Pressure Cooker trials continued

So after yesterdays purchase of a new pressure cooker tonight’s dinner was pot-roast chicken with steamed vegetables all nice and tasty and cheap. It was the first time I’d tried anything like this in a pressure cooker as I usually just use them for stocks and soups and gammon and even then I haven’t owned one for the last few years so all in all it was a new experience for me. First I browned off the outside of the chicken to seal it by dribbling a tablespoon of oil in the bottom of the pressure cooker and allowing to get really hot before rolling the chicken around until all sides and ends are a good brown colour (a couple of minutes on each side seemed to work fine) before creating a trivet of carrot pieces and adding a couple of mugfuls of a decent chicken stock. After sealing the pressure cooker up I allowed the steam to build up to pressure and timed 25 minutes for cooking, during which time I boiled some potatoes in the bottom of my steamer and when the timer went I steamed some carrot, leek and parsnip for another 5 minutes while at the same time adding some broad beans into the bottom. When the chicken came out it was gorgeous and juicy (in fairness it was from the Morrisons “Extra Tasty” range) and I’ll definitely be experimenting more with my trials comparing pressure cookers and halogen ovens – I’m still interested in hearing more views on them please?

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Fish, a healthy start to the year

So for those of you that have read Healthy food tips will have realised I’m trying to fit in more fish than I’ve had recently so tonight is a double whammy – smoked kippers and trout with boiled new potatoes and steamed cauliflower. I’m going to assume you can managed the potatoes (reduced price new potatoes) and (reduced price) cauliflower yourselves? I’m fortunate enough to have been given many years ago a thick bottomed hob top three-tiered steamer which works well for me and is tried and tested (and “no” I still don’t add any salt).

For the fish then… nothing too complicated, my preferred method of fish cooking is to wrap in foil with a small knob of butter, a grind or two of seasoning, a splash of lemon and a tablespoon of boiling water per fish fillet and into the oven for quarter of an hour at a moderate heat. Quick, simple, retains flavour – trout and kipper both have fantastic flavour and again, as with all fish, I regularly pick up reduced price fish in the evenings at the larger supermarkets – especially those with fresh fish counters.

So-Juicy roasting bags = lived up to their name

Not sure how wide spread these are so to start with I guess I need to explain these. It’s a two part packet as a way of cooking a dish – in this case Chicken with Herbs – whereby there is a oven proof bag to seal the chicken and herb rub in.

As I’m trying to empty out the pantry ready for Christmas I chose to use a reduced-price tray of chicken wings that were cluttering up the freezer (I do a lot of my food shopping from the reduced sections) which isn’t the ideal cut for this but worked pretty well. “Waste not, want not” and all that – 43p in the reduced section for just over 1kg of chicken – yes ok some of that weight is bones and water but at that price you can’t go wrong:)

It was literally as easy as 1…2…3 opened the bag, put the chicken in and sprinkled in the herb rub and placed in the oven as directed. Only slight query was the instruction to “use the tab to tie the bag loosely” which seemed a little vague – how loose is loose?

To accompany I’d picked up something new I’d seen in Tesco – Golden Wax Beans – it seems to be a new thing they are doing as it was quite a large jar (340g – enough for two) for only 50p and rounded off with some boiled (no salt added) small potatoes

All in all a delightful flavoursome meal and definitely will be trying the other flavours in the So-Juicy range too – very impressed with the flavour it packed in. Slightly less impressed with the beans but very pleasant and a cheap way of getting one of your five a day so would get them again too:) definitely an easy enough meal, and cheap as well, coupled with healthy and it ticked all the boxes.

To top it all off – having used the roasting time to read some photography blogs and swapping some lenses around some of the photos of the finished product are starting to look better too – now practice will make perfect:)

So…what is Scampi? aka TV cookery invades the Internet?

“What Is ¬†Scampi?” ranks 2nd in top Google searches for this year. Pretty certain I actually ran this search myself after the question appeared in one of the cookery programmes I watch but which one it was I’m not sure now – the TV seems to be constantly tuned to Good Food these days (having been signed off for several months following the heart attack has given me square eyes and a rounder stomach)
Main contenders are likely to be

  • Masterchef Australia (much better format than the new UK version I’m afraid to say – viewers actually get to learn some cookery tips from watching it)
  • Top Chef – American version – a bit more game show like but great fun and again, like the Australian version, you get to know the competitors and build empathy, plus much more interesting challenges
  • Our (UK) Masterchef – any of the flavours – professional, amateur or celebrity (yes Tim Lovejoy was robbed)
  • Weekend morning TV – “Something for the weekend” and “Saturday Kitchen Live”

There are countless others – too many to mention – Valentine Warner Eats the 60s (and 70s) was possibly the best cookery show this year – fantastic for us retro foodies:)

So what other cookery shows have I missed from this list? I’m ignoring the countless re-runs to be honest as clearly that list would never stop.

Last but not least – anyone else interested to know what Cook-a-Long with Gordon Ramsay on Christmas day morning is going to involve? I’m assuming its going to be “Put your sprouts on now” “take the goose out the oven to relax now” cooking-by-numbers as it appears to last for 3 hours finishing at lunchtime on the big day?