American-style Pancakes

American-style Pancakes

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Spotted Dick

                                                                      Spotted Dick

            This is a quinessential British dessert with a very saucy name.  The first mention of Spotted Dick or Spotted Dog, if one feels a bit shy in pronouncing it by its authentic name, was in 1847.  The dish aquired its rather saucy name because originally, the dish was made into a cylindrical shape that was wrapped in parchment paper and foil and steamed on the hob in a steamer for several hours.  The 'spot' in this dish came about because of one of the dish's main ingredients, currants that dotted the white pastry.   Thus is the history of this authentically British dessert.  It is argued that the name for this dessert was coined after a hard cheese that was smeared in treacle sauce that was called a ' treacle dick' in the 1840's. Ironically, the word 'dick'  comes form the word 'dicka', a German word meaning 'thick'.

   The dish consists of a suet pudding with currants and spices that is boiled or steamed on the stove in  a steamer.  It is served warm (Steamed again for another 25-45 minutes) and served with warm English custard.

Peperation time:  5 minutes
Cooking time:   1 hour 55 minutes (for a large pudding)
                           55 minutes for individual puddings


8 ounces flour, plain
6 ounces Atora suet (either original or for vegetarians)
1/2 cup Light brown (Demerara) sugar
6 ounces currants or mixed dry fruit with candied peals
300 mills milk
the zest of 1 lemon
2 whole eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon cinnamon

Grease or butter 1 large (1 pt)  pudding basin or several individual (1/4 pint) basins. set aside
*Lakeland sells lovely lidded plastic basins!  You can omit the circles of parchment and foil if you have these delightful little lidded basins; simply butter the lids.
  1. Into a large mixing bowl, mix flour, cinnamon, lemon zest and sugar. 
  2. Pour in suet.  Make a well and add the eggs, then the milk
  3. Mix mixture well until combined.  Fold in the mixed fruit or currants.
  4. Pour batter into prepared basins.
  5. Take an 8 inch circle of waxed paper or parchment paper together with an 8 inch circle of foil and make a pleat in the middle.  Brush one side with butter or spray with baking spray.
  6. Cover the basin with the foil and tie with kitchen twine securely.  Make a handle on top of the basin with a seperate piece of twine. Fill a large pan with enough boiling water from a kettle to come half way up the sides from the rim of the basins and let it come to a boil.
  7. Steam pudding for 1 hour 55 minutes for a large pudding basin and 55 minutes for individual basins. Top up the water in the steamer every thirty minutes or so.  Make sure the pan does not boil dry. To test if the pudding is done, carefully lift pudding by the handle using the handle of a wooden spoon, remove paper and with a cake tester inserted in the centre of pudding make sure it comes out clean.
  8. When the pudding is done, remove from the hob and carefully lift pudding out of the steamer using the handle of a wooden spoon. Remove papers. Let pudding cool for 15 minutes.
To serve:

  1. Steam the pudding in a steamer again for 25 to 45 minutes or till heated through. Alternatively you can steam it in the mirowave using a microweavable steamer or just zap the pudding in the microwave for no more than 20 seconds.  However, the traditional way of reheating the pudding is on the stove.
  2. Serve the warm pudding with dallops of warm English custard.

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Death by Chocolate Cupcake

Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical. The recipes on this blog have been tested in my kitchen.

Death by Chocolate cupcakes
You will die and go to heaven after ingesting these heavenly decadent cupcakes....if the heavenly aroma hasn’t arrested your heart and soul yet, that is.


For the cupcakes:

2 cups thrice sifted flour (You heard me, I said ‘thrice’)
5 ounces finest chocolate cut in squares
2 Tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons best cocoa
1/2 cup caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs at room temperature
1/3 cup vegetable oil
½ cup milk
¼ cup chocolate chips
12 mini Oreo cookies

Pudding in the middle:

½ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons corn flour
3 tablespoons cocoa

For the frosting

4 cups confectioner’s sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
3 tablespoons best cocoa
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 Tablespoons milk
Small bag of mini Oreos

Bon Appetit!


Set oven to 350˚F (180 C)
Place 12 cupcake liners into a 12 cup cupcake tin

1.      In a large mixing bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Sift the flour three times. This may sound weird but trust me...the cake will come out lighter than air. 
2.      Into another bowl mix the pudding mixture.  Add to the flour mixture.
3.      In a double boiler melt the chocolate and butter slowly. Once chocolate is melted, remove from heat and set aside to cool.
4.      Meanwhile, into a large mixing bowl beat in the eggs, one at a time. Mix in the milk, oil, vanilla and whisk thoroughly.  Gradually beat in the dry ingredients. 
5.      Whisk thoroughly and carefully fold in the chocolate and chocolate chips.
6.      Pour 1/3 the batter into prepared tin; then place a miniature Oreo cookie on top.  Pour rest of the batter over the cookie.
7.      Bake the cupcakes for 25—30 minutes or until when a cake tester is inserted the tester comes out clean.
8.      Leave the cupcakes to cool on wire rack for 15 minutes.
9.      Frost cupcakes as indicated.

For the frosting

1.      In a large mixing bowl sift confectioner’s sugar and cocoa.
2.      Add butter. 
3.      Add vanilla and milk.
4.      Beat with electric mixer until well blended and fluffy.
5.      You can either fold in the broken Oreos to the butter cream or sprinkle it on top of the finished product.

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


Toad in the Hole
Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical. The recipes on this blog have been tested in my kitchen.

Toad- in –the- Hole

Toad-in-the-hole is a quintessential English dish.  It originated in England in the 18th Century as a typical peasant food. The humble toad-in-the hole was first mentioned in a cookbook in 1749 by an English cook named Hannah Glasse.  Yet in her cookbook, The Art of Cookery, plain and simple copyright 1747, Hannah used pigeons instead of sausages. In the first half of the nineteenth century, Mrs Beaton put the dish back on the menu in her book, Book of Household Management.  This time sausages were used instead of pigeons.  The sausages, which resembled toads, were baked in a Yorkshire pudding.

The name, Toad-in-the-Hole brings a nasty image of toads being boiled and baked in a pie.  It doesn’t sound too appetizing.  Images of witches come to mind boiling poor toads in their cauldrons then baking them in a sweltering oven before feeding them to their victims.  However, the name came about from the description of the pigeons or meat baked in batter from Hannah Glasses’ cookbook.  In her cookbook she described the dish as a cooked meat baked in the middle of a pudding (batter).  Since the toad sticks it’s head out of a hole, and hides in muddy holes in damp places during the day and pounce upon an innocent victim; this reminded folks of the similarities between the toad and the sausage poking itself out of the batter.  However silly this name was for the dish, it caught on. Curiously enough, there is an old English pub game called Toad-in-the-hole.  The game has its origins in East Sussex.   The game is played on a wooden board with a hole in the middle and a moveable plank or drawer on either side that resembles the coin levers in launderette washing machines. The object of the game is to try to get four of your coins which are lovingly called ‘toads’ into the centre hole.  The player who succeeds in landing his toads inside the hole scores two points. The dish consists of sausages baked in a Yorkshire pudding batter and served alongside mashed potatoes and greens.


2 Pork sausages per person
3 ounces all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 ounces milk
2 TBS water
2 whole eggs, well beaten
2 TBS vegetable oil or fat


1.      Preheat oven to 400º F (220º C).
2.      To make the batter, into a large bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt. In a jug pour the milk and beaten eggs. Add Water and mix well.
3.      Pour the liquid ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix well with an electric mixer.
4.      Put the batter in the fridge for approximately 30 minutes.
5.      Meanwhile, pour oil or fat into a 9X13 inch pan or a shallow oven-proof dish.
6.      Put the sausages in the prepared pan.
7.      Cook the sausages in the oven for 10 minutes until they sizzle and the fat is VERY hot.
8.      While the sausages are cooking take the batter and with the aid of an electric mixer add air into the mix by whisking it thoroughly.
9.      Pour the batter over the sausages and return to the oven.
10.  Bake for approximately 20 minutes or until the batter is nicely risen.
11.  Remove from oven.  Serve.

Serve the Toad-in-the Hole with onion gravy and mounds of mash potatoes.

Here's a fun game you can try.  It's called  Toad in the Hole game.  Make your own virtual Toad in the Hole.  Bon Appetit!

Bon Appetit

Sunday, 17 July 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical. The recipes on this blog have been tested in my kitchen.

Bon Appetit!

The humble spaghetti originated not in Italy as everyone surmises, but in China.  The Italians credit Marco Polo, the Venetian explorer for bringing spaghetti into Italy from his travels to China.   Spaghetti is made out of durum wheat.   To prepare the spaghetti, make an O with your thumb and pointer finger as if you are gesturing the word,  'OK'.  Place as many spaghetti strands as can fit between this O.  This is what 1 serving of spaghetti looks like.  You can also buy a device that measures servings of Spaghetti.  These cool devices come with little holes in several sizes to measure servings of spaghetti at 1, 2, 3, 4 to 5 servings.  Simply insert as many strands of spaghetti as can fit into the corresponding hole.  Once measured, the fun part of cooking spaghetti begins.  I remember watching a scene in Only the Lonely where John Candy is cooking Spaghetti for his girlfriend, Theresa,  and inserts a whole packet of spaghetti into a small pan of boiling water, burning himself and literally ruining dinner; to which Theresa says,  "I am really not that hungry." 

 To cook Spaghetti,  bring a big pot to the boil.  Add some olive oil and salt.  Let the water dance until it is really hot.  This is when you put in the spaghetti....not a moment sooner.    Spaghetti cooks in about 15 to 20 minutes.  To test if your spaghetti is done, scoop one to two strands with a fork or spaghetti spoon and taste.  The spaghetti should be soft and not taste pasty.  Some people like their spaghetti with a bit of texture.  This is called  'al dente'.    Once the pasta is cooked, remove from the heat and drain.  I like to add a tablespoon of olive oil or butter...just for richness.  I also sprinkle some fresh parsley on top of the spaghetti.

    I've often heard it say that the proper way to prepare spaghetti is to add the pasta to the sauce and not the sauce to the pasta.  I believe this to be true. This is the way most Italians eat their spaghetti.   Whether you like this idea or not, serve your spaghetti whichever way you like sprinkled with fresh parmesan cheese.  This dish goes really well with garlic bread and a good red wine.


For the Meatballs

1 lb lean minced beef
1/4 cup fresh parmesan cheese
1 onion diced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 clove of garlic
1 egg
2 tablespoon tomato sauce (you can also use 2 tablespoons tomato ketchup)
2 TBS vegetable oil

For the Pasta:

1 pound spaghetti
1 qt boiling water
1 TBS oil

For the tomato sauce:
1 tin tomato puree
1 tin chopped tomatoes
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon each salt, oregano, garlic powder, Italian Seasonings
1 to 3 cloves of garlic
2 TBS vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 375ºF (190ºC)

  1. In a frying pan sauté onions and garlic till onion is translucent. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. Meanwhile in another bowl combine the minced beef, tomato sauce, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and seasonings. Add the onions and stir to combine.  Add the egg and mix the mixture with clean hands or a wooden spoon to combine all ingredients.
  3. Shape meat mixture into 1 to 2 inch balls and place them in a slightly greased roasting pan. 
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.
  5. Meanwhile, make the spaghetti:
  6. In a stock pot or pasta pot bring water to a boil. Add 1 TBS vegetable oil and salt.
  7. When the water starts to dance it is time to add the spaghetti. Add the spaghetti to the pot and let the magic of the dancing water slide the pasta into the pot.  Stir with a wooden spoon and let the pasta cook for about twenty minutes. Once the pasta is cooked drain the pasta and place in a large bowl.
  8. When meatballs are done remove from the oven and let cool slightly.
  9. Make a basic tomato sauce: In a saucepan heat oil and sauté onions and garlic until onions are translucent.
  10. In a large bowl, combine tomato puree, chopped tomatoes and seasonings. Add the tomato sauce to the onions in the saucepan.  Stir.  Add in the meatballs.  Let the sauce simmer for about 10 minutes on a low hob.
  11. Drain pasta, place in a bowl and serve in pretty Pasta dishes.  Ladle sauce and meatballs over pasta.

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical. The recipes on this blog have been tested in my kitchen.

Cuban-Style Picadillo

This is an authentic Creole dish that is served in Cuba and Latin American countries.  The name, ‘picadillo’ originated from the Spanish word ‘picar’ which translates to ‘shred’ in English.  This is because the dish consists of shredded or minced beef seasoned with garlic, onion, green pepper and cumin which is sautéed with 4 ounces of dry white wine and tomato puree. This is how the Cubans season the ground or mince beef.  In some regions of Cuba cooks may add cubed cooked potatoes or even raisins or olives.   In Cuba the dish is served over rice accompanied with plantain crisps or sweet or fried plantain.


½ Lb mince beef
1 potato diced
1 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
1 Tablespoon tomato puree
1 diced green pepper
1 onion, diced
4 ounces dry white wine or vino seco as it is called in Spanish
2 TBS vegetable oil
1 large potato, cubed


1.        In a heavy saucepan pour 2 Tablespoons of oil.  Sautee onions and green pepper till translucent (3 minutes) on the moderately hot hob (mark 4).
2.       Brown beef until it is no longer pink. (5 to 10 minutes) Add condiments, tomato puree, wine.  Stir. 
3.       Add potatoes; Lower the heat and simmer for 30 minutes. *Alternatively and to save time cook the ½ inch cubed potatoes in the microwave for 10 to 15 minutes prior to cooking the picadillo. Drain and add them to the picadillo at the last stage of the cooking process.  This will save time.
4.       Serve over rice


Heavy bottomed saucepan, preferably one with a lid.
Measuring jug
Slotted spoon
Knife for cutting potatoes
Rice cooker or saucepan to cook the rice

Preparation time

15 minutes

Cooking time

30 minutes

Ready in

45 minutes

Bon Appetit!

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical.

The recipes in this blog have been tested in my kitchen.







Peanut Butter Cookies

We owe the cultivation of the peanut to George Washington Carver who introduced the crop to the plantation owners of the southern United States in the 1800’s when the cotton crop was ruined by the Boll Weevil.   George Washington Carver wrote a book in 1916 titled, How to Grow the Peanut and 105 ways of preparing it for Human consumption.   One of the recipes in this book was a recipe for Peanut butter cookies.

The humble peanut butter cookie consists of equal amounts of peanut butter and butter, eggs, sifted self-rising flour, equal amounts of white and Demerara sugar and vanilla extract.  The cookie is rolled into a log and placed in the fridge to make the dough firm.  Alternatively it can be placed by the teaspoons onto a lightly greased or a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper spaced 1 inch apart.  I like to firm the dough up in the fridge and then, once firm, cut dough at 1/2 inch intervals which I cut, forming each 1/2 inch piece into a ball and place the balls on the cookie sheet.  I then flatten each ball with the back of a spoon.  These cookies are known by their distinctive design which you make by running a fork on the surface of each flattened ball and making a criss-cross pattern. Sprinkle each cookie with a tiny bit of icing sugar.  The cookies can then be baked for 8 to 10 minutes on a 350˚ oven.

Peanut Butter Cookies


3 cups plain flour
1 tsp each Baking powder & Baking Soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
¼ cup crunchy peanut butter
¼ cup unsalted butter, cut into pieces
½ cup White sugar
½ cup Demorara sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla essence


1.      Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius).
2.      Slightly grease or line with baking parchment several large cookie sheets.  Set aside.
3.      Into a large bowl combine first four ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.
4.      Into a separate bowl cream the sugars and butter until nicely smooth and creamy. 
5.       Add Egg
6.      Add the dry ingredients, combining the ingredients well.
7.      Pour dough onto a large sheet of baking parchment which you have laid on the countertop over a large piece of foil.
8.      Form dough into a log and then take an edge of the baking parchment and roll this over the dough, twisting the ends to pinch shut.
9.      Refrigerate the dough for an hour to firm up. (If doing this step, do not preheat the oven first....preheat it twenty minutes before baking the cookies after the dough has firmed.
10.    When the dough has firmed, unroll the paper and cut ½ inch pieces of dough.  Form the dough into balls and flatten them slightly with the back of a spoon after placing them on a prepared cookie sheet. 
11.  With a fork drag the tines across cookies horizontally, then vertically.
12.  Sprinkle icing sugar onto each cookie.
13.  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes in preheated oven.
14.  Once baked, sprinkle more icing sugar on each cookie and let them cool on a wire rack for fifteen minutes.

Fudge Brownies

Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical.

Fudge Brownies

Chocolate Brownies

Fudge Brownies
Chocolate brownies--the all American favourite dessert is the perfect treat to have either at the end of a great meal, as a snack or topped with scoops of vanilla ice-cream with hot chocolate sauce! They are the a bit overrated, I know. But they are my favourite childhood treat. What are chocolate brownies?  Chocolate brownies are what is known as bar cookies...cookies that are made in a square pan and cut into 2 1/2 inch squares.  They are made of chocolate, flour, eggs, Baking Powder, sugar, and chopped walnuts or pecans.  The variation of a chocolate brownie is a 'blondie'---a butterscotch brownie. 

Brownies were first made in 1893 by a chef at the Palmer House Hotel as requested by  Bertha Palmer, a business sociallite  who callenged the chef to make a cake to serve to the ladies who attended the Colombian Exposition.

Chocolate Fudge Brownies


5 ounces dark chocolate, broken into pieces
8 TBS butter (at Room temperature)
2 whole eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
1/2 cup *self-rising flour (Sifted)
1 ounce chopped walnuts
1 cup caster sugar
*1 TBS Bacardi Rum (optional)


1. In a heat proof bowl put the chocolate pieces and 2 TBS of butter. Set the bowl over a pan of simmering hot water. Stir the chocolate with a rubber spatular until completely melted. *Add rum to the melted chocolate to give it a bit of 'oomph' and sophistication. This is optional, of course. Set aside to cool. Cream butter, and sugar with the vanilla essence in a seperate bowl. Add eggs and combine well.
2. Stir in the self-rising flour into the butter/egg mixture.  Pour in the chocolate mixture and combine thoroughly. 

3. Fold in the chopped walnuts.  Pour batter into a well greased or lined 8 inch square pan.  Bake in a 350 degree F oven for 30 minutes.

4. Remove from oven and let cool for at least 15 minutes.

6. Dust with powdered sugar or frost.

7.  Cut into 2 inch squares and serve.
Notes:   To make self rising sugar,  combine in a bowl:  1 cup all-purpose flour, 1 1/2  teaspoon baking powder and 1/2 teaspoon salt.  (Why not make a jar of 8 cups of self-made rising flour for your baking needs and store in cupboard?)

For frosting;  mix 4 ounces butter, 1/2 cup cocoa powder, 3 cups confectioner's sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla essence, 1 TBS milk. Beat with electric mixer until fluffy.  Variation...melt butter in a saucepan, then add the cocoa powder and stir until satiny and smooth. Sift the sugar and add to saucepan. Add vanilla essence and enough milk to make a soft spreadable consistency.

Makes 12 -- 2 inch square brownies

Essential Cook Books for Your Library

Welcome to the Enchanted Stove where everyday the stove top is full of delicious things to eat. Let's cook something magical.

Essential Cook Books for Your Library

              These books are an indispensible asset to anyone’s personal library. I have collected a menagerie of cook books over the years which I keep on a shelf in my kitchen.   They are a valuable resource of information that today’s cook simply cannot be without. My absolute favourite cook book that I own is The Joy of Cooking by the author Irma Rombauer.

(1998), Spiral-bound, 304 pages, ISBN: 9780028624518

The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum
William Morrow Cookbooks (1988), Edition: 8th, Hardcover, 560 pages, ISBN: 9780688044022

New Holland Publishers Ltd (2007), Hardcover, 128 pages, ISBN: 9781845375188

Cuban Chicks Can Cook: The Indispensible Guide to Basic Cuban Favorites. By Ana Quincoces Rodriguez, (2007), paperback, 200 pages, ISBN: 9780595408504

BBC Books (1992), Paperback, 640 pages ISBN: 9780563362494

New American Library (1973), Paperback, 849 pages ISBN:

The Kitchen Survival Guide: A Hand-Holding Kitchen Primer with 130 Recipes to Get You Started by Lora Brody, William Morrow (1992) Edition 1, Hardcover 320 pages, ISBN: 9780688105877

 The Return of the Naked Chef by Jamie Oliver Michael Joseph (2000), Edition: TV Tie in Ed, Hardcover, 288 pages ISBN: 9780718144395

The River Cottage Family Cookbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall, Hodder & Stoughton (2005), Hardcover, 415 pages, ISBN: 9780340826362

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