I was recently sent a Bella Multi-Function Pressure Cooker to review and I’ll be honest, I didn’t have a clue what I was going to do with it! I’ve never had cause to use a pressure cooker before so it was all new territory for me. The only thing I knew of pressure cookers was that they had a bit of a fearsome reputation as being difficult to master.
The pressure cooker came with a user guide that had a couple of recipes in the back, one of which was Risotto so, as that is a fave dish of ours, I decided I’d have a go at that.
I did set about making that, but then Mr D fell and split his lip so after Damian and I had managed to get him calmed down, things hadn’t quite gone to plan with the risotto, I’d had to stop it halfway through and it just took a bit longer than I’d expected. However, when it was finally done it tasted lovely and was really creamy so it is definitely something I’ll try again, hopefully without the injured child!
This evening I had one of our cats at the vets so I had dinner after I got back and when the children had gone to bed. As I mentioned in my meal plan for this week, I had a few onions left to use up so I decided to make a French onion soup.
I loosely followed this recipe here for my soup. I was really impressed that I could use the pressure cooker to do the whole thing in one pan- I fried the onions first in the cooker then once the stock was added I locked the lid in place, set the timer to six minutes and left it to cook. I wasn’t too sure how it would work out to be honest, but I was impressed with how tasty the soup was despite the (very) short cooking time.
The pressure cooker itself is really simple to use. There are a number of options to use depending on what you are cooking. It is easy to tell when the cooker has reached temperature and pressure and started to cook and equally easy to cancel the cooking, or amend the cooking time. There is a display that counts down the time left and also circles until the pressure cooker has reached pressure and started cooking.
Once the cooker has finished then you release the pressure by turning the dial at the top and wait for it to finish and for the locked lid to release. The only word of advice to be aware of here is not to have the cooker underneath worktops!
It was really quick and mess free to make this soup, plus it was all done in about 15 minutes unlike if I had cooked on the hob. I simply blended my soup up, added some grated cheese and pepper and it was ready to eat. Perfect.
The pressure cooker itself is really easy to clean. The pan inside is all non stick and lifts out super easy. Both the soup and sticky risotto have been easy to clean away. The lid is also easy to clean and there is a guide to how to undo the various bits to enable it to be cleaned.
The Bella multi-function pressure cooker isn’t a small item, and it is one of the bulkier items in my kitchen. The picture below shows it in comparison to my standard sized kettle and the bottle sterilizer. However it is modern and fits in well with my other cooking equipment. I can certainly see the appeal of pressure cooking if you’re short of time.
The Bella multi-function pressure cooker also has a steam rack included which sits on a ridge inside the main pot – I’ve not had chance to use this yet though but it doesn’t seem overly complex.
Pressure cookers can seem like a scary bit of kitchen equipment, and I know the stove based ones that clamped together aren’t the sort of thing I’d be confident to use, however the Bella multi-function pressure cooker is a modern bit of kitchen equipment that is super easy to use. You simply pop the ingredients in, select the cooking option and twist the lid shut. Make sure the pressure valve is set to the right place (it only feels loose when set in the right position) and you’re good to go. When it’s time to release the pressure, the lid stays locked until it is safe to be released so no need to worry about things in that respect.
Whilst I don’t think I’ll be using the pressure cooker for every meal I make, there are some when I can see it’s benefit. Certainly the risotto we had using it was much creamier than usual and I suspect the rice pudding would be delicious too.
Have you, or do you, use a pressure cooker, and if so what are your favourite recipes?
To be in with a chance to win a Bella multi-function pressure cooker please complete the gleam widget below. The giveaway ends on 20th February.