What's In My Online Shop: Valentina Fois, Lele’s

Stuck in a rut when it comes to your weekly food shop? What if you could have a peek at someone else’s online shop for fresh inspiration? This month, we asked Valentina Fois – Lele’s vegan café founder and contestant in Gordon Ramsay’s Future Food Stars – to share her online order. From miso paste to dairy-free pecan ice-cream, here are the snacks and supper staples she orders time and again.
By Heather Steele /

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FRIDGE STAPLES

Basil – I always have homemade pesto in my fridge. Not only do I use it with pasta but also to season toast and salads. It’s so easy to make, just mix basil, pine nuts, extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper. I don’t eat garlic, but if you do, add that too.

Miso paste – When I’m working and feel peckish, I often add a spoon of miso paste to a cup of hot water – it’s healthy and delicious. I also use miso to make salad dressings and it’s perfect with grilled asparagus at this time of year.

Dairy-free yogurt – Specifically the cherry-flavoured Alpro one. For breakfast, I'll have it with a dollop of peanut butter and some crunchy oats. To make them crunchy, toast some porridge jumbo oats in a hot pan. Sprinkle over some cinnamon and add a teaspoon of maple syrup. It will make the oats crunchy and super tasty.

Plant-based milk – In the morning, I make myself smoothies for breakfast. Recently, I’ve really got into hazelnut milk specifically. My go-to smoothie is made of frozen cherries, fresh raspberries, half a banana, a spoon of almond butter and cocoa nibs (no added sugar as the banana and fruits are already doing the job).

When I’m working and feel peckish, I often add a spoon of MISO PASTE to a cup of HOT WATER – it’s HEALTHY and DELCIOUS.

FRUIT & VEG

Artichokes – I am obsessed with grilled artichokes. I eat mine with toasted bread and lots of parsley at lunchtime.

Lemons – I always have lots of these to hand. I squeeze the juice into teas and over fresh fruit salads. I also love the zest on top of beans and tomatoes. Those three ingredients together make the ultimate topping.

Berries – Raspberries for me and blueberries for my partner, he loves them. They’re perfect for smoothies and as healthy snacks while we work in front of our computers. We also nibble on them while binging on Netflix.

Bananas – Another ingredient for my smoothies. I also try to buy whatever is in season and from time to time I treat myself to an avocado or some tropical fruits. I try to buy as many local products as possible, both for the quality and the environment. 

Fresh herbs – Parsley, basil and fresh rosemary – rosemary is delicious with everything. I make a great salad with roasted potatoes, rosemary, paprika and garden peas.

CUPBOARD ESSENTIALS

Tahini – I like to add it to smoothies, cookies, salads, roasted vegetables – seriously it never disappoints. 

Peanut butter – I love it so much, I sometimes eat it with a spoon from the jar as a snack. Otherwise, I put it on fresh fruits, ice-cream, sometimes popcorn. I also like to stuff dates with it.

Pasta – Authentic Italian brand Rummo is my favourite pasta. I think it’s always useful to have a pack of pasta, as it is so easy to cook and tastes delicious even if you just serve it with olive oil. Rummo pasta is strong and not chewy. When you really really need to overcook it for it not to be 'al dente', you can tell it's a good quality pasta.

Passata – Again, it’s perfect for a quick pasta sauce, but also lovely when you add chilli, lentils and parsley. Just let them cook for 30 minutes for a simple, tasty supper. I love Mutti – it's excellent quality and reminds me of home in Italy. We make our own passata once a year – a few years back we made 200 bottles, which lasted for two years!

Maldon sea salt flakes – I love the crunchiness and the texture they add to food. 

Olive oil – I always have a very, very good extra virgin olive oil in my kitchen. I really like a brand called Le Tre Foglie. As it isn’t cheap, I dispense it like it's liquid gold! A teaspoon on a fresh salad is all you need to elevate the flavours.

Pulses and beans – They're a cheap, low-fat source of protein and fibre, and taste delicious. I like to make up a huge bowl of pulses, lemon juice, olive oil and rocket leaves – a great salad with no effort at all. 

SNACKS

Nuts – I could eat these all day every day! Hazelnuts are my favourite. You can leave me with a pack and expect to find none left. 

Dates – These are my perfect snack, especially when I am sitting at my desk working. 

Popcorn – I like to make my own. I get creative and add chocolate sauce on top, then dried berries and caramel pieces. It's almost like a ritual to get all set before watching a movie.

Chestnuts – I snack on dried chestnuts whenever I find them. Seggiano makes a wonderful snack-sized pack.

There’s always a BOTTLE OF PROSECCO in the fridge. I believe there’s always something WORTH CELEBRATING.

DRINKS

Beer – I like a nice IPA. Nothing tastes better than a cold beer after a long day at work, especially on hot summer days. I like to chill on my little terrace with a can of Five Points Brewery IPA – it's sharp and fresh. I like independent brands that try hard to offer a good quality product without compromise. Camden Brewery is another good one.

Fizz – There’s always a bottle of prosecco in the fridge. I believe there’s always something worth celebrating. I like Waitrose San Leo Prosecco Brut NV – it's vegan and easily accessible.

Kombucha – For my other half. He likes Jarr passion fruit kombucha – it's super funky and bubbly which makes it perfect for summer. He also likes Real Kombucha Royal Flush which is more floral for a different flavour. I’m more of a Diet Coke or sparkling water girl.

FREEZER

Garden peas – I always add a handful with my pasta to get more protein – they go well with any pasta sauce. They're a great source of protein, and you can add them on top of salads and soups too.

Ice-cream – The vegan-friendly Booja Booja pecan flavour, please. 

Meat alternatives – I like Linda McCartney products, as I love the flavour. I always have a packet of Linda McCartney vegan mince in the freezer, as it’s perfect for a chilli con carne or a bolognese sauce.

Frozen berries – For my smoothies. My ultimate smoothie recipe is cherries, dark chocolate, almond butter, half a banana and frozen raspberries.

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