Thursday, February 07, 2013

Rocket Stove: Two

Rocket Stove II made with an enameled tin bucket and some cans (see the scorch marks where the tape caught on fire)
My friend Chris Fairly made another rocket stove, this time trialling a quick and inexpensive design. He brought it round for me to test and I retaliated with an invitation for him and his partner, Anna, to come over for a dinner made on it.  I've been complaining that a limitation of the first, beautiful ceramic rocket stove he made is only being able to cook one pan at a time, so this seemed an ideal opportunity for some two burner action, using both the original Rocket Stove and RS:Mark II.  Having a couple of extra pairs of hands to help with feeding two fires was a useful bonus.

Rocket Stove I is the tiled cylinder in the centre background, Rocket Stove II is the smaller and lower bucket to the right.
Even with help keeping the stoves stoked and getting the food prepped it was still a very intense and all-consuming meal to prepare and I completely forgot to stop and take some photos of the stoves in action. The big original stove cooked a sort of saag paneer made with silverbeet. The new small stove cooked aromatic rice with ginger, cardamon and cinnamon. Both turned out delicious, if not food-blog-beautiful. Both dishes required manipulating the temperature from a speedy sizzle to a steady simmer.

Looking down into the tin can rocket stove
The new rocket stove is not my favourite. For one thing it smelled yucky, not just woodsmoke but a metallic smell with a hint of burning plastic (probably from the pretty blue paint).  Worse, at one point the aluminium tape holding it together caught on fire and flames licked up the outside of the bucket in a worrisome way until I beat it out with a stick.  Its only superior feature is the feeder tube which is bigger and longer than on the original  but I'm afraid that isn't going to be sufficient incentive to get me cooking on it again.  

I think both Chris and I learned a lot from cooking together on the two stoves at once.  My practical experience has been informed by theory and I will be tweaking my approach and hacking a brick stick propper-upper for the ceramic rocket stove.  Chris got to see the demands of complicated cooking first hand and proved at dab hand at controlling their temperatures at my request.  He also witnessed the value of the taller chimney for more efficient heating and I'm sure will be more circumspect with aluminium tape in the future.

Delicious dinner of home and local grown produce cooked outdoors on free fuel
As always, I had (almost) all my ingredients prepared before lighting the fires.  Rocket stove cooking is not very spontaneous.  I'd also prepared lots of little 'go-withs': a Thai cucumber chutney, a carrot coconut lentil-sprout, sesame oil and raspberry-vinegar salad, my favourite watermelon-feta-avocado-red onion salad, and aubergine mashed with yoghurt and lemon. I also cracked open the first jar of plum chutney from  my New Year's preserving marathon and put out home made sprouts, microgreens (Fiji Feathers pea shoots) and soaked/toasted pumpkin seeds to garnish.  For dessert we had apple and homegrown-blackberry almond crumble with two kinds of homemade ice cream (vanilla and double chocolate).

Chris and I are going to be demonstrating rocket stove making and using at On the Road to Resilience on 24 February at the Sustainable Backyard at the Hamilton Gardens' Summer Festival. This going to be a fantastic day touching on bee keeping, wind turbines, composting toilets, time banking, earth oven and solar cooking, and demonstrations of pruning and scything. Something for everyone! Come along if you can.

1 comment:

keripik buah said...

the food seems delicious, i'm a rice lover