There’s something a little outré about pressure cookers. Growing up in the 70s, before the era of the microwave, my mother used one daily, but I would think that now they are a much rarer beast to come across, but I suppose that in these austere times, there are benefits in looking back to the era of the three-day week and endless power blackouts (I used to think that doing my prep to the hiss of a Tilley lamp was a bit of an adventure). Will we all start cooking with hot boxes as well, and eating frozen black forest gateaux?
There is more that you can do with a pressure cooker other than potatoes and one-pot stews, and to prove it, Catherine Phipps has written this book. She gives us over 150 recipes, broken down into chapters on Soups and Stocks, Starters, Snacks and Savouries, Meat, Poultry and Game, puddings and so on.
Unsurprisingly (and greatly to the benefit of taste and interest), the recipes are a lot more than just sticking everything in the pot and bringing it up to pressure. There’s quite a lot of frying off beforehand before the pressure cooking itself, so most recipes aren’t hands off. However, the wide range of recipes means that most will find something worth trying. I particularly fancy the sardine recipes (I’m a big fan of sardine toasted sandwiches), rillettes (I LOVE rillettes), the baked bean recipes (of course, the speed with which beans and pulses can be cooked in a pressure cooker being a great boon for those who aren’t fans of lugging tins home).
There are some recipes where the inclusion of pressure cooking seems a bit contrived. For example, the recipe for scotch eggs where the eggs are pressure cooked rather than boiled, before being covered and deep fried. We also found the book a little light on photos with only around 1 in 4 of the recipes illustrated. The photos that are used are bright with simply unfussy, minimally propped styling.
However, in summary; for those who are looking at the pressure cooker stuck at the back of the cupboard, and are looking for inspiration, it’s well worth considering this book.
Fuss Free Rating
The Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Catherine Phipps: ***½
The Pressure Cooker Cookbook is published by Ebury, cover price £18.99
Fuss Free Flavours received a complimentary copy for review. All opinions are our own, we were not required to write a positive review.