Portugese paradise - Magic surf

Returning to Portugal after cruising down to Morocco and the beautiful but slightly wave lacking Spanish mediterranean coast, we struck gold! For a good week the wind switched offshore and beachbreaks of south west Portugal turned on, it’s safe to say we made the most of it, multiple surfs a day plus the weather was also pretty good!

Here’s a selection of shots including Matt surfing a sweet right hand sandbank, it shifted throughout the week and that’s when the lefts slightly further down the beach started turning on and there were pumping barrels to be had! We chatted to a few locals after snapping some post surf pictures before the light faded one night, and they as well as us were comparing it to Indonesian reefbreak quality.. it was epic!!

So we hope you enjoy looking through the images.

Ooni Pizza Oven

It’s no secret that we love to cook (we share loads of cooking tips and videos on our IG stories if you haven’t seen them) and especially while on the road in our home on wheels. New countries mean a range of exciting foods and new ingredients to taste and experiment with! Our first port of call in any new place is always the supermarket. 

Photo 27-11-2018, 5 56 29 pm.jpg

When the lovely folks at Ooni reached out to us and asked if we’d like a new cooking companion to take on board with us on our latest trip, we jumped at the chance! In our van-kitchen we only cook on a stove top which can be limiting in terms of what you can make and sometimes we really miss having an oven. So the prospect of having a wood fired oven on board was very exciting and we couldn’t wait to try it out!

They kindly sent us the Uuni 3 outdoor oven to test and review, it’s the worlds first portable wood-fired pizza oven. It can heat up to 500 degrees in 10 minutes and can cook 13” pizzas in 60 seconds! What we were also interested in was the fact that not only does it cook pizza, you can also roast vegetables, meats or fish along with many other recipes.

Ooni also supplied us with a 10kg bag of hardwood pellets which is the fuel that makes the magic happen, the main benefit of the pellets for us is that they take up a lot less room (ideal for living in a van) than storing logs or another gas bottle, instead we can just fit the bag in the boot neatly where it can stay dry. The second benefit of the beech pellets is that they very efficient to use due to beech being a hardwood it has a higher density than softwoods, hardwoods tend to burn to a higher temperature because of this. We have found this to be better for cooking pizzas! Being less dense you need sometimes up to as much as twice as many softwood logs for the same energy output. They are also cleaner to cook with than a lot of the softwood we come across in Portugal and Spain, which is often to damp, meaning smoke and residue. Finally they are inexpensive to buy and contain no additives or glues which is ideal if your wanting to cook food using them.

C10E2BEB-81CC-4E6A-B055-9DC8707CA862.JPG
Photo 09-12-2018, 4 54 16 pm.jpg

 The oven arrived a few days before we were about to set off for Spain for the start of our winter adventure, we packed it on board in it’s box and set out for the open road! Once we arrived in Spain we were joined with our Australian friends Dylan and Nikki in their campervan and we immediately set off for the supermarket in search of pizza ingredients. Myself (Steph) and Nikki made our pizza dough and left it to rise while we all went for our first surf in the Atlantic. We all got together that evening for a post-surf pizza party of dreams! 

Photo 09-12-2018, 4 45 21 pm.jpg

The oven is designed really well, it was super easy to assemble, durable and easy get started with. It has 3 foldable legs (ideal for packing away and transporting) which is great for keeping the oven stable on uneven surfaces when cooking in a range of locations. It heated up very quickly and we had our first pizzas cooking within 10 minutes of assembling. Once a few pizzas were finished we started to get the hang of the cooking process and heat range which is a thoroughly enjoyable part of it, topping up the pellets and keeping the stone (which is made of cordierite, one of the best materials for storing heat) hot throughout so that you end up with a perfectly cooked pizza. The whole process of cooking with fire can be challenging but is also super rewarding and you can’t beat cooking outside. The oven is great for first timers like us who hadn’t used a wood fired oven before, as with most new things practice makes perfect! The burner on the back of the oven makes it quick and easy to light, it helps to control the temperature resulting in an even bake. 

Photo 09-12-2018, 5 00 29 pm.jpg
Photo 09-12-2018, 5 05 18 pm.jpg
Photo 09-12-2018, 5 07 59 pm.jpg
Photo 09-12-2018, 5 12 57 pm.jpg

The finished pizzas tasted fantastic and looked rustic and delicious! We were all marveling over the smokey taste and enjoying every mouthful that we actually burnt our last pizza because we were all distracted with eating them, oops! We all agreed nothing tastes quite as good as home made, wood fired pizza. It took about 20 minutes to pack down and clean up, it cooled quickly and there was very little maintenance other than a quick wipe down.

Photo 27-11-2018, 6 02 24 pm (1).jpg

One of the things we enjoyed most about using the oven was sharing it with friends and bringing people together with food. It’s great fun and most importantly makes amazing pizza! We have used the pizza oven in friend’s gardens, camping in the woods, at beaches watching the sunset and at plenty of campsites across Europe. So we can safely say it’s very compact and portable, which was one of the reasons we were so keen to try it out. It also makes more of the long winter nights (as long as its not raining) when we would usually be bunkered up in the van!

63D5D3B7-0668-417B-9C57-99CC015AF6CF.JPG
3865CC9A-07EE-4966-9FEB-E71DFC8BA6B5.JPG

Whether you’re off grid like us or just love to cook outside, this is a great addition to your outdoor kitchen and we highly recommend!

Tips: 

•  Prepare all your pizzas ready to go before starting the oven, this saved pellets and also meant the oven maintained a consistent temperature.

•  Put extra flour on the pizza peel so the pizzas slide easily into the oven. (Our handmade dough was a bit sticky and this really helped) 

•  Don’t make your pizza dough too thick! Our last pizza with the leftover dough was a bit too thick and took a while to cook. 

•  Try everything! We tried loads of different ingredients on our pizzas, from classic margarita to an avocado vegan base. 

•  Turn the pizza midway through cooking to get an even bake.

Photo 09-12-2018, 4 54 59 pm.jpg

Oven specs: 

Weight: 13.4 kg / 29.5 lbs. boxed

Size: 22x36x64 cm / 8.6 x 14.1 x 25.2″ (HxWxL) with legs extended, excluding door handle. 

Uuni 3 including chimney: 67cm / 25.2”.

Stone baking plate: 33.7 x 33.7 cm / 13.2 x 13.2″

Max pizza size: 13”

Max clearance above stone: 11 cm / 4.3”

Power: approx. 6 kWh

Fuel: wood pellets

Materials: 439 stainless steel, stainless steel rivets, FSC certified wooden handles, cordierite stone baking board.

Check them out for yourself at: 

www.ooni.com

On Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/oonihq/?hl=en

Please note: We only work with brands we love and products we would buy ourselves.

Thanks for reading,

Matt and Steph 

Slow n Steady prints available soon!

Here’s a sneak peak of some imagery from our life on the road that we will be making available for print (we couldn’t miss out Ivy!).

We will be using high grade, quality paper to print on which will make for long lasting and beautiful prints. We will be offering a range of sizes from larger prints down to postcard size.

Steph will also be introducing some illustrations soon which will also be available to purchase as prints.

We are both very excited about being able to offer this service as it has been a long time coming and we hope you are all as excited as we are, stay tuned and keep an eye on our shop as well as @slownsteadytravels for more minimal print ready imagery!

Postcards.jpg

Slow 'n steady livin' Moroccan wonderland

Living on wheels enables us to move with the seasons and sleep and rise with the rhythm of the sun. We follow the push of the swell along the coastline and venture into the mountains when it's hiding away. We feel a part of the landscape like the roads are mapped on our hands all the way to our fingertips.

This is a glimpse of our life on wheels travelling through Morocco in North west Africa. We hope you enjoy it, more videos are in the pipeline!

Lower Atlas mountains

We decided to take a break from the coast of Morocco and head inland to the Lower Atlas mountains. As we approached we knew we heading somewhere special.. 

Ivy winding down a mountain road

Ivy winding down a mountain road

The air became fresher, more crisp and cool.. we drove through remote rural communities and pretty much every individual we passed would greet us with a wave, big smile or both! However we weren't prepared for the sheer beauty and atmosphere that this part of Morocco possessed.. it really blew us away as we slowly and steadily made our way up the winding roads passing herds of sheep and goats, their shepherds weathered and seasoned from the rocky undulating terrain. Almond trees in blossom were a real treat to witness and gave a delicate touch to the views on offer from our windows, adding to the pastel palette of pinks, purples, oranges and blues with hints of green from Argan trees. 

_DSC0203.jpg

There were too many photo opportunities to count, at every turn we were greeted by a whole new vista, Matt would say to Steph "hop out and I'll drive down here, it would make an epic photo" or Steph would travel with our friends behind for a while to capture the van in the landscape.

A definite highlight of our trip down to Africa we would love to spend more time there in the mountain air, satisfying our souls.

_DSC0185.jpg
_DSC0200.jpg