Find out what herbs and spices I use on a regular basis in both my personal kitchen and professional kitchen.
I'm always asked what spices, herbs and oils I use both in my personal kitchen and for my private events. We have all been there, after a long day, despite having ingredients in the fridge we simply stare and cannot figure out what to cook. Trust me even the top chefs who I speak to have this issue. After spending the whole day cooking, the last thing you want to do is cook something for yourself.
Here's a lovely book called "Inside Chefs, Fridges, Europe" by Carried Solomon & Adrian Moore, which takes a sneak peek at the fringes of the chefs home and what they like to cook. Whilst they are creating intricate dishes in their professional kitchens, they tend to have simple staple dishes for the home.
So here's my list of things I have to hand next to my hob, so I can improvise and add to any vegetable, salads, fish, chicken and lamb to make it stand out and interesting.
Everyday spices & jars :
Sumac - tangy dried berry, used for salads, fish and marinades for meat
Cumin - shoulder and leg of lamb or simply add to wild rice
Sea Salt - in everything, it tastes much better than regular table salt
Zaa'tar, - incredibly versatile, used for cheese and marinades
Mustard Seeds - infuse with oil and add to vegetables and lentil curry or add to grains and white fish
Curry Leaves - same as mustard seeds
Cinnamon - rice, chicken, lamb and dessert
Saffron - in rice, chicken, cheese and milk based desserts
Cardamon - infuse in rice, add to a marinade for roast chicken and lamb
Roasted Almonds - salads, roast chicken and grains
Chill Flakes - add to salads, stews and root vegetables
Harissa Paste - perfect for stews, roast chicken, stir fry, rice and noodles
Pistachios - add to desserts, salads or sprinkle on chicken
Dry Roses - we add them to everything!
Pickled garlic - with warm bread, also roasts and blends for salads
Preserved Lemons - add to tagines, chicken, lamb, or cut up into a creamy pasta
Pomegranates Molasses - add to salads, dressing for grains, like wild rice, freekah, quinoa, beluga and puy lentils
Red Split Peas - add to soups and stews
Beluga Lentils - add this to salads, with beetroot, feta and smoked almonds
Puy Lentils - Serve with a white fish with a olive oil dressing with lemon and garlic
Fresh Ingredients: Parsley, mint, coriander, red chillies, pomegranates, lemons, garlic, smoked Garlic, black garlic - add these to anything to make the dish come alive.
Everyday Oils: cold pressed virgin oilve Oil, old pressed rapeseed oil, coconut oil & canola oil
My tip to create a quick pantry is to focus on the things you love to eat on a regular basis. It is essential to have your staples for comfort food on a tough day, rather rather reaching out for the local takeaway. Not that it is a sin to have a takeaway once in a while!
My listed items are a good place to start, but If you need help in creating your pantry, don't hesitate, get in touch with us, we would love to hear from you.