This time it's mostly tinned stuff and packets
My last post on the store cupboard turned into a bit of a diatribe about herbs and spices and they are all very well but you can't rustle up a quick meal out of nothing but herbs. So I thought this one might be a bit more substantial.
Dried spaghetti and pasta shapes
They also brighten up lots of mince-based dishes like cottage pie, chilli, lasagne, bolognese, moussaka etc. It's a great way to hide veg in meals if you have reluctant eaters too.
Other tinned veg
Something fancy is always handy too. I keep artichoke hearts and palm hearts. They make wonderful starters with a bit of virgin olive oil and a hunk of bread. They also go well on pizzas and the Italians also put artichokes in ham sandwiches.
A tin of tuna, mackerel in some sort of sauce, smoked oysters or mussels, white crab meat, prawns. Open the tins. Put the contents into a load of small dishes and you have tapas almost straight away. Jug of wine, loaf of bread, tin of olives, bowl of mayo. You're made.
I don't care what anyone says you can't beat a Spam fritter. But a tin of corned beef is always handy too. Mash it up with some leftover spuds and a bit of fried onion, fry it gently until the mixture browns a bit and you've got corned beef hash.
A couple of pints of "plastic" milk
You know the sort I mean. The stuff in boxes. It lasts for ages and you've got the making of custard (as long as you have custard powder in the cupboard too. I always have). In fact here is a recipe for quick steamed sponge pudding to go with it.
The base for lots of things - not least soda bread, which can be made in about 40 minutes and is so easy you wouldn't believe! But you can also rustle up pancakes as long as you've got an egg and some milk, or buns, or all sorts of stuff. And it's good for thickening soups and sauces. If you can only run to one bag make it self raising.
You can't make scones without it. Or soda bread. Or quick steamed jam sponge. It's cheap and handy.
Be brave. Follow the instructions on the back (there's almost always bread instructions on the back of yeast packets) and make some pizza bases. You'll love yourself for it.
Well it goes without saying really doesn't it? And besides - we covered it in storecupboard 1.
Good extra virgin olive oil
If you've been paying attention you'll have noticed olive oil mentioned a couple of times already. There is virtually nothing you can eat that won't be enhanced by a drizzle of good olive oil over the top. (OK - maybe not chocolate cake, but you know what I mean)
Buy in a medium sized jar and keep it in your fridge. Goes really nicely under cheese on toast. Great for sandwiches. Wonderful with a tinned veg as a starter. Egg mayo - retro but yummy. (Boil an egg. Peel it. Slather mayo over it. Sprinkle lightly with cayenne pepper. Serve with brown bread.) Mixed half and half with yoghurt as a cold sauce base. Add more or less anything you like. Finely chopped onion, curry powder, anchovies, use your imagination.