Hot and sour soup {pressure cooker/Instant Pot}

I’m not the biggest fan of soups, but sometimes I’ll surprise myself and get a craving for a cleansing soup like hot and sour.

You can make this in a regular saucepan instead of a pressure cooker – it will take longer than five minutes to get the soup really flavoursome by going way of conventional cooking.

I was originally going to use bok choy in this soup, but I had a beautiful fresh bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli) and at the last minute, I decided to use it instead. While you could swap the gai lan out for another Asian green like pak choy or bok choy, gai lan really makes it special. It’s a seriously underrated vegetable that deserves some time in the spotlight.

Pressure cooker/Instant Pot hot and sour soup
Serves 4

1.5L vegetable stock
1 c dried shiitake mushrooms
3 garlic cloves
1 thumb-sized piece of ginger, sliced
1/4 c gluten-free soy sauce
1 tsp dried chilli flakes
1 tsp honey
1/2 tsp white pepper
1/2 tsp sesame oil
150g tofu, sliced into squares and baked for 15 minutes
50g firm tofu, roughly thickly grated
1/2 carrot, julienned
Bunch of gai lan (Chinese broccoli), stalks trimmed
1/2 c rinsed bamboo shoots (optional)
Pinch of salt
1/4 distilled white vinegar
3 spring onions, sliced

Put all ingredients excluding white vinegar and spring onions into pressure cooker. Bring to pressure and keep it at pressure for five minutes.

Release pressure then add white vinegar and spring onions. Stir and ladle soup into bowls.

30-minute one-pot dal with quick pickled onion

Another dal recipe I hear you say? Look, my tarka dal and hidden veg dal are both delicious, but this recipe is ‘the one’ for when you want something delicious but don’t want to spend much time in the kitchen.

So, before you open UberEats to order dinner tonight, check your pantry. Pretty much every ingredient in this dish is a kitchen pantry staple. And all you need to do is put everything in a saucepan, so it can do it’s thing.

I’ve also done this one in my pressure cooker and it worked a treat. I cooked it for about 4-5 minutes at pressure.

30-minute one-pot dal with quick pickled onion
Serves 4-6

For the dal
1 1/3 cups red split lentils
1 tbsp curry powder
1 tbsp dried diced onion
1 tbsp dried garlic granules
1 tbsp vegetable stock powder
1 tsp red chilli flakes
1 tsp salt, or more to taste
4 cups filtered water
400ml coconut milk
Basmati rice, to serve

For the pickled onion
1 large red onion, finely sliced
Zest and juice of 1 lime

To make the dal, add all ingredients to a large saucepan and turn on the heat. Bring to the boil then cook over a medium heat for 20-30 minutes until dal has broken down.

While the dal is cooking, place the onion, lime juice and lime zest in a large bowl. Massage the onion with your hands until the onion starts to soften from the acid in the lime juice, about 3-5 minutes. Set aside.

Serve dal with basmati rice and top with quick pickled onion.


Pressure cooker Thai red curry

Earlier this year I spent a few days with my parents on the South Coast of NSW. While I was there, I was introduced to the wonderful world of pressure cooking; they had recently bought one for themselves.

Naturally, it didn’t take long until I was the proud owner of a stovetop pressure cooker. The stovetop cooker appealed to me because I can also use it as a giant stock pot, start a pressure cooked meal by sauteing some spices or ingredients, or reduce a pressure cooked sauce after cooking if I have too much liquid leftover.

Since the purchase, I have been using my pressure cooker two to three times a week. It makes for easier and quicker meals and accentuates the flavour. In fact meals that can take over an hour by conventional means can be ready in 15 to 20 minutes. With my work schedule it has certainly made my life easier and provided more ‘me’ time…highly recommended for stews, curries and soups.

Pressure cooker Thai red curry
Serves 4-6

1 tin Maesri panang curry paste
400ml coconut milk
100g firm tofu, cubed
1/2-1 cup vegetable stock
2 large kaffir lime leaves, finely sliced
2 carrots, sliced diagonally
1 red onion, chopped
1 bunch broccolini, ends trimmed
150g green beans, ends trimmed
2 tbsp + 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, divided
1 tbsp + 1 tbsp coconut sugar, divided
Juice of 2 limes, divided

Add all ingredients into your pressure cooker excluding the 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir to combine.

Turn on the heat and bring to pressure. Once at pressure, turn down the heat slightly and set a timer for one minute. After one minute, remove pot from the heat and release the pressure.

Add remaining 1 tbsp vegan fish sauce, 1 tbsp coconut sugar and juice of one lime. Stir through and adjust to taste. Then, serve with rice.

One-dish chocolate cake {gluten-free, vegan}

Gluten-free vegan baking really frustrates me.

I’m trying to bake more but it’s always hard to predict what the outcome will be when you’re making it up as you go along. Sometimes I feel you need a degree in Chemistry to get it right.

But I’ve made progress. I’ve created a light and airy chocolate cake that’s chocolatey but not too chocolatey. And if you have a decent-sized Pyrex dish, you can mix it and cook it in the same dish without needing to grease it.

One-dish chocolate cake {gluten-free, vegan}
Makes an 8 x 10 inch cake

2 c all-purpose gluten-free flour
1 c coconut sugar
1/2 c cacao powder
1 tbsp chickpea miso powder (I use Meru Miso)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
Pinch of salt
2 c filtered water
1/3 c coconut oil
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.

Add dry ingredients to an 8 x 10 inch Pyrex dish. Mix to evenly combine.

Then add water, coconut oil and vinegar. Mix to combine so no dry bits remain.

Place in the oven and cook for around 20-30 minutes, until a skewer comes out clean.

Leave cake to cool slightly in the Pyrex dish, then run a knife around the edge, to loosen. Flip it onto a wire rack to finish cooling and slice.

Warm brussels sprout, broccoli and grape salad

This warm salad is inspired by a side dish I ate at a restaurant while on holiday in New York. After all these years, I still think of it – and when I can go back to enjoy it again. Sure, this warm salad does a great job at reliving the memory, but it’s not the same as the OG.

Warm brussels sprout, broccoli and grape salad
Serves 4-6 as a side

200g brussels sprouts, halved
200g broccoli, roughly cut into pieces as large as brussels sprouts
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper
1 tsp rice wine vinegar
1 c red grapes
1/4 c pistachio nuts, shelled
1/4 c pumpkin seeds, lightly toasted
2 tbsp sultanas, blended with 1-2 tbsp water to make a paste
Zest of 1 lemon
Small handful fresh mint, roughly cut

Toss brussels and broccoli with olive oil and salt and pepper.

Air fry on an even layer for 5 minutes at 200 degrees C. Shake the contents of the tray and air fry for a further 3-5 minutes until browned well. You might have to air fry in two batches depending on the size of your airfryer.

Transfer brussels and broccoli to a large mixing bowl. Add rice wine vinegar and toss to evenly combine.

Add grapes, nuts and seeds. Then mix through sultana paste.

Garnish with mint leaves and lemon zest.

Falafel nourish bowl

Earlier this year, I was housebound with a hand injury that made it difficult for me to do things like put toothpaste on my toothbrush and button up my jeans. It didn’t help that my partner travelled to Melbourne, leaving me to manage the household and look after our mischievous puppy (who enjoys being particularly naughty when it’s just the two of us. Sigh) as well as cook and clean up after myself. It had its challenges, but here I am on the other side, relatively unscathed.

While I was off work, one pot wonders were all I could whip up. But I was dreaming of nourish bowls after having enjoyed a few good ones over summer break.

As soon as I could muster the strength, I made this falafel nourish bowl. At the time I wasn’t sure if it was really good, or whether I just thought that because it satisfied the craving that burned within. I can confirm it’s definitely the former – this nourish bowl is really good. (And really filling).

Falafel nourish bowl
Makes 4 bowls

For the falafel
180g dry chickpeas, soaked overnight, drained and rinsed
1/2 red onion
2 garlic cloves
1/2 cup flat leaf parsley
1/2 cup coriander
1 tbsp besan flour
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp coriander powder
Salt and pepper, to taste

For the fresh tomato salsa
4-5 medium-sized tomatoes
2 medium-sized red onions
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
Juice of 2 limes
Pinch of salt

To serve
Hummus
Quinoa tabbouleh
Avocado
Fresh baby spinach leaves
Toasted pumpkin and sesame seeds

To make the falafels, blitz the chickpeas with onion, garlic, herbs, spices, besan flour, and salt and pepper.

Once processed into falafel texture, transfer the mixture to a wide-based pan with a little olive oil. Cook about 5-8 minutes until garlic is fragrant and mixture starts to brown. Set aside to cool.

Mould into balls and cook in the oven for 15-20 minutes at around 200 degrees C. (You could air fry or even deep fry the falafels instead).

To make the salsa, roughly chop the tomatoes and onion. Add them to your food processor with olive oil, lime juice and salt. Pulse 3-4 times until tomatoes and onion are in small chunks. Transfer mixture to a bowl to rest. (Make sure you transfer the juice that has been released from the tomatoes to the same bowl as it will help balance out the flavours from the lime juice and olive oil).

Add small amounts of falafel, salsa, hummus, quinoa tabbouleh, avocado, baby spinach and toasted seeds to your bowl, as pictured – and enjoy.

Whole roasted cauliflower

This is the whole roasted cauliflower to end all recipes for roast cauliflower. And the trick is to lightly pre-cook the cauliflower in a magic, white wine-based poaching liquid. Really, there’s not much more to say other than to read on and give it a go.

Whole roasted cauliflower
Serves 4-6 as a side

2 litres filtered water
2 c dry white wine (organic preferred)
Juice of 2 lemons
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp Himalayan rock salt
1 tsp turmeric powder
1 tsp coconut sugar
2 bay leaves
2 sprigs of lemon thyme (optional)
1 head of cauliflower, outer leaves trimmed

Pre-heat oven to 200 degrees C.

Put all ingredients excluding the cauliflower in a stock pot and bring to a boil.

Add the cauliflower floret side-down into the pot and let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Flip the cauliflower and let simmer for a further 5 minutes.

Remove the cauliflower from the poaching liquid and place base side-down on an oven tray.

Cook in the oven for about 45 minutes, or until the surface starts to brown.

Remove from oven and serve in a salad or as a side to virtually anything!

NOTE: You can keep the poaching liquid to pre-cook other vegetables before roasting. Keep it in an air-tight container in the fridge for 3 days.