Belinda's 10 pantry essentials for simple everyday cooking

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Belinda's 10 pantry essentials for everyday cooking

I find having a well-stocked store cupboard makes life so much easier and more pleasurable. Having a few essentials at hand is great when you need to think up a last minute dinner or have friends turning up uninvited…Enjoy!

From Belinda x

  1. Olive oil: Olive oil is as important as salt and pepper in a modern kitchen. I find that a medium weight olive oil with a fruity flavour best for every day cooking and they do not have to be expensive. Save the very rich good quality olive oil for using undiluted by other ingredients like in a salad dressing or dipping your bread. 

  2. Tinned tomatoes: Get both tinned chopped tomatoes and whole plum tomatoes. A true all-rounder -tinned tomatoes are the essential base for soups, sauces, stews and more. Having a some in the cupboard means you can whip up a delicious pasta sauce, curry, or soup at a moments notice.

  3.  Honey: To add a little sweetness to sauces and marinades. Honey tastes just as delicious on toast or porridge as it does on our sticky pomegranate chicken and honey roasted butternut squash.

  4. Soy sauce: The essential sauce for all Asian cooking - delicious in warming chicken noodle soup, stir fries, marinades and sauces.

  5. Spices: Basil, bay leaves, salt and pepper, cumin, cinnamon and chili powder will cover most of the basics.

  6.   Red wine vinegar: I keep this in my cupboard because I find a lot of dishes benefit from a dash of vinegar - I pop a bit in stews, sauces, chilli and even salads. Good-quality red wine vinegar has a distinctive, tangy taste.

  7. Grains and pulses: Couscous, dried pasta, brown rice, chickpeas and red lentils are ever-present in my pantry. At the moment I love serving a protein-packed couscous side dish with our roast chicken drumsticks in a lemon, basil and garlic marinade - it goes down a treat when I have extra mouths to feed!

  8. Coconut milk: For creamy curries and soups, coconut milk is essential. I use it in our family favourite quick and easy chicken curry.

  9. Porridge oats: I like to eat porridge for my breakfast, but oats are also great for baking cookies and crumble toppings. If I’m in a rush, I make overnight oats or a batch of bircher muesli that will keep in the fridge for a few days so that I have breakfast already prepared.

  10. Flour: The ultimate multi-tasker - you’ll need flour for everything from baking brownies to thickening sauces, coating meat and fish for frying or making bread.

We love seeing the recipes you create using our lovely free range chicken. Don’t forget to tag us on Instagram @suttonhoochicken and use the hashtag #slowgrownchickens.

Belinda's EditEllie Collins