Penguin Cooking (Not Cooking Penguins) Hints and Tips

We love using our Penguin stoves for cooking. From making toast with a toasting fork, through stewing on the top plate, to baking in the oven, Penguins are versatile, handy and, if the stove is on for warmth, cooking comes free, making it a great way to save some money and reduce your carbon footprint while making delicious meals. We asked a cook here on Pen Llyn (Claire Oxley-Lang) to try out and photograph some of her favourite recipes. She had never cooked on a Penguin before, so she has passed on what she learnt from her successes and failures. Here are a few things Claire recommends to (polar) bear in mind if you, too, are new to cooking on your stove.

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Ingredients

Good fuel. Well seasoned dry logs make controlling the heat much easier.

A supply of very small log pieces or kindling. Use these to top up the fire without raising the temperature too much.  If it does get too hot open the oven door for a moment to let out some of the heat.

Small, strong baking trays and dishes.  Our ovens aren’t huge so your normal cookware may not fit.  We sell the perfect size in our shop  –  take a look!

Tin or tray lining. Cakes, biscuits and pies are all liable to burning their bottoms as the oven shelves can get vey hot.  The best way around this is to put something between the bottom of the metal cookware and the oven shelf.  We used two variations.  The first was to put baking beans on a tray and put the dish on the top.  The second was to line the tray with foil, put on it a piece of damp kitchen roll of the same size, then finish with a piece of foil.  Put the dish on this liner.

An oven thermometer.  It’s hard to guess how hot the oven is, so this is essential.

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Method

  1. 1) Embrace the personality of your Penguin and remember that this is an art not a science! Try to keep an experimental frame of mind and make a note of the things you learn.
  2. 2) Fuel and weather can both impact on the heat your stove generates and you will need to allow the stove about an hour from first lighting for it to settle down to producing stable heat. Frequent checks of the stove and the oven feels like a lot of work when you first start, but you will soon get the hang of it and be able to judge when to add more fuel or open the door. An oven thermometer is very helpful though and we sell them through our shop website.
  3. 3) If you pop a pie into an oven which isn't hot enough you may find the edges of the pastry melt. Edge your pie inside the dish to avoid this.
  4. 4) If you don't have an oven you can use the stove top. Fast frying isn't always successful, but sauteeing and long slow cooking of stews work really well. It is also handy for keeping things hot and warming sauces. Use common sense and make sure the dish is hot all the way through before serving.
  5. 5) You can use your oven to bring oil quickly up to temperature before frying food on the stove top.
  6. 6) Your stove top is very useful even if you don't plan to cook a full meal on it! It can defrost food, keep things warm or pre-heat a saucepan of water for cooking pasta on your normal cooker. Don't forget that dishes kept warm may need to be brought to the boil before serving.
  7. 7) Putting a dish or tin on a baking tray is always helpful as it makes it easier to get the food out of the oven.