After arriving in Paris after what was possibly the happiest and most emotionally draining week one can think of (the wonderful wedding of my elder sister and her equally wonderful fiancé, saying au revoir to my friends in Reading, leaving my very stressful job as an account manager at an IT distribution company, a-n-d moving to Paris the very next day for work and to be with my other half who I’d been long-distance with for two years), the first comforting thought which rightly came to mind was of course, food!
I live next to a h-u-g-e Auchan so the next day I grabbed ye olde faithful pink tartan granny trolley and set off with the goal of restocking the fridge, as unfortunately its contents had been reduced to lardons, crème fraiche and not much else.
My fridge/food cupboard basics consist of the following and I only buy organic/free range unless unavailable however that very rarely happens:
Tomatoes – in all shapes and sizes
Extra virgin olive oil – a little goes a long way
Lemons – Usually around 2-3 a week as I’ve got into the habit of using them in the same way I use salt, sometimes a pinch of salt is needed but in most cases lemon does the trick just as well.
ALL OF THE HERBS AND SPICES – But most importantly: Cinnamon
Tahini – For making dressings and hummus
LENTILS (lentils are just great, my least favourite are green, favourite being red)
Wholegrain rice & spaghetti
Avocados (buy 1 soft and another 2 firm so that there’s very little chance of any being overripe)
Meridian Peanut Butter – Because the only ingredient in it is peanuts!
Frozen Veggies – peppers, green beans, onions, broccoli
VEGETABLES – Whichever are in season, so at the moment that would be courgettes, mushrooms, carrots, squash
FISH – I usually buy a smoked mackerel/haddock/river cobbler because their expiration time is quite long and they can be used in so many ways, especially smoked mackerel. Also fillets of something like salmon or a white fish which I usually put in the freezer for weeks to come. Fish is amazing.
MEAT – Chicken is fine however I don’t usually buy it unless it’s a whole chicken, that way I can cook it, make stock and use the meat in salads, meals for the week or to be put in the freezer, it’s a good time server that way. When a recipe or dish would use chicken I usually use sweet potato as I find that it absorbs the flavour just as well and very often it actually tastes better, also sweet potato is cheaper!
When buying red meat I don’t usually buy it unless it’s on offer, and when it is I love cooking with lamb because it’s just delicious and there are so many ways to cook it – my housemate in Reading (a fellow foodie) once made this lamb, lentil tagine masterpiece with apricots and oh ghaaaad it was out of this world and I haven’t yet been able to match it, when I do I’ll move onto something else.
FRUIT – I don’t eat huge amounts of it because I think you get more nutrients from vegetables and also they don’t fit into my 2/3 rule so they tend to go off before I get to them, so I do tend to stick with blueberries because I use them in my breakfast every day and apples. However, on those days when I feel like something different it’s usually peaches, nectarines, grapefruit or melons.
DAIRY – I don’t always have cheese in the fridge but now I’m in the land of great cheese which won’t make you hysterical at the sight of the price tag, and also being a fan of the classic combo of mega mature cheddar with apple slices I’m going to try strong camembert, if it doesn’t go well I’ll look into grapes. I don’t eat cereal and when I make porridge I make it with water so I don’t really need milk, but on the days when I need a bowl of builders brew/people are coming over and I know they’ll need a mug of either tea of coffee I buy skimmed because I’m not the biggest fan of the creamy texture. Also – FULL FAT YOGHURT – Don’t, just don’t buy that ‘0% fat’ nonsense, just look at the nutrition label, the amount of sugar content in that stuff is usually way over a quarter because when they remove the fat it tastes awful so they pump it with sugar to make it taste ‘nicer’
I don’t buy all of this every week because of the amount which can go in the freezer for weeks to come and how much lasts over a week, tahini, peanut butter, lentils etc. – this would be, and was the case when I first arrived, a pay day shop.
So with the fridge nicely stocked I set about creating the meals which will form the body of this blog, along with many other exciting findings I come across in this exciting city.