Before I go on to the dry ingredients in the pantry which I think will be the next instalment well put it this way at the time of typing this that is what I have in mind there are also a few other bits and bobs which I like to have in the house so you can get something quick and easy and tasty especially in this really cold weather. They are not specifically "Pantry items" but as I am taking into account storage of items that I keep in the shed, the freezers, the fridges, the jam pantry as well as the main pantry itself so please give me a little leeway.
I like to have quite a bit of basic stuff in the house which I really do not like to be without. These are my real out and out basics (not dry ingredients) which I will subsect as follows:
I know many of you will go arggh when I mention lard, but when I was growing up you made the best of what you had. You saved the fat from the roasts and also used it in frying generally. We never had oils. We had hard fats and you used them. Mum used to have a couple of pottery jars/crocks that the fat was put into to cool and that was kept in the fridge once cooled and used as needed. We used to get pork dripping proper pork dripping and used to spread it on hunks of bread. We loved it. I use lard with a little hard margarine in the mix (Stork). Every so often I try some of the newer alternatives but I still keep coming back to lard. I keep this in to make home made short-crust pastry together with some hard stork margarine. I also use some in the bottom of a pan when cooking a bit of pork to give "pork dripping" - this was a tip from my mother in law and she really could cook. So predominantly lard is kept in the fridge to make pastry in my household.
I never changed to low fat spreads when there was a who ha about different kinds of fats. I kept on using butter. My logic was how can something that is acquired through simple natural processes be harmful. We use it everyday with toast and sandwiches and also in baking and in cooking generally together with a little oil. You get lots of flavour this way and the oil stops the butter burning However as with most things everything in moderation.
Stork Hard margarine
Use in home made pastry and when making sponge cakes and cake making generally.
Sesame oil for stir fries, light olive oil for cooking and Virgin Olive oil for dressing. I use sunflower oil for general cooking.
I keep lots of milk in - I prefer full milk we use a lot of it as we have milk shakes and smoothies as well as using it in puddings i.e. egg custard, home-made custard, Yorkshire puddings, Rice pudding, pancakes, omelettes scrambled eggs etc. etc.
We love cheese and I tend to keep a lot of strong cheddar in the fridge. the other week I managed to get a very large block of Cathedral City cheese for next to nothing . It is ideal for keeping in as you can make your own quiches and flans which taste absolutely yummy, lasagne, any other pasta dish that needs cheese, grated on top of pasta, home made Welsh rarebit, sarnies with baked potatoes.....
A net of Onions
We use a lot of onions. I rarely cook without them. They give so much flavour. We use them fried with steak, with hot dogs, with sausages and toad in the hole, French Onion Soup, roasted whole with a Sunday roast, raw, in coleslaw, dried, in home made onion marmalade and chutneys, in sauces. There is so much you can do with them.
A sack of Potatoes
I never like to be without a sack of potatoes as you can do so much with them. Make your own chips, roast potatoes, mashed potatoes, in cottage pie, mashed potato nest, rosti, Colcannon, Champ, boiled, with fried eggs, in stews, mashed potato pastry, boulangere, gratins, in soups, potato dauphinoise, Bubble and Squeak. I always like to have potatoes in and at the end of March I end up buying them fresh a few at a time as potatoes in a sack by then will start to shoot. On average a sack of potatoes lasts us about six weeks However in the Winter months a sack of potatoes will keep happily in our shed for more or less all winter.
I always like to have a little bread in and I prefer to make it myself. Needless to say I keep everything in for making bread. OH is not consuming as much these days and I don't like it every day. I prefer interesting breads such as focaccia, Tiger buns (home made) both of them of course. There are recipes further back on the blog.
A tray of eggs
We use a lot of eggs in cooking, for pack ups, for breakfasts, for baking. I do not store them in the fridge. They are stored in a cool place but not the fridge. I store them away from anything else as the shells are porus and if stored with Truffle (mushroom) or garlic then they will take on the flavour of whatever they are stored with. That is what a lot of posh chefs do with Truffles store them in a jar with some eggs so that they take on the flavour.
My basics tend to be cauliflower, carrots, and broccoli. Then parsnips, swede and carrot crush, leeks. Oh and frozen peas. Everything else is seasonal. And of course I also put up vegetables into the freezer if I do not think I am going to get them used so that we have the option of fresh, frozen and dried. I do not waste anything. Although not a vegetarian vegetables are important in a meal and we always have more veggies than meat.
The above are just a few things that I keep in as my basics and which I find useful. I will start on to the Dry pantry ingredients I keep in on the next post.
Catch you soon.