Getting started


So what are the utensils and groceries you should have in your kitchen at all times?

I will try to give you a list of what you will normally find in my house:

Utensils

1 Teflon pan (26 cm diameter)

2 pots, 1 3-5l pot for boiling pasta, cooking stews, 1 1-1.5l pot for mixing sauces

2 knives: 1 very sharp, smooth knife  (for meat and vegetables), 1 ruffled knife (for tomatoes)

1 chopping board (I prefer wood/plastic over glass, the noise of cutting on glass is awful)

bowls of different sizes, typically 1 bigger salad bowl, several smaller (breakfast) bowls and a dressing mixer

peeler

oven mitt (don’t burn your fingers)

baking tray and alumin(i)um foil

tooth picks

measuring cup/scale

mixer (optional, great for shakes and mixing soups)

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Groceries

good quality, extra virgin olive oil

balsamic vinegar and light vinegar (white vinegar, apple cider vinegar or malt vinegar)

sea salt and mixed pepper grinder (very important, much better taste than already crushed salt and pepper)

mediterranean herbs (herbs de provence, oregano, thyme)

sweet paprika powder and curcuma powder (for red and yellow color in dishes)

nutmeg (for lasagna bechamel sauce and pasta alla panna)

sambal oelek (for Asian dishes)

dijon mustard (spicy, gives the right kick)

soy sauce (for Asian dishes)

soup  stocking cubes (chicken, beef, vegetable)

good quality honey

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Food

garlic

onions

eggs

wheat flour

basmati rice, couscous, lentils

pasta (spaghetti, spirelli, tagliatelle, …)

brand tomato dices/puree in can/tube

raisins

dried chinese mushrooms, canned bamboo sprouts

sour cream, plain yogurt

1 reserve bottle of red/white wine

rum/fruit liqueur for baking

frozen peas, carrots, corn

1 package of grated cheese, frozen (emergency package)

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I try to avoid cooking with the following:

butter (inevitable for some dishes)

canola oil (use olive oil instead)

margerine (inevitable for baking)

mayonnaise (only if homemade, for salads use vinegar/oil instead)

cream (rather use light sour cream)

bottled, ready-to-use salad dressings/sauces like Thousand Island, Italian and French dressing

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My do’s and dont’s:

– never be too lazy to make your own salad dressing, basic style is vinegar and oil mixed with salt and pepper, takes not even 1 min to make it!

– same rule applies to sauces, don’t buy those packages that you mix with water, you can always tell a difference in taste!

– boil your pasta al dente

– how to cook rice: 1 part rice : 2 parts water

– cut your garlic fresh and in mini cubes or thin slices (no need to squeeze it)

– if your salad doesn’t look fresh anymore, soak it in water for a little bit

– a great alternative to lettuce are baby spinach leaves

– grow your own garden herbs! All you need is basil, rosemary and chives

– don’t re-freeze unfrozen meat, after you de-freeze it, eat it all

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