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Pantry of Dreams – Random Recipes #35

randomrecipes2This is my last post for the year and last Random Recipes for the year. At such a busy time of year, Dom from Belleau Kitchen has let us off the hook by challenging us to ‘Dare to Bare’. Rather than a recipe, we have been asked to photograph our food cupboards and pantries. To put on display the order and disorder that’s behind those magic meals we produce each month. Thanks to Dom for being a great host and for coming up with so many clever themes to force us to revisit our cookbooks and dig around in our cupboards and freezers.

These photos are a true reflection of my cupboards. No food stylists were harmed in the creation of this post.


It’s all about the dry goods. Flours, sugars, couscous, quinoa, freekah and bulgar wheat – you’ll find them all here. Also the lesser used ingredients such as dessicated coconut and semolina, shoved to the back. Mosquito repellent, within handy reach is also stored here. There are a lot more bags of flour and sugar than I would normally have but, it’s that time of year….

Third Floor

The ‘everyday shelf’. All of the sauces, vinegars (of which there are many), oils and spreads including of course Vegemite reside here. Canola cooking spray is always at the front and I’ve ditched the lid as it didn’t fit properly. The Sriracha Chilli Sauce is a must have staple. There’s a wire stand tucked in the back where all of the baking ingredients are stacked – baking powder, caster sugar, cooking chocolate, vanilla, yeast, flavourings and colourings. Muesli bars also sit on this shelf. I buy ‘Be Natural’ as they are relatively low in fat and kilojoules and occasionally I can even fit one in to my 5:2 calorie limit.

Second Floor

Tins. Lots of tins. Beans, beetroot, coconut milk, evaporated milk, tuna and tinned tomatoes. I only use Ardmona. Not only are they Australian made, I think they have the best flavour. I tend to use crushed tomatoes rather than chopped as the consistency is better. They cost far more than the imports but are well worth it. When it comes to beans, lentils and chickpeas though, I only buy Annalisa, from Italy. They cost about the same as the other brands and trial and error has shown that these are the best of the bunch.

First Floor

Cereals and biscuits at the front. The large green biscuit barrel was a throwout from Tupperware. Apparently not everyone was so keen on the aqua and purple combo so I got it for a song. I also store opened pappadums in a zip lock bag in there, to keep them fresh. Behind the cereals are noodles – egg, rice, glass, soba. You can’t live in Australia and not have noodles in your pantry. There’s also dried mushrooms, dried black fungus, nori sheets and a couple of pouches of heat and serve Palak Paneer for when the spirit is flagging or time is short.

Ground Floor

This is where I store an emergency tetra brick of milk, sometimes bottles of soda or tonic water and extra ground coffee – I favour Vittoria for plunger. We keep our medicines and tablets in a couple of ice cream containers. Things you ‘take’ in one, things you ‘apply’ in another. The main resident in this part of the cupboard is my 30 something Breville Kitchen Wizz food processor. It’s still going strong but is a bloody pain in the neck to drag out to use.

The Door

My handy husband attached small shelves so I would have more space. I keep a good deal of my spices in a large container in the fridge as the heat in Qld makes the volatile oils dissipate very quickly and you end up with tasteless powders and seeds. Having said that, I can’t fit them all in the fridge and there are some high use items that have enough turnover to stay in the cupboard. Cumin (seeds and powder), tumeric, cinnamon, white and black pepper, sumac and garam masala. I also store dry pulses I use frequently such as lentils and pearl barley and odds and ends such as cup-a-soups and mystery items from the Asian grocer.

This is certainly not the Pantry of my Dreams. My pantry is a former broom cupboard that I had a builder install shelves in, when we moved in 12 years ago. It’s the pantry of a very frustrated cook.  But if I build it… Yesterday I rang a builder to start the long and no doubt fraught process of building a new kitchen. I have two things on my wish list. A double oven and a large pantry. Stay tuned.

Bye Bye Pantry…

Thanks for reading my posts during the year. I hope you’ve enjoyed them. TIFFIN is taking the traditional Christmas break but will be back in 2014. TIFFIN is also doing some housekeeping and will be moving to a new self hosted website with some new features she has been after for quite some time. Stay tuned.

18 comments… add one
  • Rambling Tart December 17, 2013, 8:47 pm

    Wishing you a beautiful holiday! 🙂 Excited to see the changes in your blog when you come back. 🙂

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! December 17, 2013, 9:24 pm

      That was quick Rambling Tart – I only post this 15 minutes ago! Thanks for your well wishes. I hope it all goes well. See you next year.

  • belleau kitchen December 18, 2013, 2:17 am

    awww… thanks for honouring me with your last post of the year… and what a brilliant way to produce this post… think i'd live in basement!…. thanks so much for the entry… have a very merry christmas and a wonderful new year… see you in 2014!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! December 18, 2013, 9:41 am

      It's a great end to the year and a fun read as people try to peer into my cupboard. I live mainly on the 3rd floor. See you in 2014 Dom – Cheers!

  • Bizzy Lizzy's Good Things December 18, 2013, 5:53 am

    Happy cooking for the rest of the year, Fiona. Thank you for your friendship and wishing you season's eatings!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! December 18, 2013, 9:42 am

      All the best Liz. Hope to see you over the break. Thanks for being such a regular visitor to the blog.

  • Shannan December 18, 2013, 8:42 am

    Merry Christmas Fiona! Look forward to pics of the new kitchen. Cheers, Shannan

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! December 18, 2013, 9:43 am

      Thanks Shanan – good to see you here from time to time. I'm full of possibilities and dreams but wehn I meet the builder in January, the reality will no doubt be a little different.

  • Brooke - Little Miss Moi December 19, 2013, 9:12 am

    Wow you are so lucky that you can keep your dry goods in the pantry like that in Brisbane. My mum can't, her stuff gets infested with weevils (her house is only four years old!) I definitely can't in the tropics of Timor. So I have two fridges – one is a drinks/baking ingredients fridge, the other is the normal fridge. Maybe I just need to invest in some good, weevil-blocking tupperware…

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! December 19, 2013, 3:54 pm

      Hey Brooke – my Mum keeps all of her flour etc in the fridge but I haven't really had a problem. Having said that, the moths from the lawn grub are terrible at present and I keep finding them in my pantry so I know what that means!

      Years ago I went to see Donna Hay speak and she said the number 1 question she had from Qld was the issue of flour and whether to store it in the fridge

  • Tandy | Lavender and Lime December 22, 2013, 3:44 pm

    Hope you get the kitchen of your dreams!

  • Susan Lindquist December 28, 2013, 12:50 am

    Such interesting things you keep in your pantry! I am personally quite green-eyed at the shelves that are mounted in the pantry door … what efficient use of space!

    You have me really curious to see how you blog will change in the New Year! I'll see you then! Happy Holidays and have a relaxing and restful blogging vacation!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! December 31, 2013, 9:22 am

      Hi Susan – I just got the racks from the local hardware so perhaps you could do the same. I spent a week housesitting in a new home and got some ideas about what I would (and wouldn't) like in a new pantry. Talking to the builder next week!

  • Anne Szadorska January 2, 2014, 5:07 am

    The door shelves are a great addition, we are in rented flat so can't do nice little extras but one day I will have my own to play with I hope!

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! January 2, 2014, 8:49 am

      Thanks. Sometimes you need to see inside other people's kitchen to get your inspiration! Tuck this idea away for when you have your own place.

  • Jan Rhoades January 4, 2014, 5:09 pm

    Rang a builder??? How exciting! Someone we both know? Do you make your own caster sugar? I do now? So handy when you have run out of store-bought. Good on you with the Ardmona tomatoes! Annalisa are indeed the best value. I did a comparison between contents (beans etc) and 'juice'. This brand outranked all others. The Own Brand ones (both of the Big Two) were inferior in many

    • Fiona Bris-Vegas! January 8, 2014, 11:46 am

      Yes – but you knew that. No, I don't make my own caster sugar unless it calls for desparate times. I just always have caster sugar and nothing else (except brown). No surprises re: your comparison test.

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