Well here is a picture of my twelve year old SEB Pressure cooker. It has just been fitted with a new gasket, the second it has needed. This is cooking on approximately 13lb per sq inch pressure, and using a setting of one and half on that back burner. No steam in sight!
Also this is the general look of the builders grade kitchen fitted 15 years ago to the house when it was built. I think the previous owners changed the doors for B&Q panel doors, but the worktops have not been changed. We inherited the dinks.
I have been cooking bean crock in my pressure cooker today to try out a quick version. Cook for an hour in the pressure cooker which equals three hours in the oven or stockpot already, then put into the oven for an hour to thicken it all up.
We are seriously considering opening our kitchen up into our living area and putting in a new kitchen. Quite a big makeover to this house when all things are considered. However, I am very frustrated with the whole new kitchen sales pitch I am getting from the kitchen showrooms.
I realise they want to 'up sell' to get as much money out of us as possible, but when all is said and done a kitchen is a room full of boxes. I need one oven, a ceramic hob, a medium sized fridge, a decent extractor fan, a dishwasher, a good quality bowl and half sink, and a pillar tap.
I don't use a microwave, and I do use a pressure cooker. This pressure cooker is the most energy efficient means of cooking foods that need long tenderising cooking, also for making the rich bone stocks that go into all my gravies and soups.
The problem is, that as far as I am concerned I do not need an induction hob. The induction hob turns a pressure cooker into a lethal weapon! The induction only heats the bottom of the pressure cooker, rather than radiating the heat throughout the pot. (I have been researching this). I don't want to buy an expensive induction hob that is not going to work with this pressure cooker, and I see no reason to go and buy another pressure cooker, when this one will probably last longer than I will...
One of the ridiculous pitches was that I should have a gas hob. I pointed out my house was all electric. The kitchen designer (aka salesperson) suggested I might put in bottled gas. That if I enjoyed cooking so much I should have a dedicated wok burner, and a combi steam oven.. we are talking a price tag of £2500 for this type of oven. He said, "think lightly steamed belly pork, then crisp roasted, all in the same oven". I realise wok food is generally fresh and good for you, but I prefer curry and so does my husband. Either Indian, Thai, Singapore, anything but a pile of veg with bean sprouts in it!
In the meantime, I am thinking, lightly steam the belly pork in my pressure cooker, and slam it in with the roast potatoes, Never tried doing it, but it sounds entirely feasible. These people live on a different planet, or perhaps I do?
The other thing a pressure cooker is not good for though, is leaving in the supervision of a husband.
I was explaining again, as I usually do when using it, that in order to get it operating at optimum efficiency it needs attention in the first 15-20 minutes while it comes to desired pressure, and then turning down to generally number two on the setting of the back burner, with perhaps a final adjustment about five minutes later to make sure it is not spouting steam unnecessarily.
It is not an item that can be put on a high heat and abandoned until there is an angry jet of steam spouting half way across the kitchen. I also pointed out that he could use this as a metaphor for our relationship. That I am very good at working quietly in the background under intense pressure with very little evidence of duress, however abandoning all precautions and leaving me to deal with more 'heat' than required to operate effectively, will result in an angry spouting torrent of verbal
'venting' from me as well.
This got me to thinking how other people suddenly start telling me what I should do, or not do in re-planning my kitchen. I have been saying I don't want a new kitchen, unless it's because we are changing the layout of the house. It's a huge expense anyway, I may as well have something very nice to enjoy.
It turns out that the last three years my Husband has been refusing taking down the wall to the living area because his friend has been telling him he won't like it, and that the cooking smells go all through the lounge. I can't tell you how many times we have nearly come to all out war over 'the wall comes down or no new kitchen' from me, and 'the wall stays' from Him!
We we now have the negotiations over which cabinets and cabinet inserts we have. He wants a tall pull out larder, he also wants a specific corner tray pull out. I have negotiated a sorting bin for the infernal recycling, and do wish to have two tambour style units to hide my breadmaker, and the toaster and kettle. We make our coffee on the hob with a bialetti mocha coffee espresso pot. So we also do not need a built in coffe pod machine! I can live without the tambour units if they are stupidly expensive. We have agreed that we will replace the dishwasher with a fully integrated model, so no white goods. So not 'cheap'.
Oh yes another comment was, "why not have a wine cooler, that will improve the look of your kitchen"... my response was that if I wanted to drink 'white stuff' I was perfectly capable of putting it in my fridge as required, and that beer in a wine cooler did not have the same cachet. It was intimated I had an attitude problem!
I do want to try a pyrolitic oven though. Anything to cut down on oven cleaning. I do not use the grill in my oven or grill anything as I do not like the way all ovens are made with grill elements in the top that can't be removed to clean the top of the oven. Once the oven is used for roasting all the fat collects on the top of the oven, and then cakes on as it is uncleanable. Then if the grill is used it clouds the room with smoke from the deposits on the top of the oven.
I have decided to give a pyrolitic oven a try to run the program once a month to help clean this off. So not a cheap oven either. However for two people one oven is sufficient. All of the design studios try to sell warming ovens, second ovens, or any other ovens that will add to the cost. It's not very 'green' of me to do this, but I also don't use oven cleaner on my oven. I use a steamer, and bicarbonate of soda, and vinegar on a regular basis. I won't have toxic cleaning stuff anywhere near my oven.
I am pretty clear then on what I do want, and don't want. No added frippery that sends up the cost, but a very good working kitchen. As I pointed out the creative part of our kitchen is the food that comes out of it. I don't exactly want an industrial kitchen, but I am not paying out for marble worktops that in my opinion date and look tatty after a few years. I would rather replace a very good quality laminate worktop when it is eventually required.
I also don't feel the need to buy a 'German kitchen'. Flat pack would be perfectly ok, especially if it is British and my builder says he can fit the kitchen for us and make it look designer-ish. One of the kitchen salespersons said, 'of course you can't fit a dinner plate in a standard British wall unit. Well I don't keep my dinner plates in my wall units for one, and for two, my dinner plates do fit in the standard wall units I already have. More guff from the salesperson.
Perhaps I do have an attitude problem... an attitude that it's my money you are trying to spend, my husband says I make being tight with my (and His) money almost a religion..
Well if this hasn't bored the socks off you and you have got this far, I realised how much all this 'Pressure Cooking Politics' is going on in our world today.
If it has taken us three years to negotiate a wall coming down to open the kitchen up to the dining space, I wonder how well the negotiations are going to progress with article 50, and the UK leaving the EU. Also just deciding the operational needs of our new kitchen has taken six months. The white goods or no white goods question. They have far more serious questions to consider.
Not to mention the full spouting across the kitchen venting of steam the air strike on Syria by the USA contributed to world affairs, to make a point' about not using chemical weapons. Talk about using the wrong type of heat source with a pressure cooker situation. Do these people always have to make a statement with live ordinance?
Then the US have their big beautiful wall to build to keep themselves safe from marauding Mexican drug dealers and immigrants.
Israel putting up walls, pulling down houses and displacing people. Generally being their usual antagonistic, overly defensive don't tell us what to do selves.
The US cruising into waters near Korea, just to turn the heat up even more.
Explosions, suicide bombers, truck and car assassins in major cities.
The crumbling infrastructure of nuclear power stations, and the problems with Fukishima that are still not sending clear signals to the World that this type of power comes at too high a risk. Especially with the terrorist threats it can be targeted with.
I am happy to keep my Big SEB Pressure cooker, and see it as a workhorse in my kitchen. It just needs using with respect, treating with respect, and having its gasket renewed when it gets worn out.
I wonder if Governments could treat each other with the same respect.
In my case, until now I have always though President Assad should be respected. I am reserving this decision since this latest chemical attack. If it can be proven otherwise, I would hate to do a U turn on my original gut feeling he should remain President. I wonder how much this is about getting the Russians to jump ship back to the G7/8. I just wouldn't trust the G7 to honour any promise to the Russians.
I shall just stick to worrying my pretty little brain with the practicalities and cost of doing a new kitchen.
Lets hope the Politics under pressure won't cook up a storm by next week. Someone had better know how to let the pressure out of the situation.
Just as an aside, if I want to de-pressurise this SEB, I carefully put it in the sink and let the cold water run slightly over the lid and down the side until the pressure valve releases. It occurs to me many politicians could do the same. Have a cold shower before making those extreme decisions that cost a lot of people's lives. Blow up or poison civilians, or invoke war. Especially before committing drivel to twitter. I have to say President Putin looks like a man that takes a lot of cold showers! He might even go ice plunging like a lot of mad Russians do in winter... I wouldn't call his bluff he is known to play chess.
Hope you are blessed with all you need, if you have a lot more, the genuine desire to do some good with the surplus!
Bless you, and your loved ones. Peace.