A larder, and an ice-house: I don’t know why it suits me to pretend that my tiny, grubby flat on the Mile End Road is a large Victorian country pile, with staff (I know exactly why this suits me: I am too old to dress up, and this is the last refuge allowed me), but in any case, I do. Here’s everything
-Keep pancetta in, if you eat meat. It’s good because it goes in everything, and makes everything meaty, and is miles cheaper than, you know, making the whole thing out of meat.
-My friend Harry Harris swears by sausages. He says you can use them anywhere you would use mince, plus you can make them into a sandwich. Don’t get any kind of sausage with apples in, because they go horribly wet: just get some apple sauce, and dip. This is okay, but not as good as sausages with marmalade, which is the greatest thing on God’s earth.
-Buy coconut milk, or coconut cream if you’re thrifty.
–Parmesan is my best friend. It is much cheaper to buy it in bulk, if you can afford to, which I only can at Christmas.
–Frozen peas go well in nearly everything. Whenever the Tall Man is out I eat a mixing bowl of peas with butter and salt.
-Buy really good butter. I mean really really good butter, and like in Rooftoppers, spread it “with proper opinions, so you can see the toothmarks when you bite it”. (I have quoted that very badly: it’s a very good book, and I am very sorry to Katharine Rundell for misquoting it here, and I hope she forgives me.)
–Apples are good.
–Fresh red chillies, minced up with garlic, and lemon zest, make the most incredible pasta sauce ever.
-I always have a lemon or a lime on hand, or rotting gently in the bottom of the fridge. Use it anyway. It’ll be ok.
-Buy garlic. The fattest fattest bulbs you can find. Try not to let it sprout: I have never worked out what makes it sprout. (Always when I write something like that on this blog I get several emails from Men, Explaining: I look forward to your email about garlic, Explaining Men!)
–Fresh ginger seems to keep forever, and you can peel it with a tea-spoon.
-If you keep in onions, celery, and carrots, you can make a mirepoix, and that is worth an enormous amount. My first proper-length sentence was decrying celery (“No thanks, Mum, it’s wood”), but I’ve come round in the twenty-two odd years since.
(My actual first sentences, since you ask, were “Hang on”, and “Do it”. I have not changed much, apart from the celery thing.)