Kitchen Shopping Tips

Kitchen Shopping Tips

Listed here are all the ingredients and products that make my life a whole lot easier. Without these staples (and there are a lot of them), I wouldn’t be able to cook the food that I love. If you don’t have some (or any) of these products in your kitchen at the moment, buy a few at time, cook with them and see if it’s something you’d like to use in your food again. These are the things that I love and you might not like some or you might have a much more impressive pantry than I do, but personalize this list to suit you, your household and your budget.


Canned Goods

  1. Tomatoes – Chopped, whole, puree and paste. I find the imported Italian varieties to be both the cheapest and the best quality.
  2. Beans & Lentils – Red Kidney beans, Cannelini beans (small, white beans), Butter beans, Lentils.
  3. Fish – Tuna in spring water, Crab, Smoked mussels & oysters.


  1. Pasta – Linguini, Spaghetti, Macaroni, Fussili, Whole wheat Spaghetti.
  2. Rice – Arborio/Carnaroli (for Risotto), Basmati, Jasmine, Brown & Wild rice, Pure Mwea Rice.
  3. Other – Cous-Cous, pearl barley

Oil, Vinegar & Condiments

  1. Oil – Olive oil, Extra Virgin Olive Oil (for salad dressings & drizzling over foods), Canola oil, Sesame oil, Flavoured oil (chilli, garlic, herb)
  2. Vinegar – Aged Balsamic Vinegar, White Balsamic Vinegar, White Spirit Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Sherry Vinegar, Infused balsamic reductions.
  3. Condiments – Dijon Mustard, wholegrain mustard, hot English mustard, Tomato sauce (ketchup), Chutney, Sweet chilli sauce, soy sauce, oyster sauce, chilli sauce (hot sauce), Good mayonnaise, Bovril, Marmite.
  4. Sweet condiments – Honey, Maple syrup, Golden syrup, Strawberry Jam, Apricot Jam, Peanut butter.

Flavorings, stocks & spices

  1. Stock – When I don’t have home-made stock, I rely on Imported Supermarket stock concentrates. They are flavorsome and the real deal.
  2. Flavourings – Salt (I use a variety including table salt, sea salt and smoked salt), white pepper, black pepper, mustard powder, cayenne pepper.
  3. Spices – I have a huge assortment of spices. I suggest that you buy whole spices and toast and grind them yourself (if you’re feeling domesticated) if you won’t be using spices too often as already ground spices lose their flavor if not used within a month. Having said that, not many people (read: almost no-one) has time to do toasting and grinding of spices so it’s completely fine if you buy already-ground spices. The ones I always have in the house are : Coriander, Cumin, Cloves, Nutmeg, Cinnamon, Mustard seeds, star anise, turmeric, paprika, smoked paprika, cardamom pods, chili powder, chili flakes, good quality garam masala and good quality Dukkah. I also always have a really good quality spice and herb mix on hand. Something like roasting spice or braai spice. Try to get a spice mix where you can see the actual dried spices and herbs . I also always have a good quality Thai curry paste and Indian curry paste in the fridge.

Cereals & Snacks

  1. Cereal – I always have one or two different kinds of wholegrain cereals available for my kids. It makes an easy breakfast when paired with some yogurt and fruit.
  2. Oats – Organic Rolled Oats is my favorite but I also have the instant kind in the pantry.
  3. Snacks – Wholegrain crackers (Pro-vita), rice/corn cakes, nuts, crackers (salticrax, bacon kips, etc.) and popcorn are always in my pantry.


  1. Flour – Cake flour(all purpose), Bread flour, cornflour.
  2. Sugar – White sugar (granulated), Caster sugar, Icing sugar (powdered/confectioner’s), light brown sugar, muscavado sugar (treacle sugar).
  3. Other – Baking powder, Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), Cream of tartar, Vanilla extract, cocoa powder, caramel treat (tinned caramel), condensed milk, chocolate.
  4. Other Pantry Staples: Aluminium foil, cling wrap, baking paper, wax paper, Ziploc bags in all sizes, kitchen towel and paper serviettes.
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