We all love, or should I say need, a foodie short cut sometimes. And actually I’m a classic list maker, I really love a top 10, so here we go…
Have to say I don’t subscribe to much convenience food and I really don’t do ready meals. Just my choice. But there are certain little things I couldn’t be without, from the freezer, fridge or store cupboard. Actually there are so many gems, but I have to say it very much depends upon the season as to which magical ingredients I reach for. My December list will definitely vary from my June list. However, here is my ‘today’ list. In no particular order…
Tinned Cherry Tomatoes
Love these little ruby-red jewels. So many uses, but…if you want a quick but delicious pasta sauce chop an onion, leek, or even snip some spring onions into a pan with a splash of oil. Slice mushrooms, peppers – anything lurking in the fridge. Fry gently until softened.
Season with salt and pepper. Sprinkle in some basil and oregano (chop fresh if you have it). Add garlic. Crush a couple of cloves or sprinkle in some dried. Pour in the canned cherry toms. Stir and leave to simmer until the tomatoes burst. Serve with some cooked pasta. Grate some parmesan or even cheddar on top.
I’m not a convenience food fan, usually. I break my rules for good quality fish fingers.
My partner loves them in sandwiches. My little boy loves them chopped up with all manner of fresh veg. I like bread crumbs, not batter. So there you have it. Cook, accompany and demolish!
Bisto Gravy Granules
Huge cheat. Huge British institution. Gorgeous taste.
I love to make my own gravy, especially on a Sunday. In a hurry, mid-week or seeking comfort, Bisto, every time 🙂
Frozen Yorkshire Pud
Another total cheat. But why not sometimes?
I love a full fat, fluffed up, marmitey bottomed yorkshire pud with my roast beef on a Sunday. Or a totally homely toad in the hole is to die for.
But when I’m up against it and need to jazz up dinner, these tiny frozen beauties take 5 mins and really brighten up mid-week dins.
I love dried pasta. It isn’t secondary to fresh pasta, it’s different and equally amazing. I love the shapes, colours and gorgeous italian names of all the beautiful varieties. And oh that clatter when you tumble itinto bubbling water.
I love Artisan pasta in farm or local stores. Huge shells, curly wurly lasagna sheets and over grown penne. I like to put different types in jars and display in my kitchen. And with every pasta sauce, lasagna or cannelloni imaginable, make your mark with your fave pasta 🙂
Frozen Baby Peas
I know. Everyone has them. Everyone likes them (I think).
They are fresh from the field and unless you have an allotment or super garden and pod your own peas, they’re the best you’ll get.
I alway have a bag in the deep freeze.
Add to curries and stews. Make pea based soups Add to salads or simply steam with Sunday Roast.
I never get P’d off with them!
Hard Boiled Eggs
Hmm… A class ingredient but my reason for this is my John. He loves hard-boiled eggs as a snack and I love him. I can’t boil enough to keep up with him!
They are a gorgeous addition to potato salad, fish pie or my mums tuna salad.
My tip for egg mayo or when you want them combined easily, use a cheese grater. De-shell and grate. So easy and really chops eggs tiny.
Stock Cubes – beef, chicken or vegetable (and many spicier varieties)
Fat free (virtually) and an abundance of flavour.
I use these in so many things. Curry, Chilli, Bolognese, Stroganoff, Casseroles.
You can rub on a roast chicken or crumble on any meat or fish.
They are wonderful. Don’t be without them.
Gorgeous to add into a stuffing for chicken.
Fantastic to make a coating. Fish chicken, even lamb or pork chops.
Great to add to meatballs.
Leftover or stale bread? Turn to crumbs in the food processor, or grate by hand. Tumble into a freezer bag and freeze until needed.
You can season them with any herbs, salt, pepper, lemon zest etc,
It feels wonderful not to waste sometimes.
Tinned Beans (Butter, Kidney, Cannellini etc)
How many beans? So many types. Very inexpensive too. We are very lucky to have so many varieties always within reach.
Kidney beans are wonderful in Chilli.
Cannellini beans gorgeous warmed in oil and mashed to serve with meat. With lamb chops they are heavenly.
I’ve even used butter beans with chorizo for a Tapas dish. And of course good old baked beans. How do you eat yours? Poured over buttered toast after a morning walk in the snow.
Love to hear your favourites,