. When I married and we moved into a house well over 100 years old, we installed a small stove in the kitchen along with an electric one. The kitchen had an open fireplace with a grid in it for an open fire but space on the side for pots. We then upgraded to a secondhand Vulcan, plumbed in and took the little stove to a holiday property we built near Cessnock. At first I used it as it sat on the stump of a long cut down tree and I cooked a birthday dinner for one son on it. I stood outside doing baked chicken and veg with an umbrella over me as I turned. When the house as finished we moved it inside. Have cooked for a camp on a huge wood stove and camped at Maitland Bar outside Mudgee. All that was left of a settler's house was the stove and the kitchen floor. We used it. It still produced the wonderful food I associate with a wood stove.

    Now I live by myself in an apartment but am still deeply envious of your stove. May it continue to cook wonderful meals four your family and fill your house with warmth and happy memories like mine.

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  10. Meant to also say that overnight burning may take some experimenting till you get it just as you want it. Fill it up, close damper down. In the morning open everything and let it burn brightly for a while. Quick warmth and the strong blaze helps stop chimney clogging.

    Sorry for second comment.

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  11. I'm currently where you were before - not ready for something like this - but I am starting to wonder about it. Mostly, I'm curious how you set the temperature. Do you have to just learn how much wood to feed it to reach the temperature you need? Or is there a way to adjust it?

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  12. Lol, I'm dying to see those yarn bombed pipes!!
    The oven sounds amazing. I lived in a house with one years ago but it was still set up to burn coal/coke. We tried VERY UNSUCCESSFULLY to fire it up with timber after decades of no use. Read....couldn't see through kitchen for all the black smoke. Lucky the landlord was there when we did it, he was as curious as us to see if it worked. Needless to say that was our only attempt at using it.

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  13. Oh yeay, yarn bomb those pipes! Lovely stove.

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  14. Beautiful post...your cooking looks amazing :)

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  15. Your stove looks gorgeous. I bet your bedrooms are nice and toasty now. Your pup has the right idea, lay by the oven to keep warm and eat up any crumnbs that are dropped. The sourdough looks delish too. Cant wait to see how the stove pipes are yarnbombed!

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  16. It looks beautiful enough to cosy up next to with a book as a fire. I look foward to hearing how you adjust to its use sonce we hope to grt one...one day x

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  17. All I can say is wow! it's incredible!

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  18. Mary Berry is the Uk Arga cooking expert look out for her books

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  19. Wow Kate I love it and I am sure you will enjoy cooking on it and in it

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  20. OH my goodness, she is supremely glorious. GLORIOUS. I love her.

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  21. Kate I'm so happy for you! Don't cakes taste amazing! Pity about the pipes, I wasn't happy with our creative pipe work either...yarn bombing is fabulous idea!
    xx

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  22. Beautiful looking bread, not such beautiful looking pipework. From experience, don't try to run rads on full blast and cook at the same time. I used to switch the heating off when I was cooking as it gave me more control over the heat.

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  23. Swoooooon. I love a slow combustion wood-fired stove. Love.

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  24. That sure is an impressive looking cooker. Well worth the homework I'd say. Hoping all your dishes are successes from here!

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  25. You're right, food just tastes so much better when cooked slowly in a wood oven. My in-laws have one and when we visited food was always cooked this way. it was hard work but very worth it in the end.

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  26. Oh, you lucky duck! But a deserved duck, to be sure!

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  27. That is one sexy sexy stove, we have Mrs old school shacklock coal range....dreaming of the day we up-grade to Miss sexy there or her distant cousin. As for the pipes, well what a great idea insulating those babies with some wooly wounders ; ) xxx

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  28. Wow, after a weekend (three whole days of it) chopping and carting wood I can't say I'm tempted, but then again never say never all those other advantages apart from the pipes are very appealing...

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  29. That's one beautiful stove indeed and some clever knitting! Can't wait to see the results. Enjoy cooking and knitting! :)

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  30. Hah, some home-yarnbombing, yes? She is beautiful, and I am envious... I would love a wood-fired cooker/oven, end especially one with the possibility to heat water for heating the house. We don't have a central heating in our house and it would make things so much easier sometimes...

    Fine

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  31. Beautiful. I was wondering the same thing as Melissa Lynn - how do you set the temperature?

    My aunt used to cook one of these (Not the Esse 900, but a wood stove) - I remember how much I loved warming up next to it. I don't think they had it warming the rest of the house though, that's awesome.

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  32. Oh I cant wait to see your yarnbombing of your house Kate, way cool!

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  33. She's a beauty, I do wish for one and the farm house and the radiators and copper pipes. Yarn bombing is awesome, I saw some amazing work in our local outdoor mall, i will post about it this week.

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  34. Never seen a wood stove in action. Probably because in Brisbane you would end up living in an air conditioned shopping centre rather than coming home to the wood stove! It looks like a gorgeous gorgeous centrepiece for your kitchen and I can see everyone wanting to hank out with Essie and stay warm. Cannot wait to see your pipe cozies transforming those ugly black snakes. melx

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  35. Oh!--she's beautiful in every way!!

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  36. We grew up with a wood oven - though nothing as magnificent as your Esse.It was all wood cooking, with no gas / electric on the top (is that what I'm seeing in the pics? Or am I making things up??). It also sent hot water to our shower system, which was lovely. There were beautiful copper pipes that my dad laid, but to keep them extra insulated he (or my mum?) wove and plaited and strung hemp hessiany twine around them in an artful way. Looked beautiful and kept the water even warmer.
    Moving to our piece of this land, and building our own house, I had decided I didn't want to have a wood burning oven (despite my wonderful memories of cooking morning porridge, and warming our towels/ school uniforms inside the oven) in our house. We have another glass-fronted fireplace to keep our house warm. It actually cooks rice and tea on it's top, but I wouldn't be able to cook a whole meal.
    I have since been thinking about the love of wood oven baking - and am starting to wonder if I need to look into the idea further, before we build our kitchen.
    Oh - Esse is simply beautiful, and I'm enjoying watching her on IG as well as here. Good to hear the background story and how persistent Bren was about it (yet also patient!).
    Happy warm cooking.

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  37. wow she is beautiful. i want one! now please! it is freezing here. is that gas on the stove top too? impressed and jealous!

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  38. Ha ha ha!!!! "I have a plan...". I know what you are up to! How much crochet and knitting will you need to cover all those pipes? They will be the most amazing pipes ever. I love it :-) Our pipes for hydronic heaters come up through the floor but maybe you have a concrete slab. What a bother. The wood oven looks great and I look forward to hearing your cooking adventures. Have you got a lovely timber stool just the right height so you can sit comfortably to relight the fire, warm your hands from, or read while the fire box door is open? That would give you another crochet opportunity to decorate the seat.... and then that would have to coordinate with the new crochet door openers for the Esse.... the opportunities are limitless. Enjoy :-) K8

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  39. We were "this" close to getting our very version of Esse before we had to sell our beloved house. She looks beautiful. Enjoy.
    And I can't wait to see you crafty plan x

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  40. Ohh I'm so green with envy and so happy for you. What a beautiful stove and the hydronic heating will be amazing...... friend has it and loves it. I don't blame you fro wanting to cover those pipes though - can't wait to see what you create to cover them.

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  41. I love Her. She's gorgeous to look at and practical. My sister had one just like her in her old house, and after spending time with it, i swore to myself one day I would have one too xo

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  42. My Opa was a baker who used a similiar stove, the last thing he would do everynight as he left the bakery put meringues in the oven to cook in the cooling heat overnight. They were always the most magnificient meringues in the world. Back then: sugar overload + small child = happiness, now: Adult + the memory of this = happiness. Enjoy the Esse!

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  43. I'm so thrilled for you!

    And please tell me you're planning on yarn bombing your rubber pipes. Because that would be ever better than copper pipes.

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  44. It's amazing to see one so clean! I grew up in the UK with an oil-powered AGA that my Dad still uses today. It's so very good at so many things (including warming pets, kids, clothes - we've always had a clothes line above ours - and generally baking on the food stains that make each one unique) but my favourite is toast: it makes the best doorstep toast EVER, lightly done on the outside and still fluffy in the middle! It also still heats the house, but has copper piping, not sure why you had to have the rubber ones, that does seem rather sad! I live in Australia now and still miss it, sigh.

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  45. Oh my Kate! How wonderful to have your dream realised! Those rubber poipes are dreadful, I would not have been happy but your solution sounds excellent (copper pipes would have been super extra expensive I guess!)

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  46. Gorgeous! I'm very envious. I recommend crafting up some lid covers too, it'll protect them from scratching. Can't wait to see what you do with those pipes :)

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  47. Kate you are sooo super lucky!Happy yarn bombing : )

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  48. Yay Kate, the wait is finally over - and worth it! It - and the food - looks great. Tried Pizza yet? x

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  49. Hi Kate,
    It's great to read your posts. I wanted to pass on a link to my blog
    http://oldschoolmastershouse.com.au/
    it's about the renovation of the old schoolmasters house & garden in a remote country town in the NSW goldfields.
    Hope you have time to stop by,
    all the very best,
    Ingrid

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  50. Hi:) just came across your blog,I'm always happy to see someone who has decided to get a wood stove:)I'm never moving from our home here in the mountains because I'm never leaving my burgundy coloured nearly two year old Rayburn:)We bought her and she came out by ship from England,it took four months for to get here.I LOVE my stove,nothing compares,my stove sets the rhythm of our home life,with cooking,heating our water and warming our home,my stove is the heartbeat of our home.....I could go on and on,but I will spare readers,lol:)
    Carleene

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  51. Love your Esse, she's gorgeous. xxoo

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  52. she really is a work of art. and those pipes are going to look so cool. and banana cake. yummm i need to make some. in my dodgy old ugly oven ;-) enjoy miss esse o x

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  53. Love the Esse Kate!
    Any chance you could do an update on how things are going with it & I would love to know how many rads you are running?
    cheers Aimee

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  54. Lucky you, Kate, I'd love a stove like that - it's so great that it warms the house as well as cooking wonderfully. I was very impressed with the dot painting you did when you were travelling. You have talent. Could you buy a wide canvas and paint something to hang in front of the pipes? You could crochet or knit then to cover that which isn't hidden with the painting.

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  55. You know lovely, I'm not the jealous type. I'm not one to want much of what others have. UNTIL FARKING TODAY!!

    (Hey Dave, come and check THIS OUT, do you reckon you could lay some extra bricks this year. Maybe I could sell myself on up on the corner, do you think I would get any takers!!!)

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  56. Wow, that's a huge wood stove you've got there! We've got a little wood stove in the kitchen of our rented house and it does a good job of warming the kitchen, though the fire box is not very high so I need to add wood often. I've cooked soup on the top and curry, but I should give the 'oven' underneath a go too. How lovely to get a long dreamed of thing. Happy fires!

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  57. Oh...my...goodness. I didn't realise there was such a thing as 'oven envy'. (drool)

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  58. How exciting. My inlaws have a woodcooker on the farm and I have always said if we ever build south of QLD and have access to a forest I would love to have a wood powered cooker. How awesome to have it puming hot water around the house (even if the pipes are ugly)
    Have fun and enjoy cooking. My mother in law makes the best Pav's and sponge cakes in hers (I can not compete)

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  59. Kate - GORGEOUS & that pic of your farmer fella carrying the wood...

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  60. Oh, this looks wonderful! Are those kettles in the stove top? We had a Waterford wood stove in our kitchen, in addition to the gas stove, when we moved in. It was used mostly for additional heat. I did find that, with the fire on the left and the two ovens on the right, if I didn't rotate the food, it burned on the side. Your bread looks fabulous!

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  61. Hi. just wondering whether your still happy with your Esse. We are just about to start building and can't decide between the Esse or Rayburn. Do you still love it in summer?

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  62. Hi. just wondering whether your still happy with your Esse. We are just about to start building and can't decide between the Esse or Rayburn. Do you still love it in summer?

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Thanks so much for stopping by...

I do read every single comment you leave and appreciate it very much, but I should let you know that I can be a wee bit on the useless side when replying to comments, that's just me, everyday life sometimes gets in the way....so I'll apologise now, just in case.

Kate XX

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