In Onnela, the fireplace is not heated up just for fun

Sirkka, retired catering hostess, Nivala, Finland

Our house, Onnela, is from 1947. The house was originally built out of logs, and it was renovated in 1972, the same year I came into the house as a young wife. The latest renovation in the house with electric heating was done right before I retired. The heating was improved in 2003 by installing Iisa Duo 2, a heat-storing fireplace with baking space out of Mammutti soapstone, in the house downstairs. When you have worked as a catering hostess, the clear choice of fireplace is a soapstone fireplace with baking space.

In Onnela, the fireplace is not heated up just for fun. The man of the house is responsible for heating, and cooking is my business. In the winter, a fire is lit in the fireplace every other day. In damp summers, a fire in the fireplace removes humidity from the indoor air. A fire is lit in the upper fire chamber of the fireplace with baking space when I cook there. Hot pots with meat, porridge dishes and rye porridge with berries cook slowly in the baking oven, developing a delicious taste. Rye bread is the bakery product number one. As a person who stays up very late, I can be busy in the kitchen even at night; taking cooked food out of the oven... and eating it right away, if I'm hungry. We use well-dried birch and mixed wood for heating, all felled from our own plot; there's plenty of it.

Oven dish tip: meat pot

You could try making a meat pot in your oven. You can cook it in a large pottery bowl or a pot with an iron base. Fill the pot with chunks of meat, pork or beef, leaving roughly four centimetres of free space down from the brim. Add salt and black pepper to taste; you can also use barbecue spices, as well as onion and pieces of carrot. Pour enough water into the pot to almost cover the chunks of meat, which should still peek out of the surface. Once the ingredients are in the pot, put it into a heated oven to stew for several hours. Your guests will also enjoy this dish.

Learn more about Sirkka's choice: Iisa Duo 2, fireplace with baking space, of Mammutti soapstone

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