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Food UnCOVered: The Staples To Get You Started

Welcome to our first ‘Food UnCOVered’ blog. Every couple of weeks, we’ll be writing about food for your reading pleasure. We’ll aim to cover as many topics we can to make sure you finish University not only with a degree, but with some new found kitchen skills.

First of all, here’s a little bit of info about us:
Food UnCOVered foodie fileFood UnCOVered foodie file

So we know that your idea of raiding the cupboard or fridge probably includes eating a stash of sweet treats or crisps, so our list of staple ingredients may introduce a whole new meaning!

If you need to throw something together quickly or want to follow one of our future food blogs (cheeky little plug right there!), these are the essentials that you need in your life and your kitchen!

The bare cupboard essentials:

  • Rice
  • Pasta
  • Noodles
  • Plain flour
  • Tinned Beans
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Olive oil
  • Stock cubes
  • Soy sauce
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Garlic
  • Nuts

Whether you’re all about that pasta, have noodles on the brain or Rice Rice Baby is your anthem, it’s undeniable how many recipes you can cover by having them as a constant feature in your cupboard.

If you’re carrying your shopping bags home you may be tempted to avoid the tinned isle, but you would be a fool to do so! Everyone has a bean they identify with the most – kidney, chickpeas, black beans, butter beans, lentils, and the list goes on! They add vital protein to our meals and are a great snack or addition to salad.

cool beans

Cupboard top tip - Don’t be taken in by fancy pasta labels or shimmering rice packets, for most of the above you can get decent quality ‘own-brand’ from any supermarket. However, for the balsamic, go big or go home!

Freezer:

  • Mincemeat/Quorn mince
  • Chicken breasts/Vegetarian substitute
  • Bread/Tortillas
  • Spinach
  • Peas/broad beans

Buying meat and meat substitutes can be a pricey affair, so there’s nothing worse than buying more than you need and racing against the use-by-date to incorporate it into your meal plans. Our top tip is to separate your meat (or substitute) into portion sizes and freeze them separately, so you’re ready to go when you need it!

The same goes for our doughy friends; we’ve got pretty big appetites here at unCOVered but you don’t always want to eat a family-sized loaf for one! Stick ‘em in the freezer and you’ll have wraps for days.

Freezer top tip - Greens can wilt very quickly so always keep a bag in your freezer and you’ll be good to go for salads all year long!

Spices:

  • Basil
  • Oregano
  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Paprika
  • Cumin

We’d consider these the standard spices for most dishes, from your typical Italian seasoning, to your basic English herbs, you can add loads of flavour to an array of dishes with any of the above.

If you’re in to food with a bit of a kick, cayenne pepper is a winner. Make sure you add a little at a time to whichever dish you’re using it in, this stuff packs a good bit of heat! Like eating Mexican and Indian dishes? Cumin will be your best friend!

Spice top tip – Next time you’re reaching for a sachet of ‘fajita mix’, ‘cajun seasoning’ or whatever mix goes with your ingredients, check the spices they’ve used and buy them separately instead to make your own combo. That way, you’ll get much larger amounts, for a fraction of the cost of buying several packets! It’s way more impressive too.

spices

Fridge:

  • Cheese
  • Milk
  • Butter
  • Salad leaves
  • Eggs

Even if you don’t drink much tea or coffee, it’s still handy to have milk available. It’s the base for a béchamel teamed up with the flour from your cupboard and you can use it to smooth out mash potato. If you don’t want to buy fresh, grab a carton of long life to keep in the cupboard.

Eggs are an eggstremely versatile food, used in a lot of recipes from sweet to savoury as well as providing a eggsellent breakfast! How do you like your eggs in the morning?

Fridge top tip - Salad leaves are a great way to add a bit of nutrients to any meal, however, be sure to check the expiry date when you grab a bag as they may not last as long as you hope!

lettuce

Veg Drawer:

  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Mushrooms
  • Tomatoes
  • Peppers
  • Baking potatoes
  • Onions

A big debate in the veg world (and UnCOVered HQ), is where do certain vegetables live? Feel free to store them wherever you wish – within reason!

Veg top tip - A carb-o-load essential is a bag of baking potatoes, as you can use them to make mash, jackets, roasties and wedges.

And not forgetting…

Emergency Student Staples:

  • Baked beans/Spaghetti/Hoops
  • Pizza
  • Fish fingers
  • Chicken nuggets
  • Frozen chips
  • Smiley faces/potato waffles

During our regular food blog, we probably won’t be including these items as such. But we know certain days call for a go-to, quick and easy meal.

So there we have it! Get your cupboards, fridge and freezer stocked up and keep an eye out for our next post. If you’d like us to cover anything specific, food related, let us know in the comments below or via social media.

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