You’ve got your favourites as well right? You know – those items that are a must-have for your cupboard (kitchen cupboard of course, we all know that your clothes’ cupboards are stocked with chef whites!). Think of these essentials like you would that swanky little black number, for example, that you pull out on a special night when you feel like REALLY kicking things up a notch...
I really believe that having a base set of ingredients in stock and always at your beck and call. Those vary from person to person and maybe down the line we will consider branching out and seeing what these might be for friends, but for now we’ll unveil our own personal favourites. A will be sharing his essentials in a few weeks so keep an eye out, I’m really not sure what he’s got in there.
I think that breaking things down into categories might be helpful, plus everyone likes a list right!?
Saffron – when your wife loves the colour and flavour it brings, I can’t say no. Not cheap, but when bought fresh, will last for 2-3 years and a little goes a long way.
Soy Sauce – salt and umami are the most sought-after traits in the modern cheffing-world. This dark liquid, a derivative of fermented soybeans seems to find its way into most of my slow-cooking projects.
Sriracha – I’m not a hipster and was on this stuff before they put it on a keychain! Heat, acidity, a bit of sweetness and overall probably the most delicious sauce to have knocking about. Also, it NEVER seems to go bad! (I literally just emptied a bottle)
Olive Oil – I use it for salad dressings, mayonnaise, pestos and for finishing pasta. Only get good stuff and never fry/sear/braise with it; for everything else use a vegetable oil.
Cans of Whole Tomatoes – When it doubt, bust out a tomato soup, fucking simple right?!
Sweet Corn – My snack of choice in the middle of the work day but NOT like the tuna/mayo/sweetcorn mix that mysteriously became “a thing” in the 90’s.
Basmati Rice – I’ve only just re-defined my rice-cooking method using what I’m now calling my “tahdeek-method” (patent-pending!), BUT I have been more than successful with a quick 20 minute cook method.
Garri – An item that pays homage to my Nigerian-heritage, this cornmeal-textured grain is made from a dried and fermented yam paste. Back home, it is often drunk with cold water as a morning meal, but I much prefer it’s slightly acidic flavour when hydrated with boiling water. I might go make some right now.
Peas – Probably THE BEST frozen form of anything (outside of ice-cream), the magical frozen pea is a simple addition to any meal. I’ll let you in on a little secret….most Michelin restaurants actually prefer using frozen peas to make their pea purees or soups.
Ice-Cream – Always Ben & Jerry’s, mostly Chocolate Fudge Brownie and new to the line-up: Cinnamon Buns. Drool.
I genuinely go searching for one or several of these items every time I’m in need of some inspiration when cooking at home. Of course this list will probably change depending on what flavours I’m feeling at any given point in time, but why should I limit myself?
So, now I want to know what you keep in your cupboards and what you do with them? Comment below and I look forward to hearing what works for you. R.
PS> Yeah, ticket sales are flying at the moment and there aren’t many seats left for our February Dinner…..book here!