Now that's fast food! £35 microwave pressure cooker makes meals TWENTY times faster

  • Device can cut the time it takes to make a steamed sponge to five minutes
  • Sponges will usually take one and three quarter hours on a traditional hob
  • It combines the speed of using microwaves and pressure cookers together 
  • Traditional pressure cookers lock in steam to generate high temperatures
  • Their metal construction means they cannot be used in a microwave safely
  • The new gadget uses toughened plastic and will cost £34.99 from Lakeland

It combines two cooking methods that have transformed family meal times and can deliver a tasty curry or chilli con carne in just 20 minutes.

It is a pressure cooker that slides into a microwave and cooks everything from raw meat to jams, marmalades and steam puddings at incredibly high temperatures.

The net effect is a super-fast cooking machine that could even replace the supermarket ready meal.

The Lakeland microwave pressure cooker (pictured above) combines the convenience of microwave cooking with the speed and nutrient-retaining efficiency of pressure cooking without the need for pans or the stove

The Lakeland microwave pressure cooker (pictured above) combines the convenience of microwave cooking with the speed and nutrient-retaining efficiency of pressure cooking without the need for pans or the stove

Any normal pan on the hob will cook at no more than boiling point of 100°C, however pressure cookers lock in the steam which means the cooking temperature is even higher.

The traditional pressure cooker is a heavy metal contraption with locking lid that sits on top of the cooker hob, locking in the steam or cooking sauces in order to generate high temperatures.

THE SOUS VIDE ROBOT 

If using a microwave or a pressure cooker is too basic for you, then a new kitchen 'robot' could allow you to produce some more ambitious dishes.

Sous-vide cooks food by slowly poaching it inside airtight bags for hours on end

Now the Mellow kitchen gadget will allow you to start the process before you even get home.

The device is able to take instructions from a mobile phone app so busy home cooks can start the process before they get home.

The machine keeps food at refrigerator temperatures and can warm up within ten minutes to temperatures of up to 90°C.

Using a mobile phone, it is possible to tell the device when to start cooking, how hot and for how long.

It will even suggest cooking sequences according to the ingredients being used and how the user would like them to taste.

The metal means that any attempt to put it into a microwave would very likely result in an explosion that could wreck a kitchen.

However, the new version is similar in design, other than it is made from sturdy plastic, which means that it can go in the microwave oven to turn up the speed another notch.

For example, while it takes 30 minutes to cook a chilli con carne in the standard metal version it is possible to cut this to around 20 in the microwave safe version – just because the ingredients heat up more quickly.

It could take as long as one and three-quarter hours to make a steamed sponge pudding in a normal pan on the hob. This can be cut to around 50 minutes in a conventional pressure cooker and little as five in the new gadget.

Boiling up a saucepan on water on top of the cooker for vegetables uses a lot of water and can result in important vitamins and minerals being leached away. The pressure cooking process minimises the cooking time and uses much less liquid.

The £34.99 gadget is from Lakeland, which is renowned for kitchen innovations, where a spokesman said: ‘This is a healthy way to cook as vitamins and minerals are not dissolved so readily by the water.

The gadget can cut the cooking time of foods such as chicken (pictured above) potatoes and sponge pudding

The gadget can cut the cooking time of foods such as chicken (pictured above) potatoes and sponge pudding

This graphic shows how the microwave pressure cooker is constructed to lock in the heat as food cooks

This graphic shows how the microwave pressure cooker is constructed to lock in the heat as food cooks

‘Pressure cooking in a microwave is a new and unique method of cooking. It offers the speed of the microwave without the rubbery textures people associate with that method of cooking.’

However, the company admits it is not necessarily a one-pot solution for cooking the evening meal. It suggests that meat used in its dishes should be browned in a pan first to add colour and flavour, while the sauces are likely to need thickening after cooking with a mix of water and cornflour.

A recipe book with the gadget suggests frozen peas can be cooked in 2-3 minutes; cauliflower florets in 3-4 and new potatoes in 5-6. All these timings are based on using a relatively low power 700 watt microwave.

Lakeland said the concept has been popular in Japan and the firm has now brought it to the UK for the first time.

The spokesman said: ‘We know that our customers love to create beautifully home-cooked food at home, but we also know that they don’t always have the time,’ she said.

‘Combining the convenience of a microwave and the speed of a pressure cooker, customers will be able to create tasty, intensely flavoured home-made dishes with the same convenience of a ready meal. This really will make home cooking quicker than ever before.’ 

Microwave ovens have proved popular for their convenience since they first went on the market in 1946

Microwave ovens have proved popular for their convenience since they first went on the market in 1946

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