I wanted to chat a little about gluten free store cupboard essentials. As personally, I feel that along with eliminating cross-contamination, having a well-stocked cupboard with ‘safe’ basic foods you regularly use is one of the key’s to maintaining and managing a great gluten free diet at home with ease!
I read somewhere recently that pantries are now high up on people’s wish list when planning a new kitchen. And I totally get it! One place to unpack, store and grab from. They are also generally pretty roomy – perfect to accommodate gluten free products in a dedicated area! When I was growing up, we were lucky enough to have a little pantry in our family home. Of course, I just took it for granted, as you do! It’s only now when I visit my Dad, and I open the pantry door, gaze in for a moment, and dream how I would plan and stock it, if it were mine!
Currently there is no pantry in the ‘Rimmer household’, but we do have lots of cupboard space – perfect to store my gluten free store cupboard essentials – many of which are naturally gluten free and what I used pre-coeliac days! So, throwing the doors open, let me share what super products I never like to be without….
*Stock cubes and stock pot
As stock is the base for so many great meals it’s best to use a good one (it maybe that you make your own). I’ve always used Knorr stock cubes and therefore they are my ‘cube of choice’, so it’s great that so many of the varieties of the Knorr cubes and also their stock pots are naturally gluten free. I like the fact that all the gluten free one’s state just that on the pack. The low salt variety are not suitable for a gluten free diet as they have a ‘may contain’ warning on the pack*
I did use Bisto Best for years, but due to the fact it cannot be guaranteed to be 100% safe I’ve now stopped as it’s not worth taking an unnecessary risk! There is a dedicated gluten free Bisto gravy which is very good. However, the one I personally prefer is Knorr classic gluten free gravy. I use it with my meat stock and vegetable water to make a super quick, tasty gravy and also add it to casseroles, cottage pies etc. I have also just started using Sarsons browning and love it…..what a difference a bit of rich colour makes to gravy!
*Herbs, spices and pepper
Although I do love different flavours, being quite a traditional cook, I tend to stock the basic herbs and spices, like ginger, paprika, curry, chilli and turmeric. Generally, a jar of bay leaves too, which works well to bring out the flavours in a beef stew! On occasions I get a bit of ‘herb and spice envy’ when I look in other people’s cupboards and they have an array of interesting looking jars!! But, I know that in our house they just won’t get used. Mary Berry made me feel better about my little ‘hang up’, when she suggested only stocking things you would use to eliminate waste – thank you Mary, you eased my troubled mind!
I really like to have a few jars of curry and pasta sauces on hand – they come in handy when I’m short of time but still want to eat a hot tasty meal and there are some really good, naturally gluten free sauces available (more reasonable in price than the ones in the free from aisle). I don’t tend to stick to just one brand, it all depends where I’m shopping to be honest. Pataks, Sainsbury’s, Asda and Aldi curry sauces are pretty regular buys for me. And when I spot my favourite ones on offer, I stockpile with a few extra jars. I’m particularly partial to Lloyd Grossman pasta (and curry) sauces and right now, I’m really into the spinach and ricotta one – Just before I serve it, I like to add a generous handful of spinach into the pan allowing it to wilt. I then transfer the pasta into a dish, grate a good helping of parmesan over the top and enjoy with a cheeky glass of red!! Quite an impressive supper with very little effort.
Gluten free mix and Flour
I’m a massive Juvela gluten free mix fan and I feel that it makes the best bread, cakes, chapatis etc and I tend to feel a little lost if I don’t have a pack of this mix in my cupboard (so handy to have in, if you run short of gf bread). However, I have also started baking with Doves farm gluten free flour, which makes great cakes and pastries. I’ve yet to use Doves gluten free bread flour – but, will let you know when I do.
*Additional baking ingredients
To cover my cake craving at a drop of a hat and bake other things successfully such as pies, crumbles, shortbread, scones etc. I will always stock:
Bicarbonate of soda
Xanthan gum – works by holding the crumb together and giving ‘bite’ and better texture to your bakes – Great to use in pastries, scones, shortbread and fruit cakes. The things that have a tendency to crumble.
Chocolate – that’s good for using for tray bake, muffins, brownies, etc.
Cornflour is a great gluten free staple. I like to have it in to pop together a quick savoury sauce, generally cheese sauce for a lasagne, or maybe a sweet chocolate or strawberry custard. It’s great too for thickening casseroles, stews, sweet and sour sauces and gravies. Also, good to add to biscuit recipes as it makes them nice and ‘crisp’ – simply replace 25g (1oz) of gluten free mix within the recipe with 25g (1oz) of cornflour.
Both me and Neil love our custard, and there is always a tub of *Birds custard powder tucked in the cupboard, ready to be whisked up in a jiffy when only a steaming hot gluten free sponge pudding, topped with nice thick custard will cut it!
I really love rice with all its versatility – the perfect accompaniment with a curry or as a meal in itself when used as a base for a nice creamy risotto, egg fried rice or paella – The hairy biker’s recipe for paella is a super one!
I’ve added the little *asterisk for rice, as on occasions I have been caught out with a ‘may contain’ warning on the pack. I have seen it a couple of times on packs of pudding rice, so it’s just made me be extra cautious when picking up rice of any variety.
Gluten free pasta
There are some great gluten free pastas available now. I’m huge penne fan, and always have a bag of this in. Generally, some spaghetti and lasagne too. I’ve purchased Tesco, Sainsburys, M&S and Waitrose brands of gluten free pasta and have been really happy with them all. And, of course, the beauty of pasta, is with a couple of other delicious everyday ingredients, it can create sheer magic on a plate!!
*Condiments, sauces, spreads and Jam
There are so many sauces etc that are naturally gluten free, but you do always need to check to make sure. Also remembering food manufactures can change their recipes at any time. However, it’s worth the time doing your gf checks to ensure you don’t miss out on what you fancy!! Here are a handful of my favourite sauces, etc that will always be in our cupboard or fridge.
Heinz Tomato sauce
Tartar sauce – perfect on a gf fish finger buttie!!!
Pickled beetroot, onions and red cabbage
Chilli sauce – Love Linghams chili sauce – it’s seriously good and a splash of this in a homemade chilli works wonders!!
Gluten free soy sauce – this is one of the sauces you’d need to get from the Free From shelf.
Heinz baked beans
Chopped tomatoes – Perfect for adding to casseroles, chilli, spaghetti Bolognese etc.
Baxter’s soup – love this brand. Just make sure you pick up the variety with the gluten free logo on the side of the can.
Tuna /mackerel /sardines
Oven chips – I tend to buy supermarket own brand crinkle cut chips – they are really good! You do need to check, but most of them are gluten free.
Frozen vegetable/peppers – Perfect to pop into casseroles.
Eggs – If not for simple egg on toast, but that cake you have to make and eat!
Butter – I use Lurpak spreadable butter as it’s also great for baking with. Not the low-fat version! I have my own separate tub of course.
Thanks so much for taking the time to check out my gluten free store cupboard essential blog – maybe there is something I have mentioned that you may not have thought about including in your gf diet before? I love to eat great gluten free food so much and hope you do too! If you are unsure about something you would like to use, and you want to run it by me, just give me a shout!
*Check this product out to ensure no gluten containing ingredients or ‘may contain’ or ‘not suitable’ warnings on the pack. If in doubt leave it out!