I took a chance and ordered a hand-held steam cleaner. Judging by the reviews, these devices are pretty useless for the task that they’re designed for, but I wanted a cheap and easy way of simulating a steam injection oven. And, to my relief, it worked.
I know that the oven has a hotspot, hence the rather dark patch on one crust, but the loaves are lovely and crisp.
Now for an anecdote. Many years ago I was working on a project for a drinks company. My boss and I were allowed to buy a special Christmas mixed case of wine, intended for the directors of our client company. There were three bottles of Chateau Lascombes, three bottles of a very nice Sandeman vintage port, and two more lots of three that I’ve long forgotten.
The question was, how to divide the spoils. The obvious answer was to toss a coin. The winner would quite clearly take two bottles of this wonderful second-growth claret, and the loser would take two bottles of the port. I lost.
Hey ho. Jean and I opened our bottle of Chateau Lascombes on our wedding anniversary. There are times when you have to cry, and times when you have to laugh. Our bottle was corked. So we laughed, opened a bottle of plonk with our dinner, and consoled ourselves with a glass or two of delectable vintage port.
It was a long time later that my boss told his story. He’d hosted a dinner party at which he had rather shown off about the Lascombes. To his horror, the bottle he’d opened had also been bad. But, just to demonstrate that he kept a good cellar, he’d produced the second bottle with some insouciance. You’ve guessed, haven’t you? Corked. The whole batch had been faulty.
So, as it worked out, I’d had the better deal. But I’ve always fancied a nice bottle of Chateau Lascombes, just to see what we’d missed. But even the lesser vintages are sixty quid or more, and somehow we never made good our unfortunate experience.
Enter that well-respected and renowned wine merchant, Lidl.
I took a punt on a £19 bottle of something called Chevalier de Lascombes. It’s made and bottled at the chateau, but of course is simply a Grand Vin de Bordeaux.
Anyway, it’s delectable, and worth far more than the asking price. It’s reminiscent of the real thing without the price tag. We’ve already bought our Christmas bottles, so I’m happy to recommend this bargain to anyone!
Interesting idea for the steam cleaner John. I normally put a roating dish (or baking tray with sides) at the bottom of the oven when I put the oven on toheat. When I put the dough in the oven, I spray water on them (from a little bottle with a sprayer) and I pour cold water into the roasting tray.This creats a cloud of steam and works well. The steam continues being produced until all the water has evaporated. (I used to just pour water on to the floor of the oven, but this always left a sticky residue which had to be cleaned up).