I believe that if the kitchen is the heart of the home, the store cupboard is surely the soul. In any kitchen, a well stocked store saves time and money and ensures you have a back up against poor weather & illness. It prevents you running to the shop for oil and coming out £20 down. It is the most worthy rainy day fund I can think of, I am a huge advocate. If money is tight, add a few items a month. Find your local ethnical supermarkets, pound shops & discount stores. A store cupboard should be as well stocked as you can afford it to be but of course there are essentials. Here is my list:
Oils & vinegars
- Neutral oil such as rapeseed for everyday cooking
- Extra virgin olive oil for dressings
- Sesame oil for asian cooking
- Apple cider vinegar
- Balsamic vinegar
- Red wine vinegar
- Malt/white vinegar
Tins & jars
- Baked beans
- Kidney beans
- Butter beans or mixed beans
- Coconut milk
- Tinned tomatoes
- Jalepenos (if you like a bit of spice)
- Pasta – one short variety and spaghetti
- Cous cous
- Rice noodles
- Scotch broth soup mix
- Red lentils
- Green lentils
- Porridge oats
- Flours – plain, self raising, cornflour and bread flour
- Fast action yeast (individual sachets)
- Bicarbonate of soda
- Baking powder
- Sugar – granulated and soft light brown
Sauces & flavourings
- Marmite – great for adding depth/meatiness to dishes
- Stock cubes – I use vegetable ones, be careful to check for milk if you are vegan
- Vegetable bouillon – a bit of a splurge but really adds a savoury edge and depth to any dish
- Black peppercorns
- Maldon salt – for finishing dishes or adding a salty crunch (ie on top of garlic dough balls)
- Kala namak – essential for adding an eggy taste to vegan dishes
- Table salt – general cooking
- Gravy powder – red bisto is my go-to as it mixes well and is vegan
- Apple sauce – a great egg replacer in vegan baking as well as a great condiment
- Mustard – a selection of
- Tabasco or other hot sauce
- Nutritional yeast – a must for vegans, adds a cheesy/nutty element to meals.
- Dried herbs & spices – as many as you can possibly collect. These will bring the flavours of the world to your dishes for pennies.
- Your own favourite condiments – our top five would be veganaise, ketchup, BBQ sauce, siracha and deli style mustard
- Long life milk of choice – ours would be soya.
- Maple syrup
This is by no means a complete list but it is a very good starting point from which many healthy, balanced meals can be made.
I will be following up with my ultimate freezer guide soon.
In the meantime, is there anything you would add to my list?