One of the more frequent barriers to healthy eating I hear of is lack of time. Everyone know it’s healthier for you to make food from scratch, but it can be a burden chopping veg, cooking meat, using different pots and pans, then waiting, waiting, stirring, and waiting. Sometimes I just feel like I can’t be bothered – it would be so much easier if I could just bung something in a microwave to be done in five minutes’ time, or even nip to the chippy! Thankfully I have discovered a method of cooking that is both fast and healthy: pressure cooking. Studies show that pressure cookers can lock in up to 95% of nutrients in food that roasting or boiling can remove, and use up to 90% less energy.
Tower Housewares have been making kitchen gadgets for over 100 years, so know a thing or two about making our lives easier. I’ve been told that back in’t day pressure cookers used to be known for blowing their tops, but Tower have refined the cooker’s design so it’s safe and not scary at all. They know that Chris and I have huge appetites (gotta get them gains!) so sent the 5.5 litre aluminium pressure cooker* – meant for four people! – for us to try out.
Friday nights are the worst food-wise for me. I do two classes at the gym, finishing up at half seven, then it’s very easy to pop to Tesco across the road for something cheap, fast, and undoubtedly unhealthy. Last week I decided to put my new pressure cooker to the test and see just how efficient I could be at making dinner for Chris and I. I began at around five, chopping potatoes, garlic, and veg, which I then left sealed in the pressure cooker along with frozen peas and sweetcorn. Everything else I needed to cook was strategically placed beside the cooker.
Gym time. I even had time for a pre-workout peanut butter and toast before I left home! I do spinning on a Friday night followed by an Olympic lifting class.
I finish around half seven, tired but happy, and keen to get home – even more so tonight I know dinner is going to be super simple and ready fast.
As soon as I walk in I add fish stock and chopped tomatoes to the vegetables, and place trout fillets on top. A quick Google tells me that potatoes take around twelve minutes to cook under pressure, but I leave it for more like twenty just to be sure.
The cooker is steaming away – it sounds like it’s going to take off! Once you’ve taken it off the heat you have to make sure the pressure knob on the top (technical term there) has lowered before you open the lid for safety.
The finished result: a fresh, healthy dinner made in just over half an hour. This meal wasn’t quite to my tastes – though my boyfriend enjoyed it – but given it was my first crack at using the pressure cooker I was pleased. Since then I’ve made some more successful dishes (Japanese curry, acorn squash soup) and some less successful ones (turkey chilli that somehow turned to just mush) but I think as it’s such a different style of cooking it’s a case of trial and error. One thing I’ve found is that you use a lot less water than you think you’re going to need, even if you’re cooking something like rice. It’s something I will be sticking with though – anything that frees up valuable training and studying time is a winner in my eyes.