I've spoken earlier about default shopping and destitute gourmet sort of steps that out further. She recommends that you look at basic pantry essentials and then indulgences.
So building on her list, our basics would be something like:
- Fresh fruit and veg – onions, potatoes, sweet potatoes, carrots, garlic, apples, bananas, whatever is cheap and in season*
- Staples – plain flour, vegetable oil, olive oil, brown sugar, white sugar, eggs, milk, butter, butter-like spread, baking powder, salt, cheese, white rice, brown rice, pasta, pulses, dried beans
- Baking stuff – coconut, vanilla, sultanas, cocoa, yeast (MUST BUY YEAST!)
- Spreads – peanut butter, honey, jam, vegemite, promite
- Cereals – Weetbix, muesli, rolled oats, steel cut oats
- Canned food – tinned tomatoes, pasata, kidney beans, white beans, tuna, peaches, mango, apricot
- Sauces – tomato sauce, sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, kecap manis
- Seasonings – all of them!
- Frozen food – peas, corn, beans, spinach, pastry sheets, berries
- Meat – mince, chunks of kangaroo and beef, boneless chicken breast, bacon bits
- Cleaning products
- Pet supplies
Her 2nd piece of advice is to eat healthily, and eat in season. I had a craving for chocolate the other day (probably the first time in my life I've ever NEEDED chocolate!) and there was none in the house. Nada. No sweets either. It was horrible when I'm 36 weeks pregnant and so not wanting to walk in 41C heat to the servo to get some chocolate. So I settled for a hot cocoa instead. The only thing we deep fry is papadums when we have a curry. We don't over eat because the yummy things we make are leftovers destined for lunch the next day. We eat a lot of what is in season because it's cheaper, and if it's not in season or is quickly perishable we buy it frozen - such as spinach now that our silverbeet is done, and berries.
*Food that's in season in Australia
Our plan once Puggles arrives is to go to the Farmer's Market here in Adelaide each Sunday, and shop locally and in season. We'd like to eat to the 100 mile diet but it's a little harder to apply without effort, and the time to do it. The Farmer's Market is kind of this by default as it's local produce and in season produce. We do shop at the Central Markets here in Adelaide as well but being pregnant has put me in a bit of a mind set of "too much effort", and a small amount of trauma as I hate people touching me or bumping me and a busy market - not the best place for that.
Thirdly - and this is the one I like - is to know what to do with leftovers. My favourite ideas:
- wrap in puff pastry and bake
- refry with noodles
- bubble and squeak
- calzone-type dish
- Fruits can be stored for 12 months,
- Vegetables 6-12 months.
- Roasts and whole poultry 6 - 12 months
- Steaks and chops 4-6 months
- Minced or ground meats or stewing meats 3-4 months
- Cured and processed meats lose quality more rapidly than fresh meats because of the presence of salts so don’t store luncheon meats, franks, ham or sausage longer than 1 or 2 months. Thaw frozen meats in the fridge, thawing at room temperature gives surface bacteria a better chance to multiply.
- Baked yeast bread, scones and rolls are best used within 3 months. Unbaked yeast bread dough within one month or less – Unbaked doughs may require more yeast than usual as freezing will damage some yeast cells.
- Un-iced cakes also freeze well, but storage times vary. Store angel food, chiffon or sponge cake 2 months. Store cheesecake 2 to 3 months, chocolate 4 months, and fruit cake up to 12 months.
- Nuts also freeze well; salted nuts from 6 to 8 months and unsalted from 9 to 12 months.