These are a few of my favourite things (Kitchen gadgets)…

I saw a pressure cooker on sale yesterday. Do people still use them? My Mum used hers all the time when I lived at home (and still uses it today). She was a working mum, and she loved the short cooking times. I just remember lots of steam in the kitchen and the foghorn sound when she cooled it down in the sink and literally ‘took the pressure off’! 🙂

I used it just the once. We made “Pressure Cooker Chops with Apple and Cheese Sauce” in Home Economics class (still have the hand-written recipe) and, of course, I had to try it out at home.

I have the usual array of gadgets: kitchen blender/mixer, 2 crockpots/slow cookers (medium and large), handmixer, breadmachine, small sandwich toaster/wafflemaker and the standard microwave and jug kettle.

But my most-used appliance has to be my ricecooker. Not because I can make fantastic meals with it, but because it does a lot of the ground work in my kitchen. I use it to make rice (duh!) but also use it for brown rice, spelt, bulgurwheat and couscous. We only have potatoes about once a week in our house. And I have used it to cook small amounts of potatoes and pasta.

I’m on my second ricecooker – the first one had a ‘plonk-on’ lid and didn’t do a great job. My current one has a ‘clamp-down’ lid and has 1 and 2 hour programmes. The 1 hour cycle is great for making creamy ricepudding. Just remember to stir it from time to time, so that you don’t get a brown bottom 😉

Mine also comes with a small steamer tray. So I can cook rice and steam chopped carrots or salmon fillets at the same time.

I’ve also recently started making omelets in it. Switch on the machine and programme it for the normal rice cycle. (At this point you can put in a knob of butter and sautée some mushrooms or peppers. Or just pop in some fresh spinach.) Pour in the egg/milk/salt&pepper mixture, clamp down the lid, and go off and do something for 10 minutes (shower time?). When you come back, the omelet will be softly set and read to slide on to plate 🙂

I’m always looking for ways to jazz up rice. Adding turmeric for yellow colour, raisins and spices for Moroccan style, cardamom seeds for Indian, crushed peanuts or pinenuts for more crunch, etc. Here’s a dish which can stand alone:

  • rice or whatever pulse you are using
  • tin of tomatoes
  • bit of sugar to counteract the acidity of the toms
  • salt & pepper (duh! again)
  • water or stock (use a bit less than normal because there is liquid in the tin of tomatoes)

When the rice has finished cooking, top with chunks of feta or goat’s cheese, finely chopped spring onions, sour cream/crème fraîche and maybe some fresh herbs.

As always – at the risk of repeating myself – bon appétit!

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