Wednesday, 8 March 2017

Instant Pot Meat Loaf

Instant Pot Meat Loaf

I love meat loaf and it turns out that so does the little Tapita! It's delicious hot or cold so really convenient. Perfect for picnics for that imminent spring weather that is round the corner.

I have added a lot of flavour and a lot of vegetables to this meat loaf and it has been a hit with both Mr Tapas and the little Tapita so I am sticking to it from now on (as much as I can stick to any recipe anyway!).

As you don't all have an Instant Pot yet, I have given instructions below for other ways of cooking.

The timings for this recipe are going to depend on what shape and size you decide to give your meat loaf (or if you decide to urn it into meatballs or burgers), I have tried to give as much guidance as I can. A meat thermometer will come in very handy.

I have made it all beef with a mixture of pork and beef and also with all turkey mince. A mixture of pork and beef or all turkey are my favourites. In fact I was expecting the all-turkey meat loaf to be blander in flavour but it's positively delicious and still full of flavour.

You can of course absolutely turn this into patties, burgers, meatballs... Small meatballs in fact you can steam in about 5 minutes with natural release in a steamer basket (these are the most popular Instant Pot steamer baskets and inserts). You could also do mini meat loaves, I have these mini loaf moulds from Sainsbury's, they fit side by side in your Instant Pot, handy if you want to freeze some! In this case do 15 minutes on the trivet.

Instant Pot Meat Loaf

Of course there's plenty of mix to experiment: mini meat loaves and meat balls. Mini meat loaves for work lunches and meat balls to use instead of sausages in my All-in-One Instant Pot Sausage and Tomato Pasta.

Although you do not need a loaf mould for this, it does help make it very juicy (and for the all-turkey version you do as it doesn't hold together as well). You could wrap it in foil of course, do not pack it up too tight though.

I have used the new Instant Pot Non-Stick Silicone Loaf Mould which has a detachable sturdy tempered glass base, is super easy to use and can go in the dishwasher! It will soon be available in the UK too. I got an early one to play with. Also a round one. They are really really good. I have to say I had my doubts at first with my clumsiness, the glass, the way the silicone wraps around the glass... but, to my surprise, I have found it easier to use than conventional metal springform tins.

Instant Pot Meat Loaf
The new Instant Pot Springform Loaf Pan with Tempered Glass Base, soon on sale in the UK

If you don't have a meat thermometer, I advise you get one. It will come in handy.

For Thermomix users: this recipe helps give your Thermie a workout too, chopping all the veg. You can also mix the meat mix on reverse but it doesn't work all the flavours in as well as a big of hands-on effort (I have tried it both ways now and definitely mixing it all by hand).

Fancy trying it?

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Instant Pot Whole Chicken Stock



"Chicken stock with a whole chicken, shock horror!", I can hear the purists scream from here! Well, yes. When you're a working parent trying to keep your head above water you do not mind this type of thing that much and the stock is super tasty so, if I'm going to keep my head above water, it might as well be delicious chicken stock (or broth as some like to call it), in my Instant Pot of course!

If you are wondering how to do chicken stock with just bones (for example from a roast chicken you may have had on Sunday). hen just cook it exactly as per this recipe. Remembering less water, more bones and more time will give you a more gelatinous stock. My advice is that you freeze those bones and wait until you have the bones/carcass from at least two chickens, you will get more flavour that way and you can pressure cook the stock with the bones from frozen, no need to defrost.

I tend to pressure cook a whole chicken this way at the start of every week. Why? Apart from the fact that it's super easy...

Thursday, 23 February 2017

Car Technology for Fear of Driving and Anxious Drivers - How to try to overcome fear of driving... again

Car Technology for Fear of Driving and Anxious Drivers - How to try to overcome fear of driving... again

A post about car gadgetry rather than kitchen gadgetry? As some of you know, car technology has played a huge part in my life in the last year. I am driving again. Me, the girl with a fear of driving (I don't know why I don't quite like to call it a driving phobia).

I heard my husband tell someone the other day that I was a “nervous driver”. It made me giggle as I really don't consider myself a nervous driver, I have a fear of driving. Two very different things, in my case (or in my mind). But I may adopt the "nervous driver" description as, if I start saying I am a nervous driver I may not feel I have to explain much else. Whereas with fear of driving I feel like I have to justify where that fear comes from, why I have a fear of driving, which leads to a very long explanation.

I have had a fear of driving for over 20 years. When you have chronic pain directly related to how you acquired that fear of driving, it’s very difficult to shake it off. I hadn't blogged about my fear of driving for a while, I have in the past though and you can find previous posts and the explanation of the reason why here.

Fear of driving is very common. It is estimated that millions of drivers suffer from driving anxiety. For some of us it's quite strong and we can easily put off driving for months, years, decades but I have to admit, after what has been my longest driving spell in a couple of decades, I can tell you this: modern cars can bring a lot of peace of mind if your fear of driving brings a lot of anxiety to the driver’s seat. From worrying about not being able to find the right controls to fretting about taking one hands off the wheel in the first place. 

If you're reading this, chances are that you too have a fear of driving or are an anxious driver so you probably know already how exhausting it can be to drive despite that. The levels of anxiety spiral out of control

This post about car technology is just one half of my get-back-to-driving- journey in 2016. As you can imagine, the other half is way harder to write about and so I will do that in a different post when I'm ready.

In the meantime, please feel free to share any experiences, achievements and failures of your own. You are not alone. There are a lot of us out there who totally understand what you're going through. And that word "failure" is just another step on our road, failure is only negative if we let it be. From failure comes determination to succeed and so it's just a little bump on our road to success, driving success in this case.

Ready to read about the car technology that helped me drive again? 

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Homemade Vegetable Stock Paste (with Instant Pot and Thermomix instructions)

Homemade Vegetable Stock Paste (with Instant Pot and Thermomix instructions)

Ever since I started making my own Vegetable Stock Paste a couple of years ago, I haven’t stopped. It’s actually really easy. You can use a ton of veg that may be going off, you can use scraps and peelings and, like I did here, even broccoli stalk (which you can also add to soups). Nothing goes to waste here!

You’re going to need a powerful blender for this Homemade Vegetable Stock Paste (and an Instant Pot!). I’m lucky to have a Thermomix so I did it in two batches. If you have a Vitamix or something of the like, it will do the job perfectly.

In total I used about one kilo and a half of vegetables. I wouldn’t skip the onions, garlic, celery, carrots or mushrooms as those are great for the taste but, other than that, you can absolutely use any vegetables you have at home that you think might go well. Feel free to play with it so that nothing goes to waste. 

You can skip the parmesan if you want it to be vegan or more economical. I personally love the flavour that the parmesan adds and try to get it on offer for homemade vegetable stock paste.

If you can find courgettes, given the current shortage of 2017, first of all tell me where! Then of course feel free to add them. I love courgettes.

For Thermomix users: you can cook the whole thing in your Thermomix but you can’t fit in the whole 1.5 kg of vegetables from this recipe in there (above all if it’s a TM31) so the Instant Pot comes in really handy.

You’re going to need jars: I used jars of different sizes 2 x 500 ml screw top Kilner jars; 1 x 500 ml (clip top Kilner jar, not totally full); 2 x 250 ml Kilner jars. I now have a shelf full of jars in the kitchen for these eventualities... Wilkos is a really good place to keep an eye on them as they're often on offer at good prices. 

How to use your Instant Pot / Thermomix Homemade Vegetable Stock Paste

Add a heaped teaspoon to any stew or soup. Use it to make Pasta Soup or Instant Pot Beef Stew with Mexican Spices. Never buy stock cubes or bouillon again because this is going to save you a fortune! In fact, I tend to use this stock for pretty much everything now, it’s that good! 

I tend to think of it as a heaped tablespoon equates to a stock cube but it's all very rough measures. I grab a spoon, any spoon, from the drawer and add stock. As you get used to use it in this format, so will you. Just go by taste.

Ready for the recipe?

Monday, 20 February 2017

Instant Pot Gooey Chocolate Pudding

Instant Pot Gooey Chocolate Pudding

We were talking about Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Cooking the other day in this post here and I mentioned that the perfect example of pot-in-pot cooking is a pudding of course. I've cooked this Instant Pot Gooey Chocolate Pudding a few times and it's really good! And so easy that even the little Tapita (6 years old) can help. 

I recommend getting a pudding basin with a lid like my Masterclass 1 litre Pudding Steamer, it's perfect for this job and you will find lots of other pot-in-pot Instant Pot uses for it, like this Instant Pot Lemony Mince in Oyster Sauce with Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Rice

I found the inspiration for this recipe in a book called Making the most of your Pressure Cooker by Carolyn Humphries. I didn't quite follow the recipe though... and then I changed it some more. No surprises there. I've now made this Instant Pot Gooey Chocolate Pudding more than once, didn't follow the same method any of the times and the last time it came out even better so I think this is the way to go. The little Tapita seems to agree! She was in charge of helping, hand modelling, holding spoons and bowls up for photos and taste testing the last time we made it, during February half term (last week).

Don't forget you'll find all my Instant Pot recipes here.

Ready for the recipe?

Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Lemony Mince in Oyster Sauce with Pot in Pot (PIP) Rice

Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Lemony Mince in Oyster Sauce with Pot in Pot (PIP) Rice

When I scribbled notes for this recipe, I entitled it Tasty Mince with a Feisty Kick. As you may know by now, there are days when I am all about flavours. I like to look at what's in the fridge and in the cupboard and improvise. This happened during one of those day, also known as the day after I received two pudding basins to play with my Instant Pot so, clearly, something had to happen pot in pot. Right?

So, what is Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking? I have a whole post about it right here. It really is not very difficult and, once you have the hang of it, you'll love it and will be thinking ahead to decide what else you can cook in your Instant Pot at the same time as your normal meals.


I used this Arga Pudding Mould (perfect for Crème Caramel too) but to be honest it is quite flimsy for the price. Although at the same time fantastic for Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking. You could use any bowl that fits in your Instant Pot, always bearing in mind the requirements. And a taller trivet is handy to have. Find all details of the dimensions you need in my What is Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking post.

You can totally cook this Lemony Mince in Oyster Sauce without the PIP rice of course! The mince is totally worth it as it's so full of flavour. Or you could replace the rice with quartered potatoes in the pot-in-pot bowl and almost cover them with water then proceed as below (pretend they are the rice). In fact this is great for those of you wanting to make cottage pie. Can I feel a new recipe coming soon?

Ready for the recipe?

What is Instant Pot Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking?


What is Pot-in-Pot (PIP) cooking? 

Pot-in-pot (PIP) cooking basically means cooking something inside a pot (or bowl) that is then placed inside your Instant Pot's inner pot. Pot in pot. In this case "a pot inside the inner pot". 

The bowl is placed on a trivet, with water underneath to generate the necessary steam. It can also be used for layered cooking: imagine your cottage pie mix cooking in the inner pot underneath the trivet and the potatoes for the mash cooking at the same time in a bowl placed on the trivet. 


This method maximises the space in your Instant Pot and your energy use! When you're ready to try it, make sure you give my Instant Pot Pressure Cooker Lemony Mince in Oyster Sauce with Pot-in-Pot (PIP) Rice.
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