Like a well stocked tool-shed, we found its a lot easier to build any meal and flex with the seasons when you have these solid foundations at hand. It also helps when re-stocking your supplies to have a basic list to work from.

This simple, common sense stores management approach gave us the confidence to know that we could whip up something inspired from the Middle East to the Mediterranean or Asia to Central America at short notice.

It all started when we read Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s cookbook – River Cottage Everyday Armed with these basics in the pantry you are well equipped to tackle any recipe or get most of the way there with a cheeky substitute:

  • Oil
    • Olive
    • Canola/Vegetable
    • Sesame
  • Vinegar
    • Apple Cider
    • White Wine
    • Red Wine
    • Rice Wine
    • Balsamic
  • Flour
    • Unbleached Plain
    • Wholemeal
      • Baking Powder
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Spices
    • Cumin Seeds
    • Turmeric
    • Garam Masala
    • Paprika (Hot Smoked)
    • Fennel Seeds
    • Coriander Seeds
    • Mustard Seeds
    • Cinnamon
    • Chilli Flakes / Cayenne Pepper
    • Ground Ginger
  • Dried Fruit
  • Nuts / Seeds
  • Stock (Vegemite/Miso are sneaky cheats)
  • Cheese
  • Passata / Tinned Tomatoes
  • Pasta / Rice
  • Dried / Tinned Pulses
    • Chickpeas
    • Beans
  • Anchovies / Capers / Olives

These elements help us to enjoy Middle Eastern and North African flavours and were inspired by Yotam Ottolenghi (we were originally hooked on his food in London and his cookbook Jerusalem. These kitchen staples are sourced from SIMPLE)

  • Tahini (Peanut butter can be a poorer substitute)
  • Harissa
  • Preserved Lemon
  • Spices
    • Sumac
    • Za’atar
    • Cardamom

We also regularly use these Asian staples

  • Miso Paste
  • Soy Sauce
  • Oyster Sauce
  • Fish Sauce
  • Shrimp Paste
  • Mirin
  • Coconut Milk