It’s taken me a loooong time (we talking 8 years here, oops) to work out what I need to have in my food stash that enables me to make something without having to leave the house. My cooking repertoire is fairly limited, so other people have a longer list of kitchen must-haves BUT if you’re just starting out this is a good reference to take with you when you do your first food shop.
None of these items are specialty (as far as I’m aware anyway) and they’re all pretty cheap – I’ll link to any particular place I get certain things, although 90% I just buy from Tesco.
I’m not doing this with a view to be healthy or anything (hence why it doesn’t include much in the way of veg), this is just a few basic things to keep in your house so you can throw something together. – obviously, quantities will depend on how many of you there are in your family.
- Onions – I put onions in almost everything I cook, and if you have the time, cook them on a reeeally low heat for a reeeally long time (like an hour).
- Tinned tomatoes – I buy the Tesco Value ones, which are about 31p. I tend to pick up four every week, so I have quite the stockpile.
3. Stock cubes/bouillon– I use either the knorr vegetable stock cubes or , although if you cook the onions for a long time, you’ll probably only need salt and pepper. Which I also always have – I use grindy salt and grindy black pepper, because I find you use less.
4. Rice – I use short grain because I use it for risotto, which I make at least once a week. I don’t really eat much of any other kind of rice (my boyfriend uses boil in the bag, otherwise we end up wasting it). Risotto is a great way of using up elderly veg, and TURN AWAY ITALIANS rather than all that stirring I cook it long and slow (for about twenty minutes) so it doesn’t catch, and then whack up the heat for five minutes at the end and stir like mad.
- Pasta – fusilli and lasagne. White rather than whole grain because it tastes better. Sorry, not sorry.
- Herbs/spices – this was what I found most difficult when stocking my first pantry since there’s so. Much. Choice. I find that for dried herbs I only really use oregano and bay leaves, and for spices you’ll probably be fine starting off with cumin, chilli powder and curry powder. I always have garam masala too, since it’s a spice blend that goes well in most curries. The one spice I have to have is smoked paprika. I love it on avocado on toast and in chilli. I probably go through one every two months.
- Flour – I make lasagne a lot so I use it to make the sauce, and my boyfriend bakes a lot. Obviously, if you’re gluten free you won’t need this
- Butter/oil – for vegan butter, Vitalite’s good, but if anyone has any recommendations that are palm oil free, please let me know J
- Carrots – Use as a base for risotto, pasta sauces, and chillis; grated and cooked with your onions. Also a good snack and can feed as a treat to the bunnies.
- Celery – see carrots – even if you don’t like the taste, it adds great depth to dishes when cooked slowly with onions and carrots.
- Olives – Great in sauces, and as snacks if you have unexpected guests. Get the green pitted ones in brine, since they’re cheap and keep really well.
- Peanut butter – I have this one toast, with apple as a snack, and make my own granola with it, so I buy it in bulk from amazon for soooo cheap, with no
added nasties AND NO PALM OIL. Wooo woo woo.
- Maple Syrup – this also goes in my granola, and I also buy it in a big container from Amazon –it soooo much cheaper if you buy it like this – you get so much more for your money and the quality is great. I found out about it from a post from Viviannadoesmakeup a while ago, and I got straight onto Amazon.
- Oats – great for breakfast (again, they’re in the granola –I literally just poured heated peanut butter and maple syrup over oats, stir in some chopped nuts and bake). You can also bake with them – they’re a great staple to have.
- Beans –baked, kidney, mixed – go wild. They’re great to have on toast, in soups, whatever. And. They’re. So. Damn. Good. For. You.
Having just spent a little time on the Tesco and Amazon websites, I can tell you that you can stock your pantry pretty well for under £50 – I totted it up to £46.02 (and I got two cans of tomatoes, four cans of baked beans and some dried black beans).
I hope you’ve found this useful – I know this is a basic list, but there’re a few meals you can make from these. Obviously, this wouldn’t work as a weekly shopping list, since there’s barely any fresh fruit/veg, bread or milk, but you won’t starve if you always have these things in the house.
Until next time, beautiful humans, have an excellent time.