5 Small Food Swaps for a Healthier You

So we are well into our New Year now and hopefully still sticking to some of our New Year’s Resolutions that we made a few weeks ago with such enthusiasm and hope. My Resolutions are mostly career and travel focused this year but I am bringing my promise to myself to live balanced and eat healthy with me from last year with the aim of continuing to explore the healthiest ways to cook and eat the widest range of fresh foods I can find.

This post is just to share a little bit of both self-taught wisdom and knowledge learned from my Nutrition and Food Science class. It is a few simple hacks that I swear by to live a little healthier in the easiest ways I can think of. I hope this post inspires you to keep up the good work you are already doing and to enjoy living healthier by making small, simple changes to how and what you eat.

Soft Drinks
I am Diet Coke’s Number 1 Fan, I’ll admit it! But I have taken control of my love for this nasty can of fizz and will usually treat myself to one a week (OK maybe two). But I know people out there who cant go a day without cracking open a can of the fizzy stuff and I have read so many articles on how this can be seriously detrimental to ones health and a huge factor in weight gain for many people. To make a long story short, stay away from soft drinks!
A great swap that I found is infusing fresh fruit like berries or kiwi with Sparkling Water. You will get that familiar, fizzy sensation you’re craving with a subtle hint of fruity flavour. For any Irish readers, I’m also loving the new Ballygowan flavoured Sparkling Water cans if you want to try one of these first – delish!

infused-water

Pasta
Penne, Fusili, Spaghetti – we love them all! I think I speak for most of us when I say there is just something about Pasta that is irresistible and I for one will admit that this is undoubtedly my guilty pleasure, I just love the stuff! But as we also know, too much of the good stuff will give us nice little Pasta Bellys that will simply not go with that Little Black Dress we’ve been dying to wear 😉 So what do we do? Buy a Spiralizer! I know Ive raved about it several times in my posts but trust me when I tell you, it is the best money you will spend on a Healthier You this year!
Spiralized vegetables such as Courgette and Butternut Squash are an excellent swap for Pasta and Spaghetti and will keep you well on track with those New Year Goals. Check out some of my Spiralizer Recipes for some inspiration.

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White Rice
Again, another “white food” that we sometimes can’t help ourselves with. Rice is a wonderful accompaniment to so many family favourites but like Pasta, too much will send our healthy eating plans back to 2016. So what to use instead? There are a few different options here.
Quinoa would be my go-to grain, it’s simple and versatile and is very good for you. Other grains like Bulgar Wheat or even Wild Rice are great alternatives too. These ingredients are also cheap to buy and easy to cook so they’re certainly worth trying out.
Another great swap is Cauliflower Rice. You can find some simple instructions on how to make Cauliflower Rice in one of my earlier Posts on how good Cauliflower is for you. I would highly recommend giving this one a go.

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Sweets and Chocolate
I consider myself very luckily that I was born without a sweet tooth. I rarely crave sweets and chocolate and am more a savoury, cheese and crackers girl myself but I have seen friends and family fight the craving and it is Painful! Like all food, everything in moderation is more than allowed but many a friend has told me that once that packet of sweets or bar of chocolate has been opened, there is no stopping them until it has been obliterated. I’m sure you ave all had your fill of the sweet stuff over the Christmas and maybe even the sight of a sweet tin you will still find repulsive so now would be a good time to make the switch – while you still have the willpower!
Good quality Dark Chocolate with a high percentage of cocoa is a good alternative to keep hidden in the door of the fridge for when the craving just gets too much. I always buy the Lindt or Green & Black brand and tuck it away in the fridge case of emergencies.
Another good swap for sweets is Dried Fruit such as Figs, Cranberries or Goji Berries. They will kill the craving and help you stick to your goals with their more natural sugar content. Go easy on them all the same though as too much will lead to a build up of these natural sugars that will turn into stored energy and eventually fat.

dark-chocolate

Minced Beef
Certainly a true Irish staple, minced beef is used for so many delicious dinners – Bolognese, Burgers, Cottage Pie, Lasagne – it can be the main ingredient to some of our favourite meals. Poor quality mince and even some regular mince has a very high fat content and this can of course have adverse effects on our body’s health.
An ideal swap is making the change to Turkey Mince. This is just as versatile and far leaner than its beefy counterpart. Use it just as you would regular mince and you will be feeling leaner in no time. I have some great recipes including my most popular post to date – Turkey and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers – for some inspiration.

https://clodaghscountertop.blog/2016/06/11/turkey-quinoa-stuffed-peppers/

Of course, if you’re not up for trying a different meat, Lean Mince products are available. You just may need to seek out a good butchers or well stocked supermarket to get your hands on it.

turkey-burgers

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Aubergine, Red Pepper & Olive Pasta Sauce

For those of you who have read some of my previous posts, you will know that I am allergic to a zillion different foods and have had to cut out the majority of these from my diet. That unfortunately means that I have slipped into the habit of creating recipes based on the foods I am allowed eat. But have no fear! When creating my plan for 2017 for this little blog, I vowed to try and incorporate some of my forbidden foods into my recipes again so that you don’t have to miss out like I do. Even thinking about what I can’t have anymore is making me pine for them! I actually miss yogurt so much. And eggs…and mushrooms…and tomatoes 

So this little creation sticks mostly to my list of allowed foods but I have also used some tomato puree from concentrate in the recipe so you guys are not deprived. This is a great recipe for a really rich and filling Pasta Sauce using chunky vegetables with intense flavours to create a very indulgent meal without most of the naughty additions.

The key to this sauce is to keep the vegetables whole and not to pulverise them down during the process. You can make this sauce ahead of time and store it in a jar in the fridge for up to 3 days or freeze it either. Whatever you decide to do, decide to make a batch either way – it’s just gorgeous! This sauce is full of flavour and healthy vegetables and will leave you feeling super satisfied. I used Spaghetti as it was all I had in the pantry but I would also recommend Penne as this always goes well with Pasta Sauce. I also added a sprinkle of chilli flakes to the mix as I can hardly have any meal without them these days but this is up to you if you want to add them. The same goes for any other of your favourite seasonings you might want to add.

As always, this meal is cheap to prepare, quick to cook and so comforting to eat so go ahead and give it a try! Thanks for staying tuned xXx

Ingredients (Serves 4)

1 medium sized Aubergine AKA Eggplant
2 large Red Peppers
½ cup Black or Green Olives, halved
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
1 Tbsp. concentrated Tomato Puree
1 cup Vegetable Stock
Salt & Pepper to taste
½ Tsp. Chilli Flakes (if desired, optional)
2-3 Tbsp. Olive Oil (maybe a little more)
Enough Pasta of your choice to serve

Method

Finely dice the Aubergine and Peppers – about 1cm cubes.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot and add the crushed garlic.
Stir the garlic until it has browned and then add the diced vegetables to the pot.
Add another tablespoon of olive oil and stir it in to coat the vegetables.
Continue to stir the mix until the vegetables start to soften and cook through.
Add the seasoning and tomato puree and stir through the mixture.
Pour approximately half of the stock into the pot and bring it to the boil.
Once bubbling, reduce the heat to a low-medium temperature and stir the mixture occasionally.
Put the pasta of your choice on to cook as per the packet instructions.
While the pasta is cooking, continue to stir the sauce mixture every now and then.
About half way through the pasta’s cooking time (approx. 6-7 minutes), blitz the sauce quickly with a hand blender to break up the vegetables and combine the sauce to make it thicker.
*Do not fully blend the sauce as you would if you were making a soup – only blitz for about 30 seconds – you want the sauce to remain chunky.
Return the pot to the heat on a simmer with the lid off to reduce the excess moisture.
Slowly pour in small tipples of the remaining stock, stirring it through and letting it absorb.
You may be left with some excess stock but it’s better to have made a bit extra than not have enough.
By the time you have cooked and strained your pasta, your sauce should be just about ready.
Add the cooked pasta to the pot of sauce and  stir it all through so that the pasta is fully coated.
Serve piping hot.

 

Clo’s Chicken Pie

Happy New Year to all you Lovely Humans! If you are reading this, I hope you have read some of my other posts and if so, I would like to first of all thank you for even bothering 🙂 This blog started as something to do at the weekends, to share my love of cooking and develop my knowledge of healthy food, its benefits to my health and how to make it good enough to eat. I honestly have no idea if people are even reading it so if you are, thank you.

One of my 2017 Resolutions is to develop this blog more and explore other ways that I can share the benefits of healthy eating – and healthy cooking – with you all. I am almost finished a course in Nutrition and Food Science that I have found so informative and interesting. I have been jotting down so many new ideas for The Countertop so “watch this space” – lots of exciting posts and delicious recipes will be coming your way in 2017 if you stick with me.

So, I thought I would kick of the New Year with an easy one – the humble Chicken Pie. If like me, you are not fully ready to dive feet first into Clean January but want to ease yourself in instead, then this recipe is perfect! This pie has all the elements of an indulgent meal but it is in-fact quite the opposite. When you break it down, the ingredients are all generally very healthy – chicken breast, spinach, almonds. Yes, the pastry might be a tad indulgent but when weighed out against the rest of the ingredients you will have nothing to feel bad about. The trick here is the mixture’s sauce. It will look and taste like you’ve landed a pint of double cream over the chicken pieces when you have really just combined some yummy almonds and chicken stock together! I was very excited when this experiment worked and the result really is delicious.

It would be a great Sunday Dinner if you are at a loss as to what to cook today. It is a simple recipe with a truly comforting and tasty end result and will help you settle into Sunday evening nicely.

So I urge you all to give this one a go – a true comfort food to get us all back on track for a brand new year full of possibilities! xx

Ingredients (Serves 4)

320 gram Ready-Made Puff Pastry Roll
3 Skinless, Boneless Chicken Breast Fillets
2 cups Fresh Spinach Leaves
60 -80 grams Almonds
500 ml Chicken Stock in Water
1 Tbsp. Corn Flour
1 Brown Onion, coarsely chopped
1 Clove Garlic, crushed
Dash Olive Oil
Salt & Pepper to season
1 Tsp. Dried Parsley

Method

Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Celcius.
Grease a small-medium size oven dish and put to one side.
Chop the chicken fillets into small chunks.
Heat the olive oil on a frying pan on the hob.
Add the chopped onion and chicken pieces to the pan and fry until the chicken is cooked through and has browned.
Remove the pan from the heat.
In a food blender, processor, Nutribullet (whatever you have available), add the chicken stock, crushed garlic, almonds, dried parsley and seasoning.
Blend this mixture until it becomes smooth and creamy – add a little more almonds or stock until you reach your desired consistency.
Once you are happy with your sauce, return the frying pan to the heat and add the sauce.
Reduce the hob to a medium heat and stir the filling consistently for about a minute.
It is at this stage that you can use your own judgement – if you think the mixture needs some corn flour to thicken or more seasoning etc, play around with it at this point.
Once you are happy with the mixture, stir in the Spinach leaves and remove the pan from the heat.
Roll out the pre-rolled pastry and cut it out to cover the oven dish – leaving an extra few centimetres to cover the edges.
Pour the chicken filling from the pan into the oven dish.
Cover the mixture with the puff pastry, securing it tightly over the edges of the dish.
Place the dish on the middle shelf of the oven and cook as per the pastry’s cooking instructions (about 40 minutes usually).
Once the pastry has cooked through, remove this delicious pie from the oven and serve.
This will go great with many different sides. Try some fresh salad, sweet potato fries or steamed broccoli.
Delish!

 

7 Electric Essentials for the Healthy Cook’s Countertop

The Kitchen of an On-The-Go Cook is never short of a few toys to have some foodie fun with.
While some may be absolutely essential, others can be to make life that little bit easier and help you prepare delicious, healthy meals super quick.
I am quite the collector as you will see from the list below but because I spend most of my free time in the kitchen, I find it pretty easy to get plenty of use out of them all.

The Hand Blender

The soup lovers best friend. The trusty hand blender is a must for anyone who loves fresh, homemade soup and even for the adventurous curry creator.
You can buy these guys pretty much anywhere that sells the basic kitchen appliances like the local supermarket or the likes of Argos and Harvey Norman.
They assemble easily and can be kept neatly in one of the kitchen drawers so that they’re always on hand.
Soup is a great way to add more vegetables in to your diet and it’s also a good meal prep dish as you can make a couple of litres of it and freeze it off.
I find homemade soup is also a really good way to use up any vegetables you have that are about to reach their Best Before Date so this way you won’t be throwing anything out.
You can pretty much add any vegetable to your soup pot and with the right seasoning it will always taste great, head over to my Recipes page for some inspiration!

The Salter Spiralizer ™

This is, without a doubt, one of the best gifts I have ever received! EVER! I am literally obsessed with my Spiralizer. Who knew such a simple contraption could make such a difference to my life.
Since being gifted with this by my very wise and wonderful mother, I use this bad boy religiously during the week for my evening meals. Since I have started using this, I have almost entirely ended my relationship with pasta, rice and noodles.
They now live in my cupboard for emergencies and hangovers and for my not-so-green eating dinner guests.
It’s fun to use, easy to clean and makes dinner a quick a painless experience while adding so much more vegetables to your diet. .
I dropped around 10 lbs in January and I firmly believe that was solely down to the Spiralizer.
At only €21.99 in Argos, I would highly recommend picking one up.
Check out my Recipes page for some great ideas on how to create some beautiful looking and great tasting Spiralizer dishes.

spiralizer

The Air Fryer

Again this is not an absolute must but I’ve certainly gotten great use out of this guy since it took up lodging on the kitchen counter.
When looking to make healthier choices with the food you really love and cannot live without, something like the air fryer is a great help.
I use this every time I make sweet potato fries and it’s also great for cooking regular fries, carrots, pumpkin or any other root veg you might bake in the oven usually.
The appeal of the air fryer is you only require 1 tablespoon of oil to cook with thus reducing the amount of fats you may use when cooking.
Our house has the Tefal model but there are plenty of different brands and models available from all regular stockists.

The Original Crockpot Slow Cooker ™

I bought this as a welcome home present to myself last Summer and it was honestly the best €40 I’ve ever spent. I am head over heels in love with my Crockpot and get a serious amount of entertainment cooking with it.
From a curry recipe I picked up in Nepal to a slow roasted Sunday – dinner chicken, I use the slow cooker for such a variety of meals.
The beauty of the slow cooker is that you can prepare your meal first thing in the morning or last thing at night and head off to work or get a full night sleep and your meal will be cooking away without you having to worry.
There are hundreds of recipes available online for the slow cooker and you’ll find all of mine throughout the recipes page.
It’s also great for meal prep as you can throw 10 chicken fillets in and head away for the day only to come back to seriously tender and perfectly cooked chicken to use during the week as part of your healthy diet.
I bought a 6.5 litre slow cooker which is probably too big when cooking for one but they are available in a number of different sizes and can be found at almost all electrical appliance stockists nationwide.

If you have the counter space and love to cook and experiment as much as me, it’s well worth the investment.

crockpot

The Nutribullet ™

Another gift to myself when I came back home and again, money well spent.
The Nutribullet is a great addition to any healthy living kitchen and especially for those who are on the go.
You can throw any bits of fruit and veg you have lying around, add some ice, yoghurt, honey or whatever your preference and you have a delicious and filling smoothie ready to take with you wherever you’re going.
Check out my list of smoothie recipes for some great combination ideas!

I also use the Nutribullet for other creations such as my fresh pesto, hummus, milled nuts and seeds, bread crumbs and also for soups and curries and anything that needs processing.
It’s such a versatile appliance and is so easy to clean.

I can really say that my vegetable intake sky rocketed with using the Nutribullet with my energy levels and skin condition especially really improving.
I would absolutely recommend the Nutribullet to anyone looking to up their vegetable intake and decrease the amount of time spent preparing it in the kitchen.

Another Electric Appliance that is good to have is the everyday food processor which can save you lots of time in the kitchen for everyday tasks such as grating cheese, chopping onions, slicing vegetables and so on.
I don’t have one myself as I have a combination of other appliances to do these tasks forme but they’re are good to have if you have the space on the countertop and can be bought at all stockists.

The Mandolin Food Slicer

Although it’s not electric, the mandolin is a compact vegetable slicer that neatly chops and slices all your veg without creating any mess and saves the Cook lots of time during prep.
I find it super handy for the dreaded onion – no more tears and its done in seconds.
The Julien blade is also a great alternative to the spiralizer and I also find it most convenient for slicing courgettes quickly and evenly for my courgette lasagne (see Recipes for full method).
Not an essential but it’s certainly handy to have in the cupboard.
Again you’re looking at about €20.00 and if you like to prep and cook efficiently like me, it’s handy to have.

mandolin

The George Foreman Lean Mean Fat Grilling Machine (TM)

I recently purchased one of these bad boys when they were on sale for an outrageous €26.99, down from €75.00! To put it simply, it does exactly what is says on the tin. A convenient countertop grill that cooks up to 4 portions and drains any excess fat from whatever it is you’re cooking. It’s great for meat such as turkey burgers, bacon or chicken fillets. It cooks them efficiently and healthily leaving little to be cleaned up after and food tasting great. The George Foreman can be bought in most electrical retailers and vary in price depending on what size grill you want to get your hands on. Two thumbs up for this electric essential.

Other Kitchen Essentials that I simply cannot cook without are listed below. These days, you can pick up these items pretty much anywhere; Ikea, Deals, Dunnes, Argos, anywhere! They are cost effective and will stand by you while you work to create healthy meals from fresh, whole foods from the comfort of your own kitchen.

Weighing Scales
Measuring Jug
Wooden Chopping Board
The World’s Sharpest Knife ™
Good Quality Frying Pan
Muffin Tray
Lunchboxes
Recycled Jars
Ziplock Bags

Feature Fit Food #3 – Beetroot

It’s time again to break away from the usual recipe posts and give you guys the low down on another very important Superfood – Beetroot.

If you’re not yet a fan and think it tastes too strong to enjoy, have a read of this and maybe give them another try. I agree they are an acquired taste but they are well worth trying to introduce into your diet as their health benefits are far and wide and now that I’m used to them, I think they taste great too. Here’s hoping other beetroot eaters agree with me there!

 I started out having beetroot in my green juices just to get used to the taste when I heard how beneficial it was to have it as part of your 5 A Day. Once I got used to it (which wasn’t very long), I started to buy it raw and either steam or roast it to add to my meals. Now, beetroot is a staple in my diet and I don’t leave the vegetable aisle in the supermarket without it and get cranky if it’s not in stock. You will see it mentioned in some of my recipes already and I have many more recipes planned to share with you guys where I use it. One of my favourite recipes where I use beetroot is my “Beetroot, Feta and Quinoa” (https://clodaghscountertopblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/30/beetroot-feta-quinoa/) It is absolutely delish!

beetroot1

 Anyway, down to the nitty gritty of it all. I wanted to write this post to share with you why you should include beetroot as part of your 5 A Day as it has a wide range of health benefits and nutritional advantages.

 Firstly, what beetroot is most commonly known for is it’s antioxidant super powers which counteract free radicals and their damaging effects in the body. As there are more free radicals than antioxidants in the body, we need to supply ourselves with extra antioxidants in order to neutralize the blood stream. Whether you add it to a salad or stir it into a soup or juice, beetroot is a great way to increase the antioxidant supply to the body.

 Beetroot also contains a nutrient rich property called Betalain that helps contribute to an increase in optimal health. Along with this, it is an excellent anti-inflammatory and also contributes highly to detoxification of the body. So. Many. Super Powers!!

Below is a highlight of all the nutritional properties of beetroot that will hopefully entice you to give it a try;

 Per 100 grams of Beetroot

Calories 43
Fat 0%
Cholesterol 0%
Sodium 3%
Potassium 9%
Carbohydrate 3%
Fibre 11%
Protein 3%

 To summarize the above, beetroot is naturally low in fat and high in fibre making it an excellent addition to a healthy lifestyle. Following that, it is also high in Iron, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and Magnesium adding to its richness in nutrients.

 So that’s the sales pitch, no doubt you can see the benefits of adding the Super food to your diet so if you haven’t already, give it a go and let me know what you reckon or drop me a comment if you have any recipe ideas or need some inspiration!

My New List of No No’s

I recently had a non-medical allergy test taken with the Amber Clinic in Westmeath (http://amber.ie/) due to my long term suffering from eczema and other skin irritations.Having lived in Australia for nearly 5 years, I was rarely bothered by this skin condition as the wonderful sun kept it at bay. However, since I’ve moved home this past year, it has been driving me crazy!The winter months were especially tough on my skin and it has taken months for the scars to heal with some spots like my shins being permanently scarred by the looks of it.

 I started doing some research into the different avenues of allergy testing available on the Irish market and decided to go with the Amber Clinic due to its extensive testing (950 foods) and good value for money.

I had a sneaky feeling that I may have developed some new allergies over the years from living in a different climate and undergoing periods of high stress and so on, possibly changing my body chemistry. Low and behold, the results from the Amber Clinic confirmed my suspicions – with devastating results! 

Being the Foodie that I am, I like to try out and use as many different foods as possible to create my recipes and feed myself well. From my previous posts you will probably notice a trend in certain foods that I use but unfortunately this will now all have to change.

The most prominent result from the test was that I have an extremely high level of yeast in my system causing my body to literally do nothing with any of the good, green and clean food I have been feeding my body with over the past couple of years. The yeast content in my digestive system is somehow blocking the breakdown and absorption of foods so in a matter of words, it basically means all my healthy eating and gym work has been in vain! I have to say as annoying as it was to find this out, it also gave me peace of mind as I knew there had to be something wrong when I go to the gym almost every day and I haven’t lost a pound!

 Other food allergies that have been causing my skin to become so irritated are all fermented food products. This was also a tough one as it pretty much rules out all dairy products. Included here also are mushrooms and eggs which is a huge blow to my diet as I pretty much live off eggs and yogurt for my protein source. The test also revealed tomatoes and all tomato based products as something I’m highly allergic to so as a clean cook, this is another huge blow. Tomatoes and mushrooms are staples in my diet so I’ll have some big changes to make to my shopping list.

 Due to my intolerance to all fermented foods, the test revealed I’m allergic to all alcohol except vodka and gin as they are distilled. No more wine! It is truly a sad day!

 There are several other foods that came up on the test as showing to aggravate my eczema and thus have to eliminate from my diet. The consultant also advised that there were more symptoms of these intolerances such as low energy levels, weight gain or stagnant weight, low food absorption levels and headaches, all of which I could relate to. As much of a shame as it is to have to eliminate so many of my foodie favourites, I’m also excited to see the results of eating the foods I’m supposed to.

 I wanted to share this with you all as I believe it to be important to know if you also suffer from any of these daily inconveniences. You will also see a change in my recipes as I will be using less of the foods I can’t eat anymore. However, for the sake of the Countertop, I’ll still be using some of the No No’s where I have to, I couldn’t let you guys down.

 So the next move is finding alternative sources to protein other than meat and figuring out new meal options. The list of foods I can eat consists mostly of raw, lean vegetables and lean meats with some grains, beans and legumes. The No No list consists mainly of starchy vegetables, most fruits, all breads, muffins, cakes, most dairy products, fungi, caffeine and sugars (both refined and unrefined). So you can see from this list, there is work to be done.

 I’ll be posting some pics and recipes of what I manage to come up with for my meals over the coming weeks as I learn more about what I can eat and how to create recipes using these ingredients. If you know of any good recipes, sites or tips that you think might help, feel free to share. I would really love any comments or emails you would like to share.

 If any of you are considering getting an allergy test or have been thinking about it at all, I would absolutely recommend the Amber Clinic. They were great value, so helpful and are available to test outside Ireland as they’re a mail-testing lab. Check out their website http://amber.ie/

 Thanks Guys!

 

What’s In Clodagh’s Cupboard?

To stay consistent with eating healthy when you’re on-the-go, it’s important to keep your pantry or cupboard stacked with handy, go-to items.

This way, you’ll always have something on hand even when the fridge shelf is looking a bit bare (it’s usually the week for payday for me, sometimes I have sleep for dinner).

The trick is to stay organised and have enough of the essentials on hand at all times. You can build up your collection a little bit over each trip to the supermarket or go all guns blazing and dedicate one trip to a full sweep.

A stocked pantry also helps me to make all my own sauces and seasonings so I’m less likely to reach for the flavoured powder packets and jars of sauce.

I’m also free to play around more and create some really interesting and delicious flavours by adding pinches of this and dashes of that as I go.

Below is a breakdown of what lives in my cupboard;

Welcome

 Dried Herbs and Spices

Parsley
Coriander
Basil
Chilli Flakes
Cayenne Pepper
Smoked Paprika
Paprika
Ginger
Turmeric
Garlic
Cumin Seeds
Ground Cumin
Cardamon Pods
Fenugreek
Ground Coriander
Ground Black Pepper
Salt

Stock Cubes are a great essential to have on hand but it’s important
to buy a good quality stock.
I have endless cubes of vegetable, chicken and beef stock cubes sitting on the shelf and
use them with almost all of my dishes whether it be for
dry seasoning or mixed with boiling water.

 Tinned Goods

Chick Peas
Mixed Beans
Chopped Tomatoes
Tuna in water or brine
Coconut Milk
Kidney Beans

Soup tins are good to have in an emergency as a back-up meal and also as additions for main meals such as chicken and broccoli bake (see main meals for recipe).

 Jars

Passata
Tahini
Thai Green Curry Paste (best to make your own from scratch but always handy to have if you are time poor. See my recipe for details).
Soy Sauce
Fish Sauce
Barbeque Sauce
Sweet chilli sauce
Franks Hot Sauce (Original)
Honey
Gravy Granules

herbsandspices

 Nuts, Seeds & Grains

Quinoa
Cous Cous
4 Seed Mix
Pumpkin Seeds
Linseed
Brown Rice
Brown Pasta
Medium Noodles (great for a quick stir fry)
Almonds
Walnuts
Hazelnuts

 Bits and Bobs

Large bag of porridge oats (used for so many of my recipes as you will come to see)
Brown flour
Baking soda
Artificial sweetener
Brown sugar
Green tea
Chamomile Tea
Dark chocolate chips
Pitted Dates
Dried Figs
Sultanas
Balsamic Vinegar
Good quality Olive Oil

 This list is not exhaustive and your pantry will certainly have more and differentiating flavoursome inhabitants to mine.

You can simply use this list for some inspo or to add to your already packed pantry. It’s totally down to you!