Tuesday, 15 July 2014

My cupboard store essentials

My cupboard stores.

Every week, I pick up what I call essential cupboard stores.  When I say cupboard stores, I mean things like pasta, stock, spices, nuts and seeds, honey, oils, etc.
When you have a well stocked pantry, you can concoct anything at all, at any time. 

I like to bake and cook regularly and experiment with recipes.  I love to read different cook books and watch different cooking programmes to get great ideas and tips.  I like to be adventurous with flavours and like to experiment with them to see what works together.

There are some great products out there at the moment.  I tend to do the shopping when I have a lot of time on my hands, so I can browse at my hearts content and pick up another yummy item for the cupboard!  If I have seen a recipe with items I do not have in the press, I will tend to pick them up in the shopping. 

I’ve turned into a bit of an organised freak when it comes to storing ingredients.  I absolutely love “Kilner’s” range of storage jars and bottles and store most of the cupboard foods in them like sugars, baking powders, nuts, seeds etc.

Now, I’d like to share with you a list of my essential cupboard stores.  These tend to be always stocked up in the kitchen press/fridge.  These are things that when I’m running out, I will write them on the shopping list to restock.

  • Garlic.  Oh garlic, garlic, garlic! This, I could eat in raw chunks!  An amazing essential ingredient for…..well, practically everything!  Not only does it taste divine and can turn any food into a heavenly flavour, it is also so good for you.  I once had a sore throat.  I did not want to be sick for work the next day.  My sister was staying over.  She told me to eat garlic cloves in raw chunks.  So I swallowed them with water.  The next morning, sore throat……non existent!  An anti-biotic can be added to its list of great uses! This is my no1 ingredient.  I advise everyone to keep it in their veggie basket. 
  • Bouillon. I use Marigold Swiss vegetable bouillon powder.  It’s yeast and gluten free.  It’s instant stock and it’s great.  It’s great to enhance the flavour of any savoury dish and can be sprinkled directly into cooking.  I use this in most of my cooking. I also like to keep stock pots also….beef and chicken.  Great for sauces or seasoning rice while cooking.
  • Seasoning/spices.  The volume of a basic simple dish can be dramatically transformed and turned up by just adding seasoning, spices and herbs.  The basic ones every house should have would be obviously salt and pepper, along with a hot spice like chilli and a herb like oregano.  I love to experiment with them.  I try to have as many as I can stocked up.  You can transform dishes along with make sauces, dips, marinades, dressings, pestos…the list is endless!  My new favourites I picked up lately are chilli flakes and fresh coriander.  Fresh herbs are hard work to keep but if you plant them in an area for your herbs and keep them watered, you should do ok!  Be adventurous with your flavours!
  • Tinned chopped tomatoes.  Used for Bolognese sauce and other tomato sauce dishes including stews/mince.  Another essential of mine. 
  • Pasta.  I will always have pasta and spaghetti stocked up.  It’s so easy to whip up a pasta dish for the kids or if you’re stuck for a quick dinner.  Just add sauce and veg for a dinner save also or great for pasta salads.
  • Flora cuisine. I absolutely love this.  Because, not only is it a healthier choice to oil, with 45% less saturated fat, it acts as a butter and an oil.  I use it for most of my cooking.
  • Red wine…..for cooking of course!  Now, my dad once said to me you have to have a good bottle of red to cook with.  I disagree!  Well, I’ve tried a few and the one I found and now use, tastes amazing in my Bolognese and stew.  It costs €5.99!
  • Oil.  Most of the time I cook with flora cuisine.  But I also like to vary it and cook with different oils for different flavours.  For example, I won’t use olive oil if I’m cooking with strong flavours but I will use it for drizzling over things like oven cooked vegetables or meats, hummus, salads or crusty bread.  I will use peanut oil for things like stir fry’s and sunflower or vegetable oil shallow frying.  I recently found coconut oil and find it great too.  Great for baking!  It’s good to have a variety in the press but most certainly important to have at least olive oil.
  • Honey. It’s a great store keep.  Use it for breakfast on porridge or fruit & yogurt; for marinades; for desserts; for baking; for smoothies…. I love it!
  • Baking ingredients.  I like to bake….alot.  Therefore I make sure to always have a stock of basic baking ingredients.  These would include flour, baking powder, cinnamon, cocoa, sugar and butter.  When I go shopping, I also like to pick up one or two bits for the press like colouring or chocolate chips or marshmallows or flavourings!  That way, when I feel like trying out a recipe or want to whip something up for visitors, I know I have the ingredients in the cupboard. 
  • Vanilla extract.  This is essential for baking.  15ml of this is equal to 1 vanilla bean.  A 118ml bottle costs €7.99 but you only need a drop each time so it should last a long time.  I love it, the smell, the taste….yum!

The following are my latest addictions:
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Coconut oil
  • Chilli flakes
  • Coriander
  • Walnuts
  • Peanut butter

So there you have it……my cupboard cooking essentials.  What’s in your press?

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