My Cupboard Essentials

Sat, 12/03/2011 - 15:24 -- edward

Whether you're trying to keep your cooking simple, throwing a plate together quickly, or tackling something more ambitious you need a well stocked cupboard.  Fear not - I'm not talking about keeping obscure and weird ingredients on standby at all times; these are the killer ingredients to always have in your kitchen cupboard.

  • Sugar (Caster and Demerara) - different flavours, and finer ground on both so that they dissolve faster without leaving a crunch in your food.
  • Cocoa Powder - everyone loves chocolate right?
  • Instant Coffee - flavour enhancing, and instant coffee behaves differently as a flavour than a shot of espresso.
  • Dried Herbs & Spices - definitely a mixed herb pot.  Spices; you need to have cayenne pepper and paprika (smoked optional)  Green and/or pink peppercorns for sauces.  Nutmeg is needed, especially as winter dessert season comes around.
  • Dried Pasta - of various sizes, I like to have some bigger shells, and smaller pieces, as well as good ol' spaghetti.
  • Golden Syrup
  • Mustard: 3 ways - English, Dijon & Wholegrain.  Note: never American.  Not being snobby, but you can make it from the others.
  • Olive Oil - Variants to match your budget.
  • Rapespeed Oil - almost flavourless and goes up to great high temperatures.
  • Passata - minimum 4 large jars.
  • Flour - self-raising and plain.
  • Plain Chocolate
  • Redcurrant Jelly - not as a condiment but to sweeten otherwise too savoury sauces.
  • Rice - always have Brown, Basmati and Arborio.
  • Stock - I have never (repeat, NEVER) made my own stock.  Get yourself the liquid stock, or tins of consommé, again not for snobby reasons, but it's definitely faster to work with than the drier variants.
  • Tabasco - a couple of variants if you feel like it.
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Chopped Tomatoes - never bothered with the regular peeled tomatoes since I always end up smashing the tomatoes up anyhow.
  • Vinegar - White Wine, Red (if it's Cabernet Sauvignon) Balsamic (Older the Better)
  • Walnut Oil - brings to life any salad.
  • Vanilla Extract