I always wanted to do one of those posts on what I actually eat and cook with. Blogs give the illusion that we eat out a lot but really, most of my meals are home-cooked (I can thank reading hundreds of recipes a year for that). Here are some of my go-tos for quick and simple homemade meals.
ACC Brand Fried Onion (RRP $3)
Generally speaking, for fried shallots, any brand will do – I just tend to go for the easy screw-on lid of ACC Brand. I use fried shallots to add depth of flavour and crunch to any Asian stir-fry and to garnish curries and warm Asian salads.
Mayver’s Black Tahini (RRP $7)
I live off white sesame tahini – literally – I put it in anything and everything, both sweet and savoury. White sesame tahini is amazing on popcorn with sumac (another awesome ingredient to have in the cupboard) but my ultimate fave way to eat it is drizzling a little over a sliced banana and sprinkling over some sea salt and heaps of cinnamon. So so good. Legit guilt-free dessert material.
Black tahini is a little more complex in flavour and I find it suits savoury and mostly Asian-inspired meals. It is amazing in my signature cold soba noodle salad. Speaking of soba, please go out and buy a pack of these slippery, chewy buckwheat strands which are amazing eaten cold with crunchy raw vegetables for lunch or dinner. Black tahini is creamy and nutritious – it’s full of calcium and monounsaturated fats. Drizzle it on Asian stir-fries for a complex sesame flavour or make a dressing with it and add it to ANY salad to make it shine. I love it with tuna or shredded chicken salads.
Obento Mirin Seasoning (RRP $3.29)
The sweetness of sushi rice and the tenderness of the meat on Korean BBQ nights is all thanks to this beauty. Mirin is versatile and adds a sticky, caramelised goodness to anything from a quick stir-fry to Japchae (Korean glass noodle salad). Seriously, add the tiniest amount to meat marinades and you’ll never go back. The main component is sugar so don’t go overboard with this one.
Pic’s Really Good Peanut Butter (RRP $8)
The first thing that goes into my gob every morning is a spoonful of peanut butter (crunchy only, never smooth). I am addicted. I don’t know why I didn’t like PB when I was younger but I must’ve been one of those silly, fussy children. The roastier, the better.
New Zealand has perfected the roasted PB flavour but Australia is just catching up. Fix and Fogg‘s rendition will blow your mind. Pic’s is a NZ-made peanut butter and it’s just as good slathered on toast with honey, cinnamon and sea salt as it is in protein balls, vegan desserts, over a bowl of porridge, swirled through ice cream, in your fave cookie recipe, on top of rice cakes and over apple slices for a quick energy hit. I can’t live without peanut butter, what would I do without you?
Le Paludier de Guérande Fleur de Sel (RRP $6)
I went to a food festival once and had to use up $6 in tokens so I rushed to the nearest stall I could find, took a glance and picked out a package of French salt. I was annoyed at myself, thinking, ‘seriously Eva, salt?! For $6?’ At the time, salted caramel was just becoming a thing and I had no clue what I should use it for.
I only begun to adore the stuff a few months after it sat lonely in my cupboard. I now use it in place of regular sea salt as it doesn’t break down as easily and the granules aren’t flaked. Which is why it’s great sprinkled over pretty much anything on toast – from raspberry jam to eggs and avocado. It gives any flavour a little kick. I also sprinkle it over banana (again with cinnamon and sea salt) and any other fruit I think needs sodium to balance sweetness. It’d be a dangerous habit if you eat a lot of processed foods but I have low blood pressure and try to limit packaged foods so a tiny bit of natural sea salt doesn’t do any harm. I can blame India for this habit, where they douse chilli powder and salt on fruit. Talk about genius. Go out into the world and discover a new ingredient to go gaga over. Do it now!