Wednesday, 20 May 2015

The best Instant Pot offer in the UK

The best Instant Pot offer in the UK
Click here to go straight to the Instant Pot website (opens in a new window)
Pressure cookers are back and they're big! I clearly remember my mother using one throughout the eighties. The old-style stainless steel whistling version but now there is a new generation of pressure cookers, the electric generation, like the Instant Pot.

It's an electric (or programmable) pressure cooker so it's not a conventional pressure cooker as it has been understood for years. In fact, I didn't even know people still used them until recently!

The Instant Pot also has the advantage of having many other functions: slow cooking, sautéeing, yogurt, porridge, steam, keeping food warm... and 6 litres capacity.

So, what is the difference between a conventional pressure cooker and an electric one like the Instant Pot?

Think of the difference as that between a stove-top kettle and an electric kettle. They both boil water but they use different sources o
f energy. The stove-top kettle whistles when the water has boiled. The electric one just switches off.

Well, this is very similar. The Instant Pot doesn't whistle during use and the steam doesn't release until after. In fact, it has two ways of releasing that steam: the natural way (time) or the express way (turning a little nozzle carefully to quickly release the steam).

Safety


Who doesn't remember hearing horror stories about stove-top pressure cookers in the eighties? The Instant Pot feels very safe, it has a large amount of safety features that have made a scaredy cat like me feel very safe when using it (this is a big one for me). There are only a couple of rules to remember from what I've seen so far and they are soon built into you when using it. More advice on getting started soon. 

Discount

So, how did I come across the best Instant Pot discount ever in the UK? Well, that is down to my Facebook comunity. A few months ago the name Instant Pot started crawling into my rather gadget oriented group. First one owner had one, then another, then another and they were all raving about it.

After a while of reading about it, how it was being used and the interest that other group members were showing, I approached the Instant Pot company in the UK to see if they would be amenable to a little exclusive discount for my group (the fact that it's nearing 1,300 UK-based members had to count for something, right?). The company (very proactive) not only took me up on my suggestion but offered me the biggest discount going in the UK and an Instant Pot for me to try.

The Instant Pot came while I was in Edinburgh for the Quirky Cooking UK Tour so it had to stay in its box for days! Once I had tried it and I was happy with the machine, the company gave me the discount code and my group members got ordering.

My Facebook group has had access to this discount for a week and tons of members have taken advantage and already have their brand new gadgets at home. I can now extend it to you too (that is if Instant Pot hasn't run out of stock thanks to my group members so you may want to hurry up).

By using code ft20151 at the checkout on the Instant Pot website to buy the Instant Pot Duo 7 in 1 Electric Pressure Cooker, you will get £25 off (so £104 instead of £129) + free delivery + a free sealing ring. Note: There is no need to add the sealing ring to the basket (the wording of the voucher doesn't mention it but the code will trigger the warehouse to add the sealing ring). Valid until June 30th 2015.

What have I cooked in it so far?

The first thing I cooked: 1 Minute Quinoa
My very first try with the Instant Pot was the test they recommend doing to get to grips with it, simple and effective, I liked it. My first creation was a version of the 1 Minute Quinoa. Then I made a feisty version of Ensaladilla Rusa, a chicken stew that turned out to be a very nice broth (I am still getting the hang of it) and then my chicken fajitas.

Now, the chicken fajitas have sealed the deal! I have never had a slow cooker and my version of fajitas is pretty easy as it is but with the Instant Pot they were wonderfully easy, no need for the oven to preheat and, because of the slow cooking function, I was able to get them started in the afternoon when T was back from school and leave them slow cooking until husband got home much later.

Hot food, made by yours truly, still warm with no need to reheat? This is a huge winner for someone like me.

Do let me know if you order or if you already have one. We will all learn together.

If you have any questions or particular things you'd like me to cook in the Instant Pot to give you my feedback, just leave me a comment or send me an email to feistytapas@gmail.com and I'll see what I can do! The Instant Pot people are also very dynamic so make sure you ask them any technical questions you may have.

Disclosure: I was sent a free Instant Pot Duo 7-in-1 after my email and before being provided the discount to make sure I really loved it. I did. Absolutely love it.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

When life throws you curveballs

When life throws you curveballs
I has been a wake-up and smell the pretty spring flowers few weeks

I published this post last week, it had taken quite a few days to decide to hit publish but I did it. Then 5 minutes later there were 3 messages in my Facebook inbox from people checking if I was ok which was not at all the desired intention of the post. So, let's try to do this differently this time.

I shall start by saying that I write this from a very good place. Feeling more like me than I have in years. A place where I feel excited about future plans, I have fallen in love again with my husband, with my life and with my little family.

It had been a while since I had written a diatribe and back then I did write from a different position (one of safety behind my anonymity).

It's not that I hadn't had anything to say, it's that I had too much to say and sometimes when there is too much to say it's best to say nothing at all.

In fact it's best to contain it all so that you don't have to think about it, if you don't move much then feelings and thoughts stay with you.

No sentimental songs, no liberating tunes. No. Feelings. At. All.

It's best to transfer nothing to paper because then it's real.

And it's absolutely best not to ever let go.

Until you explode of course, and then it all comes out.

But, of course, you do this in private because why should you let anyone see your weaknesses and that you really are not the supercapable person everyone believes you to be.

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Thermomix Za'atar Flatbreads Recipe

Thermomix Za'atar Flatbreads Recipe
Back in December 2014 I had the chance to organise and attend a cooking Christmas party at the fantastic Cambridge Cookery School, the chosen theme was Middle Eastern and Sook food. Ever since then I've been wanting to adapt these Za'atar Flat Breads to the Thermomix as it is quite a wet dough and, let's just face it, the Thermomix makes light work of kneading.

Za'atar is a condiment made of dried oregano mixed with sesame seeds, dried sumac and salt along with other herbs and spices. I used Waitrose's own label which also contains dried marjoram. I had never tried it and I have to say it's beautiful. Try it sprinkled on salads too. If you can't find any Za'atar, let's see if we can find a good way of making a homemade one and, for now, you can make these and use your favourite salt as topping.

A little birdie from my group (thank you Suellen) tells me that in Lebanese cuisine these flatbreads are called Manousheh.

It’s especially good with Kirrin’s Kitchen’s Thermomix Sweet Potato Hummus.

Don’t worry if you have any flat breads left over, they toast well on a low setting in the toaster and are delicious.

If you live in the UK with your Thermie or thinking of buying one, do not forget to come join my Facebook group, Thermomix Owners UK, for daily inspiration and chat.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Thermomix Japanese Cotton Cheesecake

Thermomix Japanese Cotton CheesecakeThere has been a lot of talk about Thermomix Japanese Cotton Cheesecake in my Thermomix Owners UK Facebook group ever since Patricia posted a photo of hers (which she got from the Webos Fritos blog).

I absolutely adore this cake, it is not a cheesecake per se, the cotton part refers to it's amazing soft touch and texture. It is very hit and miss with people though, the little Tapita (now 4 and a half, yikes!) and my husband didn't like it but a couple of the school run mums loved it.

Now, before starting to cook I generally like to lay out all the ingredients in bowls. It keeps me sane and it means that (when distracted by a child, email or door bell) I always can remember what has already gone in and what hasn't by looking at what is missing. This is one of those recipes where having all ingredients laid out comes in handy and makes it much faster.

If you're in the UK with your Thermie make sure you come join me at the coolest Facebook group, Thermomix Owners UK. We are a bit random, a bit thermogeeky, a tad gadget obsessed but, most of all, we are a fun, supportive, independent Thermomix group.

Before scrolling down to the recipe, let me give you a hint of what's coming up on the blog soon.

Sunday, 28 December 2014

Thermomix Roscón de Reyes / Roscón de Pascua (Spanish Christmas or Easter cake)

Thermomix Roscón de Reyes / Roscón de PascuaAt this time of year I am always asked the same question: do you know a good recipe for Roscón de Reyes? And unfortunately I don't, I am not very good at baking (at eating cake I am brilliant though). So, this year I have enrolled the help of the lovely Beatriz from Sabor de Amor who makes a fantastic roscón. Roscón is traditionally eaten for Epiphany (the Twelfth Night, the night of January 5th), when the Three Kings (Three Wise Men) visit all the Spanish children atop their camels all the way from the Orient after parading on their floats at many different cabalgatas. Without the cream, it's also typical of Easter where I am from, so you have two excuses a year to make it and the rest of the  year to perfect it!

A bit like brioche, sweet bread or even panettone, where I come from (Galicia), you can basically eat roscón all year round. So, feel free to take the Galician approach and don't wait to January 6th. Otherwise, your other perfect excuse is Easter time. Traditionally at Easter godparents give their godchildren a Roscón de Pascua, I used to get one every year. Delicious tradition if you ask me!

Based in Wrexham, Wales, Bea is a brilliant member of my Facebook group (Thermomix Owners UK) and has a business selling Spanish food (some of it made by Bea herself!) at very affordable prices (I do keep an eye out for these things). She is very proactive when it comes to getting any obscure ingredients and tools that arent' so easy to find over here (check out her Churros kit!). As a thank you for allowing me to share the recipe, I am leaving links to her Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts so that you can follow her.

Ready?

Monday, 22 December 2014

Thermomix Bica (typical cake from Galicia, Spain)

Thermomix Bica (typical cake from Galicia, Spain)I come from a lovely part of Spain called Galicia, full of sandy beaches and good food. Bica (pronounced bee-ka) is typical of this area and delicious dipped in coffee, which is why many coffee shops will bring you a bite (free!) if you order a coffee in the afternoon. Yes, you read right, free! Call it sweet tapas.

When my family gets together my cousin tends to make it (in her Thermomix), a couple of years ago she gave me the recipe then I promptly forgot until a few months ago. This makes a lot so you can make two cakes. I took some to my little Tapita's school teachers and shared with the school mums and still had some left at home. Everyone loved it, it got really good reviews as it's so light and airy but a little bit goes a long way.

My tip: try it dip in red wine or Port for a treat. Yes, it's the done thing!

If you are in the UK with your Thermomix, don't forget I run the Facebook group Thermomix Owners UK. A fabulous community full of fabulous people, keep an eye out on the blog to know why!

This recipe is designed for the TM31, which means it should work well in the TM5. Ready?

Thursday, 6 November 2014

Thermomix Porcini Croquetas

Thermomix Porcini croquetas
Croquetas are a very typical Spanish dish. Delicious creamy béchamel bites breadcrumbed and fried. One of those seemingly simple but rather fiddly dishes that the Thermomix and a piping bag make a breeze. The mixture needs to rest in the fridge so it's best to prepare it the day before.

These are perfect tapas, perfect picnic fare, perfect with a salad for dinner, perfect for an office lunch… the possibilities are endless.

Thank you to Eva from Catalan Kilt for putting me on to the idea of using porcini and referring me to this Spanish recipe for inspiration.

Thermomix Porcini Croquetas
Makes approx. 30, depending on the size

Ingredients:


For the mixture:

- 15 g dried porcini mushrooms

- 150 g unsalted butter, roughly cubed
- 30 g onion

- 200 g plain or spelt flour (I used spelt)

- 800 g whole milk, take out of the fridge about an hour earlier if chilled
- 1/4 tsp nutmeg
- Black pepper, freshly milled
- Salt (I use Maldon sea salt), to taste but start with about a teaspoon or less

- A couple of disposable piping bags (or freezer bags)

For bread crumbing and frying:

- 2-3 eggs
- Breadcrumbs (if you ever have left over bread, always make breadcrumbs in your Thermomix and freeze them, you can use them from frozen)
- Olive oil (being Spanish this would be the traditional oil to use but you choose)

How to make the croqueta mixture:

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