There are people in this world who make lists, plan meticulously, have a tidy desk, and write menus for the week ahead. Sadly, I am not that person. I mean, who knows on Sunday what The People will want for dinner on Thursday? Instead, I prefer my weekend ritual of trawling the farmers market, greengrocer and fishmonger for seasonal cooking inspiration.
While lists may not be my thing, I do like to be prepared at any time for any meal and be un-phased by late additions to the table. And for this I have a plan. Fridge Basics (FB for short, not to be confused with Facebook) are condiments, sauces and marinades that sit in jars on a shelf in the fridge, each for up to two weeks. They can be used on a variety of vegetables, proteins, grains, you name it – to bring your ingredients and meals to life. With this plan and your FB jars ready and waiting in the fridge, you never have to start cooking a meal from square one.
Each of the Fridge Basics listed below takes no more than five minutes to assemble. They can be whipped up in a quiet moment so they are ready and waiting to rustle up a quick weeknight dinner, or turn leftovers into something completely new and exciting. This is essentially my no meltdown method to producing meals.
I taught a class on this topic last week, and it turned out to be much more fun than it sounds. FB most clearly explains how I cook, especially during the week. My (not so secret) stash of fridge jars makes the most mundane components of any meal into an appetising, colourful and tasty dish. No fuss required.
Here are my current top choices and suggestions for how to use them and with flavours options to make them your own.
As we are on the cusp of winter, these are ones I use more at this time of year, but if you are a BBQ fiend, this sauce is great to have in the fridge at all times even if you are only oven baking your chicken or sausages to give you that summer feel.