Friday 27 April 2007

Staples in Store...

Anthony Worrall Thompson was banging-on on the radio yesterday about the sorts of things every half-decent cook should have in their store-cupboard (I wasn't entirely concentrating, but I think it was in response to a shock-horror attention-grabbing declaration by Marco Pierre that stock cubes are in fact the greatest thing bread....) It caused me to ponder, and consider what things in practice I do consider essential, and would always have to hand. As follows:

- Stock, for sure; there are always several litres of the chicken variety in the freezer at any given moment in time, but for beef I rely on a concentrate, and I always have tubs in the fridge of reconstitutable fish stock powder (for some reason, no chicken carcase can leave the kitchen without having been turned into stock, but I clearly have no such strong feeling about fish skeletons......I have no idea why)

- Anchovies. For adding to stews, for the tops or bases of savoury tarts, to be melted in butter for simple fish sauces, for Tuna Tartare.......for a million things!

- Boyajian Citrus Oils. Already blogged elsewhere. Wonderful and supremely versatile stuff.

- Dried Porcini. For risotto, for pasta sauces, to be added to practically any meat dish, or to add (reconstituted) to any fresh mushroom dish, to give it an appropriate kick.

- Lardon Sauce (see the recipe section). Gives a kick to any grilled or seared fish; I always have a pot of this in the fridge, and one batch keeps happily for several months at a time.

- Prunes poached in Cinammon and Red Wine. Again, there's always a pot of this is the fridge, for serving with almost any kind of Ice Cream, or as the base for a Cream Posset, or to go with Chocolate takes no more time to make a large quantity than a small quantity, so it makes sense to store a decent sized batch for use over time.

- Egg white. Ok, I don't choose to have this, it just happens as collateral damage after making yolk-heavy sauces and custards. The fact remains, there's always a pot of egg white sitting in the fridge, which means I'm never without the wherewithal to make egg-white-only cheese or chocolate souffles.

- And- of course - Chocolate. In industrial quantities. And always Felchlin. I've bored for England on this subject elsewhere, so ......enough said.

Tonight's Dinner:

Beef and Porcini Strudel.

Cod Fillets with Mushrooms, served with Broccoli.

Lemon & Cinammon Rice Pudding (with thanks to Jane Grigson)

No comments: