Testing a pressure cooker

by Barry Lewis


Mushroom risotto

2tbsp veg oil

150g porcini mushrooms, soaked in boiling water

1 onion, diced

2 garlic cloves, chopped

1tsp thyme

425g arborio rice

850ml veg stock

50ml white wine

2tbsp parmesan


BBQ ribs

2tbsp veg oil

800g ribs

2tbsp paprika

2tbsp light brown sugar

300g tomato ketchup

100g treacle

100g light brown sugar

60ml cider vinegar


Sausage and mash

2tbsp veg oil

8 sausages

250ml milk

60g butter

1 onion, sliced in strips

5 medium potatoes, washed and peeled


Chocolate Cake

Chocolate Cake Mix / or equivalent

Chocolate buttercream – store bought, or make your own

A pressure cooker is something I was never really sold on, I thought they were dangerous and for the ones you put on the hob, not really something I felt would save me that much energy given the cost of gas, plus I like the idea of ‘leaving it’ to do it’s thing without having to watch over it.

That’s where an electric pressure cooker (or the original Instant pot) comes in, cooking with pressure, fast, energy efficient and with a fair amount of ease. These days multi-cookers are around including Instant Pot doing their own versions of 8-in-1 machines etc, but I wanted to get one that was purely a pressure cooker, so I found a fairly budget model that seemed to tick the boxes. So with that in mind, let’s make 4 recipes in the pressure cooker – including a cake!

4 Pressure cooker recipes

Mushroom risotto

Make sure your mushrooms are soaking in hot water, but keep the stock. First up add the oil into the pressure cooker with the onion and garlic, saute it for 5 minutes until softened. Then pour in the rice and cook a few more minutes to lightly toast it. Follow up with the thyme, stock, mushrooms and reserved fluid, wine and parmesan. Cook for approx. 20 minutes on a stew setting, then check all fluid is absorbed once ready. If not repeat for 5 minute batches. Serve with parmesan on top.

BBQ ribs

Make 2 separate mixes, in one bowl combine the 2tbsp of paprika and sugar respectively, season with salt and pepper, then shake this mixture all of the ribs to coat fully. Saute the ribs for 10 minuts in the pressure cooker using the oil and lightly charring the ribs, turning if needed. Remove and add into a bowl. In a spare bowl mix the ketchup, treacle, sugar and vinegar together, use 2/3 of the sauce and cover the ribs in this mixture, cook on a stew setting for 25minutes. Top up with remaining bbq sauce as needed when serving. You can also thicken up the spare bbq sauce if you want using a saute mode.

Sausage and mash

Saute the sausages in the oil, charring all over until golden brown. Remove, add the potatoes (pierced with a fork), milk and butter, then season with salt and pepper. Place foil on top of the potatoes and return the sausages and onions on top of the foil. Stew for 25 minutes. The sausages will steam cook and the onions will wilt, remove carefully and take out the foil, mash the potatoes in the pressure cooker. Serve with the sausages.

Chocolate Cake

Quite simply add the cake mix to the / bucket pan of the pressure cooker, and saute it (yep saute mode) with the lid on for 40 minutes! Carefully remove once cooled (after checking with a bamboo skewer that it comes out clean), trim off the bottom if it has caught a bit too much with a knife, then frost away!