Have Good Basics on Hand
Stocking your pantry and fridge becomes critical and the ground zero action. This is what you would see if you were in my kitchen right now (except for a lot of the cold meats and charcuterie and you will see my alternatives below). Use these to build upon, or provide a quick hit of flavour and nourishment:
In the fridge or freezer:
Fish - probably the quickest meal to put together - quickly cooked in ghee with a salad, or added to a coconut curry. I find fish gives me slow release, grounding fuel.
Stocks such as chicken and vegetarian are the base of many a quick and nourishing meal, even in the hot weather.
Nutrient-Dense Deliciousness – homemade mayonnaise can be the dairy-free base for so many quick dressings, unctuous moisture around a sandwich filling or sauce with grains, fish and meat (eg Tartare Sauce).
Condiments such as dressings, chutney, pesto and gomasio.
Leftover roasted or grilled vegetables (beetroot is a good example)
Cultured vegetables such as sauerkraut
Unpasteurised brown rice miso
High quality organic tempeh
Cultured milk or cream (kefir)
I try and have a legume /nut pate in the fridge - walnut and lentil (wholefood for children) is a favourite and killer delicious with a good goats cheese.
Rillettes (duck in duck fat) is my option for salami/charcuterie
Whole milk, non homogenised milk and yoghurt (yoghurt not with added milk solids)
Cold meats from a leftover roast.
Charcuterie if you are a meat person - traditionally made salami, bresola and such from grass pastured, organic/biodynamic meats
Have a pot of cooked grains (you have made extra when you cook them) and use for salads, stuffing, serving with a meal or making a dessert after a vegetable based soup.
Have a core dressing up your sleeve, made and in the fridge.
Leftover cooked legumes - try marinating them in a dressing for extra life. Kept in an airtight container in the fridge. These will last for 3 – 4 days, and will add nutrient density and deliciousness immediately to a salad. They can also make a fantastic quick dip with a bit of pantry love. With a preference for quicker cooked lentils (brown, black and red) and peas (black eyed).
Assorted dried organic fruits
Nuts and seeds
Good oils (I have olive, sesame and peanut)
Eggs, eggs, eggs
Fresh seasonal vegetables and fruits.
Heilala Organic Vanilla (all of it, pods, extract and paste)
In the Pantry:
SALT ! I prefer ocean salt with a love of the Celtic Sea Salt.
Assorted legumes. With regard to tinned beans, it is far cheaper to cook up a big batch yourself and freeze. But for those busy days, choose a wholesome canned bean. Many canned beans are difficult to digest as they have not been pre-soaked and are cooked in tins that are lined with plastic. There are good options available - Eden Beans are imported from the US and are soaked, cooked with Kombu sea vegetable and are in a BPA- free can.
Assorted whole grains, with a view to quicker cooking hulled millet, quinoa and rice.
Sea vegetables including agar
Good condiments such as fish sauce, tamari, mirin, beautiful vinegars (I have brown rice, Pedro Ximenez sherry, apple cider and raspberry).
Coconut milk and cream
Tinned and bottled tomatoes (I like the Spiral Foods brands)
Even though I am slowing down now for a well earned three month break, I know that I am still exhausted and I suspect that you are also. I will be holding dear the value of a chicken, fish or egg dish - a chicken roasted or poached tonight is a quick meal that will yield wonderful cold meat (toss this in pesto or fresh herbs with mayonnaise) for tomorrow and bones for stock. Fish will do the same and an egg - well, that nutrient-dense grass pastured biodynamic egg will bind grated vegetables together as a fritter, hold leftover roast vegetables and goat cheese to make the most delicious frittata or give me a nutrient-dense and sustaining breakfast in about five minutes.
I will be using the organic strawberries that are in season right now in multiple ways - smoothies (with that kefir milk or the almond milk recipe below), stewing them (I love them this way) and served with yoghurt or cultured cream (serve them with the Berry Nice Pancakes (under Recipes at www.novamagazine.com.au) or just feasting on them as they are. Soon after that I will welcome mangos into my mouth with much celebration, but especially love them with the Black Sticky Rice breakfast (again on the NOVA website).
I will still be relying on that basic game plan above, but begin to make some extras.
I'm thinking special foods, and the one that I most often rely on is a quick trifle. Using an agar jelly and custard cream, this dairy-free deliciousness will dress up seasonal fruit and a sponge in a minute. I think that might be just what you need right now. Blessings to you and your loved ones over the coming Christmas season and for the New Year.
Jude Blereau is a wholefood cook and writer based on Perth. www.wholefoodcooking.com.au