Help! I’m scared of my new appliance!

If Johnny Depp were an appliance, he'd be a pressure cooker.

If ‘Game of Thrones’ was an appliance, it’d be a pressure cooker.

I’ve never actually been scared of an appliance before.

There’s no shortage of gadgets in my kitchen. It’s an occupational hazard that I already own a fair few of them and usually I’m into them in a jiffy and using them for as many things as I can think of within minutes.

But ever since Kambrook sent me a pressure cooker to try out, I’ve had a half-unpacked box in the corner of my kitchen just looking a bit ominous and scary. Sure, my slow cooker is heavy, and my food processor is sharp, but neither of them have a reputation for EXPLODING the way that pressure cookers do. Not easing my nerves, most of the web pages dealing with these contraptions start with reassuring lines like “These days pressure cookers are safe and easy to use…” then off they go offering poetic descriptions of the hours of joy that await me.

Also alarming is the instruction booklet, which is 50 pages of info and recipes, but with some pages covered in more ‘WARNING’ panels than instructional text.

Yeah, sure, reassuring...

Yeah, sure, reassuring…

So tell me, do you use one? What are your pressure cooker staples and what recipes should I start with? This ‘Dummies’ cheat sheet seems a have a bunch of good basic information on using them and A Perfect Pantry has a good list of recipes – I’m thinking the beef ragu might be good (with a stack more vegies). And this pulled pork recipe looks good and cooks about 7 hours more quickly than my slow-cooker version.

I know many people are big fans of these contraptions, so if you can steer me in the right direction, I’d love to hear from you.

38 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    E said,

    I have a $200 pressure cooker sitting in the cupboard that my husband wanted. However, I too am scared of them and so it never gets used! I much prefer to use my slow cooker as I know it can’t explode.

  2. 3

    Kate said,

    Hi, I recently purchased one & it still frightens the life out of me every time! Its great for making soups, Just throw everything in & turn it on – last night I did, chicken, leeks, cauliflower, parsley & potato with stock & it was delicious. I find with dishes that I would normally slow cook there is a lot of liquid when finished so I either put it in the oven or stovetop to reduce. It really cuts the time & the meat falls apart – an amazing machine really. I found popping a wet tea towel over the vent helfpul when there is a lot in the machine (liquid) as it spurts out when you release pressure. Enjoy it!

  3. 5

    katie said,

    oooh, i’ve always wanted one – but i can understand the terror! good luck, be brave… looking forward to hearing about all the deliciousness you create!

  4. 6

    Jodee said,

    Best thing I have ever bought….saves so much time in the kitchen

  5. 8

    Kyles said,

    I have one just like in your picture (maybe the same one?). It browns, slow cooks and pressure cooks and I LOVE it! Slow cooked meals that used to take hours take 40mins. Essential for winter!

  6. 10

    V said,

    I also have a pressure cooker and I am scared of it also I don’t know what to do with it.

  7. 11

    Dani said,

    i got given one a year or so ago and I’m also too scared to use it. The instruction book just terrifies me!!

  8. 12

    Ange said,

    I got one last week after years of being scared of them too (my husband managed to make a normal saucepan explode, so I could only imagine what he could do with high pressure) BUT I used it last night for the first time, and I LOVED it 🙂 we are big risotto lovers in our house, so my first recipe was a pretty simple pumpkin and sage risotto but the texture was great and it was soooo easy. I’m so excited that you’ve got one to try, bring on the pressure cooker recipes! 🙂

  9. 14

    Lisa Z said,

    I love mine, 7 minute rice, no more canned kidney beans, chick peas etc, her beginners basics and cooking times charts are invaluable. The other night I threw in potatoes, kale, cabbage onion and garlic, 6 minutes later, Colcannon, all cooked, then I sautéed and mashed, threw in some left over corned beef and the kids loved it, best of all, lots of veggies!

  10. 16

    Lisa Z said,

    Oh and check out if your library has the women’s weekly PC book (S?) or the Suzanne Gibbs one.

  11. 17

    Anneta said,

    I was given one as a gift and had no clue how to use it. I hit the local library and borrowed every single pressure cookbook they had. Found the ones I liked and then bought them. I use it heaps in winter and love cooking silverside in it, as eliminates the lingering odour not to mention cooks in less then half the time!

  12. 18

    Lisa said,

    I bought one for myself after my youngest daughter was born, to save time in the kitchen. It’s easy to use and is very safe. It’s a Fagor brand, and since I bought mine, my parents and a friend have also bought the same one. I use the Suzanne Gibbs book almost exclusively, but the AWW Pressure Cooking book is good too. I do Suzanne Gibbs’ Pea and Ham soup (you still have to soak the peas but then it is only 15 mins cooking time) and it is superb. Also, stews (chuck steak is sublime in 20 mins), chicken, rice dishes and puddings (I did a steamed Christmas pud last year, yum). Never leave it unattended is about the best rule to keep in mind. And always use the correct amount of liquid…unless you have experimented and know how to change a recipe. Good luck!

    • 19

      wendyblume said,

      I’ll check out that book and yes, it sounds like great advice to stick to recipes for a while until I understand it properly! Steamed xmas pudding sounds good! The one I make takes 5 hours on the stove. Is that recipe in one of the books?

      • 20

        Lisa said,

        Yes the steamed pud is from the AWW book (the hardback version is what I have, 200pp). There is a smaller soft back edition that has a fraction of the recipes). Also tried the caramel banana steamed pud from the same book, quite delicious!

      • 21

        wendyblume said,

        thanks for letting me know – i’ll definitely check it out.

  13. 22

    Sue said,

    It also saves fuel with the shorter cooking times
    this site is brilliant, I cook beans etc and freeze them too

  14. 24

    Melissa said,

    Wen, have you done any slow cooker recipes? I bought one last year but don’t feel I’ve fully mastered it. M x

  15. 27

    rooey5 said,

    I love mine, it’s an old 5 litre Hawkins pressure cooker, I mean old!
    I use it for making homemade bone broth/stock and Asian pork rib/belly dishes when I want to eat their sticky deliciousness quickly. I’ve done corned beef in it with great results and beef brisket, and will probably churn out a fair few casseroles with winter setting in. Love it!

  16. 32

    Belinda said,

    I don’t have a pressure cooker… I’ve always made the excuse I have an induction cooktop so they don’t work on them… fact is I’m scared of them too. I defrosted a lump of unidentifiable meat yesterday and was wondering what on earth to do….. lucky for me I made the pulled pork recipe after reading your post this morning, and it looks and tastes delicious!!!….well, anyway, I think it’s pork??!!!!

  17. 34

    Jodi said,

    I had a pressure cooker (stove top kind) and I always managed to burn a bit on the bottom so I stopped using it. Love and use my slow cooker lots and when this one dies I will probably get one of the slow cooker/pressure cooker combos to have the best of both worlds.

  18. 35

    Elizabeth said,

    I literally grew up with a pressure cooker and cannot live without mine. I have a Kuhn Rikon (stove top) that I use nearly every day. The book by S Gibbs is a good place to start, as it clearly explains how it works and how to adapt recipes.
    I’ll try to list everything I cook in mine.
    Brown rice in 15 mins!
    Variety of soups
    Variety of stews and casseroles
    Lamb shanks
    Leg of lamb
    Large cuts of any meat
    Steam potatoes for mash in 15 mins
    Roast potatoes
    Steam chicken until it falls of the bone to make chicken pie
    Melt in your mouth beef for beef and Guinness pie
    Chilli con carne
    The list goes on and on….

  19. 37

    Nicole said,

    Any updates on the pressure cooker? How’s it going?

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