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Staple Ingredients | That First Shop

I love a big supermarket shop. I'd absolutely love to start my cupboards from scratch, ditch those herbs I know I'll never use and fill the cupboards with only the essentials. How nice would it be to open the cupboard to a neat row of ingredients, you know, where you could see exactly what each one was without having to empty half of it before you finally find the turmeric which you just used that morning, how on Earth did it all the way get back there?!

Needless to say, that is the opposite of what our spice cupboard looks like, but let's blame that on the lack of kitchen space rather than my impulse to buy spices I haven't seen before or need to use for this one recipe that I probably will never make again. No, it's definitely the lack of space.


For the recipes on this blog you will need:


  • sea salt

  • black pepper

  • garlic (powder but granules? oh my days..)

  • onion

  • cumin

  • coriander

  • ginger

  • turmeric

  • paprika (smoked is amazing)

  • chili (flakes and powder)

  • vegetable stock

  • oils (coconut, olive)

  • Vinegar (balsamic, apple cider)

  • soy sauce/tamari (GF)

  • tahini

  • Dijon mustard

  • maple syrup/honey/agave

I find onion, garlic, ginger and chili spices essential for those days where I find myself without the vegetable form (which is more often than it should be!). We could stick some cinnamon and nutmeg in there but...



  • onions

  • shallots

  • garlic

  • box/can chopped tomatoes

  • jar olives

  • capers

  • dried and/or cans of beans (chickpeas/garbanzo beans, black, kidney, butter/lima beans)

  • dried and/or can lentils (red, green, puy)

  • nuts (walnuts, almonds, cashews, peanuts)

  • seeds (sesame, sunflower, pumpkin)

  • whole wheat pastas

  • brown rice

  • frozen sweetcorn

  • nutritional yeast (Bobs Mill is great)

  • dairy-free milk (KoKO, almond, soy)

  • coconut milk

A little trick so you always have fresh herbs in the fridge: put the bunches in a cup with water and cover with a plastic bag. I can't believe how long they live!

It's a good idea to stock up on NUTS and SEEDS to add to salads, sandwich toppings, baked potatoes... just so many things, so I buy a kilo of our favourites: almonds (blanched whole and sliced), cashews, walnuts, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, jar them up and then toast a handful at a time when needed. Chop walnuts up and throw them into every salad, why not?

I buy both dry and canned LENTILS/BEANS because I know that cans have some extra added salt & often sugar and that dried legumes have more nutrients, but if I don't have time to start from scratch, which at the moment is often, then my meal can still be ready in a matter of minutes. Realistic Vs idealistic. If you can find organic then I'd go down that route.

FROZEN SWEETCORN, not a lot of nutrients because we can't really digest it but means I can always make a salad! no excuse today Soph.



- Salad: Defrosted frozen sweetcorn, shallots, garlic, olives, capers(add whatever fresh you have tomatoes/cucumber, herbs) add a blasamic, olive oil and Dijon mustard dressing.

- Box chopped tomatoes, onion, garlic, capers and olives = delicious pasta for that empty fridge night, no need for that take away after all (sorry!)

- Canned puy lentils, garlic, olive oil, salt. If you have a potato then bake it and pile on the lentils. If not just shovel it in your mouth like I do.

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