I love things that make my life easier.
Velcro on my trainers, zips on my intricately laced military boots, shower gel in a hand soap dispenser, mood based playlists on my I-Pod and pre-made crumble mix. All things that save me time and effort.
But my ultimate love is of things that save me time in the kitchen, especially things I can keep in the tiny kitchen cupboard that I label as my pantry.
I made my own flavoured oils to save me chopping up garlic or chillies every time I need them. A couple of cloves roughly chopped and then whacked into olive oil, sat in an oil pourer on my kitchen worktop, ready to go. The one with chillies also works really well, although I am still working on the right ratio, so it doesn’t blow P’s face off, which it currently does.
To add lazy to laziness, my chillies come out of a jar. It is for my own safety, I do tend to chop chillies and then rub my eyes….every time. So if it saves me time, and my eyesight, what is wrong with a little laziness?
Our forefathers (and more likely, our foremothers) pickled and chutney-ed within an inch of their lives to stop food from going bad in the winter to spring months, and having a supply of jars, bottles and tins in the storecupboard/pantry has become a part of our day-to-day lives. We have an abundant amount of homemade jams, chutney, pickled items, sauces and such in our teeny pantry. I love how they can transform a dish.
Here are 5 of my Must-Haves
A simple cheese sandwich is easily transformed into a tastebud delight with a spreading of runner bean chutney (my step-grandmother’s specialty).
2. Minced Ginger Paste
A stirring of minced ginger paste from a jar (an actual godsend if you can hunt it down) adds an amazing depth and heat to any dish, sweet or savoury.
The base of many a homemade glaze and sauce…..and also awesome on toast.
4. Lime/Lemon juice
Not only great for dashing in the wok, you can use this to clean out the tea stains from your overly used mug.
5. Sweet Chilli Sauce
I would glug this from the bottle if I ever thought I could get away with it. Great as a basic dipping sauce for crisps, crudites etc, but also amazing in a cheese toastie.
I must also say, if you haven’t got some garlic oil, olives and some chillies in a jar, you aren’t making your pantry work for you.
Anything you couldn’t survive without in your kitchen cupboard?