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FRUIT & VEG
Mushrooms: If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll know I am fanatical about mushrooms. I’m lucky enough to know how to forage my own, but when I don’t have time to find them myself, I always have them in the fridge. I don’t eat much meat, so they’re a great and natural alternative when I want something that replicates the taste and texture of meat but isn’t super processed. I love roasting mushrooms until they’re crispy and using them as a topping, or adding them to a ramen, which is something I make often.
Garlic: I panic when I don’t have garlic in the kitchen. It’s an everyday staple that can make any dish more delicious. It also lasts a long time, so you can hang onto it for a while. I usually spend part of the summer in France, so I always buy a few strings of garlic from the French food markets which I’ll then hang in my kitchen for the rest of the year.
Lemons: Much like garlic, most dishes can be elevated with a lemon. I get unwaxed lemons so I can also use the zest. I finish a lot of soup or stew recipes with a squeeze of lemon juice and I like to squeeze it onto blanched green veg or over a tray of roasted vegetables. I also have lemon water each morning, as it wakes up my metabolism after a long night of sleep.
Cavolo Nero: Even though I eat healthily, and follow a mostly plant-based diet, I do struggle to eat enough green vegetables. However, I love dark leafy greens like cavolo nero, which is delicious made into pesto with lots of fresh basil.
Bananas: I generally try to buy local fruit and veg where possible, but bananas are an exception – as long as they’re organic. I eat bananas pretty much every day. In winter it’s usually on porridge or as a snack with peanut butter, or banana bread – my favourite. I love Anna Jones’s recipe which includes chocolate. During the summer months, I’ll have bananas in smoothies in the morning or I’ll freeze overly ripe leftover bananas and blend them up with cinnamon and a bit of oat milk for a milkshake.
Parmesan: Pasta is a go-to supper in my house, so parmesan is always needed. I also love it sprinkled over soup or a stew, and add the rind into a pot of minestrone for extra flavour.
Oat Milk: This goes in everything from porridge to tea and matcha lattes. I love the Minor Figures Organic Barista oat milk for its flavour and consistency, but I also like to use the Plenish milk in porridge. Lots of oat milk brands are packed with nasty oils so make sure you check the ingredients before you buy them.
Kimchi: I’m a big pickle person, so there’s always at least one jar of kimchi in my fridge. I like to eat it on its own as a snack, but my style of lunch is often a feasting plate of whatever I have in my fridge, so kimchi will be added on top. Eaten Alive is one of the best brands I’ve discovered – I like the spicy kimchi best. It’s also easy to make yourself at home, but realistically I don’t have time to do that every week.
Capers: I always have a jar of capers on the go. I have a very savoury tooth and love umami flavours, so I add capers to lots of things. They can lift a green salad, a plate of roasted veg, or even a runny or fried egg. I love the bigger, juicier ones.
Natural Yogurt: I always have a tub of Yeo Valley Natural Yogurt in the fridge. It’s the perfect flexible ingredient that can be added to sweet or savoury dishes, especially topped on a soup at this time of year. I love making a herby yogurt to go alongside various dishes. Finely chop whatever green herbs you have – for example, parsley, chives and dill – and add it to a small bowl of yogurt with salt and pepper and a squeeze of lemon juice.
Anchovies: I make pasta puttanesca a lot when I don’t have much in the fridge. You definitely need anchovies for the dish, so they are always in my cupboard.
Apple Cider Vinegar: You can use apple cider vinegar or white wine vinegar in most dishes. If I’ve run out of lemons, I like to add a glug to dishes for some acidity and a bit of punch. When I’m feeling run down, I’ll start the day with apple cider vinegar in warm water with honey.
Good Quality Sea Salt: You shouldn’t even begin to attempt making a good meal without salt. I use Maldon Salt for cooking, and Halen Môn salt for finishing dishes and adding into dressings. I love toast with just olive oil and salt, or an egg with salt and pepper – everything needs a bit of salt to taste good.
Dried Chilli Flakes: I don’t have a spicy palate and when something is too spicy, it can take away from the actual flavour of the dish, but I do love chilli flakes on some things. I am lucky enough to grow my own chillies which means I can make my own, after the glut of summer harvest, and they’re especially tasty on eggs and pasta.
Soy Sauce: Asian food is my comfort food and there are so many great recipes out there these days. Soy sauce adds so much flavour to everything from noodles to rice, as well a good hit of saltiness and that delicious umami quality. I really couldn’t live without it.
Pasta: I travel a lot, so I rely on pasta in the cupboard for a quick meal. I’ve just been sent some British pasta from Northern Pasta Co. which I’m very excited to try.
Lentils: During the winter months I eat a lot of soups and stews, and lentils usually form the base. I don’t eat much meat, so lentils are a great alternative when I need a substantial meal. At the moment, I’m testing a recipe for lentil bolognese.
Cannellini Beans: I like to be creative with beans and use them as a base for vegetarian cooking. I urge you to try Bold Beans if you haven’t already – they really are the best. I could eat the butter beans straight from the jar and not need to cook them at all. Otherwise, they go wonderfully with garlic, vinegar and sage.
Tinned Tomatoes: These are something I use almost on a daily basis, in a multitude of ways, so I always need at least a couple of tins in my cupboard – my favourite brand is Mutti. Throw in onions, garlic, herbs and beans for a quick and easy pasta sauce. They also taste delicious in a batch of homemade baked beans.
Marite: I’m definitely in the ‘I love Marmite’ camp. There’s nothing more comforting than hot buttered toast with Marmite on top.
Hazelnut Chocolate Spread: Seggiano’s hazelnut and chocolate spread is delicious and indulgent – I could eat it by the spoonful. It’s also good with pancakes or spread on toast.
Dates: I’ve struggled with low blood sugar since I was child, but dates have been my secret weapon. I can get into a raging mood – hangry if you will – when I don’t eat for a few hours, so having a few dates in my bag has always been a saving grace. They really are the sweetest, most delicious snack that instantly gives me a lift. If I’m feeling a bit more decadent, I’ll stuff them with almond butter and cover them with melted chocolate.
Salt & Vinegar Crisps: I think it’s always good to have an emergency packet of crisps in the house in case you have friends over at the last minute.
Chocolate: I don’t have the biggest sweet tooth, but I love dark chocolate. And the darker, the better. I end most days with a generous amount after dinner, usually from a bag of Montezuma chocolate buttons which are delicious.
Bread: I’m very lucky to have a bakery down the road from me at the Hawarden Estate Farm Shop in Wales, which makes delicious sourdough bread. It goes with any meal, but it’s also a great snack. I love hazelnut and chocolate spread with sliced banana on top.
Dumplings: There’s an amazing Asian supermarket in Liverpool, which is about 45 minutes away from me, called eJoy. Whenever I’m nearby I stock up on one of the many options of delicious dumplings. Having dumplings in the freezer is always a great back-up in case I don’t have anything fresh for dinner. They’re also delicious as a snack, lathered with soy sauce.
Veggie Sausages: I don’t eat that much fake meat, but veggie sausages are an exception to that rule. Perfect for a hangover or a lazy Sunday evening supper with red onion gravy.
Peas: I absolutely love peas but I have a weird thing with them as I don’t like them mixed in with other things. I prefer them on their own, hot and steamed. I’m not a fussy eater, but it’s one of my only rules.
Ice: I’m very particular about the temperature of my drinks and like them either very cold, or very hot. So, ice is always a must in my freezer. The big square cubes mean you just need one at a time.
Red Wine: I use wine for cooking as well as drinking, so there’s always a bottle or two in my house. A bottle of tempranillo is especially comforting during the winter months.
Vanilla Rooibos Earl Grey Tea: Dragonfly Tea makes my favourite version of this. I’m not an English breakfast tea girl (sorry) so this is my answer to that. It’s perfect with milk or oat milk and a generous teaspoon of honey. I like to sit down with a cup mid-afternoon when I need something warm.
Tequila: My go-to spirit is tequila because my favourite cocktail is a margarita. Over the years I’ve developed quite a good margarita recipe, so I always have tequila on tap. I just went to California, so I’m more inspired than ever to create the best margarita there is – with lots of lime and salt.
Tonic water: There’s always a stash of Fever-Tree tonic water in my house because it lasts forever, and is always needed when you really don’t feel like going out to the shops. I also like to drink it on its own with ice and lemon.
Tomato Juice: My fiancé Hugo makes the best bloody mary. So, we always have a bottle of Big Toms on the shelf, just in case. We also love making a bit of a concoction without alcohol, as we both love the flavour of tomato juice with all the bits that make a bloody mary so good.
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