Monday 11 October 2010


I was cooking some butter beans in the pressure cooker, and managed to let it boil dry…


Rather a disaster! However I put 1tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda, ½cup of vinegar and 1 cup of water into the pan and let it bubble away for a while, poking the bottom with a wooden spoon


I repeated this exercise once more, then spent just a few minutes with a scourer cleaning off the last few bits of grottiness


Very pleased with the final result. This pressure cooker was bought in 1973 when I first went to Uni and it is still in regular use. [It isn’t the first time I have let it burn dry, I admit!]

As the beans were intended to bulk out the soup I was making, I improvised with some macaroni instead. Here’s my Quick Tip for cooking a small amount of macaroni…

Take an insulated coffee mug


Put some macaroni in it [about one third full] and top up with boiling water straight from the kettle. Put the lid on. About ten minutes later [once you have finished cleaning the pressure cooker] you will find the pasta cooked and ready to drop in the soup!


If you like, you can buy one of these from Scotts of Stowpasta magic

...which does the same job. But as I didn’t need to cook 1lb of pasta, and didn’t want to spend £16, I think my solution is better![Thinking about it, I already have a wide-mouth large capacity food flask which would hold 1lb of pasta]

We’re eating lots of soup at the minute – it is such a comforting food on cold autumn days, and easy to make with the stock from the freezer and odd veg from the fridge. And wonderfully thrifty. I love reading other blogs where people are frugal-not-wasteful with food [eg Frugal Queen and All Things B&B] The other great thing about soup is that it is incredibly forgiving, if the meal has to be delayed because there is an unexpected phone call, or Bob is late home or something. Soup will wait in a way that a soufflé won’t!

Lewis Carroll appreciated the glory of soup too…

BEAUTIFUL Soup, so rich and green, 
Waiting in a hot tureen! 
Who for such dainties would not stoop? 
Soup of the evening, beautiful Soup! 

Beautiful Soup! Who cares for fish, 
Game, or any other dish? 
Who would not give all else for two 
Pennyworth only of Beautiful Soup?

bean soup


  1. We love soups too, it is a lunchtime regular, and I'm using so many tomatoes up...roast tomato soup is a great favourite.
    What a brilliant idea for cooking a little pasta!

  2. Well done on rescuing the pressure cooker. The technique I use - and was taught in the Girls' Brigade - was to use Persil (or other brand of washing powder) and do much as you do. It works and has the advantage of smelling lovely as you do it. Not quite as cheap as bicarb but still cheaper than a new pot. Always impresses people who think they've wrecked their fave pot!

  3. Love the tip about cooking small amount of pasta. Might try that in the staffroom one day! Glad you rescued the pan.

  4. You know, my beans were just OKAY. They tasted fine, but not really, "yum, yum, yum" or anything. The navy bean soup was nourishing and filling, but I think the salt reduction compared to tinned soups confirms that we are pretty accustomed to too much salt.

  5. Hey thanks for sharing these lovely pics. i really like to see this.

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