With the current fire danger set at ‘Extreme’ we have been looking for ways to reduce our use of any kind of spark or flame. It is recommended that no power tools, mowers and (of course) any kind of flame not be used on extreme fire danger days. Cooking can be a challenge under these conditions, even with using the hay box cooker to reduce the flame time for any given meal. So we eventually found an option; a solar oven.
When the air is hot enough to ignite from any random spark, a device that uses that heat to cook food seems like a natural progression.
After a lot of online shopping, we settled on a SunGo Fusion cooker, a solar cooker that has a largish capacity, works in cloudy conditions, is portable and as a bonus, can use 12 volt power to continue cooking after dark.
I ordered it and waited with bated breath for the package to arrive. When it finally did, we were both in a stretch f long work days, so the poor thing sat in it’s box for a week. At last today, I am at liberty to play with it. I opened the box and found a space-age solar device, a handy carry bag and three sweet little silicon baking pans.
I decided to test it out with some roast vegetables and baked egg.
I prepared the vegetables by cutting them into fairly small chunks (more surface area to cook faster) and drizzling with a garlic infused olive oil. Then I dumped them into the little baking trays, put them in the cooker and took the lot out into the HOT sun (it is 33 degrees C here today). The cooker itself is equipped with a little device that helps you to align it with the sun, I used that and got the ‘wings’ unfolded. Now we wait.
I put the vegetables in at 10:48am, at 11:36am I did a quick check to see if they were heating up (it was).
The vegetables were very hot and beginning to cook. At 12:28pm, I swapped the trays around a bit because the carrots and potatoes were cooked but the onion needed a bit longer.
At 1:28pm, lunch was ready. I made a drizzle sauce with olive oil, dijon mustard, roasted garlic and a splash of soy sauce. The meal was filling (very) and tasty.
This was a meal for one, so it cooked in a shorter time because there were less vegetables, but given the lack of attention while cooking, I feel it is a good way to make food.
I think I will try a family meal tomorrow, to see how it deals with a lot more vegetable matter.