Chilli Sauce – How many do you really need? If our fridge is anything to go by, ten is the going rate in our house. I especially love our Vietnamese restauranteur friend Duc's homemade chilli sauce, which he sends over to us with other Vietnamese goodies. We now replicate it ourselves using his recipe: slow-cooked and mildly fermented, it is incredible.
Maille Dijon Mustard – Quite easily the best mustard on the market. We probably go through a jar a week, so I buy it in bulk when shopping, and have a box of it out in a summer house. Dijon mustard is heavy and so versatile, and I’ve been using it in the same french dressing I’ve made since I was a teenager and still adore it. The brand’s ‘dijonnaise’ is also delicious.
Duchy Whole Organic Milk or Briddlesford IOW Whole Milk – We always have whole milk in our house – tea just isn’t the same without it. Ideally, I prefer Isle of Wight milk, but do enjoy the very occasional coffee with organic oat milk.
Full Fat Plain Yeo Valley Greek Yoghurt and Yeo Valley Children's Fruit Greek Yoghurts – I think my son would eat greek yoghurt and local honey all day if we let him. It’s also delicious with a grating of lemon zest and cumin or fresh herbs if serving with fish.
Smoked Salmon – You can never have too much. It’s delicious through a creamy pasta, for breakfast or as a quick lunch on the go on a rye cracker or one of my husband's flax seed buns and salted butter. Our son adores it.
Innocent Smoothies For Children – Great for a child’s lunch box or a post- or pre-school treat. They’re packed with fruit and veg and make a lovely occasional treat.
Chidmere Apple Juice – A good quality pressed apple juice is a big staple for us and is usually watered down with sparkling mineral water for our son. Less is definitely more, so a little goes a long way.
Duchy Organic Chipolatas – My son's absolute favourite and something he would eat daily if he had the chance. Hardly any fat comes off these and you can taste the quality. My husband is very particular about sausages and these (plus the ones from our meat supplier for the restaurant) get through his ‘quality control’.
Cheese & Salted Butter – We are still (naughtily) big lovers of full-fat, full-dairy butter and cheese, despite the craze for dairy-free alternatives. The Isle of Wight produces some incredible cheeses and our cheese box is generally overflowing with a selection of them. That said, you can't beat a bit of roquefort or feta.
FRUIT & VEG
Chillis – I always buy a big selection of chillis and have them sitting in a clay pot in the top of our fridge. Our fridge is tall and I'm short so it's a lucky dip which chilli I manage to get standing on my tip toes. At breakfast, lunch and dinner, these always make an appearance – usually chopped finely and served in a side dish so we can help ourselves.
Avocados – So many uses. I generally buy the small Duchy organic ones and choose a selection of different ripeness so they can be used throughout the week or fortnight. I love them smashed with a very good quality extra virgin olive oil and chervil to accompany fish or a steak.
Pomegranate Seeds – A bit of a faff to pod, but so worth it. They’re great on salads, but I also love them for breakfast with greek yoghurt and some fresh mint.
A Selection of Fresh Herbs – Herbs can transform the simplest of dishes. I would hugely recommend adding dill, orange zest and olive oil to your steamed veggies with a sprinkle of Maldon salt – heavenly.
Fresh Ginger – In my G&T or with a glass of sparkling water. A must.
Organic Purple Sprouting/Broccoli/Spring Greens – As a family we go through tons of green veg every day and it's usually the first thing our son eats off his plate at dinner. We tend to get our veg from our organic supplier for the restaurant (Living Larder), but if we can't, we try and buy the best organic vegetables available, including Duchy. The difference in flavour is very noticeable and it’s important to support the farmers working their socks off to produce pesticide-free crops. My favourite is griddled tender stem broccoli with popped seeds and feta for lunch.
Chicory – It lasts forever and is great in salads and griddled.
Jersey Royals or Small New Potatoes – Oven-roasted whole, peeled and served Danish-style with salted butter or simply steamed: you can't beat them.
Rocket – A simple bag of rocket can have so many uses and bring so many dishes to life. It lasts well and is the only salad I'll buy in a bag as I hate wasting anything.
Seasonal Apples & Pears – Our son gets more excited about having a pear than he does about eating bacon (and that's saying something). When in season, they are heavenly cut up into wedges and served alongside a picnic lunch at home.
Thai Black Rice – A firm favourite in our house. Wonderful with fish or Asian and Indian dishes. It’s nutty with a wonderful mildly crunchy texture.
Bovril – We probably go through a jar of this in a fortnight or less. We all adore this on sourdough with salted butter – very naughty but so delicious. It’s also very handy for popping into stews, soups and gravy if they need a beefy boost.
Peanut Butter – It has to be crunchy and thick rather than one of the looser versions usually containing palm oil. Duchy peanut butter is hard to resist.
Bucatini – This hollow spaghetti-style dried pasta is the closest thing I have found in a supermarket that replicates the texture of a hand rolled pici for a cacio e pepe in a quarter of the time or a mid-week carbonara treat. Simply pan-fry some lardons and garlic with a dash of cream, a handful of parmigiano reggiano and some of the pasta water (and an egg yolk if you want to add richness) and you have an incredible homemade version of the classic. Serve with a big salad or some steamed veg.
Maldon Salt – An absolute essential. Its smoked salt is also great to have to hand.
Oils – Buy the best-quality extra virgin olive oil you can. We buy both Italian and Greek olive oils and have a large selection of other oils, including local rapeseed from Oil of Wight.
Seeds & Nuts – I lightly roast a huge pile of seeds to give them a popped effect and have them in a kilner jar on the side to sprinkle over anything or give a bowl to our son to snack on. Popped pumpkin seeds are an absolute favourite and elevate any dish.
Olives – We are all olive fans in my household. They are the perfect snack for my son when he's lingering around the fridge. They’re also great thrown into a one-pot wonder, especially the Waitrose black Moroccan olives that come alive when slow cooked.
Liquorice – A firm favourite in our household. Some of the Swedish ones are far too strong, but our friends keep us stocked up with a great selection which are raided after our son goes to sleep.
Children's Crisps – The children’s vegetable crisp world is massive now. Low in salt and generally preservative free, they're great to have to hand, even for adults.
Duchy Organic Medjool Dates – Who needs caramel when you can have a medjool date? Perfect with a cup of coffee as a mid-afternoon treat.
Quorn Cocktail Sausages – My son is yet to work out that these are meat free. They make the perfect snack for him and us when we're reaching for the tenth lockdown snack of the day!
Intune Sparkling Spring Water CBD Drinks – If you haven't tried these, you must. Even if you're not interested in the CBD benefits, these delicious, clean-tasting drinks are a lovely alternative treat to have in your fridge. My husband doesn't drink and enjoys one of these (the grapefruit and mint flavour is a current favourite) when I'm having a G&T.
Fever Tree Ginger Beer – We're big lovers of an occasional ginger beer. The Fever Tree version is suitably spicy and a lovely staple to have in the outside fridge.
Valsar Sparkling Water – We tend to bring cases back of this from Switzerland as its mineral flavour is second to none. When we run out, Waitrose or any other own-brand sparkling spring water is great. We prefer sparkling to still, so go through a lot, but have just ordered a Soda Stream so it’s likely to be something we buy less often in future.
Chase Pink Grapefruit Gin – If you haven't tried it, you must – it's life changing. Well, not life-changing, but the best gin I've tasted and it always feels special when I treat myself to one.
Frozen Raw King Prawns – So handy to throw in a quick curry, pan-fry with garlic or make up a luxe prawn cocktail.
Petite Pois & Broad Beans – So many uses and super-handy for a risottos or light lunches with some fried bacon and fresh herbs.
Frozen Berries – Perfect for smoothies and making homemade lollies or for a quick compote for yoghurt or crumbles.
Jude’s Veg & Fruit Rocket Lollies – Another favourite of our son’s. Delicious, with natural flavours and ingredients.
Sourdough – Duchy's pre-sliced sourdough is super-handy to have in the freezer and toast straight from frozen. Otherwise we will always have a loaf or two from The Island Bakers.
Wonton/Dim Sum Wrappers – A staple use-up solution for me. I make dim sum weekly to clear the fridge of any leftovers we may have, such as roast chicken or griddled broccoli. Add a handful of chilli, grating of fresh ginger and a dash of soy sauce and you’ve got a great light lunch option.