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Thursday 22 September 2011

Ask the Sluts: What ingredient can't you live without?

As adventurous as the Domestic Sluts are, we also have tried and tested recipes and ingredients. Those ingredients are the ones that we grab from the shelf without thinking, that we throw into everything and that it would be unthinkable to run out of. But what are they?

Siany: Garlic. We ran out last week and I ordered takeaway. There was no other answer. It's so rare that I cook without it, even if it's just one clove. I'm going to give you a recipe for roasting it next week. And I can't live without mushrooms. I put mushrooms in almost everything savoury. They're very handy if you work from home. If you've got mushrooms, cheese and eggs in the fridge, you've got a lunch.

Carrie: Goodness, I was going to choose garlic too! It's SO important. As Sian pipped me to the post, I'm going to have to say salt. Decent salt. Maldon salt flakes are always in my cupboard. Whilst I hate over-salted food, a little salt at the right time, in the right place, can really make a dish. I also use salt flakes sprinkled onto my olive oil/balsamic bread dips. That's a killer combination.

I've been spare room surfing for a month now and have almost entirely forgotten what ingredients are and what they do. When I have cupboards though, I love chopped tomatoes which are a fabulous base for soups, bolognese, lasagne and a myriad other delicious things. (Totally with Carrie on sprinkling salt on bread too. Salt over bread and butter is to die for!

Sara: The ladies have chosen my absolute essentials, so I'm going to pick harissa paste. A blend of peppers, chilli, cayenne pepper, garlic and other spices, you can throw it into any savoury dish that's missing that vital something and it magically brings it all together.

Gemma: Aside from salt and garlic which the others have already mentioned, I always have a big stash of Knorr stock pots, the jelly ones, which I add to anything in a sauce - casseroles, paella, soups, tagines - for extra flavour. I also dip into my tub of 'all purpose seasoning' (from the Caribbean foods bit of the supermarket) at least twice a week.

Laura: I definitely second all of the above - particularly Gemma's stock pot love, but one of my best essentials is balsamic vinegar. I add it to so many savoury dishes to add a little flavour - from soups to spag bol - and it's also great to bring out the sweetness of strawberries. Like Kat, my cupboards are always stocked with chopped tomatoes, and whenever I use them I also use a healthy pinch of sugar. It transforms them into little flavour explosions.

Sel : Aside from agreeing whole-heartedly with needing garlic, mushrooms and chopped tomatoes, it is very rare that I cook a savoury dish that doesn't have a liberal sprinkling of black pepper. In fact, I don't think it does happen. Such is my fear I'll run out, there's four packs of peppercorns in my cupboard.


  1. You have to have Lazy chilli's! Chilli's in a jar ready to spoon out into any dish - FRABJOUS!

  2. I would have chosen garlic too, can't get enough of it and I don't care if it makes my breath smell, it's too god damn tasty!!


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