The idea of a pantry has evolved from a simple location in your kitchen to a collection of choice ingredients. A well stocked pantry is the best form of culinary back-up any cook could ask for. Essentially these ingredients are the building blocks to fantastic meals.
Creating a home for these bits and bobs will ensure that good food choices, ready meals, take aways and eating out all have their time, but so does good ‘ol home cooking.
There are 4 main categories of ingredients to consider:
This section of your pantry refers to the very basic elements of good, home cooking.
Things to consider:
- at least 2 oils – one extra virgin olive oil, and one seed oil, such as Canola (which has a higher burning temperature and is absolutely essential for frying).
- Two contrasting vinegar’s, one for cooking and one for finishing (which we’ll get to later).
- Sea salt and black pepper,
- fresh bulbs of garlic,
- eggs and
- a selection of fresh herbs.
These ingredients add, well, bulk to your meals:
- rice (brown and white)
- canned beans (such as kidney beans).
THE FLAVOUR LAYERS
Layering flavours when cooking is as much about cooking techniques as it is about ingredients. Ingredients like:
- balsamic vinegar
- chili (fresh & ground)
- spices (read more about spices on this blog)
- lime leaves
- coconut cream and milk
- peanut or sesame oil
- soy sauce
- fish sauce
- crushed garlic
- good quality stock
all add layers to your cooking, these layers transform flat flavoured dishes into robust, well rounded meals.
Loaded with flavour, these ingredients are usually used in small amounts, but pack a flavour punch. As the name would suggest, they are the perfect finishing touch to your home-cooked meal. Products like:
- hoisin sauce
- good quality extra virgin olive oil
- Worcestershire sauce
- balsamic vinegar
- parmesan cheese
- fresh lemons
- fresh coriander or basil
- Dijon mustard
- sesame seeds
- Srirachra hot sauce
are a great base on which to build your collection of “finishers”.