Every cook needs a well stocked store cupboard or larder. I have a tiny kitchen, but I do try to keep a few items in the house for those days when I need to rustle up a meal from scratch and have little inspiration. This is a list I made today, just scanning what I have “in stock” today. It varies – there is still a tin of golden syrup bought for festive baking, icing sugar (the same) and a rogue tin of condensed milk (for making Miss T a batch of Millionaire’s shortbread).
In addition to a drawer filled with herbs and spices, stock cubes and seasonings this is a list of what I always keep on stand by. If you are new to meal planning or kitchen organising you might want to use this a starting point for your own larder. From this store cupboard I can make curries, soup, stews and puddings to feed unexpected guests and a hungry family. I can use tins to supplement what is in the fridge to make fish cakes, pancakes, pies and cakes. I find that a little planning helps me avoid those “in between trips” to the local shops for one or two ingredients. Invariably I’ll end up spending more than I intended while I’m there.
There are probably things I’ve missed off this list (I’ll try and remember to add to it when I find things I’ve forgotten).
Eggs, butter, cheese (always lots – we are cheese lovers – currently I can see Stilton, Manchego, Parmesan, Yarg, Wensleydale, Red Leicester and a stray slice of Brie). Milk (we drink goats milk from choice) , chorizo, creme fraiche. Jams, chutney and pickles. A couple of jars of goose fat from last year’s Christmas dinner. Lard (for pastry and frying).
Frozen veg (broccoli, peas, sweetcorn, green beans, gluts of home grown veg), ice cream. White and red wine leftovers frozen into ice cube trays for adding to stews, bread, milk, butter, grated cheese (cheddar and parmesan), chicken carcasses (for boiling up into stock). Fruit (from the garden). Herbs, left overs and ice cubes (essential for the cooks G&T)
Meat and fish (usually chicken, pork loins, lamb and beef mince, diced lamb shoulder, salmon, white fish, prawns and clams)
Fish fingers (who can say no to a fish finger sandwich?)
Rice (pudding, risotto and basmati), lasagne sheets, pasta shapes.
Porridge oats, polenta, plain flour, caster sugar and corn flour. Ground almonds, spelt, rye flour and buckwheat flour.
Tins – baked beans, chick peas, cannelini beans, kidney beans and lentils for quick stews, dhal and hummous. Pineapple chunks (for sweet and sour, tuna and pineapple pizza or for a retro accompaniment to gammon). Fish, tuna, salmon and crab meat
Honey, peanut butter, Nutella, tahini and maple syrup.
Olive oil, walnut oil, vegetable oil, sesame oil and balsamic vinegar.
Crackers (for cheese, dips and nibbling)
Sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, mixed nuts, sunflower seeds, cocoa nibs
Tomato puree and passata
Tea bags, ground coffee, cocoa powder and drinking chocolate
Fruit and veg
Potatoes, onions, carrots (we grow all these and supplement from the green grocers), fresh herbs and salad leaves (mostly home grown), bananas, apples and whatever is in season or catches my eye when I go shopping. Ginger, garlic and lemons (not just for the cooks G&T)!
In the interests of “full disclosure”, we also have the following “special buys” that found their way into the trolley and are yet to be used up.
Salted peanuts, pistachios, mixed nuts, pecans, shelled walnuts and rather more chocolate than I care to admit!