Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken, Chorizo and Chickpeas (adapted from Serious Eats)

Note: this recipe is adapted from Serious Eats 30-Minute Pressure Cooker Chicken With Chickpeas, Tomatoes, and Chorizo Recipe to better suit an Australian audience on a budget using the Phillips All-In-One Cooker. Budget and grocery shopping notes are in italics.

Total cost for six serves: approximately $19 (not counting vegetable and carb sides), or $3.17 per serve.

Ingredients

  • Tablespoon of olive oil
  • Two chorizo sausages
  • Two medium-sized brown onions
  • Tablespoon of paprika
  • Tablespoon of dried chilli flakes
  • Drop of liquid smoke
  • Two cans of chickpeas
  • Two cans of diced tomatoes
  • 1kg of chicken pieces
  • 350ml of chicken stock
  • Half a lemon
  • Parsley to garnish
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

Slice the chorizo into thin slices.
You can buy chorizo on half-price sale at least once every two months at either Coles or Woolworths. When they go on sale, I’ll usually buy a dozen and freeze them to use over the coming weeks. This takes the cost down to $1.50 per chorizo, rather than $3 per chorizo.

Set your pressure cooker to Sauté/Sear – High Temp for two minutes. Heat up the olive oil in the pot, and leave the chorizo in to fry until slightly crispy.

Slice the onion into thin slices, and add to the pressure cooker. Add another three minutes to the Sauté/Sear – High Temp mode.

After three minutes, add the washed and rinsed chickpeas, diced tomatoes, and chicken stock and stir.
Canned goods like chickpeas and diced tomatoes go on sale regularly, it’s worth stocking up when they hit about $1 a can. Alternatively, you can buy them for about 90c a can regularly at Aldi. You can also make your own chicken stock to save money, or buy it from Aldi for about $2 for a litre. 

Add the paprika, dried chilli flakes, and a drop of liquid smoke. 
The original recipe calls for fire-roasted tomatoes – as that’s a bit harder to find in Australia for a good price, I added a drop of Tone’s Liquid Smoke instead. You only need a single drop or two for it to add a wonderful smokey flavour to whatever you’re cooking. A $6.99 bottle can last you an entire six months because you use it so sparingly!

Add 1kg of chicken pieces, and close the pressure cooker. Set it to Manual Pressure Cooker mode for twenty minutes. 
The original recipe calls for an entire chicken cut into pieces – that’s a bit too fiddly for me, so I used 1kg of chicken thigh cutlets (six cutlets in total) instead. This was $8.50/kg, but you could go even more budget and opt for chicken drumsticks, wings or maryland (ranges from $3.50/kg – $6/kg).

While the pressure cooker is doing its thing, prepare your sides. I like to just steam up whatever veggies are on special that week – green beans, asparagus, broccoli, etc., or you can prepare a simple salad instead. You’ll also want some carbs to soak up the yummy sauce – rice, cous cous, or use spaghetti as I did as I had an unused half pack. 

Release the pressure in the pressure cooker, and open the lid. Keep it on a high temperature (back to Sauté/Sear – High Temp Mode) and stir until the sauce thickens up. 

Squeeze the juice of half a lemon into the pot, and more salt and pepper to taste if needed. 
The recipe calls for sherry vinegar to taste, but I’ve substituted with lemon juice. I don’t know about you, but sherry vinegar isn’t an ingredient that I cook with regularly, so lemons off the neighbour’s tree is my preference!

Serve topped with parsley in bowls on top of your carb base, with veggies on the side.

Review: Marche Board Game Cafe, Melbourne CBD

While I wouldn’t call myself a board game aficionado, I do know my Pandemic from my Ticket to Ride, my Settlers of Catan from Dominion, and my Codenames from Cards Against Humanity. I have a soft spot for board and card games that align with other interests (Marrying Mr Darcy and Lords and Ladies for example), and can’t wait for my latest Kickstarter-backed card game Polite Society to arrive.

However keeping up with all the latest release board games can be an expensive habit, and one that can challenge the storage capacity of our relatively small apartment. 

That’s where Marche Board Game Cafe comes in. Located on the city fringe, it’s a Taiwanese-run cafe where you can sit and enjoy a drink or a full meal while playing one of the many board games they have in stock – all the fun without the commitment of buying the game yourself. Priced at $12 per person for three hours, you get a free drink as well.

They are relatively flexible on this pricing though. For instance, we were there with some friends for about five hours early on a Saturday afternoon when the cafe was quiet (it gets busier at night), ordering a meal and a drink each (approximately $16 each) and were able to stay for the full five hours.

Ice Matcha ($6) and a Black Bubble Tea ($5)

I opted for an Iced Matcha Latte and K chose the Black Bubble Tea as it was a steaming hot day when we visited. Both drinks were weaker than we would normally prefer with the barest hint of matcha in mine. While it does the job in quenching one’s thirst during an afternoon of gaming, it’s nothing to write home about.

Taiwanese Lurou Fan ($9)

As we got there around lunchtime, we ordered some meals as well, starting with the Taiwanese Lurou Fan – or Braised Pork Rice. Most Taiwanese will tell you that this is generally considered to be typical comfort food with each family having their own twist on the standard recipe. Truth be told, I was a bit disappointed with this dish as the pork wasn’t as juicy as I would typically like and the egg wasn’t braised and seasoned as strongly as usual. 

Taiwanese Sausage Fan ($12)

The Taiwanese Sausage Fan / Rice is self-explanatory, a bowl of rice with some pickles on top, along with a generous serving of Lurou and slices of sweet Taiwanese sausage. Very simple and deceptively filling even though it does look like a smaller serve. 

If you haven’t tried Taiwanese sausage before, it tends to be a much sweeter sausage with a higher sugar and fat content. You can sometimes find it at Cantonese-style BBQ shops – the ones with roast duck, roast pork and soy chicken hanging in the windows. 

Taiwanese Paigu Fan ($12)

Finally the Taiwanese Paigu Fan – or Spare Ribs Rice. Again topped with Lurou, the pork spare ribs were a bit on the dry side unfortunately. 

Combo A with chips, chicken nuggets, calamari rings and spring rolls ($15)

Towards the end of our gaming session, we got a bit hungry again – so I ordered a Combo A sharing plate of chips, nuggets, calamari and spring rolls. No doubt most of this is straight out of the pre-packaged freezer section of the supermarket. Suffice it to say it helps to staunch any hunger pangs sustained through intensive gaming.

Marche isn’t somewhere that you would go specifically for the food or drinks. The quality is indifferent at best, but it more than fulfills its primary mission – keeping one fed and watered during a long afternoon of playing board games. 

Marche Board Game Cafe is located at 64 A’Beckett St in Melbourne CBD.

Review: Barry, Northcote

In Melbourne, North-side is as foreign a concept to me as West-side. Raised in the East and living in the South, there’s a certain snobbish-ness about my unfamiliarity with other areas of this city. Even when friends hail from those parts of town, we’ll arrange to meet somewhere more central for catch-ups – heaven forbid I venture past the CBD!

On a rare occasion much earlier this year, we ventured North-side for brunch after dropping a friend off at the airport for an early morning flight. Barry in Northcote was our destination of choice, after good experiences with similar cafes owned and run by the Sahely family (Mammoth, Square and Compass).

Soy Cappuccino ($4.70) and Blended Drink #1 with banana, peanut butter, cacao nibs, honey, almond milk and ice ($10.50)

Drinks to start. K opted for a standard Soy Cappuccino, and I chose their Blended Drink #1 of banana, peanut butter, cacao nibs, honey and almond milk. Make no mistake, this smoothie is so rich and thick that it’s a meal in itself. It also finds the right balance of sweetness – sweet enough to be a treat, not so sweet that it’s sickly. I would recommend sharing this between two people or ordering a much smaller dish, otherwise you will end up rolling out the door.

Ricotta hotcake with grilled pineapple compote and coconut labne ($20)

K chose the Ricotta Hotcake for his meal, no doubt thinking with fondness of the small light and fluffy ricotta hotcakes that his family enjoy regularly on Sunday mornings. Barry’s ricotta hotcake is in a class of its own though – thicker and heavier, and much more sodden with sticky tropical syrup. Not quite the light melt-in-your-mouth hotcakes he was expecting, but deliciously doughy and fruity if that’s your preference.

Acai chia pudding with basil macerated strawberries and coconut, millet and quinoa granola ($15.50)

I opted for the Acai Chia Pudding with strawberries, coconut and crunchy granola. Acai bowls are dime a dozen these days with every cafe and their cousin offering an acai bowl (I’ve had my fair share), but Barry does their iteration well. It’s the millet and quinoa granola that does it, lending a textural crunch that helps to offset the stodginess of the acai.

Like its sister cafes, Barry offers Melbournians hearty brunch and lunch options with top quality drinks in a relaxed, semi-industrial setting. While we didn’t try the more innovative items on the menu (activated charcoal porridge anyone?), the standard brunch items of hotcakes and acai puddings were a hit. If we ever venture North-side to try it again, we’ll give their savoury dishes a try – perhaps the scrambled red chilli eggs?

Barry is located at 85 High Street in Northcote, Melbourne.