The larder is where most of my food comes from. When there’s nothing in the fridge, there is still usually a week’s worth of meals in the larder.
- Ground coriander
- Ground cumin
- Ground cinnamon
- Ground ginger
- Curry powder
- Dried chillies
- Vanilla essence
- Plain flour
- Caster sugar
- Baking powder
- Cocoa powder (not drinking chocolate but 100% cocoa).
- Bicarobonate of soda: useful for baking and for browning onions.
- Pasta: Pick your favourite shape. Mine’s long and flat. Yours might be short and tubular. It’s all good stuff. Wholemeal pasta is the best for you but if you don’t like it much, that’s OK.
- Noodles: For when your pasta needs to be Asian. Try some buckwheat soba. They’re fab.
- Bulgur wheat, quinoa, pearl barley, spelt and/or other grains for salads and risottos. They store forever so having several is a matter of space, they won’t go to waste from spoilage.
- Rice: Ideally long grain for having with curry and chilli, short grain for risottos and puddings.
- Nuts: Adds texture and flavour to salads and pestos, and are tasty to snack on too. Get several kinds: peanuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cashew nuts and pine nuts. Nuts store well so you don’t have to worry about them going off.
- Red lentils
- Green lentils
- Dried pulses: chickpeas, kidney beans. Dried pulses are way cheaper than chips but do take a bit of patience and preparation. Soak overnight, then boil in water for however long it takes. In my experience, that’s usually longer than it says on the packet. The good thing about dried pulses is that you can cook up a big batch and then freeze portions for use later.
- Stock powder or cubes
- Crushed tomatoes
- Beans: Get your favourites, be it red kidney beans, good for chillies, flageolets, great for silky French-inspired stews, cannelini, black eyes peas or any of the other interesting options out there.
Bottles & Jars
- Oils: Olive oil and vegetable oil are the must haves. Other useful oils are sesame oil that brings lovely flavour to stir-fries and soya-sauce based dips, and hazelnut oil which is a great butter replacement in baking. Flavoured oil – garlic, chilli and rosemary – are great to cook with but also fairly easy to make yourself.
- Soya sauce
- Vinegar: White wine or cider vinegar covers most vinegar needs.
- Syrup or honey.
See also: a note on stocking the fridge.