Store cupboard and fridge

In my kitchen, up in the Carpathian Mountains, I still have British staples that are pure indulgent comfort food, like marmelade, Marmite, Horlicks, and Yorkshire tea. But there are other things like Colman’s mustard powder, Billington’s unrefined cane sugar, Marigold Swiss Bouillon, lime pickle and coconut milk, that I can’t easily find in Romania, and make a huge difference to lots of dishes. Of course there are all the fresh fruit and veggies, meat and occasional fripperies, like smoked salmon. But the following are always with me unless deprived by circs beyond my control.

Perfect foods – so versatile, so good for you, cheap, filling, and delicious

This is a partial run-down of my always-haves. Rolled oats (for porridge), pearl barley (alternative to rice), brown basmati rice, green (but not Puy) lentils, brown lentils, red lentils. Yellow split peas, chick peas, haricot beans, butter beans (all dried, not tinned). Wholewheat spaghetti, assorted pasta shapes. Tins of sardines and/or mackerel in oil or brine (never tomato sauce); tinned tomoatoes, chopped, and tomato puree; coconut milk, jar of capers, tins of anchovies, tin of green and or black olives, pitted. English, Dijon and Meaux mustards, lime pickle, mango pickle, assorted home-made chutneys. Flaked & whole almonds, red skin peanuts (raw), walnuts (from local trees), flaked and shredded coconut, hazelnuts. Linseeds (flax), pumpkin, sunflower, poppy and sesame seeds (plus toasted sesame seeds). Peanut butter, home-made jams, local honey, marmelade and Marmite. Sea salt, black peppercorns, pink peppercorns (cheap here), oatcakes (imported), Ryvita-esque sesame biscuits, emergency stash of nutty bars, packets of corn for popping. Flour: white, & wholemeal wheat, rye, rice, oatmeal, maize. Miso soup stock (packets). Baking stuff – bicarb, baking powder, cocoa, sugar white, sugar unrefined cane, sugar hollow (calorie-less stuff, yuk). Extra virgin olive oil, toasted sesame oil, sunflower oil; cider vinegar, balsamic vinegar, rosemary white wine vinegar. Lime cordial, cheap (£2.50) dry white wine. Bottled sauces: soy, Worcester, peri-peri, tamarind, Tabasco. I’ll leave the rest of the herbs and spices to their own page.

In the fridge there is always feta (Greek unless not to be had, even for ready money), fluffy cream cheese with herbs and/or garlic; smantana (sour cream), raw organic milk from next door’s cow, urda (day-old cheese from same cow, unsalted – bit like ricotta), salami or ham, smoked cheese (harder than Applewood – bit like smoked Cheshire). Tom Yam soup mix (jar), pesto, Hellman’s mayo.

Challenge: your cheap, easy, delicious recipes from these ingredients, please.

How does this compare to your cupboards? What am I missing?

Feta is a unique flavour and must-have ingredient for so many recipes that need a bit of interest to juj up some bland salad, flan, risotto or pasta.


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