Singe factor


This weekend’s life lesson; never stick your head in a wood-fired oven. Even if it’s to check the chicken isn’t burning because in all likelihood you’ll loose your eyelashes and possibly your eyebrows too. I write from experience.

We have just spent a cold, wet and very fun weekend at Mum and Dad’s house. My brothers and brother-in-law made then launched rockets, we lit the wood-fired oven and cooked in it and the six cousins (all under 6) had a ball. The original plan was to make pizzas in the wood fired oven but sleeting rain sort of killed that idea. Instead we baked chicken with fennel and stuffed apples and they were both beautiful. 

This afternoon Tim and I hosted the lovely team from Byng St Local Store for our first private lunch booking at the Mandagery Creek Farm Kitchen. Thank you guys for coming to to see us!

Baked chicken and fennel

Serves 6
4 chicken breasts 
olive oil
1 brown onion
2 tsp wholemeal mustard
2 tbsp thyme leaves
1 cup white wine
1 cup stock
1 large bulb of fennel, sliced into thick chunks
Preheat oven to 200C. Heat a little olive oil in a saucepan and brown the chicken breasts on all sides. Place them in an oven-proof casserole dish. Add a little more olive oil, reduce the heat in the saucepan and cook the onions for five minutes or until soft. Add the mustard, thyme, wine and stock and bring the sauce to the boil. Pour this over the chicken breasts, tuck in the fennel and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken feels firm. Serve with a beautiful green salad and some crusty bread to mop up all of the sauce.

Baked apples 

Core one apple per person. Stuff the centres with a mixture of brown sugar, cinnamon and sultanas. Pop a small nob of butter on the top of each apple and bake in a hot oven for 20 minutes.


  1. There's nothing better than cooking in a woodfired oven! That chicken sounds amazing.

  2. I love your parent's wood oven Sophie...we are in the planning stage of a wood oven at the moment; this post inspires me to keep pushing on with our plans! Have a good week :)

    1. Hi Jane - I would love to have a wood fired oven at home! They are so great to cook all kinds of things in. Looking forward to hearing about yours once it's done! Sophie

  3. That chicken looks like the loss of eyelashes was worth it. The wood oven is fabulous, so jealous!

    1. I'm still not sure about the sacrifice of my eyelashes! Am now wondering how quickly they will grow back! And yep it really is a great wood fired oven, I'd love one at home too!


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