Being a citizen of the world and having strong links to three continents (N. America, Europe and Asia), you can imagine that my pantry stores a wide variety of ingredients.
I am obsessed with hot sauces, and have a dedicated shelf where Tabasco, sriracha, piri piri, gochujang, Frank’s, Cholula, Valentina, XO sauce, pickapepper sauce, and harissa. I have another dedicated dried chilli shelf with szechuan peppercorns, gochugaru, chilli threads, pepperoncinis, pequin peppers, and togarashi, just to name a few.
There are no rules to what you keep in your pantry. Just stuff that you like to eat. What is in my pantry right now? Too much stuff, honestly, but here is a list of my favorite staples:
at least 4 varieties of rice (short grain, brown, basmati, sweet)
about 4 varieties of pasta (I love the Cipriani dried tagliatelle, so thin and delicate and it cooks in about 1 min flat)
canned tomatoes and passata
a whole slew of dried spices (everything from wild oregano to Old Bay seasoning)
sugar (dark brown, light brown, caster, icing, granulated and cubes)
flour (AP, bread, whole wheat and cake)
vinegars and oil (lots of olive oil– I rarely cook with butter, and I go through olive oil like water. I figure I am eating enough butter in my desserts, so why slather it on my fish, meat, etc? You gotta cut somewhere sometimes, and unless I feel like really indulging, I grab a bottle of olive oil instead of the butter.)
You don’t really need a whole lot of stuff to cook well, and obviously you can do everything by hand, if you want. There are a few items though that I really do consider the basics and must haves if you want to start cooking a bit more seriously.
In terms of small appliances–
Standing mixer– a must if you are into pastry and a great tool to have if you invest in some of the attachments (meat grinder, pasta roller, etc.)
A great blender– if you can shell out for a Vitamix, I highly suggest it. They come with a wet and dry blade so you can whizz up soups and even make almond flour. Very powerful, make sure you have that lid on tight– or else you’ll have soup on your ceiling.
Rice cooker– this magical piece of equipment is cheap and cheerful and you won’t know how you ever survived without one. A dorm room must for college kids as well– you wouldn’t believe some of the stuff I used to cook in mine.
Food processor– saves a lot of time and gets you out of the kitchen and eating at the table faster.
Prawns in chili with Asparagus
12 asparagus spears, trimmed
1 Tbsp vegetable oil
½ lemon sea salt
10-12 prawns, cleaned tails on
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely diced, or grated on a microplane
½ shallot, finely diced
½ green chili, deseeded, finely chopped
½ red chili, deseeded, finely chopped
1 tsp chopped chives
garnish with red amaranth and chervil (optional)
½ green chili, finely sliced
In a frying pan, drizzle the vegetable oil in and bring up to high heat. Toss in the asparagus spears and cook until blistered and softened, about 3-4 minutes. Finish with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Keep warm.
In a non-stick skillet, sauté the garlic and shallots in the olive oil until just softened. Add the prawns and sauté, after about 1 min, add the red and green chilies. Toss in the chopped chives. Cook until just done and tip on to a plate to stop the cooking, finish with sea salt and a squeeze of lemon. Place the asparagus on a plate and top with the prawns. Garnish with fresh chili slices, red amaranth and chervil.
Korean BBQ Beef Short Ribs
INGREDIENTS FOR SHORT RIBS:
6 Tbs. granulated sugar
6 Tbs. soy sauce
6 Tbs. apple (or Asian pear) juice
1/4 cup Asian sesame oil
4 medium cloves garlic, smashed
4 tsp. finely grated peeled fresh ginger (from a 2-inch piece)
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 lb. 1/2-inch-thick, cross-cut, bone-in short ribs (flanken)
Vegetable oil, as needed
INGREDIENTS FOR SERVING:
1/4 cup thinly sliced scallions, both white and green parts (about 2 medium)
Big pinch of Korean chile threads or 2 Tbs. thinly sliced fresh long red chiles
1 tsp. roasted sesame seeds
18 lettuce leaves (such as green or red leaf), washed and dried
4 cups cooked white rice, preferably short-grain
TO MARINATE THE SHORT RIBS:
In a large bowl, combine the sugar, soy sauce, apple juice, sesame oil, garlic, and ginger with a pinch of salt and pepper. Add the short ribs and, using your hands, massage the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 2 and up to 12 hours.
TO GRILL THE SHORT RIBS:
Prepare a hot (450°F) charcoal or gas grill fire. Clean and lightly oil the grill grate.
Remove the short ribs from the marinade and let any excess drip off; discard the marinade. Grill the short ribs, flipping once, until done to your liking, about 4 minutes total for medium rare. Transfer to a serving platter.
Garnish the meat with the scallions, chile threads, and sesame seeds. Serve with the lettuce, rice, and Ssamjang, cutting the bones from the meat with kitchen shears before eating.
To eat, put a small spoonful of rice inside a lettuce leaf, dab it with some sauce, and top with a piece of the beef. Wrap and eat.
Serve with your choice of banchan (side dishes), such as Korean Spinach, Lightly Pickled Radish,Korean Bean Sprouts (Kong Namul), Spicy Scallion Salad, or Quick Cucumber Kimchi.
2 cups sourdough bread, torn into 1-inch chunks
4 cloves of garlic, peeled and crushed
5 Tbsp olive oil
1 yellow pepper, roasted, deseeded, and cut into 1cm strips
1 red pepper, roasted, deseeded, and cut into 1cm strips
½ red onion, thinly sliced
½ cucumber, seeds discarded, cut into quartered crescents
20-25 vine cherry tomatoes, cut in half
11-12 basil leaves, torn
4 Tbsp sherry vinegar
Preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
In a medium baking dish, mix the bread, garlic, 2 Tbsp of the olive oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Bake for about 10 minutes, until the bread is toasted slightly golden brown.
Place peppers over an open flame. Rotate frequently until all the skin is completely blacken and blistered. Allow to cool and peel off the burnt skin. Deseed the peppers and cut into 1-inch strips.
Place the peeled and sliced red onion into a bowl of ice water and leave to soak. This will take the edge off of the onion and make it sweeter to eat raw.
In a large bowl, mix together toasted bread, roasted peppers, red onion, cucumber, tomatoes, and basil.
Drizzle the sherry vinegar, remaining 3 Tbsp of olive oil, over the salad and season well with salt until well coated.
Sprinkle with salt and freshly ground pepper to serve.
Kimchi Fried Rice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 strips (45 grams or 1 3/4 ounces) bacon, diced
2 carrots, julienned and then coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, grated
9 shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and sliced lengthwise into quarters
1/2 zucchini, julienned and coarsely chopped
3 spring onions or scallions, finely sliced
1 cup (300 grams) kimchi, chopped into small pieces
4 cups (740 grams) cooked short-grain rice
1 teaspoon sea salt or kosher salt
8 grinds black pepper
4 soft sunny-side up fried eggs
Sprinkle Korean chile flakes (gochugaru)
Sprinkle freshly ground black pepper
Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, add the bacon and saute until the edges are crispy, 2 to 3 minutes.
Using a slotted spoon remove the bacon from the skillet and letdrain on kitchen towels.
Reduce the heat to medium and add the carrots and garlic to the skillet.
Cook, stirring constantly, until carrots are just softened, 2 to 3 minutes.
Then mix in the mushrooms, zucchini, 2 of the spring onions and the kimchi, and continue to saute until tender, 4 to 5 minutes.
Return the bacon to the pan.
Add the rice and mix to incorporate well using a wooden spoon to break up the rice.
Season with salt and pepper.
Transfer the fried rice to a serving plate or platter, top with the fried eggs andgarnish with the remaining spring onions and a sprinkle of Korean chile flakes and black pepper.
Place the kimchi in a bowl and use kitchen sheers to cut it into small pieces. Kimchi can stain your cutting board and make it smell. Use the julienne blade on a mandolin or a julienne peeler to cut thecarrots and the zucchini. After making long thin pieces, use knife to cut down to small pieces.
Korean Bean Sprout
4 oz. fresh soybean sprouts, stringy root ends trimmed
1 small scallion, both white and green parts, very thinly sliced (1-1/2 Tbs.)
1 medium clove garlic, minced (1 tsp.)
2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
2 tsp. roasted sesame seeds
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Mix all of the ingredients in a medium saucepan with 1/4 cup water and bring to a simmer over medium high heat. Lower the heat to maintain a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, just until the sprouts are wilted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl and let cool to room temperature before serving.
You can make the sprouts up to 1 day ahead. Cover and refrigerate; bring to room temperature before serving.
Mini Soufflé Pancakes with Blood Orange Maple Syrup