A well-stocked store cupboard is absolutely key for the family cook who’s under constant pressure to throw together appetising meals in minutes for a hungry tribe.
I don’t know about you but my cupboards have a tendency to get pretty unruly. Packets and jars bought on offer shoved in after a big trip to the supermarket, meaning there’s a load of stuff lurking at the back unloved and forgotten.
Organise your kitchen cupboards
To keep on top of this situation, at the end of the month get everything out of your cupboard and see what’s up for grabs.
It’s a good chance to experiment with ingredients and use everything up. Some of my best meals are born out of rummaging in the cupboard on those desperate nights when you have nothing in the fridge.
Taking stock of your staples will help you keep tabs on what you really need to buy next month, saving you money and preventing a pile-up of chopped tomatoes and maybe even uncovering a hidden gem you’d forgotten about.
Keep an eye on your herbs and spices too – they’re the type of jars that hang around for YEARS and don’t taste as brilliant when they’re majorly out of date.
Top five must-have hero staples
I think we all get stuck in a rut buying the same-old things, so here are some of my must-have hero staples to give you some inspiration:
1 & 2 Coconut milk and curry paste
As long as you’ve got this duo on your side, you’re moments away from an authentic tasting curry that’s far superior to most ready-made sauces in a jar.
You could also use the pair to make a lovely thai chicken soup on a cold autumnal day.
One little jar, so many possibilities. Obviously it’s great stirred through pasta, but try spreading it on a crumpet and topping with grated cheese and flashing it under a hot grill for a super-quick lunch.
You can also make a herby crust to spread on a salmon fillet by mixing pesto, breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese.
Give mashed potato a taste-lift by stirring in a tablespoon before serving.
If you’re a bit bored of pasta and sauce, then try using the little potato clouds instead. They always seem to have a long shelf-life so are ideal for keeping in the cupboards for those times where you need to produce a meal in under five minutes – I think we’ve all been there!
Gnocchi is kiddie friendly, quickly fills up hungry tums and can be paired with your favourite sauce or simply served with a drizzle of olive oil and grating of parmesan.
To get some veg into the equation, I always chuck in a handful of frozen peas when I’m cooking them.
Baked beans are great, but there are so many other pulses to explore.
Butter beans give a creamy quality to a sausage casserole, and have you tried making shepherd’s pie using lentils instead of mince? Delicious!
Chick peas are also a marvel for blending up your own hummus. Of course you can buy the ready-made stuff, but there’s nothing quite like the self-satisfaction you get from knocking out a huge tub of home-made hummus customised with your favourite flavours – olive, roasted pepper, coriander….
And finally, don’t forget your baking cupboard.
Having a good supply of flour, different types of sugar, baking powder and bicarb, oats, cocoa powder, vanilla extract and vegetable oil is essential for the home bakers amongst us.
Whether it’s your class’s turn to stock the cake stall this week or you’ve got a birthday tea to prepare, it’s a lot less stressful to throw a cake or batch of flapjacks together if you’ve got the right stuff in your cupboards to start with.
What are YOUR store cupboard favourites? Share them below, or send us your comments, ideas or top tips at [email protected] with ‘Store Cupboard’ in the subject line.