Tag Archives: pressure cooker

Armenian Bean Casserole

Today was dreich.  A good Scots word for a rather wretched Scottish day.  Outdoors, it was wet, windy, dark and thoroughly unappealing.

Normally, miss F and I would have gone shopping today – the stock of fresh stuff in the house is getting perilously low – but as she put it: “I want to be warm and dry more than I want to get fresh air.”

So, what to make with store-cupboard-only ingredients that would be a warming welcome-home for DH after a double shift yesterday, and another long one today.


Armenian Bean Casserole
(feeds 4-6 with rice or chunks of bread)


225g pinto beans soaked for 8h or overnight (or you can use 3 tins – roughly 600g cooked beans anyway and start following the recipe after the first 30 minute simmering stage)
1 litre water
3 Tbsp oil for frying
2 onions chopped
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2.5 cm root ginger, finely chopped (I used 1 tsp of the bottled Minced Ginger from Approved Foods ‘cos ginger just doesn’t last in my fridge)
1 tin chopped tomatoes (I love the tetrapaks from
2 vegetable stock cubes
85g ready-to-eat dried apricots, quartered (scissors are good for this)
30g raisins/sultanas (basics range always seems to be sultanas, so that’s what I used)


Tip out the soaking water and put the beans in a large pan with 1 litre of water.  Bring to the boil and boil vigorously for 10 minutes.  Reduce the heat, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes.
Meanwhile, chop the onions and fry them gently until soft.
(a useful tip, when chopping onions, is to leave the root end intact. It holds everything together, and you can slice from tip to almost root all the way across before cutting slices from the nose-end)
onion ready for chopping
Add the spices and ginger and stir well.  Add the garlic and fry for another few minutes, until it stops smelling raw.
Add the part-cooked beans along with their cooking liquid, then the tomatoes, veggie stock cubes, apricots and sultanas.
Bring back to the boil, and simmer uncovered  for a further 30 minutes until the beans are tender and the cooking liquid has reduced to a thick, unctuous gloop.  Stir occasionally, but I’ve never had this catch yet (touch wood).

Serve with rice, bread, or whatever takes your fancy.

(If, like me, you have a pressure cooker, you may want to do the first stage in there, and save yourself 20 minutes or so….)

After all that, though, his nibs decided he would prefer hummus, so 5 mins in a mini-blender later, that was his dinner along with oatcakes and some of the red wine I won at work.  I’ll post that recipe another day.

For now, here’s a collection of recipes that might appeal:

Link up your recipe of the week



Adzuki “black” bean soup

(feeds 4 with bread, or 2 without)

3/4 cup adzuki beans, soaked 8h or overnight in plenty of water, and well rinsed. (or 2x400g tins)
1L water
1 bay leaf
1/2 onion, chopped
1/4 – 1/2 tsp salt (to taste)
3/4 cup frozen pepper bits
1 tsp cumin
1/4 – 1/2 tsp chilli flakes (or ground ginger for gentler warmth)
Oil for frying.

First cook the beans in the water with the bay leaf added until very soft: 9 minutes in a pressure cooker at High pressure, or 40 minutes in an ordinary pan.
Pour everything into a large bowl, and clean the pan.
Fry the onion gently until soft.
Add the cumin, chilli flakes, peppers, beans & cooking liquid along with the bay leaf.
Simmer for 15 mins.
Remove the bay leaf (!)
Liquidise / blend and add salt to taste.

Serve with bread & butter.

This is seriously spicy, so if you don’t like heat, try adding ground ginger instead of the chilli flakes.

Stretch your mince – spaghetti bolognese with lentils 89p p/p

I may have mentioned that I have a very particular child. She knows what she likes, and isn’t afraid to let you know. Food can be a problem…. So, when I discovered that she enjoyed Bolognese, it immediately went onto the menu plan.

The problem is, mince isn’t exactly cheap at £2.89/500g at my supermarket of choice, and I need to make it do at least 3 meals for the three of us at that price.

So, my bolognese isn’t exactly authentic, but it does taste good.

Pressure Cooker Bolognese with lentils (to feed 6 adults @89p per person)

1 onion, finely chopped (9p)
2 large carrots, finely chopped (20p)
2 TBSP oil + 30g butter (20p)
500g beef mince (£2.89)
150g brown lentils (30p) [you could use red lentils which will disappear completely]
100 mL milk (4p)
1 x 500mL carton passata (33p)
100g tomato puree (24p)
3 TBSP tomato ketchup (8p)
1/8 tsp salt (less than 1p)
600g spaghetti (26p)
grated cheddar to serve – optional (60p)

Melt the butter in the oil over a medium heat and cook the carrots and onions gently until soft.
Turn up the heat and brown the mince, breaking it up with a wooden spoon.
Add the milk and boil until it has all evaporated (this coats the mince and removes the gritty taste you sometimes get).
Add the remainder of the ingredients, stir well, put on the lid and bring to High pressure.
Turn down the heat to whatever your hob requires to keep the pressure cooker fizzing, and cook at High pressure for 15 minutes.

Once the pressure cooker is doing its thing, put the spaghetti in a pan of lightly salted water, put on the lid, and bring to the boil.  As soon as it boils, turn off the heat and leave to cook with the lid on for 8-10 min depending on how you like it.

Reduce the pressure quickly using either cold water (old fashioned cooker) or your release valve.  Stir well.  Add a cupful of the bolognese mix to the pasta and mix to coat the spaghetti.  Serve with an extra spoonful or so of bolognese sauce on the top of each bowl, and a grating of cheddar cheese.

See what everyone else is doing at Menu Plan Monday with OrgJunkie