discovering a simpiler life

discovering a simpiler life

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

My kitchen cupboards

I have a confession to make…I found some spices that were used by 2008 this week when I was looking in my kitchen cupboards. I obviously haven’t required garam masala or five spice since then. And fennel seeds, I’ve never seen so many!!! I must have used them once….for something, probably pork…
 I’ve been scrounging round in there as it’s the end of the menu plan and grocery shopping is on the horizon. If I’m really honest, I’m not really a fan of only shopping once a week, I love the supermarket, if I could have one wish it would be to have an unlimited credit card to Woolies, oh actually two wishes, to meet Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall my foodie guru crush…. so I thought I might share some things I love to have in there and on hand at all times…..

A good extra virgin olive oil for dressings and glugging in things, I’m using red island cold pressed at the moment, but would love a bottle of Joseph first pressing, around $30 a bottle but I just can’t justify it at the moment….maybe a good Christmas present if you are reading this mum.

Garlic, the purple skinned one if I can get my hands on it, it’s in the ground growing in our yard and I’m hanging out for some garlic prawns to have as soon as it’s ready.

Sea salt flakes and normal table salt.

Cracked pepper, I love using a medley of coloured peppercorns and white pepper.

Dried Birdseye chillis off our huge chilli bush, great in so many things, bolognaise, stews, on pizza, not just for the heat but a tiny bit just adds a zing. Fry it with an anchovy and garlic when you start your bolognaise and see the difference.

Pulses especially French puy lentils and chickpeas, but also cannellini beans, they could be tinned or dried and are great for a quick dip, soup or addition to a salad.

Nuts, I’m obsessed with texture and crunch and nuts are it for me, ones I always have on hand and go into a panic if I run out are walnuts and almonds but I’m happiest when I have loads on hand. Sprinkled over a salad, steamed or roasted vegies, or even in soups like walnuts chopped and put on your pumpkin soup, a miracle really.

Seeds  like sunflower seeds, pepitas, chia seeds are a surprising addition to steamed vegies with a small glug of evoo, S & P and a squeeze of lemon juice or in a salad or your cereal and are often over looked by people. 

Lemons and vinegars.  My lemon tree is pathetic. It’s been in the ground for 7 years and I’ve had 3 lemons off it, but it’s looking good for this year, I have to stay positive!! So when I can’t swindle some from someone else’s tree I use vinegars; balsamic, apple cider, white wine and red wine. I also love balsamic glaze. It has such a depth of flavour and is a nice surprise squeezed over a salad, on freshly sliced tomatoes on rice cakes, a squirt in your bolognaise at the last minute, on vegie burgers, or to dip your sour dough into with some good extra virgin olive oil.

Pasta, rice and cous cous for obvious reasons. But cous cous is great to use mixed with breadcrumbs to coat things, put in burgers (vegie and meat) to help mop up moisture and a great quick dinner when time is of the essence, throw on the kettle, measure out the water, let sit for the time it takes to soft boil an egg (4 mins approx.), fork it, add some feta, sultanas, rocket and the egg and dinner in a served!

I won’t bore you with the other things such as flours, coffee, cereals and sugar to name but a few, you get the drift but I will leave you with a delicious lentil salad. I had the original version of this adaptation in Belgium some years ago, bragging I know….it can be made with tinned lentils to make it extra speedy and with just balsamic glaze as the dressing, with chickpeas or without, with nuts or without.

Lentil and potato salad
1 cup puy lentils
1 large waxy potato
6 tbspns evoo
4 tspns apple cider vinegar
1 tspn English or djon mustard
S & P,
Few handuls of rocket or 1 cos lettuce, shredded
Handful of whatever herbs you have fresh, I use mint, parsley and chives all finely chopped

Boil lentils in unsalted water with a few cloves of garlic, parsley stalks and cook for approx. 30 mins. Cube potato and boil in salted water until tender approx.  10 mins, drain and leave to cool. You could put the spuddies in with the lentils after 20 mins to save on pots.  While these are all bubbling away, make dressing by putting vinegar, mustard, s & p, evoo in a small jar and shake vigorously. Check it doesn’t need a pinch of sugar.  Drain lentils and while they are still hot dress with some of the dressing and allow to cool. Mix all together gently and serve. You can also have it with prawns tossed through it or cold roast chicken for a wonderful satisfying lunch.

Ciao, Jan

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