There are some things I just wouldn’t be without in my kitchen. Mostly fresh whole food of course but there is the odd thing in a tin or jar that makes it’s way into my home on a regular basis.
Tinned tomatoes: I wouldn’t be without tinned toms in winter but in summer, whynot use the real thing? At least good quality tinned toms are canned when the tomatoes are at their nutritional best.
Tomato Paste: I prefer the salt reduced. Keep a small layer of olive oil on the top once you open it and it won’t go mouldy. You can freeze it too.
Tinned tuna: I wouldn’t touch tuna in oil with a barge pole as there are no guarantees the oil is not rancid. It’s much healthier in springwater and you can add oil yourself if necessary anyway. Only buy good tinned tuna like Sirena or Sole Mare.
Fresh garlic: Not from China. They spray some real nasties on food and they bleach garlic. Garlic is not pure white. It should have purple streaks through it. I don’t like the pre-minced stuff either. I get that it’s very handy but goodness only knows where it comes from, besides, it’s not pure garlic and lacks the flavour and no doubt the full nutrients of fresh.
Wheat grain: I prefer having grain to flour because I can mill it as I need it in the thermomix and no it’s not rancid. If you don’t have a way of milling grain, then you’d need to buy it in flour form. Either way, bulk is the way to go, it makes organic/biodynamic produce much more affordable.
Spelt grain: same theory as wheat grain. I like to mix my grains rather than eating too much of any one.
Rye grain: that’s the last of my grain selection. Rye is very important if you want to bake proper sourdough.
Oats: Make sure they’re nice big fat oats. I have noticed that even some so called good quality organic oats are mealy and thin and they lack the flavour they should have. Sadly I have not sourced good quality organic oats in bulk. I’ve been disappointed every time. It’s quite frustrating when we go through 2 1/2 cups of oats a day to have to buy it in standard bags.
Rapadura/muscavado: These are forms of naturally evaporated cane juice. I don’t have sugar in the house. Nasty processed stuff, very bad for you. I use these instead. They don’t behave exactly like sugar so other alternatives are jaggery or xylitol. This chart is great for knowing what substitute to use when.
Refried Beans: preferably homemade which freeze well but tinned will do in a pinch.
Pitted Kalamata Olives: buy decent quality, cheap olives tend to be awful
Olive Oil: For every day oil needs
Extra Virgin Olive Oil: I save this one for dressings and the like
Macadamia Oil: My standby for mayonnaise
Anchovies: Good quality Spanish anchovies
Capers: Make sure you get good quality. There is nothing more vile than a bad caper and little more superb than a good one.
Celtic Sea Salt: Or another unprocessed, unbleached salt. Murray River salt is one of my favourites. I could eat it by the spoonful. Never touch that nasty finely ground table muck, it;s devoid of nutrients.
Pinenuts: Soak for 12 – 24 hours and then dry out in a very slow oven to increase digestibility. Pine nuts are great for jazzing up quite simple dishes.
Almonds: Soak for 12 – 24 hours and then dry out in a very slow oven to increase digestibility. I actually rarely cook with these but I munch on them all the time. The Breadwinner takes a little container of them mixed with preservative free, sulphur free sultanas to work for a quick protein burst too.
Sultanas: Make sure they are sulphur and preservative free. You should be able to find them easily enough in a health food or organic store.
Yoghurt: Get a good quality biodynamic yoghurt or make your own from previous batches. Don’t use powdered milk, it will clog your arteries.
Bread Heels: I always have the heels of bread loaves in the freezer for whizzing up breadcrumbs. Store bought breadcrumbs are made from poor quality bread, are full of the nasty preservative 282 and have a dreadful texture.
To be continued…