Back to Basics: If It’s

In my family, there is a special type of meal that we call an “if it’s” dinner. Originally it meant a last minute dinner made up of whatever packets were in the freezer – if it’s in the freezer then you can have it for tea. When we stopped eating ready made meals and packet food, it started encompassing what was in our cupboards instead.

It means that you have to get creative, which can be either a lot of fun or a complete disaster depending on how much/little time you have to make your dinner! Now, generally, I make sure that I have certain things in my cupboard at all times. These basics (which I really recommend everyone having!) include:

·  Spices: Cumin, coriander, turmeric, chilli, ginger, garam masala, curry powder, paprika, saffron ·   Soy sauce (light and dark) ·  Teriyaki sauce · Beans (baked, kidney, mixed taco etc)
·   Worchester sauce ·   Vinegar (Balsamic and White wine) · Tomatoes (tinned and puree)
·   Sweet chilli sauce ·   Mixed herbs · Fish sauce
·   Oil spray ·   Flour ·  Garlic

 Along with all of this, I generally always have rice, noodles, pasta and potatoes in my cupboard – so as you can see, I basically have everything I could ever need to make any dinner! I just look at what vegetables I have in the fridge and decide if I want a stir fry, pasta bake or some kind of stew.

The main skill with an “if it’s” dinner is to work out what combinations of store cupboard things go together. If I am using spices, I will chuck equal amounts of cumin and coriander in, and never more than 1/2 tsp of chilli (I don’t really like my food hot, I just like the tastes of spices). Stir fries are always good with a tbsp of soy sauce and a tbsp of teriyaki sauce, maybe with a little sprinkling of ginger too.

See, it all depends on what you fancy. So really, what this post has ended up being is a suggestion of what you should have in your cupboard and then a thought that if you have these things then you will always be able to make something up! Perhaps not the most useful post in the end but oh well! Have a great day!

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