Cooking essentials

Local Mum and food fanatic Renee Davis describes the staple contents of her larder

A few of my favourite things

A chef once told me that a meal is only as good as the ingredients that go into it, and I’ve always kept that thought close when cooking. It’s really important for me to have a good stock of quality items in my cupboards and fridge in order to effortlessly create tasty food. Here are some of my fave essentials in no particular order:

- organic unsalted butter, the beginning of so many delicious dishes

- 100% cocoa powder, fabulous to always have on hand to ensure cakes and brownies are never far away if desired

- vanilla bean extract, as above. Very important to buy extract and not essence, organic if possible as it contains more of the good stuff

- unrefined muscavado sugar, perfect for adding a touch of sweetness. A tablespoonful is often all that’s needed in a cake that will be serving 6

- coconut flour, my newest friend in the kitchen. A versatile alternative to grain based flours, opening up doors for making bread, pancakes, etc

- tinned coconut milk, for use in both sweet and savoury dishes. It’s important to find one that’s just coconut and water otherwise it can be loaded with E numbers and unnecessary extra ingredients

- coconut oil, I use this every day in my coffee and most days when cooking, again in sweet and savoury dishes alike, also for greasing purposes

- organic tomato purée, a little goes a long way in stews and casseroles

- balsamic vinegar, a staple in many of my slow cooked recipes

- anchovy paste, one of my secret ingredients. Awesome for coating red meat to give it an amazing flavour

- cider vinegar, bought from our farmers market it’s true local produce

- tamarind paste, from the international shop near us. This is a must for cooking curries from scratch. International shops are a goldmine for many obscure ingredients that would cost a fortune in a supermarket or health food shop

- tamari, wheat free soya sauce

- hazelnut & almond butters, a delightful alternative to the peanut variety

-  organic forest honey, totally delicious natural sweetener from bees that have not been fed sugar and antibiotics

- Thai fish sauce (nam pla), the tangy, salty base of most of my oriental dishes

Read some of Renee's Recipes for Local Mums Online 

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