There are some ingredients you’ll find in a lot of my recipes. Sometimes it’s seasonal, like butternut squash in the autumn, while others I use all year round.
Here’s a list of my favourite ingredients with a few tips on the best ways to use them.
Parsley my favourite of all the herbs, I use this in loads of cuisines, from Middle Eastern dishes to Mediterranean. It’s super diverse so I always have a big bunch of the fresh stuff in my fridge.
Coriander a must for Indian cooking and South East Asian dishes. I use it to garnish all sorts of curries and it adds another level of fragrant flavour to Vietnamese soups and Thai curries.
Cumin a key ingredient in loads of Indian curries and I use it all the time.
Star anise essential in Vietnamese Pho for that sweet aromatic flavour (and smell), along with cinnamon bark.
Turmeric the best spice of them all: full of colour, vibrance and, best of all, health benefits. It doesn’t have much flavour so whack it in everything!
This one depends a lot on the season. My autumn and winter favourites are:
Butternut squash kind of like a sweet potato in colour and flavour, it’s not quite as sweet but is versatile with loads of different herbs and spices. I use it for soups, curries and risottos.
Peppers are something I put in everything – stir fries, curries and I roast them stuffed with rice and vegetables.
Carrots another winner for all sorts of cuisines and dishes, from Italian to Thai.
Mackerel massively underrated I think, but this fish is full of the good stuff and works well with more flavours than you would think. I’ve put it in coconut milk curries and had it on toast with buttery mushrooms.
Salmon pricey but delicious. I love it pan fried with a crispy skin or cooked in the oven en papillote. It’s another diverse ingredient, but you don’t want to overpower its delicate flavour.
I don’t cook much meat but every now and then I like to treat myself.
Duck my number one favourite meat. With crisp skin and Asian spicing, you can’t beat it in my book.
Grains and Pasta
Bulgar wheat a diverse and tasty grain that makes a great alternative to cous cous and rice. It works best with Middle Eastern dishes but I also pair it with roast vegetables and fresh basil for a delicious salad.
Orzo pasta an alternative to Arborio risotto rice, orzo is a rice shaped pasta that works as a perfect base for loads of flavours. One of my recipes is for a rich butternut squash orzo risotto.
Coconut milk essential in Thai cooking but also used in a number of Indian dishes. I always have at least one can in my cupboard!
Coconut oil makes a great change from olive or vegetable oil and is especially good for Asian flavoured stir fries and coconut milk-based curries. Also works as a remarkable teeth whitener!