There is nothing like a well stocked store cupboard to make rustling up a meal quickly a breeze. Just combine some of these 10 store cupboard essentials with a few ingredients from your fridge or your freezer to prepare a tasty meal which will be on your table in virtually no time at all. Cotswold Fayre the Food Wholesalers tell you their top store cupboard essentials.
Herbs and spices
You can never have too many herbs and spices and many recipes require specific ones, so a good selection is essential. You can buy those somewhat over-prices jars of herbs and spices that are designed to look nice on a spice rack, or you can opt for the budget version and buy them in packets. Some of the basic ones are basil, rosemary, cardamom, parsley, thyme; black pepper corns, chilli powder, ginger, paprika, garam masala, and include a pot of herb’s de Provence too for when you want top rustle up something French.
Condiments are certainly essential to give extra flavour to your food though the ones to stock depend on individual tastes. Basic ones include mustard, vinegar, lemon juice, soy sauce, Worcester sauce, and honey.
There are two kinds of people, red sauce people and brown sauce people and you need to cater for both, so include tomato ketchup and brown sauce. Gravy powder is essential in most households as are a few OXO cubes, though any beef stock cubes will do and for versatility include vegetable and chicken stock cubes. Hot pepper sauce and sweet chilli sauce also go down well.
Always make sure that you have a good stock of food staples; they are things that you might buy rarely but you need them to be there when you want them. These include the basic flours (plain, self-raising and corn); baking powder, various sugars including castor, granulated, icing and brown; rice; pasta; and noodles.
These include baked beans of your favourite variety, canned tomatoes both chopped and plumb, tins of fish including tuna, salmon and sardines; kidney and butter beans; sweet corn and peppers (delicious) and tinned rice pudding for when I come around.
Readymade cooking sauces
Nowadays you can get a huge range of readymade cooking sauces ranging from the rather basic “Chicken Tonight” to some very exotic Indian, Chinese and Thai recipes. They make preparing an excellent tasty meal a breeze, so stock up with your favourites.
Pickles are another cupboard essential. Again it depends on taste, but pickled onions, pickled chillies, pickled gherkins, pickled cucumbers, pickled pairs and pickled eggs are a good place to start.
Although chutneys are really condiments and could have been mentioned above, there are so many varied ones that they really deserve a category of their own. Branson is a staple, but then so are lime, mango, green tomato, and aubergine.
Fridge and freezer essentials
The basic store cupboard essentials for your fridge are milk, butter, cheese, eggs and yoghurt, while your freezer stock should always include ice cream, pastry, and frozen peas.
More exotic ingredients
When you want to indulge in some more adventurous cooking, then it is worth having some of the more exotic ingredients to hand. A bottle of red wine and a bottle of white is a good place to start; a half bottle of whisky is useful for making mince tarts; a bottle of sherry is useful should you ever get round to making a trifle, and a half bottle of Cointreau for when you want to add a little orange zest to your ice-cream.