The Larder – The Land of Large Jars
Being a vegan does not make mean a massive life change or larder clear out. Vegans eat the same as anyone else (bar a few major exceptions), you don’t necessarily need to raid your local health food shop. Most of these items can be bought in markets, high street shops, supermarkets etc. A regular non-vegan remark may be, “I’ve never tried vegan food”, a possible vegan response could be “Have you ever had an apple?!” We all eat vegan food everyday, its nothing new.
Being vegan does not mean a total revamp of your shelves and cupboards, although you may want to ditch that block of funky Stilton. We like to keep them well stocked and raring to go……. If you have the space, buying in bulk is the way forward. Remember we are mad about food and keep far too much, buying little and often is a good idea. You don’t need every spice/ condiment under the sun, buy a few and use them, the treat yourself to a bag of Ras El Hanout or Georgian Spice Medley.
This larder list represents a raft of ingredients that have been built up over time, many store very well, but things like spices must be kept in a well sealed jar away from sunlight and used reasonably quickly (when ground especially). We are quite stringent about our spice cache. We take better care of them than we do most other things (sorry about that pot plants). Spices just lose their flavour and pizzazz otherwise. There is nothing quite as pathetic as a pinch of lacklustre spice. Whats the point! We will be posting some ‘Waste Less – Top Tips’ very soon.
So, the vegan larder is almost the same as any other larder, but we have listed a few things that you may like to stock to keep things plant-based:
VEGAN STAPLES – None are necessary, but nice to have around. Here are some of the stars of a vegan diet, all bursting with magnificent health giving properties.
Note – Some of these must be kept in the fridge.
Nutritional Yeast Flakes (add extra, cheesy flavour to dishes, comes with added B12)
Tahini (light or dark) and nut butters (like almond, brazil, peanut, macadamia or hazelnut)
Tofu, Tempeh (like chunky tofu), Seitan (also called ‘mock duck’)
Non-dairy milks (soya, almond, cashew, coconut, oat)
Flax seeds and oil (delicious, amazingly nutritious and full of omega oils and vitamin B12)
Coconut milk (very handy always)
Vegan butter (aka non-hydrogenated margarine)
A variety of Olives (a great source of richness)
Some kind of seaweed, like dulse or nori, is always handy and delicious
Plus lots and lots of amazing fruit, vegetables, pulses, nuts and seeds. The staples for any amazing vegan diet.
So nothing too weird and wild eh?! Here are other bits we regularly keep in our larder/ cupboards/ drawers/ random jars that act as launch-pad for the Beach House dishes. “Houston! We have turmeric!”
SPICES – We are mad about them, ground or seed, in a good way. Stay spicy!!!!:
Cumin, coriander, ras el hanout, sumac, turmeric, chilli, cayenne, garam masala, cinnamon, fenugreek, fennel seeds, cardamom, mustard seeds (yellow, red and/or black), asafoetida (hing), clove, ajwain seeds, star anise, nora’s (dried spanish peppers), paprika (smoked and sweet), good curry powder, nutmeg, good black pepper. Normally a few odd spice mixes we’ve picked up along the way.
PASTES/ PRESERVES/ BOTTLES – This set of beauties pack a real flavour punch:
Tahini, molasses, peanut butter, other nut butters like brazil or hazelnut, barley extract, marmalade, marmite, good red wine, white and sparkling wines, sherry, port, tequila (you get the idea……), orange blossom water, rose water, wasabi, tamari, mirin, teriyaki sauce, sushi vinegar, rice vinegar, balsamic vinegar, red and white wine vinegar, apple cider vinegar.
DRIED FRUITS – Such sweet things and so much tastier and nutritious than simple sugar:
Date, raisins, figs, prunes, apricots (unsulphured), apples, sun dried tomatoes, mulberries (if we’re lucky), cranberries, blueberries.
OILS – Richness, good fats and vital lubrication:
Light olive oil, great Extra Virgin Olive Oil (EVOO), vegetable/ sunflower/ rapeseed/ groundnut oil (for frying at high temp), good cold pressed rape seed oil (for dips and drizzles), walnut, toasted sesame, avocado, chili.
PICKLES/ JARS – Gherkins, capers, OLIVES, chutneys and jams, always marmalade, dijon, English and wholegrain mustard
SNACKS – Things that make you go mmmmmm!
Dark, dark chocolate, nachos, wasabi peas, bombay mix, baked chickpeas, japanese rice crackers, the occasional crisp
POWDERS – Funky coloured things in bags and boxes, which are normally super healthy:
Nutritional Yeast Flakes, wheatgrass, barley grass, spirulina, cacao, live yeast, baking powder, bicarb of soda, organic and low salt vegetable stock, rock or sea salt, whole peppercorns
GRAINS/ OTHER DRIED STUFF – Where would we be without stodge and ballast?!
Pasta (brown, green and/or multi coloured – beetroot is cool), polenta (rough and fine), brown rice, many different beans, millet, barley, oats (rolled and Scottish), quinoa, cous cous, bulgur wheat, wild rice, wheat groats, muesli, buckwheat, rye flour, wholemeal flour, gram flour, spelt flour, coconut flour, corn flour, loads of different lentils, mung beans, alfalfa, soba and udon noodles, rice noodles, porcini/ shiitake mushrooms (dried), powdered seaweed, nori sheets
NUTS/ SEEDS – We are very nutty and seedy here in equal measure:
Sunflower, flax/ linseed, sesame, pumpkin, linseed, hemp, poppy seed, chia
Almond, walnut, cashew, hazelnut, peanut, macadamia (if we’re flush), pine nuts, pecans, pistachio, coconut, Brazil.
‘ERBS – Where would we be without these leaved wonders?!:
Rosemary, thyme, basil, chervil, tarragon, mint, ginger mint, dill, curry leaves, Thai basil leaves, oregano, dried mixed herbs, sage, bay leaves, marjoram, dried nettle, wild garlic, sorrel
As I said, you don’t need all of this, but the Beach House is in the middle of nowhere, so we keep a decent, old fashioned larder. Jane loves drying herbs and I love grinding spices. An essential part of cooking is of course the ingredients, not only buying them, but keeping them in tip-top condition. A good larder is the sign of a happy cook!
We write alot more about spices, grains and vegan larders in general in our new book, Peace and Parsnips. Its packed full of vegan deliciousness. Coming soon in May 2015.
Out in May!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!