Thursday, 24 February 2011

The Independent's Guide to Independence ep1: Pantry Essentials

First, I apologize for the short hiatus! I've been moving houses and so getting everything ready, getting internet, moving furniture...For anyone who's ever moved before you know how it's always an epic battle against your own sanity.

Now on to the article! One of the universal signs that you're independent is that you have to feed yourself. I wanted to cover this article first, before I posted any recipes. It covers some definite staples that everyone should have in their pantry. Though a lot of the article may focus on those with a lower budget (ahem, students) I want to focus on items that are basically the foundation to any good meal, regardless of your culinary tastes or expertise.

1. Onions & Garlic

The base to almost all dishes, this powerful duo can kick up any meal up a few notches. What's more, they're incredibly cheap. Though grabbing them prepackaged can be convenient, it's always best to make your own selection.

Look out for those with dry skin and no bruises. These last the longest. Remember, you don't store these in the fridge.

If you're a big fan of Asian food, it's also a good idea to invest in some Ginger.

2. Herbs & Spices

These can be a little pricey, dry or otherwise. However, they're definitely worth the money as the flavour they bring to any dish is irrepraceable. When cooking with herbs, people don't tend to garnish enough. Don't be hesitant. Be bold and brave when working with herbs and spices. When working with dry spices, remember however that you need less of it than you would if you were working with fresh ingredients.

Buying a rack of dry spices not only provides a great storage solution, but many come with samples of the herbs already.

To start off however, you can work with the staples: Parsley, Coriander, Oregano, Rosemary, Sea Salt, Ground Pepper, Paprika and Cumin.

3. Pastas, Rice & Cereal

Get a variety: think penne, spaghetti, linguine, lasagna and shells. My personal favourite is capellini - or angel hair pasta. As for rice, basmati covers most bases though for the health conscious out there, you can't go wrong with brown rice.

Cereal is almost everybody's favourite breakfast dish for its taste and quick preparation. Putting some in ziploc bags gives you a great snack for throughout the day to keep hunger at bay.

4. Canned...

Beans, tuna, tomatoes, soup. These are affordable and great quick-meal fixes. Canned tomatoes can act as a base for your pasta (don't forget to add sugar to counteract the acidity!), tuna can jazz up any salad and beans work great as a side. I also like buying sardines and clams, though, if you're not a fan of seafood, you can stay away from those picks.

While these are rarely canned, chicken, vegetable or beef broth are other smart buys that act as foundations for lots of recipes.

5. Baking goods

Anyone can bake. I'm a firm believer in this and when you have the tools, baking can be fun and the results are often incredible

Sugar (brown and white), flourbaking powder, baking soda, cocoa, vanilla extract are the basics, along with a variety of your favourite nuts such as almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts.

Baking soda also acts as a double agent, working to keep your fridges and cat litter smelling clean, removing stubborn baked on spots in your casserole dishes, pans or stove top and even cleaning discoloured mugs, jugs and coffee carafes.

6. Oils & Sauces

As a general rule, if you want to add flavour to your cooking, Extra virgin olive oil is the way to go. Otherwise, steer clear from olive oil and go for a vegetable oil or sunflower, canola oils.

Soy sauce, fish sauce always jazz up Asian dishes. Other sauces that are handy in a jiffy are your favourite BBQ sauce, Sweet n Sour sauce, and a good all purpose savoury sauce for your grilled culinary masterpiece when you're tired of the BBQ sauce.

7. Breads and/or wraps

Though this isn't necessarily kept in your pantry, bread can be kept out or in the fridge so you can keep it for longer. Wraps are great alternatives to sandwiches as they can be loaded with great fillings with minimal mess.

For bread that's gone hard and stale, tear them up, pop them into a blender and voila! Your own homemade breadcrumbs perfect for fried chicken, casseroles and more!

For the rest in this series click here.

Have a great one!


All edits by me
can stock by destruct-stock @ deviantArt
Garlic by Orzel @ deviantArt
Young parsley by Chennyho-Stock @ deviantArt
Odd Pasta Out by somadjinn @ deviantArt
Shake'n bake 1 by oddbjrnk @ deviantArt 

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At 24 February 2011 at 13:43 , Blogger Jane Alisa said...

Great post, hope moving home has gone smoothly. xoxo

At 25 February 2011 at 09:31 , Blogger xNTA said...

Well the worst is definitely over, thank goodness!

Have a great one! x

At 25 February 2011 at 09:55 , Blogger Straight Up Glam said...

This post was great! Very helpful!
Thank you so much for sharing this with us!

Andrée xx

At 25 February 2011 at 13:03 , Blogger Venus In Virgo said...

Thanks,this was helpful!
Take it easy with the moving :) Have a great weekend XOXO

At 25 February 2011 at 17:18 , Blogger Kristin said...

What a great resource! Hope your move went well!

At 26 February 2011 at 14:11 , Blogger devin olivia said...

this is helpful ive been trying to eat healthy lately

At 28 February 2011 at 20:16 , Blogger jeyroxs86 said...

This is has been very helpful ill be moving out this summer so im going to keep this in mine when I move away. I hope your move went well:D

At 1 March 2011 at 03:35 , Blogger Milly said...

great post!

You've got a brilliant blog, I'm following!

Would love you to enter my amazing giveaway!


At 1 March 2011 at 19:18 , Blogger xNTA said...

:) I'm glad this has been helpful to you guys!

At 3 March 2011 at 11:57 , Blogger Smokin section said...

nice blog! Keep up the good work :) Hugs


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