The Pressure Cooker Cookbook by Tori Ritchie – review

Way back in the 60s pressure cookers were the latest kitchen appliance. My mum had one and would use it quite often but it had an alarming hiss and emitted a remarkable jet of steam. Aunty Jean from next door wouldn’t come into the kitchen if the pressure cooker was on the stove and even Mum would only use the thing when Dad was around. He was a night-worker so the times when both my parents were at home together were rare. In consequence that old pressure cooker never did fulfil its true potential and we didnt have The Pressure Cooker Cookbook!

cookbook review Pressure Cooker Cookbook Pressure cookers are a lot more stylish these days, and probably a lot safer. They are an indispensible part of any Indian kitchen, and many French homes seem to have a pressure cooker, too. It’s low-tech kit that will save time, energy and money and there isn’t much that can go wrong with it. The rubber gasket might need replacing after a few years and the safety washer should always be in good nick but the pot and lid will last for generations.

Think of this as the device that will allow you to cook slowly …but fast. Tough but economic cuts of meat are rendered melting in a fraction of the time it would have taken in a conventional oven. Lentils and dried beans are softened in a lot less than the usual cooking time and your kitchen will not be filled with steam during the process.

The author of The Pressure Cooker Cookbook is Tori Ritchie, a name new to many in Europe but she has had a successful career as a food writer and host of a memorable TV show on kitchen design in the US. She has an evident passion for good food and an appreciation of the practicalities of modern life, with lack of both time and money being constant causes of anxiety.

Pearl barley is a grain that is under-utilised. It’s available in every supermarket and can feed a family in under 20 minutes for just a pound or two. We have always used it to bulk out stews and soups but Tori offers us a very stylish Barley Risotto with Wild Mushrooms. Well, OK, the wild mushrooms will add to the cost but it’s easy to substitute regular round mushrooms when it’s just for you and the kids. Flavourful and substantial.

Tori also has a recipe for the classic Risotto, using arborio rice with a pinch of saffron. This gives the distinctive sunny yellow colour to the dish but also a subtle aromatic flavour. The parmesan shavings are the traditional garnish but they also add that very evocative taste of Italy. Don’t be tempted to use the tubs of ready-grated parmesan: it’s seldom good quality and can ruin a fine dish.

A must-try recipe is that for Barbecue-style Brisket Sandwiches. No, my culinarily-impaired reader, it’s not the sandwiches themselves that are made in the pressure cooker, it’s the tangy meat that takes advantage of that device. The brisket is cooked in only 60 minutes, and that’s just a third of the time that this cut of meat usually takes. This recipe is a real crowd-pleaser. The moist meat is thinly sliced and piled on burger buns, and the sauce acts as the only condiment necessary. A worthy dish for any rugby match-viewing afternoon.

The Pressure Cooker Cookbook has 40 recipes that are practical and delicious, and there is all the information here to enable you to adapt your own favourites. Lots to entice meat eaters, but plenty for vegetarians.

The Pressure Cooker Cookbook
Author: Tori Ritchie
Published by: Apple Press
Price: £10.99
ISBN 978-1-84543-431-1


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018