I always get asked what my favourite kitchen essentials are or if I have any tips or tricks on how I store/keep things in my kitchen... So I thought I'd put together a blog post on "Leah's Favourite Kitchen Essentials"
Let’s start with your pantry! Here’s a list of the items I recommend you ALWAYS keep stocked in your pantry to maximise your success in the kitchen.
BREAD & WRAPS: Bread is a perfect staple for breakfasts, especially when paired with eggs! Wraps are great for a quick grab and go lunch. Bread also freezes well, so if you have any left over for the week, throw it in the freezer and toast straight from the freezer.
DRY GOODS: In my kitchen, I have a ‘dry goods section’ where I keep my almond meal, baking powder, flours and cacao powder. These are great staples to start building your kitchen pantry.
STOCKS & SAUCES: There is nothing worse than buying an entire bottle of sauce, and only using it for one recipe! The sauces you’ll find in BARE (and in my kitchen!) are soy sauce, oyster sauce, hoisin, fish sauce, beef stock, chicken stock, vegetable stock, sweet chilli sauce and Worcestershire sauce. These are commonly used throughout BARE and are worth stocking up on!
DRIED HERBS/ GROUND SPICES: Basil, bay leaves, oregano, rosemary, tarragon, thyme and parsley are some of my favourites that you’ll be using in a lot of meals. For spices, I recommend black pepper, salt, cayenne pepper, chilli flakes, chilli powder, cinnamon, cumin, curry powder, ginger and paprika. You don’t have to get these all at once, but they’re great to have on hand!
TOMATO SAUCE, TOMATO PASTE & CANNED TOMATOES: Perfect for pasta sauces, pizza bases and anything else Italian. These have a long shelf life and are a great staple to have in your pantry for a quick dinner. GRAINS: Grains can typically be bought in bulk, as they are long life items. I always have pasta, rice, quinoa, couscous and lentils on hand in my kitchen.
CANNED GOODS: Similar to grains, don’t be afraid to buy these in bulk! Canned veggies and legumes are an essential staple in my kitchen. I’ll often keep corn, black beans and chickpeas in the pantry for whenever I want to make a quick snack.
I love my fridge! Here’s a list of the items I recommend you ALWAYS keep stocked in your fridge to maximise your success in the kitchen.
Eggs: Eggs are a staple for my breakfasts and a key ingredient when baking. I always seem to run out of eggs when I need them the most, so I recommend you make sure they’re fully stocked at all times!
Fresh vegetables: Fresh vegetables are super versatile, they can be added to almost any meal, meaning they’ll never go to waste. Beetroot, broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are some of my favourites, as they are easy to cook and have a long shelf life.
Cheese and yoghurt: Both cheese and yoghurt are a great addition to breakfasts, snacks or main meals. Also, who doesn’t love cheese? It’s a staple in my fridge!
Milk: Milk is a great addition to breakfasts, such as oats and muesli. There are plenty of alternatives if you don’t like or can’t tolerate cow’s milk. Almond milk is my favourite alternative!
Fresh herbs: Fresh herbs go with everything, they make every dish more flavoursome and will help take you from a beginner cook to a master chef. You can always buy dried herbs, as fresh herbs don’t typically last long, but if you’re like me, you might choose to plant some herbs in the garden to ensure you have your own never-ending supply.
Freezing items is seriously underrated - It’s the BEST when you are time poor, want to save money or have loads of veggies/ingredients left over that you don’t want to waste! Here’s a list of the items I recommend you stock up on in your freezer to maximize your success in the kitchen.
VEGETABLES: Some vegetables you can buy already frozen, such as corn and peas. Vegetables such as kale and broccoli, which usually have a long shelf life, can be blanched and then frozen. Slice or chop tomato, zucchini, onion and store in an airtight zip lock bag in the freezer. When you want to use them, simply defrost the veggies in the fridge overnight (or in the microwave) then add them to your dish. Vegetables can often last in the freezer for up to 3 months.
FRUIT: I love my frozen fruits! Frozen fruit is perfect in smoothies, for a quick grab-and-go breakfast. Some of my favourite FRESH fruits include berries or mango! If your favourite fruit is in season and on special, I suggest you buy and freeze these yourself.
SOUPS AND SAUCES: I love batch cooking soups and pasta sauces and then freezing them. Perfect for a quick dinner – simply thaw and eat. My favourite pasta sauce to batch cook is my BARE Napoletana sauce!
MEAT, FISH & POULTRY: I’ll typically freeze meat, fish and poultry in 1 serve portions so it’s easy to thaw them as you need. Typically, fish can last up to 3 months and meats can last up to 6 months in the freezer.
CHEESE: Have you ever bought a huge packet of grated cheese and had to throw the stale leftovers away? Don’t let your cheese go to waste! It can be kept for up to 3 months in the freezer.
FRESH HERBS: Worried about fresh herbs wilting too quickly? Fill an ice-cube tray with chopped fresh herbs, pour olive oil into each hole and freeze. This will help save on waste and you can add an ice-cube to the pan when cooking. These can keep for up to 1 month.
I hope you loved this blog post on Leah's Favourite Kitchen Essentials! If there's any other topics you'd like me to touch on, please let me know!