I´m a gadget-driven cook. It´s all very well to extoll the virtues of unplugged cooking, and wax lyrical about pesto lovingly made in a pestle and mortar, but for day to day food-on-the-table purposes, I´d be lost without a Thermomix, a rice cooker, a blender and a radio.
I thought a slow cooker might be a good thing, since my favourite stews are off the radar. The idea of leaving an oven on for hours in the vicinity of a danger-seeking toddler makes me pale. Plus, with two children in the world I´m beginning to feel guilty about our fuel consumption.
But slow cookers are hard to come by in Spain, and I have had a pressure cooker sitting in a cupboard since I got married almost six years ago, so yesterday I had my pressure baptism. Chickpeas in minutes convinced me in seconds, and I´ve been playing with it ever since.
My first solo flight was based on this ragù. I did´t lock the pressure valve properly, and scorched the bottom, but all the same, I had a really tasty chunky sauce that´s made a great filling for empanada. So far, so good.
The chicken stock is what has me lost in wonder. I was convinced it would come out cloudy, but tried it anyway, thinking Pía wouldn´t mind. But amazingly, in 45 minutes I had a pot of golden, beautiful, clear broth. I did skim it before locking the lid, mind you, but it didn´t take so long. So now, instead of making a giant 5 litre batch of stock every month or so, I´ll make a amaller 2 litre batch all the time. It´s magic!
I have a chunk of pork shoulder marinating even as we speak, waiting to be turned into melt-in-the-mouth shreds of aromatic meat for tomorrow´s lunch.
I´ve only been using the pressure cooking for 24 hours, so maybe it´s just a coup de foudre and I´ll drop it in a week. But I don´t think so. I think I´ll be making a lot more beans and curries and stews, and can´t wait for Lorna Sass´ book to arrive. In the meantime, it´s risotto tonigth with this morning´s chicken stock. And if that works, well, then I can see myself becoming the official pressure cooker bore, as well as the official rice cooker bore.