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Post Info TOPIC: Storecupboard Staples!


Mookish Deity Most High

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Storecupboard Staples!


As an avid reader of the "So what are we having?" thread (and evangelical preacher of the benefits of nutritional yeast), I'm curious as to what mooks always have in the house for rustling up food! What weird and wonderful do you use to turn things into yummy meals?

We always have:

Nutritional yeast (Obviously. This basically goes in all my savoury dishes. We buy it online in bulk. Seriously.)

Balsamic vinegar (goes in tomatoey sauces)

Sriracha (Recent discovery. GOES IN EVERYTHING. Changed my life!)

Lemons (Anything which doesn't have balsamic in, has lemon juice in)

Treacle (Sounds a weird one, but totally necessary for any veggie recipe designed to be resembling meat, trust me. Not used often, but always in the cupboard for emergency lasagne.)

Peanut butter (Used in a lot of asian cooking, or as a binding agent.)

Liquid smoke (Once again, for meat imitation. Top Annis tip!)

Miso paste (Salty savoury yumminess)

 

I might be the world's most middle class cook.

 

 



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Mookish Deity Most High

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FOOOOOOOD FOOD FOOD FOOD.

I think we must be secret kitchen twins, Charlie - I use all of those things all the damn time too. Apart from treacle in lasagne - that one's never crossed my mind before. Tell me more!

I'm pretty sure liquid smoke is probably horrifically carcinogenic, but I don't give a shit because it makes EVERYTHING taste better. I even put it in sticky toffee pudding once and it was a winner.

We put lemon juice in everything too, and lemon zest, too, when it seems like a good addition. I keep meaning to preserve some lemons so they can be added to all the Middle Eastern stuff we cook, but I still haven't got round to it yet.


Beyond Charlie's excellent list of foodstuffs, the things I use all the time are:

* Marmite - yes, I know I get through the stuff on toast at an ungodly rate (Mike made me keep a consumption chart one year: in 2013 I ate 3 kilos!), but it's brilliant for making things savoury and umami. I always put it in gravy, as well as a small spoonful in vegan bechamel, and it's brilliant in tomato sauces, too.

* Harissa - just the cheap stuff in a tube usually, but occasionally we'll treat ourselves to a pot of the nice stuff.

* Ground flaxseed - great on the vegan front because it makes a good binding agent/egg substitute when mixed with water, but it's good for digestion so I add it to porridge and bread and all sorts of other things.

* Applesauce - to top porridge and toast, as a way to reduce fat in baking without compromising on taste (though, to be fair, usually I'll just add the fat instead).

* Henderson's Relish - a vegetarian Worcestershire sauce, made in Sheffield (and available in copious amounts in any food-serving establishment in South Yorkshire). Adds umami flavour to everything.

* Cashew nuts - for pesto, for blending into sauces, for eating out of the packet when it's late and I'm starving and there are no snacks.

* Capers - because I can't think of a single pasta dish which isn't improved by their presence.

* Veggie sausages - for when I just can't be arsed and want something decadent between two slices of bread.

* Sundried tomatoes and sundried tomato paste - once again with the enriching-tomatoey-sauces thing, as well as making pesto even better.

* Smoked paprika - I put it in almost everything. Takes scrambled tofu from good to godlike.

* Polenta - makes a great smooth mash-like bowl of carby joy, but is even better cut into slices and crisped under the grill. I also use it for coating potato wedges to make them extra crunchy, as a batter for crispy fried tofu, and for making emergency cornbread (which is a thing, right?).


Fuck, I really do love food.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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No way, smoked paprika is your secret scrambled tofu ingredient?! You need to give us the recipe sometime, it's amazing. As for treacle in lasagne, this was a wonderful kitchen experiment accident- next time you cook something bolognesey or resembling beef, dissolve about 1 heaped tablespoon in it (for a medium sized pan). When meat browns off, it caramellises and goes slightly sweet, but sugar makes things too sweet. Treacle is the right level of burnt caramel flavour!
 We also always have frozen chopped spinach for sneaking vegetables into things- you can't taste it, and it's basically invisible.



-- Edited by little charlie on Thursday 19th of March 2015 09:15:59 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Pasta. Passatta. Chick peas (mostly to bulk out fajitas). Chinese five spice mix and soy sauce for stir-frys. Once my fab new kitchen is operational I shall have a list of proper things. Oh, balsamic vinegar and red wine for sauces.

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Booky Mooky (mod)

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^^I am totes trying treacle lasagne next time!

My style of cooking is to make a normal meal and then add Worcester sauce and as many vegetables and spinach as will fit on the plate.


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High Mookish Shaman

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Lentils

Nutritional yeast - this has just reminded me I ate the last of it out of the tub like an animal and I need to buy more!

Tinned chickpeas

Quinoa

GARLIC - I'd put garlic in everything if it was possible.

Peanut butter

Oats

Sultanas

Vegemite - used to be Marmite but I have turned to the Aussie side now.

Baked beans & potatos because it is such a quick easy dinner when I can't be bothered at all.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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I was just going to lurk, but when it comes to vegemite, I'm with Martha completely. After having that marmite just seems like the cheap rip off supermarket brand version. Vegemite is great.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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This all sounds so good! Mine is much less sophisticated. My cooking style is "basic nutritional needs all taken care of on tight budget with limited cooking skills."

- peanut butter. Good for simple/quick "I have no ingredients!" smoothies, milkshakes and cookies.

- tinned fruit. I stock up every so often because it's good to have when you run out/low on fresh and frozen fruit, especially near the end of the month when you're pinching pennies. Good for smoothies and desserts or on its own as a snack. I like tinned pear and guava especially, and pineapple and mango are good in smoothies.

- tinned veg. Obviously fresh is better, but tinned veg can be really cheap so it's good to have in the cupboard for if you're running low on money or ingredients. I mostly just buy carrots and peas and the odd can of creamed sweetcorn and mushy peas.

- tinned baby potatoes. Tesco sells them for I think 20p! They're really plain on their own but cut them in half, bake them in some melted butter, pepper and spices, and they're delicious. Perfect crispy potatoes when briefly grilled too. One tin is enough as a side for three people in my house.

- paprika. Good on everything, even popcorn!

- pepper. Everyone uses pepper, but I use way too much when cooking for myself. I love pepper.

- not food cupboard, but frozen blueberries. I eat them at any time of day. Good for breakfast, in yoghurt, in baking, anything! When frozen, the inside of blueberries taste like delicious sweet sorbet. So not a food cupboard thing, but definitely a staple for me - I have five packs in my fridge right now. Hate to admit it with all the great fruit stalls around here, but Tesco's are by far my favourite.

- soy sauce. Makes simple stirfries and similar things taste good.

- pickled veg. My favourites are pickled mustard tuber, cucumber, and spicy bamboo shoots. Asian supermarkets have lots of types! I like FSG brand (in a jar, often quite spicy) and these little sachets that say "pickles vegetables for students" (which come up on google. Yum.

- Furikake (rice seasoning) makes plain rice delicious.

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Mookface (mod)

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Ooh, I like this thread. We always have in:

Sriracha (yessss Charlie!). 70% of my meals have Sriracha squirted on them at some point.

Cholula. Probably my favourite hot sauce over all, despite being on a Sriracha kick. There's nothing that either Sriracha or Cholula can't improve.

Instant noodles, for quick and easy lunches and because they are DELICIOUS. I know palm oil is a big baddie though :(

Frozen fruit, for smoothies.

Black peppercorns. I will NEVER EVER go back to using pre-ground pepper. It's freshly ground or gtfo. I never used to be that into pepper, but since we swapped a shaker for a grinder I put it on everything.

Pasta. We eat it less than we used to, but whenever Fry is away and I'm making my own dinners I make a huge dent in the jar - it's basically all I ate at uni, apart from pizza, and it's my go-to comfort food. So quick and easy and carby! Speaking of...

Pesto jars. I've tried making my own in the blender but I haven't quite managed to get it how I like it yet.

Frozen chillies. Because they go in everything.

Garlic. See above.

Falafel mix. We buy the Al'fez one, so cheap and delicious. Water, mix, sit, ball, deep fat fryer, pow! Whack it in a pitta with some houmous and ALL THE HOT SAUCE.

Jalapeno slices (the fairly big jars from Tesco). We get through them at a crazy speed. They even get chopped up to go in my instant noodles.

Maggi 'So Juicy' bags. They consist of an oven bag and some seasoning, you chuck meat in the bag with the seasoning, and it cooks in its own juices. Amazing for making a standard bit of chicken breast into something really tasty, without any effort.

So basically Fry & I are lazy cooks who really love spicy things.



-- Edited by Antonym on Friday 20th of March 2015 12:21:13 PM

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Furikake sounds interesting, Pey! Do you know if there are any brands which are vegetarian?

YES ROWAN, ISN'T THE REAL PEPPER SO MUCH BETTER? My parents bought us a pepper grinder when we first moved in together (they have one they got on holiday a million years ago and got us a smaller one, which I thought was adorable), and we've never gone back. So much better! I also struggle with making proper pesto (We are avid buyers of Aldi red pesto because I think it's the nicest one and it's such a quick dinner!), and it's so expensive! I tried this recipe yesterday, added garlic and nooch (because it's me), used panko bredcrumbs for the bread because we didn't have any suitable bread, and a dollop of coconut milk (the thick stuff from the top of the tin) to make it creamy and it was surprisingly successful for something which actually had no herbs in! I am the world's biggest fan of hidden veg (just ate a burrito with 8 different veg in it!) and budget recipes, so I think that one might be a staple.



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Mookish Deity Most High

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^I don't tend to think about it because my family has always used pepper grinders, but I did use storebought cheap pepper a couple years ago when I left home for a few months and it tasted like sawdust. Yuck!

I'm afraid I don't know of any vegetarian furikake, Charlie :( they all seem to have fish in them, so all the ones I've seen have been pescetarian friendly but not suitable for vegetarians :( a quick google did turn up quite a few recipes for veggie furikake if you'd like to have a go yourself! This one looks very simple but there are more adventurous ones too :) oh, I did notice one brand come up over and over, I think it was called Sanchi and it comes in a battle rather than a sachet, but I've never seen it before now and haven't tried it so can't say if it's any good.



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Non-veggie reporting for meaty duty, I'm afraid.

Definitely jumping on the balsamic, fresh ground pepper and paprika bandwagon. Smoked paprika, you make beans on toast so much better. You make my life complete.

My guilty secret is that we always have crispy onion bits in, they are so gross. The Captain loves them and I have to admit, sometimes it's nice to have a bit of crunch.

Pickled gherkins, pickled onions and (as of yesterday) pickled eggs. The Captain likes things in vinegar.

Tinned fish. Quick, cheap and easy protein. Tinned tomatoes as well. Combine the two and voila! Fastest pasta sauce in the West.

We always have some instant noodles, pasta and porridge oats in too. Good for quick meals when you really just can't be arsed to cook.

We always have honey, peanut butter and chocolate spread in, because I loves me some toast. We almost never have jam, because it goes mouldy and makes me sad.




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Mookish Deity Most High

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We always have gherkins in too, Rach! Nice quick snack and absolutely necessary for burgers. Have you ever tried making your own pickles? I've started making my own ones for Vietnamese food, and they're actually super easy. Our jam always goes mouldy too, but I made porridge this morning with two spoons os raspberry jam and some coconut milk in and I think it's my new favourite porridge and a good use for jam! Made it sweet but not too sweet.

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Mookface (mod)

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Thirded for gherkins! We buy the Aldi ones with chilli in the jar, gorgeous.

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Love a gherkin. If you try and give me a burger without a gherkin on it, I will end you.

I haven't made my own pickles yet, but it is on my to do list. The Captain's mum does her own onions which he loves so I'm going to ask for her recipe. Not sure about pickling my own gherkins though - where to get the tiny cucumbers?!

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Mookish Deity Most High

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Pasta. I don't like not having pasta in, because it's so quick and easy (and because both my baby and my fussy fiancé will eat it without complaint).

Paprika. For generally spicing, and also because potatoes+oil+paprika=the best home made wedges ever.

Potatoes. For the above wedges, and because Tudor is a lover of mash and I like jacket potatoes when I'm by myself.

Vegetable oil (for basic cooking use) and Olive Oil (for fancier stuff)

Onions and Garlic. I'm not a gravy fan, but I make an awesome onion sauce.

Corn flour. For thickening.

Apples, bananas, oranges. These are the typical fruits we have in most of the time, and anything that's on offer.

Cinnamon and ginger. I add a bit to my normal cup of tea for extra special taste, or stick it in hot chocolate for wintery yumminess. Plus, it goes wonderfully in rice pudding and porridge

Porridge.

Tinned rice pudding. for emergency desserts, emergency 'the baby is screaming and Tudor set his dinner on fire' meal and lazy snacks.



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Mookish Deity Most High

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Since I rely on skipping its hard to predict what will be in the kitchen. But I buy some things in bulk on the cheap for filling bellies: pasta, tinned beans, rice, potatoes, lentils, chick peas. I like to have bananas, soya milk, peanut butter and porridge oats around for making the most filling milkshakes when I'm too ill/sad to make a meal. The things I use most often in my cooking (not all at once!) are: fresh chillies or chilli flakes, garlic, onions, fresh ginger, smoked paprika, cheap vegetable stock, coconut milk, soy sauce, tinned tomatoes, lemon/lime juice, turmeric, coriander - tbh I like having a big range of spices to create combinations for different dishes. You can buy them cheap in Asian shops instead of supermarkets where a little shaker is up to £3?! (Is this just cause I'm in London?!) Fave condiments: chipotle sauce, balsamic syrup, sweet chilli sauce. Sometimes I add ketchup to my cooking as well. No one knows cause I think they'd turn their nose up but if you don't go overboard it's good for enhancing the flavour of tomato based dishes.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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electrosexual wrote:

I like having a big range of spices to create combinations for different dishes. You can buy them cheap in Asian shops instead of supermarkets where a little shaker is up to £3?! (Is this just cause I'm in London?!)


 Not just London! It's ridiculous how expensive spices are and it makes me sad. Sometimes in bigger supermarkets you get the "ethnic foods section" where they sell the big bags you get in Asian shops for the same price as the shakers (and in the Asian shops it's even cheaper than that!), and it's like HOW?!?!!! It's almost as if supermarkets think poor people aren't deserving of tasty food. That's almost certainly actually what they think.

 

(btw Isaac, it's super great to see you back. :))



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International Mook of Mystery (mod)

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^Silly what one finds themselves getting charged for generally less product because the delivery method is seen as more convenient.

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Mookish Deity Most High

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^ I think it's also a supply and demand issue. How many people will frequently buy a jar of ginger and a jar of coriander from a supermarket? Maybe if you're making a special recipe, and then it's there for months. Then there are foodie people who might use (and therefore buy) it often, but they'll soon realise that it's cheaper in places where the customers can be assume (by the shop) to want a lot of it, frequently. If no one ever bought bread and it was a really strange and rare thing to have, you wouldn't be able to get the (albeit shitty) loaves that cost about fifteen pence. I find it's always best to bulk buy stuff that will keep. I don't buy food on the internet often, but if I have spare money and lots of cupboard space I will order a load of pasta (ASDA does HUGE bags that would fill my rucksack on their own) and other non-perishables and stuff I just have to get from the supermarket. And then, when the cupboards and the freezer is stocked, I don't feel like I HAVE to go to the supermarket and I can go to specialist shops, or local shops, for fresh stuff. That way I can get yummy apples from a local grocer without feeling like I need to make two trips (one to the grocers for the apples, one to the supermarket for 'everything else').

Just remembered that I always tend to have a couple of cartons of UHT milk in the back of the cupboard. It's a habit from my uni days: because sugar and tea keep for much longer, if I always had a stash of those and some milk in the cupboard then I could always have a cup of tea with milk even when I ran out. It was a genuine concern at uni, not just because I was a student and money wasn't always flowing free, but because the shops were all stocked from the same one B road and if something went wrong (like snow) there wouldn't be new supplies until it was fixed.

Basically, I'm a bit of a mild end of the world prepper, because I like to think that the worst thing about being snowed in would be not having a cup of tea to calm me down.

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Mookface (mod)

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^ Fry occasionally stays away overnight for work, so we've slowly accumulated loads of those single portion UHT milk pots that you get in hotels. It's got to the point that we have a small bag of them, and almost as many 'coffee creamer' pots. We sometimes run out of milk and are too lazy to go to the shop, so they're perfect for us in an emergency.

Oh also, I would LOVE to buy those huge bags of spices, but but but cupboard space and mess! I think when I have a bigger kitchen I'll buy those bags, decant a bit into a supermarket shaker/pot for ease of use, then seal up the bags and pop them in tupperware to store away until I need to top up the pot again.



-- Edited by Antonym on Tuesday 24th of March 2015 10:37:59 AM

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Regular Crew

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I always have spices, cinnamon, salt and pepper, rice, those sachets of instant couscous are good and very cheap from lidl, sometimes tins of tomatoes and tuna feature but i haven't got much storage space in my kitchen. Oh and always onions. Onions and garlic in everything, especially dahl, I always make dahl when i cook from scratch for myself it seems (which isn't often, I'm lazy)

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Mookish Deity Most High

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little charlie wrote:

No way, smoked paprika is your secret scrambled tofu ingredient?! You need to give us the recipe sometime, it's amazing.

 


 Recipe for what is most probably the most delicious scrambled tofu ever (if I do say so myself)! You can mess around with any element of this, but after lots of experimentation this is what Mike and I have discovered makes a pan of absolute joy for breakfast or dinner.

 

Main ingredients:

Onion

Garlic (a couple of cloves, or go really wild)

Celery

Firm tofu, drained

Courgette

Half a red pepper, if you like

Soy milk

 

Flavours:

Stock powder/bouillion

Salt and pepper

Nutritional yeast

Smoked paprika

Turmeric

Cumin

Chipotle chilli paste or flakes

Chopped sundried tomatoes, or sundried tomato paste, or BOTH :O

Chopped coriander

 

Method:

Chop onions, garlic and celery, fry gently in olive oil.

Add courgettes, peppers and any other veg you fancy, and fry until softened.

Add spices. For two people I usually add about a heaped teaspoon of turmeric, around half that amount of cumin and the same of chipotle, and far more smoked paprika than looks reasonable (at least one heaped teaspoon). Cook for a couple more minutes.

Chop tofu into smallish cubes (it'll get all broken up in the pan anyway so there's no need to be fussy), add to the pan and stir to coat in spices.

Add a good splash of soy milk to one corner of the pan. Stir a couple of teaspoons of stock powder and a good shake of nutritional yeast into this (so it distributes evenly), then stir to incorporate with everything else.

Add any extras you fancy, like sundried tomatoes (or paste), olives, capers etc.

Check seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Add more spices if you like, but cook for a few minutes longer if you do. 

Keep adding a splash of soy milk every few minutes while the pan is on the heat, to keep things a bit more liquid and stop everything sticking.

Stir a fucktonne of fresh coriander through (if you're me) and serve on hot buttered toast.



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Mookish Deity Most High

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Guys, I have to tell you because I am shocked they're so good- we were in Chinatown about a week ago and saw pho stock cubes, and looking at them, they appear to be vegetarian (they actually seem to just be sugar, salt, MSG and spices). I just made pho with it (and a tiny bit of cinnamon, garlic, ginger and sriracha) and it is so very very nearly as good as when I make it from scratch, which takes aaaaages (Jack actually prefers the cubes!)! I don't know where else you could buy them other than an asian supermarket, and I've never seen them before, but if anyone else is a big noodle soup fan, definitely try them out!

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