Some people will say that cooking for one isn’t any fun at all and just eat ready meals. Not me, it’s my opportunity to eat the world, I can eat what I want when I want. It is a hobby and a passion, also for me a great way to relax, unwind with a glass of wine whilst cooking. I get a lot of inspiration for new dishes from twitter as the foodies are a great community and always willing to share recipes. No I do not always follow a recipe, I use what I have, substitute what I can.
First of all we will start with the bare basic ingredients that you should have to make some tasty dishes in a flash
The fridge is around 2 years old but it has turned out to be a great investment because it keeps all my veg fresh for ages. What I mean by ages is that things stay firm, crispy well past their use by dates
- Eggs (actually I leave mine on top of the fridge)
- Cheese (your favourite because cheese on toast is good anytime of the day)
- A large carrot
- White cabbage
- Fresh Ginger
- Red Pepper
- Gochujang (Korean chilli paste) available in Sainsbury’s
Eggs because scrambled or as an omelette can be done in a matter of minutes. Fancy some flavour added just add cheese or chorizo for an instant flavour hit. The Korean chilli paste adds some much flavour to anything such as my Korean spicy sticky tacos. Cabbage, carrot and onion always make a quick homemade slaw or you can turn it into kebab shop salad.
Mushroom because they can go with any dish, breakfast or add to a sauce. You can also make posh mushrooms on toast as well. Courgette because they are so versatile and they do keep ages in the fridge.
- Fresh ginger (just in case my ginger in the fridge his past its best)
- Mashed potatoes cubes (for the kids)
- Chicken breast
- Chicken wings (prepped by myself, I usually eat half a pack and freeze the other half)
- Ice cubes (because after a long day its nice to have a cold drink)
- Good burgers (occasionally I make a trip to a good local farm shop)
- Mince beef
- Mince pork
- Cooked Char Sui slices
- Cooked belly pork (slices and cubes)
- Cubed leftover ham
- Cooked bolognese in portions
- Peas (great for macho peas)
- Cooked curry sauce in portions (sweet potato and aubergine curry)
I like to have a mixture of ingredients and cooked part meals to speed up the cooking when I am feeling lazy. The homemade dolmio sauce I just throw in a pan and reheat gently from frozen. Usually by the time the pasta is cooked the Bolognese is ready. The cooked meats are gently reheated and then thrown them in with my egg fried rice with microwave rice.
- Small Potatoes
- Cabbage, white or red (keep in the fridge)
- Usually anything thats reduced on the day I am in the supermarkets
Cupboards Staples for One
- Tinned chopped tomatoes
- Coconut milk
- Tinned tuna
- Tined chopped tomatoes
- Pesto (red or green)
- Pasta (your favourite kind)
- Olives !
- Capers !
- Tinned pork
- Rice Noodles
- Microwave Rice (Plain as you can always add flavour to it)
- Rice (long grain, basmati, which ever you prefer)
- Roasted red peppers (jar)
- Flour (plain, pasta flour 00, self raising)
- Soya sauce
- Sesame oil
- White vinegar
- Olive oil
- Sunflower oil
- Fish sauce
- Dried mushrooms
- Dried chillies
- Hot dogs (bunlimited Sainsbury’s as they have a great texture)
Yeast and flour to make our own bread, if you have never tried you should, it tastes so much better than anything from the shop. Try this bread recipe but omit the tomatoes, once you have the basics you can add any flavour you like too bread.
- Paprika (smoked)
- Ground cumin
- Ground cinnamon
- Coriander (ground)
- Garlic salt
- Gochujang (fridge)
- chillies (smoked for me)
I do have quite a few more but you can start with some basics just to add flavours to dishes
You may be lucky enough to have access to a garden and grow some of the fresh herbs that can transform a dish from good to epic. A guide on the best herbs for cooking if you do have a garden. I occasionally buy a reduced potted herb and keep them on my windowsill for as long as possible. If I buy them pre cut the cheapest place to get herbs is Aldi and they stay fresh for a long time. The next pace is Sainsbury’s and they keep pretty well, from experience the herbs that dot last is unfortunately from Tescos. It may be different where you live.
Some dishes you do need fresh herbs but the dried herbs add flavour to lots of dishes. As for keeping costs down I do substitute coriander for parsley and vice versa as buying fresh herbs can get expensive. If you are a regular visitor to cheap dinner ideas then you will know that’s not how we do things.
Dried Herbs For One
- Italian mixed Herbs (dried)
I do have more in my dried herb collection and I always buy the supermarkets own band as they are are much cheaper. Do check the use by dates on the herbs as they do loose there taste and vibrancy over time.