So I think we can all agree that March has been a mad one and everybody is coping and adjusting in different ways. There are many things that I have been doing to keep me going in the past couple of weeks, these include working out, reading for 30 minutes at lunchtime, rolling my face each morning, and cooking.
If you know me then you will know that I absolutely love cooking, it is something that calms and delights me and I am always trying out different things that I think might create a different flavour. My interest in cooking means that my cupboards and fridge/ freezer is always full of ingredients that I can add to a dish to make it a little bit more interesting (read: tasty).
Here is a list of things that I always have in the house for when I’m feeling completely uninspired in the kitchen.
The freezer gets a bad reputation and is often demoted to the place where the leftovers go but I find that keeping a few key items in there is extremely beneficial.
Ginger and turmeric: As much as I may bang on about loving to workout and get out and walk everywhere, I put a lot of effort into finding the lazy way to do most things. I leave my ginger and turmeric in the freezer because it is 1000 times easier to grate when frozen and you manage to avoid the tell tale orange fingertips once you’ve added your turmeric into the pan.
Pineapple: I love frozen pineapple, I use it in smoothies and they come out like slushies, I also love adding pineapple to certain salsa dishes (jalapeño, pineapple and tomato salsa goes exceptionally well with sea bass) as well as grilled in salads.
Peas: I just really, really love frozen peas. They’re such a sweet and delightful vegetable and so bloody versatile, I love peas in pasta, with shepherds pie, in tray bakes and in salads. To be honest there isn’t much I wouldn’t eat peas with.
Red chillis: I have chilli with most things that I eat, I love adding a little bit of heat to my meals and I find that red chillis are the easiest way to control it. You could add a whole chilli for a hotter meal like a curry or chilli con carne but then dial it back for a meal with a milder taste.
Coriander: This is definitely my most used herb, I go through about a packet a week and find as many opportunities as I can to use it. In the summer I have copious amounts in salad and chilli and all year I put it in guacamole, fish dressing and dal.
Sundried tomatoes: I love to use sundried tomatoes as part of a tomato sauce base, it makes a perfect, light tomato sauce which is great in summer dishes and for a roasted vegetable lasagne.
Coconut Collaborative Coconut yogurt: I first bought this in January and it has been stocked in my fridge ever since. This stuff is so bloody tasty and the coconut flavour is nice and subtle. I use this for curries, dal and to make exceptionally creamy porridge. This is stocked in most supermarkets.
The food cupboard is a source of joy for me. This is where all of the sauces, spices and extras are kept that really make a meal.
Pitted black olives: I love the taste of cooked black olives. I love olives on pizza, in a puttanesca and in Nigella Lawson’s roasted chicken.
Maple syrup: This is an absolute staple! I love pouring this on porridge and pancakes and sometimes as a salmon glaze. Buckwud is my favourite, it’s nice and sweet without being overly saccharine.
Miso Tasty miso paste: I love making chicken noodle soup with miso and this is my favourite one by a mile, it has such a deep flavour and comes in a larger jar than most store brand miso pastes. This is stocked in Sainsbury’s and Waitrose and online.
Bomba tomato paste: This is hands down the best tomato paste that I have ever used, I absolutely love this stuff and I never thought I’d be a person who has such strong views on tomato puree but here we are. This paste is packed with red wine and soffrito and adds a delicious flavour to any dish, it is also very tasty as a pasta sauce by itself. This is stocked in Waitrose and it’s gorgey.
La Chinata Paprika: Smoked paprika is a great addition to any kitchen, it is miles better than non smoked and La Chinata’s iconic red and yellow tins are the best, it comes in sweet, a bit hot, and hot hot. Smoked paprika is a very versatile spice, I love to use it for chilli, romesco sauce and with chicken thighs. Trust me, it’s a worthwhile addition to any kitchen. You can get this in most supermarkets and independent delis.
Cumin: When I visit a food market on holiday I usually stock up on cumin, I find that the spices have a much deeper flavour than the jars you get in the supermarket. Cumin is one of my favourite and most used spices, it’s great for curries, chilli, dal and just a pinch makes guacamole so delicious. If I run out and can’t get to a market, I’ll buy it from an international supermarket.
Maldon sea salt: My house is full of salt and it all serves a different purpose. Mostly it is for the bath, I live for himalayan, epsom and magnesium flakes. In the kitchen however, the only salt that I reach for is Maldon sea salt, I don’t know what it is about that white and green box but the quality is outstanding and a little bit goes a long way. I also love being able to crumble it myself as opposed to grinding it in a salt mill. This is sold all over the shop so you won’t have any trouble finding it.
What do you keep in your kitchen? Let me know in the comments or over on the grid.