Friday, April 30

'How a pressure cooker saved my life' book review and 'Baba's 1 minute prawns'

When I gaze at the cookbook I think 'Juanita Philips...
 doesn't she read the news?'
Yes indeed she does.She also has a hubby and 2 young children.

The book is very visually appealing - it's kind of 50's kitsch - cute and sweet, but modern and funky.  And although the title suggests it's a cookbook, I wouldn't describe it that way.

It's more of a busy mum's guide, but likewise could be adopted by anyone with a busy lifestyle. Juanita makes no secret, she's no chef, but she had to 'up her game from basic to intermediate cook' to cater in minutes because she and her family aren't traditional in the sense that they eat together every night. She needs to be organised, she wanted to have variety of yummy nutritious meals but didn't want to spend her precious family time in the kitchen.  Let's face it, who does?

Juanita tells the tales of her failures, how she came to find systems/focus in her life that worked - whether it be laundry, housework, shopping, friendships and all other aspects of life - nurture yourself - learn to say no.

For working and busy mums out there - you will love the editorial.  It's common sense stuff but it's also refreshing in the sense that it's so relateable - it's not written in a motivational type prose, it's not condescending - it's just an honest account.  I like that.

I'm not a pressure cooker user, in fact I needed to borrow a pressure cooker to road-test the recipe.  All the recipes are written with a prep-time, a cook time in the pressure cooker, and comparable conventional cooking time.  It does motivate me to find myself a pressure cooker of my own admittedly!

Pros:  The 'editorial' or 'story' part of the book is a lovely, helpful read. Realistic and validating.  Both recipes I road tested worked, and were delicious.
Cons:  Recipes have no pictures, they are difficult to follow when cooking by virtue as they are written in paragraph not in point form. The recipes I road tested, made me feel a little more under pressure to get things ready quickly (tip, have all ingredients on hand pre-prepared) and also the timings to prepare were not realistic, so you need to allow a little extra time if you read the recipe and it seems like there's a bit more preparation involved.

Release Date:  1st April 2010
Cost :  $35.00
ISBN: 978073332588
Browse inside click here

Road Test 
Baba's 1 minute Prawns

This is one I actually had a bit of a hard time getting on the table - in fact it took me from beginning to end 1 hour, not the 28 minutes as on the recipe.  However, it is delicious, and now using the tips I'm going to share with you, I will make it again.

The recipe was given to Juanita by her croatian mother-in-law.  She then adapted it from a conventional recipe to a pressure cooker recipe.

1 kg green prawns, shelled, de-veined, tails on - reserve shells
1/2 tsp vegetable stock powder
1/2 tsp salt
5 tsp crushed garlic (I used 5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced)
1 large bunch continental parsley, chopped
1 cup white wine
2 tsp cornflour

Prepare all ingredients  up front, shell your prawns, chop your parsley/garlic measure out your white wine and dissolve the cornflour in the wine.

When shelling your prawns, reserve the shell.

Place the shells in a saucepan, fill saucepan with water until it reaches just near the top of the shells. Add stock powder and salt.  Remember the less water, the better the stock you are going to make. Bring to the boil, remove from heat and strain to reserve the liquid, discard the shells.

Heat your oil until it is sizzling, add the garlic, closely followed by the prawns, stir for 30 seconds, then add the cornflour/wine, then 1 cup of the stock.

Place the lid on your pressure cooker, it should pop/rattle immediately.  Cook for 1 minute, then remove from heat, and rinse your pressure cooker under cold running water for 1 minute.  

Gently take the lid off, and serve with rice and/or green salad.

Psst:  come back at 1pm today - I have a great Mothers' Day competition launching!

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7 lovely comments:

Lorraine @ Not Quite Nigella on April 30, 2010 at 9:06 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I like the honest review! Don't you think that they should really road test it with some real people sometimes before it goes to publication? Just saying... ;) OH and I love the pressure cooker!

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I reviewed this book as well and like you, found the lack of pictures really annoying. I think she obviously needed you for that part! In addition I didn't like the fact that the recipes didn't always state how many they would serve. It would have been helpful.I also felt the book didn't really know what it was supposed to be sometimes and if she stated how the pressure cooker would save her life "one more time" I might have screamed.
That said I am totally in love with my new pressure cooker and love using it.
Great review.

Stephanie on April 30, 2010 at 10:07 AM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

I only use my pressure cooker for canning, but keep hearing how wonderful they are to cook with....someday....

Reilly said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Maybe I'm missing something here but the prawns are put in the pressure cooker? Why would you do that when prawns take so little time to cook anyway? I just find that a little odd. I'm not that keen on pressure cookers - I think that's because I remember my stepmother's awful pressure cooker stews! LOL

Liss on April 30, 2010 at 8:06 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Reilly, I know what you mean, hence why I roadtested this recipe.

Because the prawns are stirred for about 2 minutes and then pressure cooked for 1, it's not that long - the pressure cooking is mainly in aid of getting the sauce thicker I think as it did thicken up quite quickly.? (If it had pics I'd probably not be assuming!)

Anonymous said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Hi ladies - juanita phillips here - you raise some really interesting points about the book so I thought I'd dash off a quick response, as I do appreciate the honest feedback. Pictures of recipes would have been wonderful, but sadly were ruled out due to the cost. The recipes are in there for people who are really keen on the pressure cooker aspect (as opposed to the readers who are more interested in the non-cooking segments). Prawns - yes you're right, why put prawns in a pressure cooker when they take so little time to cook normally? Good point! The reason is, the publisher asked me to include some "fresher, more summery" recipes so that there wouldn't be so much focus on the casserole type dishes. the fact is, the pressure cooker really is more of a winter/cooler weather appliance. but I was happy to put the prawn recipe in there because it's just so delicious. (and if you haven't tried the swordfish and parsely one, pls do - it's divine). anyway thanks again for your interest, and may your pressure cooker never go off the boil!

Liss on May 19, 2010 at 5:35 PM said... [Reply to this amazing comment]

Thanks Juanita for the insight into the choices of recipes and pictures! I understand the publishers are king here and you need to do what you need to do!

As I said, it's a great book of content - I particularly found your honest account of your struggles and how you overcame/coped with them wonderful - and have recommended the book in many circles on that merit alone to many of my working mum friends...even if they don't own a pressure cooker (which now I am coveting one thanks to you! ;) )


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