If you’re new to cooking or are looking for a guide to improving your spice collection, look no further than this introduction to those dry store cupboard staples to ensure that you’re always prepared.
SALT: The holy grail of the seasoning and essential for every dish
PEPPER: Salt’s best friend and a necessary addition to most meals
DRIED MIXED HERB: No need to bother with individual herbs, here’s your all in one mix to uplift any meal
SMOKED PAPRIKA: a great place to start in your journey to spice discovery, which works well in a basic tomato sauce, a stew or on roasted vegetables.
CUMIN AND CORIANDER: fry these off with onions and garlic for the base to any great curry.
CINNAMON: sprinkle on porridge or sliced apple for a twist to your everyday basics.
FIVE SPICE: take your stir-fry to the next level.
SOY SAUCE: a replacement for salt in your stir-fry or egg-fried rice.
ONIONS AND GARLIC: cheap and easy to store, these form the basis of most dishes and add flavour to everything.
POTATOES: roast them, bake them, boil them, mash them, chuck them in a curry or serve them in a salad. Potatoes are cheap, versatile and with so many varieties you cannot get bored.
PASTA AND RICE: you can go in many a culinary direction with these two; Italian, Mexican, Indian or Chinese. The possibilities are endless.
PULSES AND BEANS: a cheap way to bulk out any meal. Buy pre-cooked chickpeas and beans to save time.
TINNED TOMATOES: always useful to have in to make simple and quick curries, pasta, soups or stews.
COCONUT MILK: sounds fancy but is both useful and delicious. Makes dhal, Thai curries or noodle soup.
OATS: Make porridge, granola, fruit and nut bars or, when blended, use as a gluten free alternative to wheat flour (make sure they’re GF oats).
PESTO: I can’t sing pesto’s praises enough. Mix into pasta (either on its own or with cream cheese), put it in a pie or spread on toast, it will always taste good.
MEAT: when buying meat, supermarkets often have offers on so make the most of those and put whatever you won’t use in the next few days in the freezer. Not the cheapest ingredient but certainly can pack a flavour punch.
FROZEN VEGETABLES: so cheap and very useful if you want to bulk out a meal in a healthy way.
STOCK CUBES: Adds flavour and richness to any sauce, gravy or soup.
[Image: Bob @ Flickr]