Amy vs The Super Foods

I began seeing various posts around the blogosphere on "Super Foods" a few years back. I was either pregnant or breastfeeding so I put it in the 'WHATEVER' basket and picked up my family sized block of chocolate again.

However, now I am neither pregnant nor breastfeeding more than once per day I'm curious. It started with buying some quinoa. How the blazes do you cook it so it doesn't taste like bitter sand? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

The quinoa went back into the cupboard (and to Pinterest) and I began using polenta and couscous more regularly than pasta. Baby steps. Baby steps.

I began to hack our daily bread by adding linseeds to the white bread mix. Then linseeds and a ground mix of sunflower seeds and pepita. Then linseeds, ground pepita sunflower mix, wheat bran and some wholemeal flour. Then linseeds, ground pepita sunflower mix, wheat bran and wholemeal flour to wholemeal bread mix. And by golly, that bread is DELICIOUS.

Then chia seeds entered my life. Mr S commented on the insane cost of said seeds and I vowed to make them worthwhile! I added some to the bread mix. Delicious!

Mr S is embarking on a hike to Federation Peak and I began to wonder what I could bake for the crew to keep their energy levels up. Mr S says 'SUGAR. CHOCOLATE. ALL THE SUGARY CHOCOLATE.' which there will be, but I thought something different, too.

CHIA! LINSEEDS! CACAO! CRANBERRIES! SMUG SMUG COOKING!

THIS RECIPE! But with a few modifications. I added a tablespoon of cacao, a dribble of malt rice syrup, a dash of vanilla and a tablespoon of brown sugar, because it tasted like dirt otherwise. I omitted the garlic and onion.

I turned the oven on to 200oC, prepared the mix, wondered at the extraordinary cooking time (3 hours?!) decided they were deranged. I tried an hour, flipped and cut, then prepared for another half hour.

This happened.

Ah, crap.



I ran through all obvious mistakes in my head, ruling them out one by one. Obivously. I am a GREAT baker. The recipe was wrong. WRONG WRONG WRONG.

Then it dawned on me.

200oF. AKA 93oC.

I present to you a very expensive batch of compost. Ah, crap.

Mrs Smyth... takes the pressure down.

Sort of.
*cue mid 80's music*

No idea what I'm talking about. The mighty John Farnham of course!


Are you back now? Have you rejoiced in that saxophone solo? Good.

I'm talking about my Kambrook Pressure Express Pressure Cooker. When Ros from Sew Delicious had her first Bloggy Birthday giveaway, one of the prizes was said pressure cooker. I entered the competition because there was some SWEET fabric prizes too. And I had no idea what to do with a pressure cooker, because I'm so country and old school that I slow cook most nights with my cast iron pot on the fire. Oh yeah baby, I know how to party.

Then, I won the pressure cooker. OOOOER! How exciting! I waited for it to turn up, and just when I'd figured it had taken a detour around the pristine countryside of the Huon Valley, my local Mitre 10 rang me. Their courier had delivered it to them, so they looked me up in the phone book. Must love the country. MUST.

Millie and I whizzed down the street and they loaded it into the boot for me. Then I brought it home, and put it on the bench.

Tuesday
I took the book out, read about pressure release valves and dangerous things, realised it didn't make any sense in my preggo sleep deprived state and put the book back.

Wednesday

I googled pressure cooker recipes and wondered how it all worked. I rang my mother, and my mother in law and asked them about pressure cookers. I read the book, and put it back.

Thursday

I decided enough was enough. I unpacked it, read the book again, read the website again, washed it all up and sat it on the bench. We were having dinner guests on Friday night and I would pressure cook a meal, even it killed us all.

On Friday, Millie's week of grumpy whinging turned into some sort of tummy bug, which coincided with my needing to clean the entire house at the same time. I found a few recipes online by googling 'Pressure Cooker Beef' but none of them took my fancy. I decided I rather fancied Beef Satay and WE WERE GOING TO DO IT IN THE PRESSURE COOKER AND THAT WAS THAT.

Did I still have any idea how to use the pressure cooker?

No.

I was overjoyed when our dinner guests turned up and I mumbled something about a pressure cooker, and my mate Jonno said 'Oh! Emily's just finished a pressure cooker cooking course!'

Angels sang.

I dragged politely invited Emily to the kitchen, where after she did my dishes for me (bless!) whilst I got ingredients ready, we wrangled the recipe into some sort of pressure cooker format.

Then we realised none of the three of us knew how to cook rice without a a) rice cooker (Emily)  b) microwave (Jonno)  c) Mr Smyth (me). Enter Mr Smyth, and rice was cooking.

We put the satay beef and sauce in the pressure cooker, worked out how to close it all up, and watched the timer count down. We thought we'd released the pressure valve and directed Mr S to open the pressure cooker. I'm growing a human, you know.

When the lid didn't budge with gentle prodding, we deduced that we had not, in fact, released the pressure valve. Mr S tried again, and it turns out when you do release the valve, it makes an almighty hissing sound. Oh.

Mr S demanded first taste as reward for risking his life, and decided that it was indeed worth risking his life for.

There are no pictures of said Beef Satay with Rice, because it did not look particularly appealing, but MY GOODNESS it was delicious.

So... the recipe for you.

Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce
from the Commonsense Cookbook


Satay

300g beef/chicken/pork/lamb
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon honey
pinch of chilli powder
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1 tablespoon oil

Peanut Sauce

1 crushed clove of garlic (I use two)
1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 teaspoon brown sugar
squeeze lemon juice
pinch of chilli powder (make it good pinch!)
1/4 cup water of coconut milk
*note as the pressure cooker needs more liquid than regular cooking, I had doubled the recipe anyway and used a whole tin of coconut milk.

Method:

Satay

  1. Slice beef into thin strips.
  2. Mix all other ingredients and add meat, mix until each piece is coated.
  3. Marinate for 30 minutes. (piffle! I've never done this!)

Peanut Sauce

  1. Combine ingredients in a medium sized saucepan.
  2. Stir over moderate heat until smooth, then slowly stir in enough water or coconut milk to give a dipping consistency.

Pressure Down!

  1. Heat the pressure cooker on the Saute setting, then seal the Satay mix.
  2. Turn off at the wall, add in the peanut sauce, place and seal the lid.
  3. Set to level '3' and turn the power on.
  4. Watch the dial time down. This is especially riveting.
  5. When dial has finished, do not touch the pressure cooker for a minimum of 10 minutes, to allow the pressure to regulate.
  6. Release the pressure valve.
  7. Tasty tasty nom noms.

My precioussssssss...

Mega thanks to Ros and also to Kambrook, who kindly offered this prize up to Ros. You have made me feel extra confident about having two kiddlywinks under two and still being able to eat.