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Foodies - what are your favourite "special' kitchen cupboard items?

(29 Posts)
maggiethecat Thu 20-Nov-14 10:44:49

Thinking of pressie for DH who loves to cook and eat. Do you have any favourite condiments, jams, dressings etc that really help to make a meal/snack special?

FurryDogMother Thu 20-Nov-14 10:53:28

My most recent foodie discovery is bottarga - it's dried, powdered tuna (got mine in Waitrose in a little jar). I use it sprinkled on scrambled eggs, mostly, and also as a substitute for Bombay duck on curries. It is satisfyingly stinky and adds a umami flavour. Not to everyone's taste, but I love it!

MrsNuckyThompson Thu 20-Nov-14 10:56:13

I recently bought a little jar of umami paste in Waitrose and have been adding a spoonful to any stews / chillis / sauces I've made lately. Delish!

FreeButtonBee Thu 20-Nov-14 11:00:09

lovely Spanish smoked paprika (both sweet and hot) in those cute little tins.

Maldon sea salt - it's delicious - I could eat it straight from the box - totally different from standard salt (although it has its uses in eg baking) - they also do funky smoked versions

lovely vinegars - sherry, fancy balsamic or wine vinegars

what about a selection of sauces etc from one cuisine? so fish sauce/lime leaves/palm sugar etc for thai food or a selection of Japanese sauces/sake/rice wine vinegar/wasabi plus a matching cookbook.

MrsNuckyThompson Thu 20-Nov-14 11:06:58

free button - yy to nice vinegars. I've recently discovered white balsamic - it's really lovely!

I also use bouquet garni a lot - the dried version which come in what looks like a tea bag.

And I love fresh herbs from the garden...

NicolaT80 Thu 20-Nov-14 12:00:14

White truffle oil! A little goes a long way if you get the proper stuff and not bottles labelled 'truffle flavoured'. I use a few drops in scrambled eggs, risotto and creamy pasta - even macaroni cheese tastes like heaven!

maggiethecat Thu 20-Nov-14 12:00:55

Thanks all.

He has recently started to make sushi - so there's rice vinegar in the cupboard!

stinky stuff and umami sound just up his street! I also heard from someone else that smoked paprika is good.

Anymore?

CogitoErgoSometimes Thu 20-Nov-14 12:39:14

You can get some beautifully presented selections of whole Indian spices. I particularly love saffron and cherish a decorative tin of the stuff I bought in the Dubai spice market.

Bedforshire Thu 20-Nov-14 13:47:17

pomegranate molasses - 'drizzle' over roasted veg or couscous or use on salmon before cooking. Really lovely sweet/sour flavour.

Gen35 Thu 20-Nov-14 16:51:25

Mmm going to have to try pomegranate molasses - check out steenbergs for spices and mixes - much better than the supermarket ones and not much more expensive. Their hot curry powder was v nice.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Thu 20-Nov-14 23:02:28

You need a nice independent deli I think - although Waitrose has a pretty good selection too, if you have one near you.

Smoked paprika.
Pomegranate vinegar (makes amazing salad dressing)
Sumac.
Ras el hanout.
Really good olive oil.
I also like rapeseed oil.
A decent chilli oil.
Posh dried pasta.
Decent dried chillies.

I could go on all night lol.

LikeASoulWithoutAMind Thu 20-Nov-14 23:03:49

Preserved lemons.

What kind of food does he especially like to cook/eat? Frees idea of theming around a particular book is a very good one.

JamNan Fri 21-Nov-14 10:42:36

whole nutmegs and a mini grater
fancy sea salt (the Himalayan pink one)
top quality olive oil
Mirin
saffron
chorizo
fancy peppercorns
dried mushrooms

Bohemond Fri 21-Nov-14 10:46:15

Saffron
Great anchovies
M&S lemon extra virgin olive oil - wonderful in salad dressings and drizzled onto most things. Other versions do no come close apart from one I used to get that was 4x more expensive

Mominatrix Fri 21-Nov-14 10:53:08

Smoked sweet paprika and smoked hot paprika
Bacon jam
Confit onions (this and the above great on cheese on toast)
yuzu juice
japanese mayonnaise
Bulldog sauce (japanese worcester sauce)
Sriracha
Mexican smoked chili paste (Gran Luchito brand is the one I have)
nduja
tinned belly tuna (ventresca) - soon much better than the ordinary stuff

quesadillas Fri 21-Nov-14 10:56:30

I like the idea mentioned upthread of getting things from one cuisine. I never buy specialist Chinese, Thai or Japanese ingredients, so I'd quite like that.

TheMagicToyshop Fri 21-Nov-14 11:45:39

If he likes American/BBQ type food (as DP does) I'd recommend liquid smoke - magical stuff, available on amazon I think - and Chipotle chilli - whole and/or ground, lovely and smoky.

canny1234 Fri 21-Nov-14 13:11:13

Jars of Xo sauce from Chinese supermarkets.My dh comes back with 20 jars at a time from Hong Kong each time.There are several different types ( kids love Typhoon shelter crab sprinkles) .Its brilliant for rice and noodle based dishes.

MsRinky Fri 21-Nov-14 15:42:36

www.souschef.co.uk/ does cookbook sets of specialist ingredients. They have many lovely ingredients to browse by type of cuisine, and most of them are in fabulous packaging.

cowbiscuits74 Fri 21-Nov-14 15:43:22

+1 for ras el hanout and agree Steenbergs products are great

can you get himalayan pink salt? the planks of salt for cooking on are lovely and just the poncey kind of thing foodie men seem to enjoy, particularly if their mates don't have them already try here
www.amazon.co.uk/Westlab-Himalayan-Cooking-Salt-Slab/dp/B004I9FFWW of course there is a book just for cooking on salt slabs ...geez

maggiethecat Thu 27-Nov-14 13:33:27

all these suggestions are great!
(had a look in the cupboard and realised that we have smoked paprika in a cute tin! - do you think I should sniff out what he actually has already??!!)

Momin - where do you get your bacon jam and tinned belly tuna - those sound like they would be a hit with him.

maggiethecat Thu 27-Nov-14 13:36:52

LikeaSoul - he is generally very interested in food - all types! he'll go to a restaurant and think about how he can recreate what he likes (good sign - or he will say he could do a dish better - bad sign)

mrspremise Thu 27-Nov-14 19:21:10

A copy of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee. Every food geek fanatic should have this book! grin

IHaveBrilloHair Sat 29-Nov-14 14:49:36

Waitrose sell bacon jam, I got belly tuna from a local deli in a jar.

Roussette Sat 29-Nov-14 15:17:38

Have a look on google and see if there is a smokery near you. I go to one... I buy smoked garlic, smoked chicken, smoked butter, smoked salted caramel sauce (to die for) and smoked trout. I like anything smoked (you'd never have guessed!)

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