Ready to upgrade your kitchen? Here are 5 of my favourite kitchen essentials that I make sure are always in plentiful supply..
1. Coconut oil
An organic, cold pressed coconut oil is useful for so many things. It is great for cooking as it has a high smoke point, so won’t denature (change structure) as easily as other oils, making it much safer to use. It is delicious added into smoothies, making any smoothie more sustaining and blood sugar balancing. It is also fantastic to use as a make-up remover, moisturiser, hair mask, and as a base for any kind of topical anti fungal treatment due to its high levels of caprylic acid.
Ghee is a type of clarified butter that gives Indian cooking its rich and buttery taste. I’m not a big fan of dairy foods as I find many people have a varying degree of intolerance, but ghee seems to pose no problem to most people; this is due to the fact that ghee is just pure milk fat with the lactose (milk sugar) and casein (milk protein) removed – and it is one or both of these that usually cause the problem, so milk fat on its own is a very low allergenic substance. It is delicious used instead of butter, and is another excellent fat for cooking due to its high smoke point – especially if you don’t want the coconut oil flavour to dominate your cooking.
3. Olive oil
I rarely use olive oil for cooking as it is a lot more fragile than coconut oil and ghee, but I always have a big glass bottle of organic, extra virgin olive oil on hand to create scrumptious salad dressings, and to finish off meals once cooked. Olive oil is high in monounsaturated fats and antioxidants, making it another kitchen superstar to add to your list.
4. Himalayan rock salt/ sea salt
Good quality salt is an absolute must. Table salt, although it tastes similar, is a processed form of salt called sodium chloride. It lacks the essential minerals that are a part of naturally occurring salt, and often contains toxic additions such as anti caking agents and bleach to turn it into a bright artificial white. Table salt is particularly hard on the cardiovascular system and can make many conditions such as gout, diabetes and obesity worse. Himalayan rock salt or sea salt are an excellent upgrade to table salt and are rich in minerals; this is very important as are soils are becoming increasingly more and more depleted in minerals. Good quality salt helps to restore your electrolyte balance, maintain a good pH and prevent muscle cramps. As with anything, balance is key – don’t go crazy on the salt if you have high blood pressure.
5. Fresh herbs
A good stash of fresh herbs is a must for any kitchen, adding depth and flavour to dishes, whilst supercharging your food with a whole host of beneficial antioxidants and phytonutrients. Herbs have some of the highest numbers on the ORAC scale (a scale which demonstrates the antioxidant value of foods). They also look rather splendid sat in pretty pots on your windowsill or on your kitchen worktop. I grow parsley, coriander, thyme, rosemary, marjoram and mint in my garden, and give them a little haircut every time I want to add flavour to my cooking.