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Three Ingredients a chef couldn’t live without

Jen G on 21st Jul, 2014

Every chef will have a different list of those ingredients which are precious to them, barring the obvious of good sea salt, freshly cracked black pepper and olive oil, there are three things I must always have in my kitchen.

I had a dig around, and there is much debate over what is essential, some swear by anchovies and coconut milk, others much fancier ingredients like preserved lemons and padma lakshmi cannot do without a chilled bottle of vintage champagne apparently, but my tastes run a little cheaper.

Three Ingredients a chef couldn’t live without

Sriracha chilli sauce

It’s a potent condiment made from chillies, vinegar, garlic, sugar and salt. Originally Taiwanese, I first came across it in America and it's now over here, I've seen it in every major supermarket. It's fantastic to add a pep to sauces and stews, especially your tomato based ones. I like it spread on the bread of toasted cheese sandwiches too, but mainly I use it to give another taste dimension to my soups, stews and slow cooks. Its gaining popularity in bars to serve with their fried treats stirred through mayonnaise, which is a mighty fine way to have it, I stirred some through greek yogurt as a dip with chermoula sausages last night. Brilliant!

Frozen peas

I use them so often it’s actually a joke amongst my friends, to add sweetness and colour and that all important veggie element to risottos, fritattas, pasta dishes etc etc. Just essential. Peas in the pod lose their sweetness within hours of being picked, frozen peas are always at the peak of freshness. One of my favourite pasta sauces is a few peas just defrosted, in a bowl with fresh grated parmesan, the juice of a lemon, some really nice olive oil and some torn up mint leaves, add in your hot pasta straight from the pan with tongs so you get some of the starchy water to bind it all together and boom! Dinner in less than 10 minutes


Just makes everything better. There is no substitute for me. Keep your spreads, I'll stick with good old farmhouse butter. For loads of ideas from pink peppercorn butter to self-buttering greens, read my blog Brilliant Butter

I'd love to hear what you can't live without, let us know!

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