I fantasize about having a well stocked kitchen…A fridge brimming with delicious local cheese, homemade ferments, fresh seasonal veg. A freezer with home-made meals ready to save the day (or night) and a pantry full of nutritious flours and organic nuts and some soil covered veg from our garden.
A well stocked kitchen, fridge and freezer means constant delicious meals, healthy snacks on tap and lunches, which are more like feasts. What I’m quite proud of is that sometimes I do find myself achieving a sort of fantasy kitchen, although I should add I’m often faced with a sad, empty fridge also! This organised haven isn’t something that comes naturally to me however! I’m quite lazy really and also impatient, so if I haven’t got my meal plan ready for the week I will resort to unhealthy snacks and lots of pasta.
There is a real old fashioned art to the well-stocked kitchen and I’ve been determined to learn it. Over the last year-since we moved properly into our farm cottage, I’ve read as many cookbooks as I can find, tested recipes and struggled with stock. But I do think I’ve learnt a few gems along the way, here they are:
My Well Stocked Kitchen Tips:
- A whole chicken bought at the local butchers is a worthwhile investment.I joint the chicken into breasts, legs and thighs. Then I roast the carcass and wings in a hot oven. When it’s done the wings will upgrade lunch and the cooked flesh is picked off the carcass for dinner the next day (think chicken pie/lentils with chicken etc). Then the carcass, now all tasty, can be popped into a casserole dish for stock making/bone broth creation aka nutrient rich soups!
- On Tuesday I almost always make a batch of veal bone stock as that’s our butchery day so I can get access to fresh bones. This takes just a few minutes to throw together into my Le Creuset pot and then I just bring it to the boil and pop into a low oven for at least 6 hours. Then when it’s done I strain it, let it cool, scoop off any extra surface fat and bag it up for the freezer. Easy!
- I’ll also make bread weekly-two varieties are needed at our table; a gluten free sourdough for me (read my Gluten Free Journey here) and a standard farm loaf for Charlie. Again although rising and fermenting can take time, it only requires a minute or two to prep. My kitchen aid makes quick work of any kneading which is a bit of a life saver!
- A good farmer’s market supplies us with seasonal salad, local cheese and olives which all make it to our daily lunch table. All else that’s needed is the previous nights leftovers, some stock based soup, bread and a feast is served! I also make gluten free crackers (shop bought are very expensive in my experience) so I can enjoy the cheese and Charlie loves digestives to team with his cheddar. If I’m feeling virtuous I’ll make some labneh and dukkah too-this is especially great in summer! We’re really lucky to have some wonderful sauerkrauts and kimchi from our friend also present on the table.
- I find that always having a selection of seasonal veg at hand means that meals will be tasty. Some brussel sprouts and parsnips can be roasted and teamed with a roast chicken leg for a lazy supper… Ideally though I really advocate meal planning as that ensures there is no panic or waste either. Everything fresh gets used up by the week and meals are a doddle. Extra points for cooking one meal twice as big and freezing the leftovers!
What are your well-stocked kitchen tips? Let me know in the comments below! x