I’m going to show you what’s in my pantries. I said pantries, don’t be disgusting. But if you want to skip to the good bit and get straight to cooking, feel free. Those that want some pantry guidance, keep reading.
So the pantry is my place of worship. The Cagney to my Lacey. The gravity to my Earth. Not really, but kind of actually, when you think about it? My pantry is a really simple structure I bought from IKEA I think, only because I have an ‘if I can’t see it, I won’t use it’ policy in my life so I need everything visible and with no obstacles. I’m simple like that.
To make gliding through this blog easier, I have written you up a small list just to clarify my process when it comes to eating and cooking. Listed below are my go-to ingredients when I visit a store. Do not be intimidated by the length of list here as, like I have already promised, they will creep up more than once and I am not here to send you anywhere that you do not need to be, even if some of these things aren’t recognisable, I guarantee you they can be found in your most local supermarket.
Now for some fridge and miscellaneous pantry items. You will find when you’re gliding through this blog that the majority of my recipes are clobbered together with items that are an impressive store cupboard holder. This meaning, while each recipe may include one fresh item, or something you perhaps may need to buy off-cuff at a supermarket, the rest of the recipe is then padded out with items that will sit in your pantry for centuries and survive a nuclear war.
Just imagining your face when you see this list below – don’t panic. My fridge and pantry aren’t stocked with these things at every single waking hour of the day, but these are the items I keep my eye on as often as I can because they are very much skeleton items in the bodies of a lot of recipes so having a nice amount of some of these ingredients ensures I sleep at night.
Baking is a slightly different approach and I do have a shelf on my pantry that is dedicated to such an ordeal. The beauty of baking is that you can buy a handful of ingredients and you are literally set for months because they keep like cockroaches and are always useful to have on the shelf to snatch at. Baking isn’t particularly my strongest point but I do enjoy the odd recipe (usually ones that require minimal work) but below is what I keep on my Baking shelf so I know I am well equipped for when the mood takes me.
To put this simply, I don’t have many. I am extremely simple when it comes to cooking, not because I’m one of those bloggers/liars who says cooking is simple and then asks you to spend six hours preparing things with different machines, but because I am scared of new technology. I only got ‘contactless’ in early 2017. I am not the most digital of people so I like to keep things simple.
The only two electrical pieces of equipment I use is a food processor and a food mixer. The mixer was wonderfully gifted to me by a very good friend and I use this to prepare a lot of my baking items (cookies and cakes etc) and the processor is basically my best friend. It’s so useful for processing mushrooms to make a mince or blitzing ingredients to make a pesto etc. I can’t recommend one enough.
Other than this, the rest of my equipment is pretty much the same as yours. The two key ones being my favourite frying pan which has been through wars with me (I say war but it’s basically just University – same thing) and a large yellow LEON stock pot that I make everything from stews to popcorn in. I believe if I only had to live with them for the rest of my life, I’d be fine.
I do however collect wooden spoons everywhere I go so I do have a big-ass metal plant pot near my stove CRAMMED full of scorched and distressed wooden spoons. Some people collect stamps, I collect spoons. Sue me.
I pre-plan all of my meals and cannot recommend this enough. Every weekend, I take 5/10 minutes to think about what I am going to cook Monday-Friday. I make a note of each day’s meal in my Notepad on my phone and underneath each meal, write the ingredients I will need to buy to make it.
This helps me figure out which meals can carry over to the next day and I can take into work. This also helps me figure out ingredients I can buy that I can use across the week to ensure I make the most of it. For example if I buy a butternut squash for a meal on a Monday, but won’t be using the whole thing, I’ll try and come up with something to cook with a squash on the Wednesday.
My eating is flexible. While I do tend to stick to a routine for when I eat, I’m also aware that sometimes I just want to eat out with friends or order in. You have to allow room for spontaneous acts like this otherwise you’ll be a slave to your Kitchen. But on a non-spontaneous week, I eat three meals a day (breakfast, lunch, dinner) with a snack at around 11:00am and a fruit snack around 3pm. I’m a Capricorn and love a routine! This is a routine that works for me – I don’t tend to deviate off of this routine too much because it gives a particular structure to my day, but I figured it was relevant to mention.
MY FOOD PHILOSOPHY
The last of my basics list is to remind is to just have fun. The food we need can also be the food we want, you just don’t need to stress out about it. Don’t think about it too much.
Food doesn’t need to be serious. It may look like it takes a lot of energy and money to put a square meal on the table but it really doesn’t. Like I have said time and time again, I can only assume I have the same life commitments that you do and I only cook this way – not least because it’s a passion – but because it’s so simple.
I have been a vegetarian for a while now and I have never been happier with my outlook on eating. I say this to say that this is not a blog to encourage you to become vegetarian (there are still PLENTY of meat recipes on this blog for you to enjoy) but my food philosophy is that once you get to the core of WHY you want to eat, this will then guide WHAT you cook and HOW you cook it.
Eat because your hungry, sure. That’s just your body’s way of reminding you that you’re alive. But look at why you are about to eat. Is it because you’re about to eat with your partner? This may mean you want some cosy food you eat with your hands. But you want it done quickly because it’s Friday night and your knackered. Easy. Just have some tacos. Throw some spiced cauliflower in an oven for 20 minutes and heat up some tortillas, throw the cauliflower on the tortilla with some hot sauce and some chopped coriander. Done.
Rationale behind food doesn’t need to be a long drawn out process. Once you establish the reason you want to eat (outside of hunger) the blocks of cooking will all fall into place. I want you to use this blog to incorporate extremely easy recipes into the structures of your life with ease and agility and without ever feeling like you must dedicate your life to the Kitchen.
Like I’ve said, this blog is the nonsense of life told through food. Understand that cooking is literally just combining ingredients and you are already half way there.