One of my bugbears is recipes which look great but require loads of ingredients that are either really expensive or you’ll use once and never again. It doesn’t have to be this hard. Everything I use is reasonably priced, easy to find in your local supermarket and will provide the basic ingredients to enable you to cook all of my meals and snacks.
Here are my top five savoury staple items:
These are the creative centre piece for most of my recipes, but eggs are not just for drawing on. They are nutritious, versatile and should be a staple in everyone’s pantry. However, there’s a lot of choice out there now and making a decision about the best eggs to buy is no longer as simple as just choosing free range. There’s concern about how chickens are raised and treated while they are laying. Making a choice does largely depend on your ethical values, but as a rule of thumb, always buy eggs that are stamped with the red lion symbol. This tells you that the eggs have been laid in Britain and the chicken that produced them has been vaccinated against salmonella.
Price is a good indicator too. The cheapest eggs are likely to have come from hens kept in cages and the most expensive are usually well looked after. All eggs sold in the UK must be stamped with the method of production: 0=organic, 1= free-range, 2=barn, 3=caged, which can also help you make your choice.
The popularity of the sweet potato has exploded in the last few years. In my opinion, they are so much better for you than the traditional white potato. They are high in fibre and vitamin A (important for vision, immune system and reproduction), have less calories and carbs than its white counterpart and are cheaper too. My advice is to stick to the smaller sizes with unblemished skins, as they are softer after cooking.
Avocados get a lot of bad press because of confusion over their high calorific content. Full of healthy fats, the avocado is absolutely key for your cupboard. Mashed, chopped or blended in some brownies, they are bursting with nutrition. The only downside is that they don’t keep well and it can be a guessing game as to when they are ready to crack into. My advice is to keep them in the fridge until you’re ready to use them. The best places to find them at a reasonable price are Lidl and Aldi but of course any supermarket will have a wide selection.
Lower in fat than most cheeses, feta can turn a tasteless dish into one of your favourites. Add it to omelettes, cram it into wraps and sprinkle it on your salads to add some extra creaminess to your dishes. Make sure you look at the ingredients and only buy if it contains sheep’s milk (or possibly goat’s milk), rennet and salt – a good quality feta shouldn’t contain any other ingredients.
I use Chicken in many of my recipes because it’s quick, versatile and highly nutritious. It should be part of your diet all year round I think. It’s low in fat, lean and packed with protein meaning you stay fuller for longer. I usually always have some in the freezer ready to get out and defrost in the morning to cook when im back from work
I'm busy working on my blog posts. Watch this space!