Monday, 25 January 2016


Image result for kidney beans
Do you keep a store cupboard of useful ingredients? I don't know how many people do these days- is it seen as an old-fashioned idea?  Well I certainly keep a frugal well-stocked cupboard which will always enable me to make a meal or three if the weather's too bad to go out for a few days to shop, or more importantly if there's no money left at the end of the month!
So here's my 25 must have items for a useful, frugal store cupboard:
1.Tinned tomatoes (or carton tomatoes) - chopped or whole- your choice. You can use them for a pasta sauce base or soup base.
2. Pasta - any shape. use for pasta bake, lasagne or with a sauce.
3. Garlic - keep a bulb in a cool, dark cupboard. Use it to add taste to your pasta dishes or salad dressings.
4. Rice - any kind you prefer. Makes an accompaniment to curry or a meal in itself with a stock cube and any leftover veg.
5. Olive oil - can be used for marinades, frying or salad dressing. Can be expensive but last for ages.
6. Curry paste - use a couple of spoonfuls with chopped tomatoes to make a curry sauce base.
7. Stock cubes - ideally all the flavours you use (vegetable, chicken, beef) they can flavour risotto or sauces and soups or just make gravy for your roast.
8. Tins of tuna - use to make fish cakes, add to pasta and tomato sauce, or just tip out onto a plate of salad.
9. Soy sauce - gives a great taste to any stir fry dishes, dressings and marinades.
10. Tomato purée - thickens your sauces and casseroles and can be used as a quick topping on pizzas.
11. Runny honey - use in marinades, to make flapjack or porridge topping.
12. Kidney beans & butter beans - either dried or for convenience, tinned. Use in salads, chilli, soups and vegetarian dishes
13. Lemon juice - in a bottle. Use in recipes, dressings, marinades. Saves money and stops waste when you only need a little juice for a recipe.
14. Mustard - either French, wholegrain or English. Use as condiments or in marinades, salad dressings, sauces and casseroles.
15. Chickpeas - as with kidney beans you can use in salads, curries and soups.
16. Red lentils - great in curries and soups and can bulk up mince dishes such as bolognese and shepherd's pie.
17. Oats - makes cakes, flapjacks, porridge.
18. Dried Thyme - any dried herbs are useful, but thyme is my favourite as it holds its flavour well and adds a lovely richness to pasta dishes.
19. Plain flour - use to thicken sauces and casseroles as well as batter mixes for pancakes.
20. Eggs - of course! Boiled, scrambled, fried or poached, cake-making, pancake making- our most versatile ingredient!
All the above can be bought in supermarkets' basic ranges and it's worth researching the lowest prices before you buy.