So often I hear TV chefs and cooks go on about making a great meal using the “freshest ingredients”, or, “the best you can afford”. To me, a great cook should be able to produce a tasty meal with nothing more than limp celery, old cabbage, some freezer-burned mince and some spices.
I’d love to be able to nip down to the Fresh Produce Market, pick up a few fresh scallops, some coriander,fresh beans sprouts and a couple of limes for a light quick entrée. But, realistically, I have to make do with vegetables and meat that comes in to our local store once a week.
I have a wonderful freezer that I make good use of. It’s full of marinated chicken, lamb and steak as well as frozen mango cheeks, strawberry puree, raspberry coulis and diced watermelon. I freeze a lot of fruit to use in pies or for sorbets. My freezer also has a good supply of fish and prawns that I’ve purchased already frozen. I always have frozen veges on hand too, as the store may run out of green veges and they rarely get beans in unless I order them.
So, I reckon I can prepare a great meal without having the “freshest ingredients”, direct from the grower or straight off the boat. It’s all about planning ahead. Whenever I’m in Perth, I always bring home fresh fish and seasonal vegetables and fruit.
My pantry… man, I could live off my pantry for several months and never have to shop!
My worst nightmare is deciding that I’m going to make something delicious for tea and find that I don’t have the right ingredients. I know that necessity is the mother of invention, and I’ve certainly had to substitute from time to time, but I love to have all ingredients at hand.