... ... Eight years in an un-assuming narrowboat on the waters of the "longest, friendliest village in England"  

Introduction to Pentargon's galley

Solid Stove Tops and hotplates are esp. useful for slow cooking on narrowboats in cold weather . Pentargon has a uniquely designed system to slow-cook hot stews over-night at zero cost. Once the Hampshire Heater is bedded down to keep the cabin and bunk cosy all night, an integral marble slab over the Heater can maintain 40ºC for up to twelve hours and this has been trialled by day when the boat might be unattended ...  Pentargon uses a Hawkins 2-litre pressure cooker. Pressure cookers can be used either as very slow cookers or VERY fast cookers. Softening large bake potatoes (prior to baking!) takes about 20mins in 50ml of water and a tsp of olive oil! They then bake at 220ºC for 20mins and the oil gives a nice glaze.

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Either way minimises steam aka condensation and frees up crew for actual sailing. 

Of course those who have a wood burning stove have all the options available on a barbecue. I can't do that with my Hampshire but that is not really a bother. For those of you with solid fuel stoves, whole fish cook nicely in a cleaned out ash tray of a conventional canal-boat solid fire, depending on size [of fish and/or pan]. Thick al. foil is the biz. with the ashtray methodology. (Rib-eye steak done this way and parcelled with finely chopped onions'n'garlic maybe some chopped or peppers is to die for.) 

I hope to expand on solid-stove techniques later.,

At the time of writing I'm experimenting

with my Hampshire charcoal stove.  


Pentargon's cocoa (and what demerara sugar is!)

 a bottle of dark Demerara Overproof Rum under the scuppers.

 a kettle to boil water in and a stove to put it on.

a tin of proper cocoa powder in the bilge stores.

a jar with real Demerara Sugar in it. [hotlink]

a fine bone china mug from the dresser.

ground cinnamon kept dry in the inglenook. (That got you!)

organic full cream milk kept cool by the back door.

 or for ultra de-luxe replace the milk by Polish Smietanka 30% UHT cream

Put the kettle on low gas to be boiling up.

Into the mug, shovel a spoon or two of real demerara sugar

with by a spoon of cocoa powder and some ground cinnamon.

Mix the dry ingredients together and slowly add 10mls of Rum,

stirring all the time until you got a smooth paste.

When smooth, stir in 50 ml. of creamy milk or smietanka

stirring as you go.

Fill the mug with off the boil water ... s l o w l y ...  stirring as you go.

Allow to rest, savouring the aromas.

Drink with reverence in yer own time but before it goes cold.

and before going to bed.


Pentargon's Burger Stew

Top-class beef-burgers ideally 'homemade' one per person

half a packet of stir-fry veg per person

large onion finely or roughly chopped

large clove of garlic if it takes your fancy.

Some rice-bran oil to gently fry or sear the burgers, ... tomato puree ...


Chop the garlic and onion finely and together and pepper them well.  Sear or gently fry the burgers til 'brown' in a suitable fry-pan which has a fitting lid, adding the onion-garlic mix as you go. When the alliums are softened, add the stir-fry veg, turn the heat right down and cover. Allow to simmer for about 10 minutes until the heat has softened the veg and cooked the burgers through. The pan may be left on a very low heat if necessary for a considerable time which is useful on a boat. AND! so long as the gas is turned off you can keep it warm for quite a while by covering it with a much folded towel.


Pentargon's drop scones ...

Where and when I grew up, a Stanley Range was the standard cooking device just a step above an open fire. We made drop scones directly on cast-iron tops in past times. Nowadays, I use an Icelandic griddle pan to achieve similar results. The hotlinks here may be useful if you don't know what I am talking about ...

Drop Scones Recipe ... This was learned from Mama Murray (1876-1962) who used a 'bastible' on an open fire of red cinders hyped up by a 'fire machine' which would nowadays be termed a muscle-powered air-turbine. Her measuring was as traditional as found in the boatman's galley on the old working canal boats. Mama's 'measure' might be a cup or a mug or a jug or a bowl, depending on the required size of the batch.

Drop Scone Method: ... Mix a 'measure' of lightly beaten farmyard eggs with the same 'measure' of full-cream milk (goat's milk is perfect if you can get it) using a a  silver plated dinner fork. Gradually fold in a 'measure' of flour, stir and stir and stir to a consistency that pours but only just. Spices, seasonings, sweetenings, flavourings and colourings may be added  as desired.

Use a cast-iron griddle pan which has never ever been washed in detergent and preferably never washed at all. Pour the mix in dollops from a jug onto the hot surface. Turn each scone when the shine has gone dull. Lift them off when you see a wisp of steam coming from the scone. Store them in a warm pan on the side. Serve with honey, marmite, jam, cheese, salsa (but not all together). Bon appetit ... Go dtéi tú slán go deo.