I am far from organised. I really try to be but it is not something which comes naturally to me which means I have to work at it. For a while I went through a stage of meal planning, mainly for time saving but also in a bid to save on the cost of my food shops. I figured out quite quickly that meal planning is not something which works for me. I am fairly spontaneous when it comes to food, I am always creating and devising new dishes and I quite like not knowing what I’ll be eating from one day to the next. That being said, dependent on the season I tend to rotate the same family style dishes quite regularly. The girls love roast chicken dinners and spaghetti bolognese so they are on the menu each week but the rest of the time is what I feel like eating or what produce or meat looks good when I shop.
One way in which I am organised is my pantry. I have a well stocked pantry/store cupboard. If you do this, then you will always have the basis of a tasty meal EVEN when you have forgotten to buy fresh goods. I am sharing with you below my top 10 pantry essentials that I am never without and I have also asked a selecction of the UK’s top food bloggers to share their top 5 tips too, you probably won’t find it surprising that we have a lot of common products!
My Pantry Essentials:
Dried Pasta: having a selection of pasta is always a good idea, I have a variety including spaghetti, tagliatelle and pasta shells.
Chopped Tomatoes: I always have either cartons or tins of chopped tomatoes. They are perfect for creating a basic pasta sauce or serving with some eggs for a lazy breakfast.
Sriracha sauce: sriracha can liven up the most boring of meals so it really is an ideal condiment to have at home, it is great on salads and on top of eggs and in all kinds of sandwiches.
Dried chilli flakes: I have a jar of dried chilli flakes on the go at all times, I do like to use fresh chillies also but these are so handy and just a tiny pinch makes a big difference to a dish.
Tuna: when you forget to buy fresh meat, tinned tuna is a great handy product to have. Great for topping jacket potatoes or adding to sandwiches or salads. I like it mixed through pasta with some good oil.
Flour: If you have plain flour at home you can use it to thicken sauces, make pancakes with just the addition of eggs and milk or make flatbreads just by adding warm water and olive oil.
Brown Sugar: I use brown sugar for all sorts of things but mostly I love it for meat dishes to create a sticky glaze or sauce, it’s also good in coffee, sprinkled over porridge or to top desserts.
Sea Salt: I have various flavoured sea salts in my pantry, from Wild Garlic to chilli and my current favourite is smoked!
Oils: I have quite the variety of olive and rapeseed oils as well as coconut oil in store at all times, I use the coconut oil to make biscuits for Chloe and the other oils for cooking or dressing. I also love good bread with olive oil and balsamic vinegar – bliss.
Beans: from baked beans as a quick lunch for the girls or chickpeas or butterbeans to bulk up casseroles, they are so handy to have on your shelves.
The pantry below belongs to Food Blogger Ren Behan..mine is nowhere near as neat! I spot quite a few of my favourite brands in there.
What do the other bloggers think?
Andrea from The Petite Cook:
Wholemeal flour, extra virgin olive oil, good-quality spaghetti, canned plum tomatoes, dark chocolate (because you always need chocolate!)
Jemma from Celery & Cupcakes:
Tinned tomatoes, chickpeas, quinoa, dark chocolate, tuna.
Lucy from BakingQueen4:
Tinned plum tomatoes, tomato purée, rice, pesto sauce and cannelloni beans.
Ceri from Natural Kitchen Adventures:
Olive oil, lemons, salt, eggs (if they count), tinned sardines, tinned chickpeas.
Roz from The Foodie Couple Blog:
Passata, hendersons relish ( like Worcestershire sauce) butter beans , sweet chilli sauce, balsamic vinegar
Jo from Jo’s Kitchen:
Soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, tomato passata, sweet chilli sauce and caramelised onion chutney.
Helen from Family Friends Food:
Olive oil, pasta, vegetable stock powder, tinned tomatoes, pesto.
Choclette from Tin & Thyme:
Only 5? Eek! lentils, brown basmati rice, oats, tamari, tinned tomatoes.
Angela from Patisserie Makes Perfect:
Butter, good quality chocolate, eggs, flour, sugar.
Helen from Casa Costello:
Caster Sugar, Vanilla Extract, Self Raising Flour, Tuna & Pasta – Obviously not all used at the same time!
Tracy from It’s Not Easy Being Greedy:
Butter, eggs, pasta, tinned tomatoes, flour.
Heidi from Heidi Roberts Kitchen Talk:
Tinned tomatoes, olive oil, basmati rice, peanut butter, chilli flakes.
Laura from How To Cook Good Food:
Maldon salt, Olive oil, Garlic, Dried chilli flakes & lemons.
Michelle from Utterly Scrummy:
Tinned tomatoes, pasta, rice, chickpeas, garlic, lemons.
Sylvia from Happiness Is Homemade:
Tinned tomatoes, rice, butter, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, onions (a lot of onions!)
Lisa from Lovely Appetite:
Tinned tomatoes, rice, boullion, garlic, good quality salt.
Camilla from Fab Food 4 All:
Tomato puree (oops, forgot to buy some today), tinned tomatoes, garlic, onions,pasta.
Elizabeth from Elizabeth’s Kitchen Diary:
Olive oil, garlic, passata, essential cuisine stock powder and ready to eat sachets of puy lentils.
Katherine Hackworthy from Veggie Desserts:
Tinned tomatoes, tomato purée, bouillon, chickpeas, olive oil.
Chris from Thinly Spread:
Pasta, tinned tomatoes, black pepper, lentils, tamari sauce
Margot from Coffee & Vanilla:
Pasta (any shape), tomato puree, olive oil, vegetable stock cubes, dried mixed herbs.
Michelle from Greedy Gourmet:
Garlic, lemons, Cajun spice, almond milk, eggs.
Helen from Fuss Free Flavours:
Quality pasta, olive oil, canned tomatoes, onions, lentils.
Madeleine from From The Healthy Heart:
Olive oil, canned tomatoes, smoked paprika, za’atar, balsamic vinegar.
Danni from Hungry Healthy Happy:
Tinned tomatoes, sardines, dried beans, quinoa and pasta.
Nayna from Simply Sensational Food:
Spice tin,tinned tomatoes, rice and lentils, chapatti flour.
Penelope from Penelope’s Pantry:
Tinned tomatoes, tinned chickpeas, red lentils, wholewheat pasta, tinned cannellini beans
So there we have it a really comprehensive list of store cupboard ingredients you NEED in your life. Get writing your shopping list. Remember the best thing about most of these products is the long shelf life.