With our house purchase still slowly moving forward (reeeeally painfully slowly, but nobody’s actually said no yet, so we’re holding out hope), my thoughts keep gravitating to my new kitchen. The Pinterest page is slowly filling up with gorgeous kitchen shots and I’m starting to make a few notes about what I’d like in my dream kitchen. Being a practical sort of gal, and needing everything close at hand, I’m a huge fan of Kilner jars. I like to have lots of things on display and within easy reach when I’m cooking, so open shelves will definitely be the way forward. Tombola Times are hosting a MASSIVE survey of tons of food lovers, asking them what their top ten hero products are, to try and discover the ultimate store cupboard (you can find the survey here), and most of mine can be found in jars in my kitchen:
1. Plain flour (I keep self raising too but don’t use it as much as I find it loses its oomph quite quickly – it’s easier to make it by adding a teaspoon of baking powder to every 100g of plain flour).
2. Golden caster sugar – ideal for baking. I prefer it to plain white caster sugar as it’s less refined and has a bit more flavour, but as you can see from the picture above, if I can’t get it, I mix up the two.
3. Stock cubes – I tend to keep stock in the freezer, but often use a stock cube in risottos or whatever. Knorr ones crumble easily and have good flavour.
4. Maldon sea salt flakes – lovely, crunchy, flaky Maldon. I can’t be without it. I use it for everything from salting pasta water to sprinkling over salted caramel cupcakes. There’s nothing like it.
5. Freshly ground pepper. I buy peppercorns and whizz them in the blender, then keep them in a jar ready to sprinkle on absolutely everything.
6. Rapeseed oil – I use it all the time and for everything. It doesn’t have a nasty smell when you fry with it, and doesn’t overpower everything with a strong flavour either. It’s perfect for baking too. I’m lucky enough to have Chiltern Cold Pressed Rapeseed Oil right on my doorstep at Wilstone Great Farm.
7. Heinz Baked Beans – an absolute essential. When you live with teenagers, you do a lot of fry-ups, and when you want a lazy supper there’s nothing better than beans on toast sprinkled with grated cheddar. Yum.
8. Tinned tomatoes – Charlie has an aversion to lumps so I always use good quality tinned tomatoes like Napolina and whizz them with a stick blender for things like chilli con carne and lasagne. I’ve tried various brands of passata but they’re always too strong.
9. Pasta – we get through tons of the stuff: linguine for carbonara and penne for mac and cheese (I know it’s wrong, but it’s just the shape that everyone prefers!). I don’t ever buy fresh pasta, although I do occasionally have a go at making it.
10. Rice – we eat an awful lot of risotto and quite a lot of pilaf too, so I always have arborio rice and brown basmati on the go (it makes gorgeous nutty pilaf). There’s pudding rice too (I’m not sure I’m allowed to squish three into one – oops).
So how about you – what are your top ten? I could have added at least another twenty: dried fruit, lentils, tinned pulses, all sorts of spices… If you fancy having a go at the survey yourself it’s worth a look, and one person who fills out the ultimate store cupboard survey will win the final top 10 products in a hamper. I can’t wait to see what the nation will choose!