I’m a pressure cooker convert!! Over the past two weekends I’ve gotten to grips with the pressure cooker and now my only question is: What do I do with all the extra time on my hands?!
Two weeks ago I told Julian that whatever food he bought I was going to pressure cook it. He bought a duck! He looked at me dubiously when I told him I was going to make a spicy duck a l’orange. He wanted the duck roasted. I refused. I told him to get out of the kitchen and leave me alone. The stakes were high: my mother-in-law was with us for the weekend, and I didn’t want to fail. I followed Catherine Phipps’ recipe and an hour later served up the most succulent tender breasts and legs of duck, in a spicy orange sauce (with a less spicy version of the sauce for the girls), with steamed pak choi and steamed rice. Boy, was I proud of my culinary skills that night!!
I wanted to make a stock from the carcass of the duck, but Julian got there before me (not with the pressure cooker, I hasten to add). I worked all week, arriving home in the evenings to Julian’s usual delicious dinners, but looked longingly at the pressure cooker, keen to try something else.
On Friday evening I cooked penne in a creamy mushroom sauce (another of Catherine Phipps’ recipes, with some embellishments of my own). Wow. What a great meal. Creamy pasta is always a favourite in our house. Being able to make hearty hot food in one pot in such a short period of time is a dream come true. I think of those cold evenings, at the end of a long day’s sail, when everyone is tired, cold and grouchy. This quick recipe is sure to put a smile on everyone’s face.
On Saturday, the large ham in the back of the fridge called out to me. I’d been out with the girls all day and, under normal circumstances, it would take me an hour an a half to boil or roast the ham. But not this time. Cooked the beast in just over half an hour, and while it was cooking I prepared the potatoes, cabbage and green beans. When the ham was cooked I took it out to rest, drained off all but a couple of centimetres of the stock, and then steamed the potatoes and vegetables. Ten minutes later we were sitting down to one of my favourite meals – ham, cabbage and mashed potatoes (you can take the girl out of Ireland, etc etc).
Yesterday I used the stock to make a delicious lentil and vegetable soup for lunch. Nine minutes of tastiness. Enough for lunch for the whole family yesterday and for me to take to work for the next few days. Now…what’s on the menu for next weekend….?