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So I've steered away from chatting about roast dinners to talk a little bit about our current state of emergency, Covid-19 and how to make the most out of your kitchen storage and what you should really be buying. Fingers crossed myself and everyone in my family are showing no signs of the virus as of yet, but we all know that symptoms don't always surface so because we have 2 very vulnerable people one in each of mine and hubby's close family we are still keeping away from them for the time being. My Grandad suffers from the awful Parkinsons disease, and my mother-in-law has been battling secondary breast cancer now for a number of years, and before I get onto food remember its really important to support anyone that is vulnerable, especially the elderly, even if you can't go and see them, give them a reassuring call, have a normal chat with them, tell them some jokes and just take their mind off the panic of the outside world.
Heres a joke to start...
Why did the picture go to prison...??
Because it was framed!!
Food Storage Part 1
Learn to make a simple sauce.
Back to food, the first thing I did when I found out that shelves were being mindlessly emptied was plan. I went through my freezer and threw stuff that was no longer edible, and then made a list of what was still good to use and what room I had left to fill. The first thing I knew I had to have available was veg used to make the base of most sauces, these are, onions, carrots, garlic and tomatoes, first freezer priority was to get these in. Wouldn't it be smart to learn how to make a sauce rather then hope to find them on the shelves in your supermarket at the moment?
Having worked in retail for 15years I know that if a product is in high demand and finally gets sent in on a delivery, before its even put on the shop floor the staff, and quite rightly so, have already taken half the stock for themselves and then getting the other half of the box to the shelf is like being in a six nations rugby scrum, battling through the customers that are pawing away at box as you make your way through the isle to its home on the shop floor.
So while people are busy buying up all the cooking sauces that will eventually be hard to come by, you can be at home having educated yourself on how to make a basic sauce that with the right mix of dried spices can turn into any yummy dinner. With the schools being cancelled this is also a great way to see children entertained, my nieces and nephew love helping me in the kitchen and I quite often get them to test recipes for me before I publish them.
You can do it two ways, buy the fresh ingredients and make the sauce then freeze or as prefer, prep the ingredients and freeze separately using what you need as and when.
TIP - Think outside the box. The public are tending to steer clear of fresh food right now, opting to buy all jars and dried goods, whilst its good to have these to hand there are plenty of fresh fruit and eg that are just sitting on the shelves waiting to be prepped and frozen.
Icecube trays are brilliant for individual portions of minced garlic, simply crush your cloves and fill the cubes, freeze and then pop out as and when you need them. This also works really great with fresh herbs. Onions don't need to be banned before freezing, so I bought 1 big bag and diced they are then ready to go straight in the freezer. Carrots will need to be blanched dfor 2 mins in boiling water then cooled in cold water, then frozen.
The second thing EVERYONE should be stocking up is dried spices, that was the second thing on my list to check. Trust me when I say gone are the days when a spice rack was used as novelty decoration, everyone that came into my mums kitchen when I was younger would comment, ooo lovely rack you've got Denise.. I hope they were talking about the spices anyway, but they never noticed how the spices in the rack would never go down. If you're not a cook or don't enjoy cooking the thought of going out and spending money on something like spices but they will be a life saver, changing even a simple stock into some thing yummy and delicous.
Let me reassure you, right now there are still plenty of spices left on the shelves. With a small selection you can travel the world with your dinners, anywhere from Italy, to Spain. Asia to South America. I guarantee you like myself who never liked cooking, once I made my first bolognese from scratch I would look forward to getting home and creating a wonderful dinner to impress my husband when he'd got home from work. Cooking really is a way to switch off and can be enjoyable, especially as we may not have anything better to do with the children soon.
A list of must have dried spices for beginners are, Oregano, basil, parsley, smoked paprika, chilli powder mild hot or both, ground cumin, ground coriander, curry powder, garam masala, chinese 5 spice, ground ginger.
My spices are more extensive then this but if I had to pick a handful of emergency stock pile herbs those would be first on my list.
If you have these to hand then you can make anything taste 10 times better if you have to cook for yourself, and rather then a jar of pre made sauce that last 1 meal, these spices will create 10's of meals from one pot.
I hope you've enjoyed reading this and have had a few laughs, I will be creating a new blog all about using tinned food and pulses to replace meat the coming days, in the meantime keep safe, you can contact me via my instagram or email email@example.com if you need any tips, just a chat or some more crap jokes for your loved ones.