Essentials

If you're going to get more involved with cooking, you're going to need a good variety of store cupboard essentials and kitchen equipment. The more things you have in there, the more creative you can be when it comes to cooking. I have a cupboard full of herbs, spices and condiments that means whatever I'm cooking I'm able to have a play around with flavours, spices and textures just by opening the cupboard and giving it a go. The problem is, it's difficult to know where to start!  All the different herbs, spices, utensils, pans and ingredients can seem daunting (and expensive) when you're first getting to grips with cooking new recipes. To help, I've listed below a few things that will hopefully help.

 

Equipment

Pans

The first thing on my list is a good set of pans (and one life hack pan...). When I was starting out, I spent a fortune on various pans, but mostly cheap ones because I didn't see the value in good cooking equipment. That was until I burnt some milk in one of my pans and decided that since it was ruined, I'd invest. I did a lot of searching around looking at various reviews and landed on some Circulon Infinite pans. I absolutely love them and they were a bargain from Amazon. The set I bought was a 5 piece with small, medium and large saucepan and a small and large frying pan, and they come with a guarantee which a lot of people don't believe works but I contacted them about a fault with my frying pan and they replaced without any problem. Whatever you choose, go nonstick and make sure you look after them. All of mine are washed by hand and I never use a green scourer (sponge side only) to ensure the nonstick lasts. 

Oven trays

This is the same as above and we actually purchased a range of oven trays and sheets from the same brand. These trays have been a god send and to try and keep them as clean as possible we usually line the tray with foil before cooking anything (and it often saves washing up too). 

Roasting tin

This was another learning curve for me. I made do and got by using an oven tray, yet since purchasing a proper roasting try with a mesh rack I've never looked back! It makes for incredible meat roasting and when timed correctly you can roast vegetables underneath in all of the beautiful meat juices!

Herbs

Below are the main herbs you'll use. I always have these stocked up as dry herbs, but where possible prefer to use fresh. 

Basil
Parsley
Oregano
Coriander
Chives
Thyme
Rosemary

Spices

These spices are the base for most recipes. If you can stock up on these, you're onto a winner and be able to tackle a lot of recipes. Where possible get the ground option as well as the whole version, this allows you to roast your own for incredible curry pastes. 

Coriander (Ground and Seeds)
Cumin (Ground and Seeds)
Paprika
Smoked paprika
Star Anise
Chinese 5 spice
Cinnamon
Chilli powder (Mild-hot, whatever you prefer)