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The life of Pie, or Cooking with a Ridgemonkey

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    The life of Pie, or Cooking with a Ridgemonkey

    I know that in numerous threads, we have discussed Ridgemonkeys. To give them their proper name, they are Ridgemonkey Sandwich Toasters. Simple little folding sandwich toasters that are placed over a gas ring, these very useful little cooking irons are actually so much more than that, though and I realised that I don't think anyone has done a proper review of one yet.

    Lets start by me explaining why I bought a Ridgemonkey in the first place. Quite simply, I am a fan of the traditional British snack pie. You know the sort of thing, an oblong pie in a clear cellophane wrapping with a tin foil base, that you buy from a filling station for about a quid. Steak and kidney, mince beef and onion and chicken and mushroom to name but a few. I like 'em cold, who doesn't, but I like 'em hot, too. And there's the thing. Hettie is blessed with a magnificent kitchen for her size. Two fine Smev burners and a splendid grill that works just fine. But as with most vans of her size, she doesn't have an oven. And quite rightly so, you don't really need an oven in a small van. But I wanted to heat pies. Oh, how I wanted to heat pies. On many a cold night I dreamed of a hot pie with veg and mash. I yearned for the taste of warm mince beef and onion or chicken and mushroom dribbling down me chin. (I am easily pleased....)

    Now, there are ways to heat a pie with the equipment available. You can stick 'em under the grill and turn 'em and hope, I'm told. Or you can create a Dutch oven with a saucepan turned over on a heating frying pan and wop the pie inside. Or I've heard tell of putting a dry pan with a pie within, inside a pan of boiling water and heating the pie that way. There are probably other ways too. I am sure you will all now reply with tremendous Heath Robinson methods of heating a pie with nothing but a tooth pick, an enamel mug and some ordinary household bleach. But none of them worked for me.

    Then I stumbled across the Ridgemonkey Sandwich Toaster, on someone's YouTube vlog. And my life of pie changed.

    There are many, many videos on YouTube of people cooking with Ridgemonkeys. But best of all, they heat pies. Oh, do they heat pies. I have heated many a pie. I am now addicted to heating pies in the Ridgemonkey. I can do traditional 79p service station pies, or deep fill Waitrose things costing about three and a half quid. And fortunately for me, there is no skill to it. You just follow the instructions on the pie. Job done.

    The secret to cooking nearly anything in a Ridgemonkey is keeping the gas as low under it as you can. I can't strees this enough. The lowest gas you can get. With Hettie, (Romahome C15) it is the low setting on the gas knob, so even more simple for a dunce like me. Ok, I am sitting here now looking at a Co-Op steak pie. The instructions tell me to remove outer packaging (cellophane thingy), retain foil tray and cook in the centre of the oven for 15 minutes. So what I will do is pre-heat the Ridgemonkey over the low gas for a couple of minutes, just to get some heat in to it, then open it up, stick the pie inside and then close it and heat for 15 mins on the low gas. And the pie will cook right through and even start to brown on top, a little. It really is as simple as that. Job done. It'll be proper hot, like.

    And also, rather splendidly for all of you with such awful diets as me, the Ridgemonkey cooks those little 69p mini pizzas that you get in most supermarkets, exactly the same way. Just chuck it in a pre-heated Ridgemonkey and away you go. Follow the cooking instructions. The top melts and the base crisps up. I can't offer any more than that. It just works!

    I have yet to attempt a pork chop or similar in the Ridgemonkey, but I will do so very soon. I normally pan fry or grill a chop, but my local butcher does rather lovely minted lamb chops, which you can do under the grill, but the sauce stuff sort of dries up. In the Ridgemonkey, I imagine it will just cook in the sauce. For this sort of cooking, you just regularly turn the Ridgemonkey to ensure both sides are cooked evenly.

    If you're not convinced, just pop on to YouTube and put Ridgemonkey in the search engine, and be amazed. People have baked cookies, produced full englishes and scorched vegetables. I imagine if you can do it in an oven, people will have attempted it in a Ridgemonkey.

    Now, there are a couple of different types of Ridgemonkey, but if you're tempted, go for the XL. It's barely any more in cost but there is significantly more room in it than the original, apparently. I know Brian the Snail has a Ridgemonkey and will probably swear by it rather than at it. The so far excellent non-stick surface precludes any real need for any cooking oil although there would be no harm in using it if you wished. Just make sure that you use wooden or plastic utensils and I'm sure it would stay that way.

    I guess if you wanted, you could just cook toasted sandwiches in it, but if you do need the convenience of a small oven in your small van, you could do worse than buying yourself a Ridgemonkey. Currently available on Amazon, the Ridgemonkey does offer some real versatility in your camper van kitchen. I know I wouldn't be without mine.

    Now, I do believe I've earned a pie......

    Panda
    These broken wings are gonna leave me here to stand my ground........

    #2
    IMG_1188.JPGIMG_1189.JPGIMG_1187.JPG
    These broken wings are gonna leave me here to stand my ground........

    Comment


      #3
      An excellent review, Pandabloke! And yes, there are tempting-looking meals on the youtube clips.

      I had considered buying one myself but decided to wait to see the one bought by Brian the Snail first. It does look useful but perhaps on the small side for food for two people? On the other hand, I can see it fits perfectly over the ring which a larger one (like my large skillet) doesn't do!

      The jury is still out on this one.
      Carpe diem! :)

      Comment


        #4
        That does look rather the bees knees! Thanks for the review, it's always good to hear from someone who has used one. I have the small double skillet, which also cooks pies and stuff really well, and does a similar thing. I like the size of that one, though, you could squeeze some ready cooked chips in with the pie!

        Comment


          #5
          We really should give my large skillet , with diffuser, another go!
          Carpe diem! :)

          Comment


            #6
            Our Ridgemonkey has been tested at home where we made the mistake of cooking burgers in it. They cooked perfectly but it doesn't seal and the simple act of turning it over caused a significant grease seepage onto the cooker. You live and learn.

            My #1 one concern is that a lot of the pies seem a bit too deep and will need significant squishing to fit in the Ridgemonkey. Unfortunately our Waitrose doesn't seem to sell those snack pies so beloved by Pandas. Despite that I am expecting it to become a much used bit of kit. I recently saw a video of someone cooking pizza in it. Pizza! Pepperoni pizza!! Pepperoni pizza is to blokes wot chocolate is to women (OK, to avoid sexist accusation I am sure that there are millions of women pepperoni affcionadas and I'm not adverse to the odd bit of chocolate myself!). Forget the dribble of hot gravy down your chin, it pales in comparison to the sheer joy of removing cheese strings from your beard (I leave it to the reader as to the gender I'm implying here)

            We also want to try chops, steaks, but pies, most of all pies. Our Scotland trip last year, so many 'award winning' pies, so much frustration.

            It gets used for real in our forthcoming tour or Ireland where I'm hoping steak and Guinness pies abound.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by BrianTheSnail View Post
              Our Ridgemonkey has been tested at home where we made the mistake of cooking burgers in it. They cooked perfectly but it doesn't seal and the simple act of turning it over caused a significant grease seepage onto the cooker. You live and learn.

              My #1 one concern is that a lot of the pies seem a bit too deep and will need significant squishing to fit in the Ridgemonkey. Unfortunately our Waitrose doesn't seem to sell those snack pies so beloved by Pandas. Despite that I am expecting it to become a much used bit of kit. I recently saw a video of someone cooking pizza in it. Pizza! Pepperoni pizza!! Pepperoni pizza is to blokes wot chocolate is to women (OK, to avoid sexist accusation I am sure that there are millions of women pepperoni affcionadas and I'm not adverse to the odd bit of chocolate myself!). Forget the dribble of hot gravy down your chin, it pales in comparison to the sheer joy of removing cheese strings from your beard (I leave it to the reader as to the gender I'm implying here)

              We also want to try chops, steaks, but pies, most of all pies. Our Scotland trip last year, so many 'award winning' pies, so much frustration.

              It gets used for real in our forthcoming tour or Ireland where I'm hoping steak and Guinness pies abound.
              Ha ha, yes, cooked a pepperoni mini pizza for my lunch today, then pie, mash and veg for dinner. I'm stuffed, to be honest.

              I have cooked a Waitrose deep fill pie thingy in it and it does squash it a wee bit, but it sprung up again at the end, so all was not lost. It's deeper than you think and pie withdrawal symptoms do help in the fitment of over sized pies in to said 'Monkey.....

              The pizza was not a microwave pizza or anything, just a wee one. You know the sort, they them sell on the shelf beneath the monstrous pizzas for less than a quid. It said 6-8 minutes and I did it for 10 minutes and to be fair, the base was a bit over crispy, but the cheese and everything was proper cooked, like. If you do attempt a pizza, don't flip it over, all hell breaks loose......

              I have seen some people using the Ridgemonkey open, as a frying pan. I think some rather clever folk have butchered the hinge and bracket at the back and made them so they come apart and can be used as two flat frying pans, or folded right back. Mine could be used open, just about, as it has space when half upright on the hob, as you see in the photos. The other option when doing your burgers might to be open the 'Monkey and carefully wipe the excess grease off with a bit of kitchen roll, before flipping the pans.

              And you are right about the common or garden pie. I intend to do an article on the demise of the British pie, in the near future. When I was wrestling with Llamas, a week or so ago, neither Londis, Waitrose, Cost Cutter or the small Co-Op I visited at the time, stocked your basic oblong pie. I was devastated until Iceland sold me 2 for a quid.

              Made up, I was.

              Panda
              Last edited by Pandabloke; 22-04-2018, 07:41 PM. Reason: The inability to spell the word 'less'.
              These broken wings are gonna leave me here to stand my ground........

              Comment


                #8
                Pandabloke, on your recommendation I have ordered a Ridgemonkey and hope to use it on my first trip out in my Romini. Our first trip will be to Newark.

                Comment


                  #9
                  Great stuff! I wish you every success with it. Pies, I tell you, pies!

                  Panda
                  These broken wings are gonna leave me here to stand my ground........

                  Comment


                    #10
                    I do like that ridge monkey...!

                    Depending what's cooked in it...

                    https://www.theguardian.com/lifeands...ay-bentos-pies

                    https://www.theguardian.com/science/...food-purchases

                    got one of these

                    https://www.amazon.com/Rome-Industri.../dp/B000FNLXWG

                    Comment


                      #11
                      I have a ridgemonkey waiting in my shopping basket at the moment, have read such good reviews. I think you have convinced me!

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Panda the burgers were the first and only thing we've tried in the RM ('cos we haven't been away in the van) and apart from the mess because we didn't know better we were impressed. And with you over the lack of your basic pie. Seem to be a lot of much deeper pies in shops these days, and what's this with making 'em round - nowhere near as compact and easy to get 2 together in an RM (don't forget Liz and I tend to cook for two)

                        As for pies - we did pick up a Fray Bentos large S&L pie but looking at the instructions they say to cook in the tin (lid removed, of course). Not sure if enough pastry structure to remove from tin and stick in RM.

                        And Liz's question to the undisputed Mary Berry of the SMHF Ridgemonkey scene (yes Panda, she did mean you) - do you heat your pies in their foil dish or do you cook 'em without the foil? (my original draft had '...or do you cook 'em naked' but that conjured up an imagine I think none of us want to imagine!).

                        Comment


                          #13
                          I'd have to say Brian that the pastry top might be a bit unstable for removal.

                          Hmm, having said that, I have only ever cooked them at room temperature but perhaps if they were chilled (not frozen) and cut all round the edge then you may be able to lift it of carefully with something like a fish slice.
                          The meat after all is already cooked so stick that in a saucepan.

                          Only thing with all that is the faffing around and the extra washing up

                          Comment


                            #14
                            Thanks for the great review Pandabloke and to BrianTheSnail for adding your thoughts.

                            You can buy these through Amazon https://amzn.to/2L3eJXG

                            As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases
                            Graham
                            Did you know you can follow us on Facebook, YouTube and Twitter or you can visit us at our Website

                            Comment


                              #15
                              I bought a Kampa toasted sandwich maker last year and have used it for pies and toasted sandwiches. I had not heard of the Ridgemonkey until the SMF posts about it. I bought the XL size Kampa one and am delighted with it. it heats up very quickly and I use a diffuser under it as it is so efficient at heating up. The only difference between the two might be that the handle on the Kampa one looks shorter. I might be wrong of course but they are both around the £20 mark. I paid £19.99 from a camping shop. I just saw it as I wandered around and did an impulse buy. Not one I have regretted though. I will try a pizza based on Panda's recommendation. I don't eat burgers but would just flip/turn the burger over rather than the whole caboodle. That way no leakage.

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