Organic September: My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients & Meal Plans

Thrifty and Organic

Thrifty and Organic

Organic September:

My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients & Meal Plans

Organic September: My Top Ten Store Cupboard Ingredients & My Favourite Ingredient

Organic Oats

Welcome to week three of my Thrifty and Organic posts, and a HUGE thanks to all of you who attended the #ThriftyOrganic “Twitter Party” that I hosted last week with Organic UK and Foodies 100. This week finds me pondering on what my top ten organic store cupboard ingredients are, as well as my favourite “must have” organic ingredient. As well as sharing mu store cupboard ingredients list, I will also be sharing some past recipes that use my top ten ingredients. Before I started working with Organic UK, I used to shop mainly based on cost, with organic ingredients being added if there were offers on them; but, having discovered just what organic actually means to our environment and to our long-term health, I have now switched my shopping habits to ALWAYS include key organic ingredients, and most of them happen to be store cupboard essentials. I STILL have to watch my pennies, as do we all, but, I have discovered that with careful shopping and creative cooking, that I CAN purchase organic regularly, and the difference in taste is astonishing.

Organic and FairTrade Cocoa

Organic and FairTrade Cocoa

Before I share my tip ten list with you, I would like to point out that lots of my organic produce is home-grown and bought from local organic farm shops and local market stalls; so, when shopping for organic produce, don’t forget that supermarkets are NOT the only place to buy from, and I frequently find that local producers are much cheaper than supermarkets too. My top ten store cupboard ingredients are what I term as “core basics” for general baking (of which I do a lot) and cooking. My list will probably be very familiar to many of you who also bake and cook “from scratch” a lot, which is MUCH thriftier than buying ready-made meals or take-aways etc. I also find that by buying a core selection of organic ingredients, it helps to keep costs down as I can often purchase them on special offers (such as Buy one get one Free) as I KNOW that I will be using them.

Organic White Flour

Organic White Flour

My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients:

 Plain White Flour: I use flour nearly every day, for baking and in cooking too, and I always have at least TWO bags of  white flour in my store cupboard – Plain and Self-Raising.

Bread Flour: In addition to normal baking flour, I also have at least three types of bread (high gluten) flour to hand, as I make my own bread at least twice a week and more during winter.

Sugar: Again, for baking as none of us take sugar in our tea or coffee; and, I like to have Demerara sugar, Golden Caster Sugar and normal Cane Sugar too.

Oats: Oats are one of my most important organic store cupboard ingredients, as I love porridge and make my own muesli and granola. I prefer jumbo oats, but always have porridge oats to hand too. I also bake with oats, so it’s an essential ingredient for me.

Cocoa & Chocolate: Again, this is an essential ingredient for baking as well as a comforting hot milky drink before I go to bed in the winter! I also add cocoa to chilli and casseroles sometimes for a rich flavour. And, chocolate is used the same way, as well as being an occasional treat too!

Honey: Organic honey is another essential ingredient, it is added to porridge as well as being used in cooking, bread making, desserts and just “au natural” on toast too!

Dried Fruit: Dried fruit such as apricots, prunes, dates, sultanas, currants and raisins are essential store cupboard ingredients for me, for baking in the main and also as ingredients for my home-made muesli and granola and the occasional snack.

Pulses: Mainly split red lentils, but I also like to have Puy lentils and brown lentils in my cupboard. I use lentils a lot on non-meat days, and they are packed with protein. I will add Quinoa to this list, although strictly speaking it is a grain/seed, but I LOVE this ingredient and use it a lot in my cooking.

Eggs: Although I have my own free-range chickens, I am adding eggs to my top ten store cupboard ingredients, as I use them a lot and when I didn’t keep hens, I ALWAYS bought free-range organic eggs. If you have a dozen eggs in your stores, you will always have the wherewithal to make a nutritious family meal as well as use them in baking. A boiled egg also makes a perfect breakfast too!

Dairy: I found it difficult to pick one single dairy product, so I am including them all – basically I am never without organic butter, and wherever possible, I try to buy organic cheese and milk too. I find that I can source excellent organic butter and cheeses at my local farm shops and I notice that Yeo Valley are now offering organic spreadable butter in the supermarkets, which is great! I would also like to add yoghurt to the list and there are numerous great organic yoghurt producers now, such as Rachel’s Organic and Yeo Valley, who have a fabulous range of flavours.

My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients

My Top Ten Organic Store Cupboard Ingredients

So, what is my favourite ingredient? Well, I have already hinted about my favourite organic ingredient already, but it has to be OATS. Why? I love the fact that is such a versatile ingredient, that is so much more than porridge and can be used in cooking and baking. One of my favourite recipes that uses oats, apart from porridge which I love, is my recipe for Irish Soda Bread with Oats, which is part of September’s Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner.

Image: Irish Soda Bread with Oats

My favourite porridge recipe has to be my mum’s Tea Cup Porridge with Apricots and Honey……which uses organic porridge oats, organic dried apricots and organic honey too.

My Mum's "Teacup Apricot and Honey Porridge" Recipe for a Cold March Morning

My Mum’s “Teacup Apricot and Honey Porridge”

A few other meal plans that use my top ten organic ingredients are: 

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner: Honey Roast Chicken, Hand Pies and Bread & Butter Pudding Recipes:

Using flour, butter, eggs, milk, honey, sugar and dried fruit

Roast Chicken & Vegetable Hand Pies

Roast Chicken & Vegetable Hand Pies

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner: Persian Lamb, Aromatic Cauliflower & Chocolate Truffle Cake Recipes

Using chocolate, sugar, eggs, flour and cheese

Organic Chocolate Truffle Cake

Organic Chocolate Truffle Cake

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner for June – Sausage Meatballs, Fennel, Strawberry Jelly, Watercress & Scones Recipes

Using flour, eggs, cheese, milk, butter and sugar

Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner - Sausage Meatballs, Fennel, Strawberry Jelly, Watercress & Scones Recipes

Cheese and Spring Onion Scones

I’d like to finish by sharing my favourite organic recipe from the whole Thrifty and Organic Meal Planner series, and that is my one tray recipe for Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots, made with a lovely organic chicken and with enough leftovers for two more meals, it just proves how one chicken can feed a family of four not once but three times! The recipe is shared below and you can see the other recipes here: Honey Roast Chicken, Hand Pies and Bread & Butter Pudding Recipes That’s all for today, I will be back soon with more recipes and news, as well as a new giveaway! And, don’t forget to enter my Organic Hamper giveaway here: Giveaway: Win an Organic Hamper full of Goodies worth £100! See you later, Karen

Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots

Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots

Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots

Serves 4 to 6
Prep time 20 minutes
Cook time 2 hours, 15 minutes
Total time 2 hours, 35 minutes
Meal type Lunch, Main Dish
Misc Child Friendly, Serve Hot
Occasion Birthday Party, Casual Party, Christmas, Easter, Formal Party, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Valentines day
Region British
By author Karen S Burns-Booth
A delicious one-pan method of cooking a family meal or Sunday roast; slow-roasting is a great way to keep the chicken tender and moist. And, by adding the root vegetables to the roasting tin, it infuses them with plenty of flavour as well as saving on the washing up! Created for Organic UK as part of February's Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner.

Ingredients

  • 1 organic whole chicken (between 1.65 and 1.95 kilos)
  • 65g organic butter (cut into slices)
  • 3 tablespoons organic honey
  • 375g organic carrots (peeled and cut into small even sized batons)
  • 375g organic onions (peeled and quartered)
  • 1 small organic swede (peeled and cut into even sized chunks)
  • 1 kilo organic potatoes (peeled and cut into even sized pieces)
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

Optional

  • gravy made with chicken juices and plain flour

Note

A delicious one-pan method of cooking a family meal or Sunday roast; slow-roasting is a great way to keep the chicken tender and moist. And, by adding the root vegetables to the roasting tin, it infuses them with plenty of flavour as well as saving on the washing up! Created for Organic UK as part of February's Thrifty & Organic Meal Planner.

Directions

Step 1 Pre-heat oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3. Brush a large roasting tin with some of the butter that has been melted and smear the rest over skin of the chicken, pressing the slices down firmly. Spoon the honey over the buttered chicken and season well with salt and freshly ground pepper.
Step 2 Place the chicken in the roasting tin and arrange the root vegetables around it, then cover with foil and place in the oven. Cook for 1 hour then remove the foil, turn the vegetables over with a large slotted spoon and then cook uncovered for between 45 and 50 minutes more.
Step 3 Turn the heat up to 220C/450F/gas 7. Cook for a further 15 minutes to crisp up the roots and chicken skin, then remove the chicken and roots from the tin. Cover the chicken loosely with foil and leave to rest on a plate for at least 10 mins before carving. Keep the roots warm in the oven and then serve with any pan juices mixed with a little flour and water to make a gravy.
Step 4 NB: If the honey starts to burn after the foil has been taken off the chicken and roots, add a little water to the tin.
Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots

Honey Roast Chicken with Winter Roots

Photo: Price came up from a few of you as a problem for Organic, and what do we tell people that dismiss organic because of this? Price has constantly been used as a barrier to purchase. The Organic Naturally Different campaign has done work to test this theory and found how similar prices could be. Maybe sharing this  page with friends so they can see the thrifty ways of using Organic might help? Using food cleverly gets you more for your money, and food goes further than you might think. Shopping clever can get you more for your money, and so the cost for organic is often not as big, or different at all as is perceived. I think this article is an interesting take on price of Organic, I'd be really interested in your thoughts. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/sep/08/organic-food-costs-expensive

Disclaimer:
Organic UK is paying me an agreed fee to create and develop these Thrifty and Organic Recipes, as well as providing me with all the ingredients. However, as I am a big supporter of organic produce, I am happy to share these sponsored organic recipes and posts on my blog, for the benefit of my readers.

 

Comments

  1. says

    Love this easy way of cooking a roast dinner all in the same dish – looks so tasty too. I totally agree that buying organic ingredients can be thrifty too, especially if you supplement with lots of home-grown veggies and herbs. There can be lots more flavour in good, organic ingredients – tasty stock made from leftover chicken bones to make great risotto from etc.

    • says

      Thanks Andrea! I am a lover of all things simple with no mess, so a complete roast dinner in one tray is a dream for me and I was very pleased with my recipe!
      I always make a stock with my leftover bones and it makes a great base for curries and stews, as well as soup too!
      Karen

  2. Irene Wright says

    I like to buy Organic goods as much as possible. Sometimes if they are a little more expensive I will purchase them anyway as then I am more adventurous with any leftovers making sure they are all used. Love roasting a chicken because there are just so many meals you can make with the leftovers. A risotto is probably my favourite.

    • says

      Thanks Irene! Yes, you so right, an organic chicken may cost more than a non-organic bird, but as you say it is a bird that just keeps on giving and I usually manage three family meals form one chicken plus some home-made stock too! Karen

  3. says

    Thanks for posting this! One of the things I struggle with is finding organic and more importantly, locally sourced goods in London. I’m dying to find a food store in central London besides Wholefoods with good organic produce and meat. Any tips?

    • says

      Thanks for your kind comments Nicole. I don’t live in London, so I am not the best person to ask, but, I DO know that any London farmer’s markets would stock organic produce and the major supermarkets offer organic produce too……and you can sometimes pick up special offers in them. Karen

  4. says

    All of these meals look delicious Karen. I’m particularly drawn to the teacup porridge though, it looks so warm, delicious and nourishing! Love these meal plans. Thanks for all the effort you put in to everything you do xx

    • says

      Thanks Laura! I LOVE my mum’s teacup porridge and the honey and apricots makes it special too! THANKS so much for your kind and supportive comments. Karen

  5. says

    Yum! What great ideas! I need to start stocking my cupboard with all these great goodies and be able to whip up an emergency meal that is still healthy!

    • says

      Thanks Shuhan! If you just have even five of my top ten organic ingredients, you will still be making a difference to the environment and wildlife!

  6. Irene Wright says

    The weather has certainly turned into porridge weather!! Just as well I always have some in my store cupboard.

  7. says

    It was a super Twitter party. I do tend to buy a lot of organic produce but confess with honey, it’s not always the case. If I buy the local honey at the farmers’ market to support the local bee-keepers, then it is not necessarily organic. In the supermarkets, I look for the honeys that are not a blend of EC and non-EC honeys, as I don’t fancy any cheap Chinese horrors added to bulk it up, and buy either the Greek honey or Australian, and they are not organic. I wish we had more British honey available that is organic and not mixed with EC/non-EC honeys

    • says

      GOOD point Galina! Maybe I should have made the point that I only buy BRITISH organic honey! And, I do agree about buying local honey too, as I often do, we have LOTS of great honey producers near me, both in France AND the UK. Karen :-)

  8. says

    Very hard to pin down a favourite ingredient, but I’m with you, I do love oats. My top ten is a little different to yours although some ingredients are identical. Organic sugar is something I only occasionally buy. It’s very expensive and hard to get hold of, so I compromise by only buying good quality less refined sugars. Organic honey is also difficult to track down – unless they come from a massive organic farm, you can’t stop bees foraging in non-organic crops.

    All your recipes look as gorgeous as ever.

    • says

      Thanks Choclette!

      You raise some interesting points there and I know organic honey is a contentious issue, so I also support local producers who may not have organic status too! But, I had to add it as I do use lots of honey that is organic – so, that’s why I decided to add it to my top ten list!

      Oats and flour are probably my most used ingredients and sugar for baking!

      Karen

  9. says

    I have loved reading everyone’s organic posts both for the recipes and for the ideas of how you can shop well and afford organic produce. I think it is impossible to but organic and keep the costs down but do support organic producers in buying my milk, eggs, and sometimes meat (more often free range) but feel fine with this as my allotment is organic and produces plenty of good fruit & veg without any intervention form me.
    I support the organic way of faming and know it is the best way to preserve out soil and wildlife, I wish there was a way of making more farmers turn a proportion of their crops over to organic farming so they could appreciate that it is better for the land and actually takes care of itself once established.
    Love your recipes, you have so many I want to try!

  10. Polly davis says

    Those hand pies look too good to put in the kids’ lunch boxes … Might keep them to impress my own friends at lunch time

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