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Cupboard love

The eight essentials that every kitchen cupboard shouldn’t be without…

Warner's Budgens Taste Club Warner's Budgens Taste Club

1. OIL

A selection of oils is a great place to start your store cupboard spring clean. By all means use olive oil for salad dressings but for cooking, where you need to reach high temperatures, there are other oils which do the job better. Rapeseed oil is one of these, and has the benefits of being locally grown and is just as healthy as olive oil. Play around with different flavoured oils too - throw a few garlic cloves in a bottle and top with rapeseed oil for an instant flavour boost for stir fries; use sesame oil to dress noodles and Asian dishes and drizzle chilli oil over fish cakes before cooking for a hint of heat.


Used sparingly, salt and pepper can really bring out the flavours in your cooking but it’s easy to over do it. Which you use is a matter of preference - sea salt flakes may be more expensive and for some, taste better, but they do not have any health benefits over simple table salt. Similarly pepper - black peppercorns or multi coloured peppers in a grinder look pretty but some recipes work just as well or even better with simple ground white pepper.


Essential for rich gravy and risottos, stock cubes can be thrown into any slow cook dish where you need a hit of flavour. If you’re not keen on the crumbly cubes, try the stock pots which have an easy to dissolve jelly-like consistency. Many are also gluten free too.


These are the secret ingredients that elevate your gravy, casseroles or stews from bland to bling! As a minimum, you need jars of pesto, mustard, soya sauce and red currant jelly all on standby.


No cupboard should be without tins of juicy plum tomatoes. They form the basis for any slow cook dish, curry or pasta sauce - make up a batch of homemade passata with chopped onion, garlic and basil and freeze for when you need it.


What you include is down to personal preference but you’ll find plenty of use for cinnamon, cumin, thyme, nutmeg, oregano and chilli flakes. That way you can easily add flavors of Italy, Morocco and India plus a whole host of countries inbetween!


Whether it’s runny or thick set honey, maple or agave syrup, you need something sweet and sticky on your checklist. Drizzle over salmon steaks with soya sauce and sesame oil, splash over root vegetables before roasting, add to salad dressings or coat a roast ham along with orange juice and mustard


Tins of chick peas, butter beans, kidney beans along with packets of lentils and split peas are a great filler for casseroles, curries and stews. Just throw a handful into anything you have boiling on the stove for instant added protein and vitamins.

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