I feel the most important aspect to any dish, however complex or simple it is, is the special extras you add into it. I cannot praise spices enough. I can’t live without my spice rack!
I thought I’d comprise a little post together of ten cupboard essentials I cannot live without (not all necessarily my favourites, but basics I feel everyone needs at home!)
You may think ketchup is only for kids and alongside your maccies fries, but you’re wrong. A splodge of ketchup in ANY tomato based sauce / dish enhances the flavours, adding a dash of sweetness and richness to the meal. Try not to add more than a tbsp at one time however, the high sugar content when not in moderation makes ketchup more naughty than nice.
This spice is my number one essential. The asian tones are perfect for curries but can be added to wedges, rice and even roasted veg to give meals a special twist!
3) Soy Sauce
A necessity in Chinese dishes, soy sauce has a wonderful salty, rich undertone to enhance the Chinese holy trinity (garlic, ginger, chillies). Also gives a twist to chilli con carne and other, often quite boring British dishes.
Not everyone’s choice, but my fave! I always add mustard into my cheese and milk based dishes to add colour and a kick, but it also tastes wonderful on sandwiches and gourmet burgers!
I always say homemade is best, but sometimes convinience wins. Jars of salsa are a perfect, fresh, low calorie dip for nachos, tortillas and veggie sticks, but is also a healthy base for homemade pizzas and toasties.
Wonderfully bright, paprika, also can be purchases in smoked, adds a mild kick to sauces, curries and marinades, whilst looking an incredible colour! I also love to mix it with rock salt and add to homemade chips for a “peri peri” twist.
7) Salt & Pepper
Well, I’ll be rather disappointed if you don’t keep these in your cupboard…
8) Infused Oils
These are great! Fab as dipping oils for pittas and breads, they are also perfect for lazy cooking when you want rich flavours without the mess and extra work (I personally HATE chopping chilli, stuck under my finger nails for days!).
9) Sweet Chilli Sauce
I love adding this to chicken and salmon to shake up the flavour and texture. As sugar gets extremely hot, it also helps outer surfaces get a little bit more crispy. Also amazing on wraps with yogurt and on nachos!
10) Dark Chocolate
It’s probably not a store cupboard product, but it is an essential. Whenever you get a sweet tooth, or need a quick topping for a dessert, dark chocolate is perfect. It’s rich and helps release all those endorphins (happy cells!!). Plus, we all love eating melted chocolate out the bowl…..
Emma is a Registered Dietitian and Registered Associate Nutritionist based in Cheshire, England. Emma works in community healthcare and writes freelance alongside her work: topics including Dietetic life, nutrition, mental health and lifestyle. Emma also writes and photographs recipes for the platform, as well as being the author of the ‘Mummy and Me’ series for SR Nutrition. Emma’s Food Stories is PR friendly brand.