I love Katia’s list, so many of the stock ingredients are in my presses too. I’m not a recipe follower either though I will take an idea and play with it. Having a good stock cupboard is the most important thing when you’re making tasty food, so here’s my ‘can’t do without’ list and apologies if there are duplications.
Definitely try the Asian supermarkets or the Health food shops, the quantities are better and the Schwartz family have enough money (I know, we had one of them stay with us for a few weeks, a long time ago)
– Paprika… I have Hot, Sweet and Smoked. I use it a lot to lend intensity to many dishes.
– Chilli… I have an addiction, I’m on a 12 step programme. My family think that I have burned my taste buds away completely. I tend to use Chilli sauces ranging from Mild Tabasco, through Encona, past Insanity and onto Da Bomb. The latter two come with health warnings and they need them.
– Aromatics… I have cinnamon, cardamom, star anise, garam masala, cloves, nutmeg and allspice tucked away. Sealed jars or kept in the fridge is best.
I try to grow as many myself as I can, but dried are ok as long as you keep them fresh, unlike my mother who’s store cupboard seems to have been frozen in time back in 1997.
– Even if you’ve just a windowsill you can still have fresh parsley, basil and coriander, though these tend to not to grow too well after you’ve plucked them too often.
– Thyme gets a bit stringy so you need to repot often.
– I have Rosemary, Sage, Chives and Mint outside though I’m never that organised to freeze them… maybe this year.
– My one outstanding success is my Bay tree which was a foot tall when I bought it ten years ago and now it’s over ten feet tall and impossible to move without three helpers.
– Oregano is one of my favourites for Mediterranean food.
Pulses and dry goods
Just like Katia, I go for the big bags of pulses and rice though I do slip occasionally and but the odd tin of butter or aduki beans. Soaking the pulses and beans is something you need to think about the night before, it’s all in the planning.
– Lentils, all sorts… Puy, Brown, Red and Green.
– Dahl of different varities
– Dried Beans… Pinto, Borlotti, Kidney (don’t forget to soak and boil until soft, they can be poisonous) Aduki, Butter, Chickpeas.
– Rice… Basmati, Paella and Risotto
– Staples like Cous Cous, Bulgar Wheat and Buckwheat are good to have too.
– honey… well I do keep bees after all.
– tinned tomatoes
– tomato puree
– mustards, dijon and english
– wasabi (for mashed spuds)
– Worcestershire Sauce
– salt and pepper
– vanilla, orange flower and rose water
– garlic and onions (I like the red ones)
– lemons and limes
– oils… Irish Rape Seed is good though I have a few concerns being a beekeeper, Olive oil, sunflower
– vinegars… red and white wine, cider and balsamic
– soy sauce, light and dark
– Flour… wholewheat, strong bread flour, plain and self raising
There’s a lot on these lists, but if I had to pick five…
Parsley, Olive oil, Garlic, Chilli and lemons and I’d be happy.
If you have any favourites let us know…