I can’t tell you how often I have heard someone say: ‘Oh I can’t be bothered cooking much when it is just for me’.
I have to tell you, if I couldn’t be bothered to cook when it was just for me, then I would either starve or live on ready meals because I eat by myself 80% of the time.
I thought I would do a series on how I cook on a day to day basis. How I plan and organise.
How I stock my kitchen.
In a way, this is one of the most important bits. It is no good if every time you need to make a meal - whether it be a special one for friends, a family one, or one just for yourself – if you have to go out and buy all the ingredients. Sometimes you may have to add one or two things but often times a lot, if not all the ingredients should be in your store.
This is a quick tour of my stores:
These are my every day bottles. It may look like chaos, but it is organised chaos. Among other things, I have extra virgin olive oil for salads, sesame oil for stir fry, carotina oil for regular cooking and regular sunflower oil for when the occasion needs it. There is red and white wine vinegar and sometimes some balsamic or cider vinegar, depending on what I have in. today there is some pickling vinegar left over from the red cabbage I pickled the other day (future post). There is a half bottle of rum that I have had for about 6 years, which is currently feeding my Christmas cake once a week and a bottle of port and a bottle of vermouth. I use this in place of wine in recipes. I never drink wine, so I never have any in, but I do like cooking with it, but would never bother to buy a bottle just for that. I find that vermouth and port in place of white or red wine, are really useful, because they don't go off however long they have been open and a bottle of vermouth cost me about £4.50 last time I bought it.There are various other bottles all of which get used fairly regularly, but they rarely need replacing, because all are used in such small quantities.
I always have eggs in although they are a little depleted at the moment because of a lot of recent cake baking activity. They are so useful to have, as I can always make an omelette if I can't think of anything else, or egg sandwiches. Means I can always make cakes too.
More bottles, malt vinegar, lemon and lime juice, soy sauce, sweet chilli sauce, pastas, sugar (white and demarara).
One of my regular tins cupboard. I have jars of pesto in, always, tins of tuna, tins of tomatoes, coconut milk (in case I want to make a thai curry) and tins of sweetcorn (for whenever).
My main baking cupboard. Always have all flours - Strong white, strong wholemeal, corn, self raising, plain, plus all herb and spice jars. Yeast, syrup etc.
This is my overflow baking cupboard for sugars, beans,pulses and things like couscous. In the top right is my Christmas cake, yumm.
And last but by no means least is my storage cupboard out in the garage. I use this for extra tins of things like beans, tomatoes, tuna. Also spare pasta and UHT milk in case I run out of fresh. The jar of cooking sauce at the bottom was rescued from a friend because it is beyond it's use by date! My jars of red cabbage, pickled onions and cherry brandy are maturing nicely in here too.
So this is my stock of food. If I have meat in the freezer, vegetables in the fridge I can whip up anything at any time, without having to go to the shops. In fact, I could go a very long time without going to the shops anyway. My freezer is very well stocked, but I try to go through it so things don't lurk at the bottom for years (I am quite rubbish at this, but I do try).
The last thing to show you is my blackboard. As soon as I am running low on something I write on here and put the stuff on it at the top of my shopping list when I go to the shops. If it is something like tins of tomatoes, I will probably buy 4 or more. That was I never run out of anything in my store cupboard.
So that is how I run my kitchen! A well stocked cupboard means you are less likely to run out of food and turn to ready meals or take out.
Next time is all about how I shop. Hope you enjoyed the tour of my kitchen. X