Mondays are hard. Doubly so when Autumn weather has decided to arrive with a vengence and the mornings are much darker than they were just a month ago. It makes me crave comfort food and gives me the desire to keep a full pantry for the cold weather ahead.
These are my (current!) five can’t-live-without pantry items.
I store the vast majority of my pantry goods in these glass preserving jars. I can see what everything is at a glance, things stay fresh and bug free even in the middle of summer, it helps hugely in controlling cross contamination issues with gluten (a friend who eats with us regularly is bigtime coeliac), I don’t have bags of things spilling all over my shelves and they look pretty as hell to boot.
The first big jar on the left is brown rice. Sometimes it’s long grain, sometimes basmati. We eat quite a bit of rice, particularly when cooking for crowds as it’s pretty cheap as well as being nutritious and filling. I also really like the nutty taste of the brown rice, though we still use white for sushi. Cooking brown rice is also easy breezy when you have a rice cooker.
Middle jar is bread flour. This stuff is from Dove’s Farm and makes exceedingly tasty bread. I saved up for a breadmaker a couple of years ago (more on that in another post) and it has paid for itself five times over. I bake all of our bread and also make pizza dough from this flour.
Jar on the right is partly filled with chickpeas and fingerprints. Oops. These are my go-to bean and I have come to adore them. Hummus, curry, chilli…the list is endless. We probably eat something involving chickpeas four or five days a week.
In front on the left, canned tomatoes. I get these by the slab from the CoOp and they work out under a euro a can, even though they’re organic and fairtrade. Suma is also a cooperative wholesaler, which is fantastic. These are the nicest tinned tomatoes I’ve found. Thick, delicious juice and loads of tomato chunks. I’ve had one can too many with a few pasty looking pieces floating around in a can of watery juice. No thanks. Since I swapped to these I’m getting through half as much tomato puree, and they’re as cheap as supermarket brands.
Finally there’s my giant tub of Marigold boullion powder. They have a range of powders, including low salt, and they’re all vegan. This stuff tastes amazing and is really easy to use. It’s the nearest thing to fresh, homemade veggie stock that I’ve found. The powder form is also very handy for recipes where you don’t want to add a litre of stock and then have to reduce your sauce down. You can also use tiny amounts where you wouldn’t break off a quarter of a veggie stock cube, for example.
These items are always in my pantry and at least one of them is included in the vast majority of our meals.
That said, I have a huge pantry. Part of my challenge this month is to buy as little as possible in the line of groceries, outside of perishables. I might even do a tour once I get it slightly more under control!
Anyone else have pantry items that they couldn’t live without?