I am currently in the process of moving to a new house and I will be building up my store cupboard and it’s amazing to see how many herbs and spices you accumulate over the years. It made me think about all of the go-to ingredients I have on hand.

I always have good quality risotto rice to whip up a quick risotto on a mid-week night, I recently tried this using brown short grain rice and it is delicious, although it does take a much longer time to cook.

Fennel seeds are one of my favourite spices and I love to add them in to sausage pasta bakes, anything with chorizo and even a fish stew. I really like the aniseed taste which not everyone does but I think it works well with lots of things!

I also always have a good base of spices on hand because I love making curries. When I worked in Dumfriesshire the hotel used to have a curry night once a week and I really learned how to make a good curry from scratch which was brought on by a weekly competition among the chefs to see who could sell the most each week. I usually end up making Thai curry and usually make the paste from scratch and freeze half. Its little things like fish sauce that you would have in your fridge which makes all the difference.

I also love good quality sea salt flakes! Its funny how fussy we can be about particular ingredients!

It can take months to build up a good base of ingredients without it costing a fortune. What is your go-to ingredient that you could not live without?

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