The 10 things you need in your larder
According to John Lewis, half their customers want a larder in their new kitchen- while Kirstie Allsopp swears by hers, and Downton Abbey’s entire operation would collapse without Mrs Patmore’s larder. All those well-stocked shelves and gleaming jars are a happy, nostalgic thought – but in the modern world, where no one eats raised game pie or puts beaded cloths on milk jugs, what should you have in your larder (OK, or food cupboard) to ensure you can always rustle up a meal? Here’s the ten essentials:
For pastry, frying meat, fishcakes, cakes and biscuits, making bread, or a roux for a sauce base. The versatile work-horse of the food cupboard.
2. Baking powder
For making Scotch pancakes, cakes, and even cleaning products. You can also make self-raising flour by adding it to plain.
Obvious but essential for a speedy supper – store several types, as different sauces suit different shapes. As a bottom line, spaghetti and penne will usually work with anything.
Great for fast stir-fries, dried noodles take just a couple of minutes to boil, and can be used in soups and cold salads too.
5. Tinned tomatoes
The daddy of all tinned goods. Perfect for bakes, sauces, stews, chillis… remember to add a bit of sugar, to remove the acidity.
Far cheaper than porridge sachets, oats will provide a warming breakfast or a crumble topping, toasted they’re a great granola base, and they make tasty biscuits- you can even roll herrings in them.
7. Balsamic vinegar
This versatile vinegar makes great dressings to liven up salads, and works with basil, avocado, and even strawberries. Or you can add a splash to tomato pasta sauce to deepen the flavour.
The essential thickener for sauces and gravies – a teaspoon whisked up with cold water will thicken any watery sauce, and it’s handy for home-made custard too. It’s also a gluten-free alternative to flour for frying and dusting.
9. Tinned beans/chickpeas
Perfect for meat-free days. A cheap tin of beans is great in a chilli or on toast with tomato sauce, while chickpeas make lovely curries or falafels.
An all-purpose sweetener, honey works in herbal teas, puddings, drizzled on porridge, mixed with yoghurt, or in a delicious honey and lemon sauce with fish or chicken.