Oat milk – This goes into my fruit smoothies, and I only get the Minor Figures brand now as Oatley has been bought by a Chinese company which cuts down rainforests. Apologies to have gone so political on my first entry!
Butter – I love butter on my toast for a naughty snack, but it has to be unsalted. I love brands like President or Lescure – basically, French or a nice UK brand. As it’s not exactly healthy, I make the effort to go for top quality. It’s also essential for baking cakes and making a decent chocolate ganache, which I make quite a lot.
Chilli Oil – I have a whole shelf full of homemade chilli oils, alongside other brands, which are essential for throwing in with noodles, rice bowls and on top of eggs.
Chipotle Paste – Again, this is another essential for fried eggs, shakshuka or on top of pizza. I love the Gran Luchito brand, as it transports me back to Mexico.
Sriracha – I love trying different ones and I have found a really great fermented one by Fallow, a restaurant in Soho. The classic brand still works wonders – I use this when I want to give a dish a final dash of je ne sais quoi. I also love it on top of egg fried rice or anything comforting and warm.
Cheese – I always have a lump of grana padano in the dairy section of my fridge. I love pasta and this is perfect for practically any sauce.
FRUIT & VEG
Bananas – I always have bananas at home. They are either in the fruit bowl or chopped up and wrapped in baking paper, stored in the freezer for smoothies.
Peaches – These are obviously amazing on their own, but at this time of year, I love to use them to make a white peach pie. Lots of brown sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and ground almonds – so delicious.
Broccoli – I often have broccoli in my shopping basket. I roast it with either dried chilli flakes or Korean chilli powder. I like to use it in pasta sauces or on top of noodles with my lunchtime salads.
Spinach – Again, this is another staple. I have it raw in my lunch bowls or use it to top up the number of greens in pesto pasta.
Fennel/carrots/cabbage/avocado/beetroot – These all feature in my raw salad bowls for lunch. I use a mandoline to slice everything super thin or a grater for the beets and carrot. I then pair it all with a punchy dressing made with either tahini, white miso or sesame oil.
Sprouts – These are so good on top of salads for lunch. They are packed with so much goodness and can also help make dishes look fancy for a dinner party.
Coriander – Not everyone’s favourite, but I can’t get enough of this herb. I sit mine in a water glass in the fridge door to keep it fresh all week. I love it so much I don’t chop it up too small and like to leave the leaves whole. Aside from adding it to curries and salads, I love to throw it in a green smoothie with apple, cucumber, ginger, lemon and avocado.
Tomatoes – At the moment, tomatoes are at their best. I chuck them into my high-speed blender with a splash of olive oil and sea salt to make the ultimate pan con tomate. Scrape a fresh piece of toast with a single rub of garlic and spoon over the amazingly sweet tomato sauce for a quick snack, breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Chickpeas/butterbeans/cannellini beans – I use these for curries and working lunches. I have a particular favourite soup from my Saucy cookbook which uses cannellini beans with ricotta and roasted butternut squash.
Sesame Oil – My go-to for dressings and I love a drop or two to finish Asian dishes. There’s something about its smell and taste that transports me to somewhere exotic and I never tire of it.
Apple Cider Vinegar – Always go for brands that contains ‘the mother’, which means that it will be a little fermented. I use this as much as I use white wine vinegar and it is especially great in hollandaise sauce or lentil salad with a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Brown Rice Pasta – I eat all types of pasta, but brown rice pasta is great for when you want to have a lighter version. It’s amazing with pesto and simple tomato bases. If I was cooking seafood, then I would use a good-quality wheat variety spaghetti. You can’t mess with the classics too much!
Tomato Sauce – In an ideal world, I’d always make my own, but sometimes I can’t be bothered. I think Agromonte cherry tomato sauce is seriously tasty and makes a great quick dinner.
Pesto – Again when time is short, I love to use the range by Seggiano. I like to also throw in whatever veg I have in the fridge, whether it’s peas, broccoli, kale or cavolo nero, which makes it healthier. I find if you add a squeeze of lemon and some zest you can add even more depth of flavour.
Shichimi Togarashi Seasoning – This is a Japanese seven-spice blend which includes chilli powder, ginger, white and black sesame seeds. If I’m doing an Asian-style marinade or dressing, then I like to use this. You can also sprinkle it over noodle and rice dishes at the end.
Black & White Sesame Seeds – Again, I add this to noodles for some crunch or lunchtime salads. They also make dishes look fancy, but with zero effort. They’re also nice to add to meat and fish recipes.
Mushroom Powder – This is essential to create depth into vegan dishes when you need that umami kick. I use porchini powder in a tom yum soup that I have in Saucy and for anything that requires a stock. You can also blend dried porcini or shiitake in a high-speed blender if you can’t find it.
Crisps – Either for eating as they are or with a massive tub of hummus. Salt and vinegar never gets old, and I can polish off a whole bag of Tyrrells solo.
Hummus – I sometimes make my own, but often I just buy it. Carrots for dunking are also essential.
Walnuts – I use these for my morning smoothies, but I also as a healthy snack. I reckon they counterbalance all the crisps that I eat.
Dark Chocolate – Chocolate is a passion of mine, and I always go for 70% for cakes and eating on its own. For snacking, I rate Pump Street.
Tequila – For shots and spicy margaritas or pink grapefruit palomas.
Fruit – I get most of my fruit portions from frozen fruit. I will always freeze in-season fruit and throw these into my smoothies. Right now, I’m using nectarines and apricots and then in the winter I’ll buy frozen berries, which are picked during the season when they’re at their best.
Sourdough – I always buy good-quality breads from bakeries and after the second day, I will freeze the whole loaf in slices. This means that I always have nice toast for my scrambled eggs at the weekend. Any leftover bits will be made into breadcrumbs to sprinkle over risottos and pastas for extra texture.