Now that winter has crept in and made itself at home I’m craving warm, comforting meals – soups, stews, creamy pasta and cheesy bakes. I also don’t want to have to leave the house and brave the elements to pick up missing ingredients for meals I’m trying to make. So, I like to make sure my pantry is stocked with staples for hearty winter dishes.
Here’s what lurks in my ideal winter pantry
Pasta, grains and cereals
Oats for steaming hot porridge.
Brown rice to serve with hearty stews and warming curries and, even, in soups.
Arborio rice for creamy risottos.
Barley to add chewy nuttiness and substance to soups and stews.
Flour (plain, corn and wholemeal) for bread, puddings and thickening sauces and gravy.
Wholemeal or plain spaghetti, lasagne sheets and spirals. With these three pasta types all your comfort food dreams can come true.
Noodles – ramen, soba, udon and egg because noodles are wonderous.
Canned and packaged
Canned tomatoes for sauces.
Tomato paste to boost flavour in stews, sauces and casseroles.
Canned and dried legumes such as chickpeas, lentils, black beans and kidney beans, add body and texture to casseroles, soups, curries and stews.
Stock is vital for soups and risotto. You can make your own but it’s always good to have some at the ready when you need food fast.
Miso is a must for me. I use it as a warming soup or make it into a broth base for Asian noodle dishes such as ramen or nabe udon.
Curry paste is a really convenient way to add a whole lot of flavour to dishes. Use it with light coconut milk for your own Thai-style curries at home.
Cocoa for delicious, chocolatey drinks and desserts.
Honey, maple syrup and other sugar for desserts, baking, French toast and hot lemon and honey drinks.
King soup mixes for vegetable soup. I just add whatever leftover veges I can find.
Olive oil for cooking and dressings.
Balsamic and wine vinegars for dressing and sauces.
Cooking wine for risotto.
Nut butters for toast and satay sauces.
Tea and coffee because they make life good.
Herbs and spices
Every pantry should have dried mixed herbs, ground cumin, curry powder, turmeric, chilli, cinnamon and nutmeg. With those items you can take over the world.