Introduction: Crafty Car Cooking
I originally planned to cook a Pizza on the car engine for the Pizza contest. However, Mrs G felt that randomly driving around for an hour with no particular place to go, was a waste of fuel and time. So I deferred the item until we had a full day out planned.
Now I am entering it into the 'outside contest' and so I hope that you, dear reader, will favour it with a vote.
There is a very long history of people cooking stuff on their cars and a few books have been written on the subject.They mainly try to produce gourmet dinners by stuffing parcels of food into hot spots around the engine compartment.
I wanted to be different and set up a cooking platform that could be safely used to cook a pizza on the road. Surprisingly, after searching the Wonder-Web I have not seen any other example of cooking a pizza in this way.
Step 1: Stuff I Used... and Something I Should Have...
A pair of combination pliers, some picture wire, some foil and a pizza tray, were the primary items used, as well as a pizza.
I also used an oven thermometer at various stages, It was not left in the engine compartment but was placed there to judge the temperature once I stopped. (It may have been better to wire it into place then I could have seen the temperature immediately).
One item not shown, that I did not realise I needed, was an OVEN GLOVE or OVEN MITTS.
I really should have realised that, if the engine is going to be hot enough to cook, it will be hot enough to burn.
Thankfully my ever thoughtful wife has had more experience handling hot stuff, and she suggested taking an oven glove.
So please, if you try this, have some way of handling hot items with you.
Step 2: You Also Need a Car
Yes this is a bit obvious. Mine is a 1.9 diesel engined MPV which does get hot, but not very hot under the bonnet. (or...under the hood for US readers). In a separate test it seemed to max out at around 200 degrees centigrade.
Since we usually cook our Pizza at around 250 c then it seemed that 'just a bit longer' than our usual 12/15 minutes should cook a pizza OK.
Step 3: Going Loopy
I needed to be able to easily fasten and unfasten the wires that would hold down the pizza and so I inserted the wire through separate holes and twisted them tight using the pliers. I did four loops opposite each other.
Step 4: Four Loops Ready to Go
This is how the tray looked on the underside after I had secured the four loops.
Step 5: The Four Loops
Here you see the four loops ready to wrap around the pizza parcel.
Step 6: Loop and Pull
The idea is simple but quite effective. Pulling one loop through the other locks it in place and secures the parcel.
Step 7: Next Secure the Tray
Using the holes in the tray the wires were then be used to secure it to available points around the engine compartment.
Step 8: Do Several and Make Them Tight
I ended up wiring four points and pulling very tight. At one point I snapped a wire and so I suggest doubling up the wire or using thicker wire if you plan to pull super hard.
Step 9: Load the Pizza
When all the anchor wires are set then it is time to load up the pizza. Just wrap it in foil leaving a gap above the topping. Then loop the loops and bend them back to secure the pizza. They do not need to be pulled back tight, since that would press the foil down onto the cheese, causing a mess later.
Step 10: Secure the Parcel
This shows the loops pulled through and bent back to prevent the pizza wandering.
Step 11: Drive Your New Pizza Oven Somewhere Nice
We decided to visit a 'local' stately home known as Lyme Park. Google told us that the journey would be about 45 minutes, which seemed ideal travelling/cooking time.
It has to be said that I had many comments from family as we drove along. They claimed to hear rattles and kept suggesting that we stop to check all was well.
I heard no such noises and carried on driving. We arrived about 40 minutes after leaving and opened up the bonnet (hood) to see what the result was...
Step 12: Good But Not Great
The result was indeed a cooked pizza which was enjoyable to eat. We all managed to consume it in the field next to the car park before I had time to take pictures.
Generally we all felt that it would have benefited from a another 10 miles, but it was certainly a success.
Step 13: Lyme Hall and the First Car Cooked Pizza...ever?
I believe that we may have been the first in the world to enjoy a car cooked pizza in the grounds of that fine stately home. Sadly there is not a category for that in the Guinness book of records.
Car cooking is definitely something you should try on your next outdoors adventure.
At the very least you should try it for keeping a parcel of food warm for the end of your journey.
It is a neat, environmentally friendly, way to use the otherwise wasted heat and also a generates a great deal of discussion with family and observing folk in the car park.
(I may return to this concept in the future as I have an idea for a super special car oven).