How did you get into the new year? I spent the evening at home and was so happy about it after all the travels. Today I started the day by emptying the freezer and to my annoyance got rid of quite a bit of stuff. That made me to have a resolution for the new year to keep a better freezer regime. I want to label and date everything and make commitments to use frozen stuff in the near future to avoid waste and to be able to utilise the freezer more efficiently. At least it's nice and nearly empty now, so this is a good start. I haven't really made any other resolutions apart from maybe trying to eat more lightly. Towards the end of last year my eating slipped quite a bit towards roast dinners, eating out, generally stuffing myself etc. and that's something that I want to change, simply by eating less and more nutritious stuff especially during the working week. Have you made any New Year's resolutions?
The freezer clearing reminded me of the dry cupboard. Already last year I organised my dry cupboard, and wanted to write a little bit about it to you and show the whole chaos. I have listed here 10 of my cooking essentials that should be found in my dry cupboard at all times, otherwise I might not cope. I prefer having organic options, but that isn't always possible. I only have a very small and very annoying dry cupboard, so it isn't always easy to keep a good stock at home. Sometimes things can be forgotten on the back. I have promised to myself to take better care of the cupboard as well and keep it tidy.
Pasta – I tend to have a collection of different pasta shapes at all times in my cupboard, as they can make a quick emergency dish easily or more fine dishes when there is more time for cooking. I probably make a couple of pasta dishes per week, quite often also pasta salads for work or add alphabet pasta to soups and broths.
Noodles – Noodles are so good for stir frys or quick weekday broths. I have only started using noodles more in recent years, but they are a very good addition to many dishes.
Grains – Versatile grains (rice, pearled spelt, pearled barley, couscous, freekeh and many more) are very important in my cooking. I just love adding them pretty much everywhere. Now having enthusiasm more and more for the Middle Eastern cuisine and having detected pilafs again, I have also eaten more rice dishes. It's a cheap way of making tasty meals.
Flour – Flour is needed at all times for bread and roll baking, and sometimes for sweet baking. My favourite for quite a while has been spelt flour and I have posted many recipes on the blog where spelt flour is used.
Pulses – Dried or canned lentils, chickpeas, peas and beans are a must in the cupboard. The only pain with some of them is only to remember to soak them overnight, which requires more planning for cooking. This is a cheap and nutritious way to boost your veggie dishes.
Soya products – Diverse dried soya products are handy to be had as addition to sauces, soups, stir fries, pretty much anywhere. They contain good proteins for vegetarians and I'll get more and more used to different dried soya products, as they can add a nice texture to dishes.
Granola – Granola is a perfect addition to breakfast bowls and keeps you going for a long time. I love a very nutty granola.
Berry powders – Healthy berry powders are perfect added to yogurt or smoothies for the extra vitamin boost. I quite often also use them in baking, like in some spelt rolls. My favourites are sea-buckthorn and cranberry.
Crackers – Crackers are always a practical and quick snack. Just have them with some cheese and they can quickly fill you, especially the thin rye breads. They are also practical to store, because they keep for a while in the cupboard.
Coffee – Coffee is absolutely essential for me and always has to be available. On weekday mornings I won't leave the house without having had a cup of coffee first. On the weekends I have more time to enjoy my coffee at home and several batches can come during the day.
These were some of the main dry products I use, but of course there are many more. What are you keeping in your dry cupboard?