Spotlight of the Month for March: Elizabeth Ferrara

The popularity of  Authentic Pizza Ovens continues to grow in restaurants and homesteads everywhere as people yearn to slow down from their fast-paced lifestyles and embrace the simplicity of older traditions.

Beautifully handmade and crafted by some of the finest artisans in Portugal, our ovens create a beautiful atmosphere and are one of the best ways to entertain your family and friends while embracing traditional-style cooking and creating memories that will last a lifetime.


Meet Elizabeth Ferrara from Tasmania, Australia.

She has enjoyed the versatility of her Maximus Prime oven by hosting gatherings for her family and friends and creating savory wood-fired dishes in her own backyard.

Read more about her passion for using quality home-grown produce and how she spends her time showing her children the fundamentals of cooking with fire.


Where are you from and a little background information about you?

My name is Elizabeth Ferrara and I am an event planner and corporate coordinator, living in Tasmania, which is a lovely little island located on the southern tip of Australia. 

The natural beauty of our island is captivating, ranging from snowy mountain tops to stunning sand-fringed beaches, and it oozes exceptional crafts and people showcasing produce and authentic experiences.

My family and I enjoy traveling the countryside, hiking through rainforests, and walking the beautiful beaches. We are passionate about the amazing food our region produces and the paddock-to-plate experiences.

My sons and I grow vegetables and herbs on our farmland. We always shop for local produce wherever we can.

Naturally, being an event planner, one of my favorite things to do is host holidays and dinner parties for my family and friends. The highlight of our gatherings is always cooking in our Maximus Prime oven, where we all embrace the exuberance of cooking together and creating our own pizza masterpieces!

There is something magical about the simplicity of wood-fired cooking and the feeling of coming together around an open fire. There is an element of raw authenticity that everyone can enjoy.

Even our dog, Rosie, keeps us laughing as she joins in, smiling and patiently waiting for her next taste of our delicious recipes!

As someone who is always busy helping others create the perfect atmosphere for their most memorable occasions, some of my favorite times have been spent in my backyard, slowing down and making life-long memories with my family and friends. 


Which oven did you choose and why did you choose an Authentic Pizza Oven?

I have always found wood-fired cooking to be relaxing, it is such a genuine experience and I love the benefits of cooking food without compromising the quality of its nutrients, not to mention, the mouth-watering taste that can't be matched!

I learned about Authentic Pizza Ovens through one of their employees here in Australia, Joan. She was very diligent in answering all my questions and in helping me choose the perfect oven fit for my family.

I loved all the ovens and it was hard to choose just one, however, the Maximus Prime oven caught my eye mainly because of its internal cooking capacity so I can feed a large party of friends, and its lighter weight was a no-brainer. I can easily move it around to accommodate wherever I am setting up and we are able to feed a large table of guests quickly.

It cooks pizza in a matter of minutes so it doesn't take long between our pizza creating and eating before we can relax and enjoy each other's company by relaxing around the open fire and sipping on some wine.

I have always loved cooking with fire, however, cooking in my Maximus Prime oven is a modernized and authentic experience all its own, we cook in it as often as we can!

If you are looking for a unique way to bond with your own family, I highly recommend Authentic Pizza Ovens, you will not be disappointed!


Did you build your setup or have someone else do it?

One of the reasons I chose the Maximus Prime oven is because of its lighter weight of approximately 100 kg and versatility. I was pleased with the easy shipping process and how the oven arrived packaged on a pallet with a skeleton crate built around it.

I had a friend pick it up from the local depot and deliver it to me, and it didn't take us long to unpackage it and place it on the table/trolley that I purchased from Bunnings in anticipation of its arrival, which works perfectly!

The one thing I love about this oven is how creative you can get with it. You can set it up anywhere that will sufficiently accommodate its size and lighter weight, which is convenient, especially, if you are taking it on a family trip!


What is your favorite thing to cook in your oven, and have you tried any recipes besides pizza?

Pizza is our favorite go-to in the oven and it’s so much fun to cook with the kids and visit friends. However, we have used the oven to cook anything that we would have otherwise cooked in our indoor electric oven!

We’ve made the most succulent smoky slow-cooked roasts, baked fish in cream with vegetables, and any protein in sauce like meatballs in Pomodoro works so well.

We are currently enjoying trying our hands at sourdough loaves, which must be eaten warm from the oven with lots of butter – it is just so good.


Special Recipes by Elizabeth



500g strong bread flour, plus extra for dusting
7g dried fast-action yeast
2 tsp fine sea salt
5 tbsp olive oil, plus extra for the tin to serve
1 tsp flaky sea salt
¼ small bunch of rosemary sprigs picked


1. Heat your wood-fired pizza oven to 220 degrees Celsius / 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Tip the flour into a large mixing bowl. Mix the yeast into one side of the flour, and the fine salt into the other side. Then mix everything together, this initial separation prevents the salt from killing the yeast.

3. Make a well in the middle of the flour and add 2 tbsp oil and 350-400ml lukewarm water, adding it gradually until you have a slightly sticky dough (you may not need all the water).

4. Sprinkle the work surface with flour and tip the dough onto it, scraping around the sides of the bowl. Knead for 5-10 mins until your dough is soft and less sticky. Put the dough into a clean bowl, cover it with a tea towel, and leave to prove for 1 hr until doubled in size.

5. Oil a rectangle, shallow tin (25 x 35cm). Tip the dough onto the work surface, then stretch it to fill the tin. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove for another 35-45 mins.

6. Press your fingers into the dough to make dimples. Mix together 1½ tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp water, and the flaky salt and drizzle over the bread. Push sprigs of rosemary into the dimples in the dough.

7. Bake for 20 minutes until golden. While the bread is still hot, drizzle over 1-2 tbsp olive oil. Cut into squares and serve warm or cold with extra olive oil, if you like.


 Polpette di Pomodoro (Meatballs in Red Sauce)



500gm pork mince
500gm beef mince
1 tbsp caramelized onion


800gm canned tomatoes
Pinch salt
Pinch chili flakes
Garlic (optional)
Handful basil leaves


Mozzarella Cheese


1. Heat your wood-fired pizza oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Combine mince and caramelized onion, Roll into golf-sized balls.
Brown meatballs on high heat, then place in an oven-proof tray with room to move.

3. Heat tomatoes, salt, garlic, and chili, then drizzle into the meatball tray.

4. Tear mozzarella cheese and place it randomly over the meatball tray.

5. Cover with alfoil and cook for approximately 25 minutes.

6. Remove the alfoil to allow the mozzarella to brown.

7. Serve hot with crust bread and any other side dish you have prepared in the oven tonight.


BBQ Chicken

This is probably our easiest family weekly meal that everyone loves!


1 x butterflied chicken, marinated in oregano, garlic, and lemon
2 cups Jasmine rice, cooked


1. Heat your wood-fired pizza oven to 220 degrees Celsius/ 430 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Place butterflied BBQ chicken in an enamel tray for the pizza oven, and allow all the marinade juices to go over the chicken.

3. Cook uncovered for approximately 30 minutes. The skin will char in places – that’s the good stuff.

4. Check the chicken is ready by piercing the thickest part, ensuring the juice runs clear, otherwise cook for longer.

5. When ready, cut the chicken into smaller pieces for individual serves and return to the tray with the juices and caramelized pieces.

6. Spoon in the cooked rice around the chicken to the tray to soak up the lovely juices and caramelized pieces. Use your spoon to move it around. The brown stains will lift from the pan and flavor the rice beautifully. Something not to be missed.

You can even drizzle some lemon juice over the whole dish now to lift the flavor some more, it's optional.

7. Serve with your favorite salad, I like a greek salad with lots of feta, oregano, and lemon.




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