my 3.5 litre pressure cooker

my favorite is this adorable Italian designed 3.5 litre pressure cooker. Small, simple, easy to use  and affordable.

I own four pressure cookers and if I was going to be stranded on a desert island I’d definitely want to have one of them with me. Probably it would be this small, easy-to-use version because it is always busy on top of my stove doing something. 

When I teach cooking classes I’m often surprised by how intimidating pressures cookers are for many North American cooks, even professional ones. So I thought I’d put together this short series of videos to illustrate just how useful these pots really are.

This first recipe is a variation of my grandmother’s tomato catsup from Dinamica. Instead of the brown sugar her recipe calls for, I added a handful of raisins (since we make our own at Petraia) and some of our chestnut honey. Unlike sugar, honey adds not only sweetness but flavor too and I use it almost exclusively, in place of sugar, in both sweet and savory dishes. Finally, because its wintertime and I don’t have any fresh tomatoes, I used our sun-dried ones. And they really delivered the intense, satisfying UMAMI savory punch we deserve from a good catsup. 

Catsup is a condiment that takes no time to make yourself in a pressure cooker. This version contains no sugar, an excellent reason to make your own…


Sun Dried Tomato Catsup
This delicious catsup, stored in a glass jar in the fridge never lasts more than a couple of weeks at Petraia.
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  1. 300 grams sun dried (saltless) tomatoes, rehydrated and drained
  2. 300 grams vinegar (apple cider, red or white wine vinegar work well)
  3. 1 sweet red, yellow or green pepper seeded and chopped (or use a hot one if you want a kick)
  4. 40 grams honey
  5. a generous handful of raisins
  6. 1 inch of fresh ginger root cut in small pieces
  7. 4 cloves of garlic
  8. 1 tablespoon salt
  9. 1 teaspoon mixed spice (ie. chinese 5 spice, allspice, quatre epices, pumpkin pie spice....)
  10. a few whole black peppercorns
  1. Add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker.
  2. Lock on the lid and bring the pressure to high.
  3. Lower the heat immediately and bring the pressure to medium low.
  4. Cook for about 20 minutes (when you start to smell the catsup its probably done)
  5. Remove from heat and let the pressure release naturally (following the instructions that came with your pressure cooker)
  6. When the pressure has been completely released open the pot, taste and adjust seasonings and check to make sure everything is cooked. If not return to the heat and cook for a few more minutes until done
  7. Puree with a hand blender
  1. To rehydrate your tomatoes soak them in water for half an hour.
  2. If you are using salted sun-dried tomatoes carefully rinse all the salt off before you rehydrate them. You may also need to add more honey or sugar to the recipe.
  3. I also like to use kombucha vinegar in mine for any of you who ferment your own kombucha......
Susan McKenna Grant
Posted By: Jo-Anne June 16th, 2015 @ 12:32 pm

That looks delicious and so easy. We love your Grandmother’s catsup recipe in Dinamica. Looking forward to trying this version with honey, raisins and kombucha vinegar. Thanks for doing a pressure cooking series Susan!

Posted By: Johanna June 16th, 2015 @ 12:52 pm

Cute idea Susan! I don’t own a pressure cooker but I remember my mom and dad using theirs for potatoes and that thing whistling away. Perhaps it is time I purchase my own!?!?

Posted By: lapetraia June 19th, 2015 @ 5:39 am

Thanks Johanna,

I agree, its time!

Posted By: Jo April 26th, 2017 @ 3:16 am

Hi Susan

I recently bought a stove top pressure cooker, just like yours in this recipe. Unfortunately, it did not come with any instructions (none of the boxes in the store had any!) and attempts by the store owner to contact the company was not fruitful. I haven’t found any YouTube videos or such on its use. I’m a neophyte with pressure cookers, so any hints would be gratefully accepted!

Many thanks, Jo

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