“Coconut Curry Chicken” from “Dinner in an Instant”

I have made this recipe four times since buying my instant pot and have yet to take a picture of it. I blame the yummy smell it makes while it is cooking which means that as soon as it is done, we are all desperate to eat it! I add a little tomato puree as well as the grated tomato for extra depth of flavour. And my other tip would be to get all the spices ready beforehand as it can get a little intense when adding them in rapid succession.

What more is there to say? Curry. Asian. Cosy. Coconut. It’s all good.

And here’s a bonus picture of a kitten that will hopefully be coming to join our family in 3 weeks.

“Coconut Curry Chicken” from “Dinner in an Instant”

“Wild mushroom, pancetta and pea risotto” from ” “Dinner in an Instant”

Is there anything as yummy on a cold winter’s day as a risotto? I don’t think so. And with temperatures nearing zero I could think of nothing else to eat on this bitter day. But they’re always such a faff, right? ALL that stirring! So it didn’t take much for me to decide to try out this recipe in the instant pot, especially after my friend Erika was so persuasive about trying them out. It’s a pretty straightforward risotto recipe, but better as there’s none of that usual faffing risotto stirring part that takes 20-30 minutes. Also, can I say how out of all the recipes I have now made, this had the most satisfying manual pressure release. And yes, I’m aware how that sounds. But really, it was such fun!
Yes, I will be making this again. And again. And again. And I love that risottos are now back in my life!

“Wild mushroom, pancetta and pea risotto” from ” “Dinner in an Instant”

“Vietnamese Caramel Salmon” from “Dinner in an Instant”

Kirstin: I’ve been making this recipe every week for the last few weeks. I try and make sure we eat salmon at least once a week and I’m always on the lookout for a good recipe. This one is totally brilliant and it’s not just that it tastes wonderful with succulent fish in a fantastically Asian sauce but also that the clearing up is super easy. I say that as our family is usually keen on a teriyaki sauce which usually coats everything in a sticky sugar sauce and is notoriously difficult to clean up. This however, is a breeze. And have I mentioned how moist the fish is too. The picture does not do the recipe justice at all so don’t judge it on that. I was surprised to find I could cook fish in the instant cooker and am looking forward to finding more recipes for it in the future.

“Vietnamese Caramel Salmon” from “Dinner in an Instant”

Cookbook of the Month, January 2018: Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark

Kirstin: I was alerted to this book’s existence by my good friend, Deirdre.

Maureen: And we were such fans of Melissa Clark’s last book last year it didn’t take much to persuade us to cook from this book.

Kirstin: Well I had to buy an instant cooker.

Maureen: That’s true! But I already had one.

Kirstin: I’ve been cooking from mine for a few weeks now and I am smitten.

Maureen: You know I’m going to check back in with you over the summer and see if you’re still using it, right?

Kirstin: It’s definitely more for winter food so I don’t expect I will be using it then anyway. But then again, there is yoghurt!

Maureen: Yes, I want to hear about your experiments in yoghurt.

Kirstin: This is such a good book to do over January when you want to just stay inside and make yummy food.

Maureen: Totally!

Cookbook of the Month, January 2018: Dinner in an Instant by Melissa Clark

Honorary Mentions for 2017

Kirstin: It’s been such a good year for cookbooks.

Maureen: You love those clean eating ones. Me not so much.

Kirstin: I do, but I never cook anything from them. I just like the pictures.

Maureen: In itself, that’s the problem if you don’t cook from them.

Kirstin: Well you know how I feel about clean eating.

Maureen: Indeed I do. So these are the books we loved and cooked from but didn’t devote a month to.

Kirstin: Here’s the list in no particular order

Trullo by Tim Siadatan
Two Kitchens by Rachel Roddy
Cook Beautiful by Athena Calderone
Comfort by John Whaite
Back Pocket Pasta by Colu Henry
The Roasting Tin by Rukmini Iyer
Feasts by Sabrina Ghayour
Caravan Dining all Day by Caravan
River Cafe 30 by Ruth Rogers and Sian Wyn Owen

And of course that doesn’t mean we won’t cook from them next year.

Maureen: So which is your favourite of these?

Kirstin: Trullo. That rag├╣ is sensational. I make it at least twice a month and it gets better every time.

Maureen: What about the Cacio e Pepe?

Kirstin: Children. Textures. Don’t ask.

Maureen: So for instance, we might do the Feasts book in the summer.

Kirstin: You are so right! I see you going through that book!

Maureen: You see, this sounds nice. Spicy Halloumi Salad. It’s a summer thing, right?

Kirstin: For sure! Then there’s always the John Whaite book.

Maureen: We are still undecided about whether we are going to blog this one.

Kirstin: I’ve had some really good meals from it already. And the photography is gorgeous.

Maureen: I’m looking forward to seeing what kind of cookbooks 2018 is going to bring. You know, what new trends are coming our way.

Kirstin: All the Korean!

Maureen: Indeed. We are are always up for the new!

Kirstin: It’s going to be a good one.

Honorary Mentions for 2017

Korean style stir fried beef bulgogi from dinner by Melissa Clark

Kirstin: I cannot even begin to count the number of times I have made this recipe during the course of the year. It’s a real showstopper of a recipe. And once you have the initial two Korean ingredients, it’s super easy to make. Also, freezing the beef for 30 minutes as she recommends, makes it super easy to cut the meat. And for vegetarians, I’ve also tried substituting prawns for beef which has totally worked. You can’t wrong with this combination of flavours.

Finally, I have to admit I have cheated here and used a picture from back in June when we ate this outside…which feels like a million worlds away from the cold of winter.

Korean style stir fried beef bulgogi from dinner by Melissa Clark

Roast Chicken from Bon Appetit

Kirstin: Today was a snow day. We don’t have many of them in these parts, so I was particularly pleased to have planned ahead with food so we didn’t have to go out for the whole day. I say that, but Miles was the exception as he had a lovely time frolicking in the snow in our garden while we stayed in and watched The Crown.
I might also have mentioned before how much I like to cook recipes from Bon Appetit between cookbooks. And I have been obsessed with finding The Perfect Roast Chicken Recipe Ever for a while now. Many recipes have tried. Many recipes have failed. But this recipe might actually be The One. It’s not difficult, doesn’t use any mad ingredients and everyone loves the moist chicken at the end. The key to this recipe is planning ahead and taking the chicken out and salting it an hour before you plan to put it in the oven. It makes a huge difference to the moistness of the meat. A perfect end to a perfect wintry Sunday.

Roast Chicken from Bon Appetit