How to stock your pantry (2021)


In this guide I’ll show you how to stock your pantry and save money on your weekly grocery budget. How you stock your pantry matters. It matters because your pantry is the base of every meal. It’s the rice under that slow cooked sticky beef. The oats in your cookies. The coconut in your nut milk. It’s the spice in your spiced lamb sausage rolls.

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I believe if you know how to cook the basics, your cooking world will open up. Because a slow cooked beef ragu is easily a slow cooked Mexican beef taco filling with a little spice. Which can become an Indian beef curry with coconut milk and a little turmeric.

All meals are ultimately connected in some way and a little flavouring takes them to different parts of the world and you to flavour town with little effort.

In saying that, how do you stock a pantry that works? It’s not so much how, but what you stock it with that matters.

Here’s a rundown of what’s in this pantry guide:

  • What’s in my pantry

  • What’s in my fridge

  • What I’m doing for my health

  • What I’m cooking

  • The top ingredients I recommend for your pantry right now

  • Free download: pantry guide


How I do things in the kitchen in 2021 in a pandemic and lockdown

I want you to know upfront – there’s no difference to how I cook on a normal ‘non-pandemic’ kind of day, to how I plan to cook during these times.

I mostly act from a place of frugality in the kitchen. I cook with what I’ve got but I also batch cook, especially using my dehydrator to preserve food for later (mushrooms, lemons, dried tomatoes, dried rosemary).

I always teach my clients: if you don’t have an ingredient, you can always make do with something else.

There are no rules in the kitchen, only the rules some recipe creator has made up because that’s how they cooked the meal. It doesn’t mean it’s the only way to cook it.

The information I’m sharing isn’t new to these times. It’s the way I’ve always done things. It’s the way I teach in all of my programs. I do see a greater opportunity for so many of us to take the hint and slow the fu*k down a bit, get our hands dirty and remember that we’re human and to be human is to eat. We can’t live without food….. meal kits, pre-prepared options and takeaway are not what a diet makes.

There may be certain product outages when you go to the shops – this is up to you to take the following advice and use this experience to learn, instead of freak out and buy all the cans of chickpeas.

I could have easily freaked out yesterday, I went to the shops it was 7.15am to get ‘a few things’. The line was already half way around the shop and it’s a different vibe BUT my attitude toward food and my M/O in the kitchen is the same:

I AM A BADASS IN THE KITCHEN AND I CAN’T F*CK THIS UP

Your mind is everything. What you think you believe. This has been proven on a Quantum Physics level over and over again. Just like you give yourself a pep talk before that interview ‘I’ve got this, I’ve got this’ or before you bowl that next ball in a friendly game of ten pin bowling that you really want to win ‘strike strike strike’. The exact same deal applies in the kitchen.

So the question is – are you going to be excited by those tins of chickpeas or see them as a burden on your outdated idea that you weren’t born with the cooking gene? Are you going to take it in your stride that there’s no meat in the supermarket at the time you went or relish in the fact you get to make some super creative magic from seemingly sweet F/A in your pantry (I know you’ve got things there, you just haven’t been willing to use them).

THIS IS OUR TIME TO REDEFINE HOW WE VIEW AND FEEL ABOUT OUR KITCHENS AND THE ACTIONS WE CHOOSE. IF YOU’VE BOUGHT ITEMS IN A BIT OF A FRITZ. I UNDERSTAND (ALTHOUGH MY BUM DOESN’T, SOME OF US WOULD REALLY LIKE A ROLL OF TOILET PAPER).
AS FOR THE REST OF US, WHO HAVE BARE PANTRIES, I GUESS THE ONLY THING WE WANT YOU TO KNOW IS….
YOU BETTER USE THOSE 10KG’S OF FLOUR YOU BOUGHT + ALL THAT PASTA.

(If you don’t know what I’m talking about, in Australia, every time a lockdown is announced there are people who go buy all the toilet paper. Leading to national toilet paper shortages. Some towns didn’t have it for months. Plus people are buying enough food to last them a year, leaving others shopping trolley’s empty.)

Don’t let that flour sit in your cupboard for 6 months and get infested with weevils because you ‘don’t know how to use it’ or ‘couldn’t be bothered’. Now is the time to get in that kitchen and make something with your hands and if you don’t know how, you Google it. There are more recipes than there are days you have left on this Earth. For a Green Goodness dressing there are 46,900,000 results that show up. Get cooking.


VIDEO: WHAT I HAVE IN MY PANTRY

I have a full pantry. I always have a full pantry. I didn’t fill it up in a panic buy.

A pantry is a home cook’s pride and joy. It is the source of inspiration and putting meals together in a flash from ingredients which live in there.

A pantry is the art of a dish, it’s your flavour, it’s self sustainability and having a kick arse pantry is just the way it used to be, back in the day.

I have to say, I did just bottle 16kg of passata, make semi-dried tomatoes, harvest a whole rosemary bush and we have leftover mushrooms from mushroom picking…. BUT… when I meal prep, these are the types of ingredients I prep so I have them for future me. This is my version of batch cooking at the next level. Yep, it’s effort, to process those 4 ingredients I’ve spent a fair few hours in the kitchen but not all in one go and it’s so worth it being self sufficient.

 

 


WHAT’S IN MY FRIDGE

 

Veggies:

  • Bok choy

  • 1/2 a kale

  • Snake beans

  • 1/2 a fennel bulb

  • 2 cucumbers

I have a second fridge which has:

  • 1 bunch cavalo nero

  • 1 bunch rainbow silverbeet

  • 1 butternut pumpkin

  • 1 huge sweet potato

  • 1 kg bag of carrots

  • Potatoes

  • Celery

  • Ginger

  • Galangal

  • Turmeric

  • Garlic

Made things:
It’s all about the bone broth at the moment, I’ll be cooking a batch weekly.

  • Freshly made chicken stock

  • Beef bones

  • Cake

Flavour bombs:

  • Beef bones

  • 1 chorizo sausage

  • A lot of home-made jam

  • Mustard

  • Milk / yoghurt / keffir / butter

  • Olives

  • Semi-dried tomatoes

  • Pickles

  • Nut cheese

  • A lot of cake: 3 types to be exact

  • Probiotics

 

 


WHAT I’M DOING FOR MY HEALTH

  • I’m choosing to support the smaller providers that I want to see THRIVE through these times.

  • I’ve reinstated our Ooooby vegetable delivery subscription, they’ll also deliver some sourdough, eggs and meat. Ooooby has local produce from within the Sydney basin or as close as it can source. They work directly with the farmers and profits are split 50/50. I’ve been a supporter of Ooooby since 2013, with breaks in between because I ran my own catering business and had a supply of produce to use. I find that I always come back to Ooooby because the produce is that good, it tastes that much better. If you’re in Sydney and want to try Ooooby, use code LUNCHLADYLOU for $20 off your first box.

  • I choose to walk to our 2 local smaller supermarket and produce market. One is an IGA, the other is an amazing grocer who stocks all of the Honest to Goodness products.

  • I’m walking 1 hour a day and getting adequate sunlight.

  • I’m still going to my pilates studio for the time being, they’ve been such great communicators during this time and their increased hygiene practices have left me feeling reassured they’re professionals and care about my health too.

  • I’m trying to stay off the news and social media as much as I can.


WHAT I’M COOKING / EATING

Here’s my real M/O in the kitchen, I follow these rules and whether you’re starting out or a pro home-cook, these are very achievable right now and will jazz up a simple bowl of beans: 4 simple flavour tips and Reasons your recipe rut isn’t a recipe rut.

I’m currently cooking:

Bone broth. Currently chicken. Next up is beef. Later will depend on what I can get, I know there’ll be more meat.

I’m currently experimenting with:

  • Sauerkraut – currently fermenting away.

  • Sourdough – trying to create a new starter from scratch, wish me luck.

Here’s what I plan to cook:

When there’s no milk: Nut milk.

When I need a snack: My Mum’s crackers.

When I feel like something sweet: My own chocolate.

When I have a random banana: Choc banana mess.

When I have flour: Flatbreads.

When I want to do something with those dried beans/chickpeas/quinoa/couscous: Beans (or chickpeas), quinoa, couscous. Then roast some veg.

When I have chickpeas: Spiced chickpeas.

When I have rice: The Gammo’s Yellow Rice.

When I have pasta: Coconutty greens pasta.

When I have pumpkin: Pumpkin soup.

All the veggies: Roasted, pickled, fermented, a roasted veggie dip.

When I can’t buy tinned tomatoes, I’d buy fresh (although they’re a little pricey right now): I’d recommend making this sauce, you can freeze it too, Tomato sauce.

When I have veggies and don’t know what to do: Soup Secrets 101.

When I want a hearty soup: Lentil, tomato and chorizo soup.

When I have coconut milk and curry paste: A curry

When I have a whole chicken: Roast Chicken. After I’ve roasted it, I’ll make broth and if I have leftover meat I’ll make the Creamy Chicken Sambo’s.

When I have meat: It will go in the slow cooker with lots of onion and garlic – I buy the tougher cuts of meat like brisket, chuck, lamb leg or shoulder, pork neck. They’re cheaper and when you throw them in a slower cooker it only requires 5 minutes of your time, the rest is automatic.

When I want to experiment with something new and blow your mind easy: Ghee

When I’m not sure what to do, but have some random ingredients in the fridge: Mish-mash salad.

When you want to master the art of awesome bowls of goodness / salads: This guide is how I roll.

When I want to check what is the best seasonal food for now (for Sydney): Fruit and veggies in season in Sydney month by month guide.

When I want to step a little closer toward a Kitchen Ninja: I work on my Cooking 101 skills.


THE TOP INGREDIENTS I RECOMMEND FOR YOUR PANTRY AND FRIDGE FOR CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE

My wish for this time is that everyone see’s that cooking can be a creative fun process. When a small amount of effort is applied you see results instantly and your confidence builds.

You don’t need all of this at once. Most of us can survive on much less than this list.

Before you go shopping:

  1. What’s already in your pantry? This is a time to take stock, write a list and start brainstorming what you can do with what you already have. If you’ve been avoiding ingredients in your pantry, now’s the time to make them work, email me if you have questions.

  2. What’s already in your freezer? AKA the black hole of the kitchen… do you have a bunch of already cooked food you forgot about? Pastry sheets? Random veggies? Raw meat? Write a list and match them up with your pantry.

PANTRY ITEMS

  • Olive oil

  • Salt

  • Pepper

  • A curry paste

  • Brown basmati rice

  • Dried beans, lentils, chickpeas

  • Dried herbs

  • Spices: either a curry powder or a bunch of spices like cumin, cinnamon, coriander, fennel

  • Tamari / fish sauce (or both

  • Tomato paste

  • Tins of tomato (or fresh tomato

FRIDGE

  • Veggies! All the fresh veg. You can roast, pickle and even blanch/freeze your veg. I’d also recommend longer storing veggies like: potatoes, sweet potato, pumpkin, carrot, beetroot, mushrooms, onion, garlic, turmeric, ginger, lemon.

  • Milk / yoghurt – if you do that

  • Meat, whatever you can find at the time, be willing to be flexible and make it work, the shop supply will even out very soon

  • Eggs

  • Fruit – fresh or frozen

  • Lemons


DOWNLOAD MY ‘STOCK YOUR HEALTHY PANTRY’ GUIDE

Download my guide to a well stocked pantry here.


READY TO GET YOUR SH*T TOGETHER IN THE KITCHEN ONCE AND FOR ALL?

Join Shut Up and Cook!

You will learn how to get over the fact you have no time, move beyond the boring BS excuses that you can’t cook and set yourself up to make delicious simple food. It doesn’t matter whether you have 5, 15 or 30 minutes in the kitchen, what matters is that you make the choice to feed yourself the goods. Because, takeaway does not cut it, meal kits don’t cut it and pre-made meals are boringly simple to make…. you can make them.

I’ll show you how

 

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Hey I'm Lou

Hey, I’m Lou

Lover of crispy bacon, homemade popcorn and Mama to BJ.  My mission: to empower you to cook simple meals, so you can nourish your family – even when you’re busy AF because you (and they) are worth it. 

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