{.kitchen notes.}

by devourslowly

A well known fact: – There is ALWAYS food at Sarina’s.

I quite often get asked how I manage my little life to always be able to whip something up at a moment’s notice.  Well… not quite true that.

We do two, three or even four shops a week to not only keep our produces fresh but also to keep the food supply going.

We spend a lot of down time doing preparatory cooking/baking.  For example, bread will be made twice or three times a week.  On Saturdays we will make stock from off cuts.  Every now and then H and I will spend a rainy day baking batches of cookies.  Old bread will be crushed into crumbs or fried into croutons.  Dried berries/cherries will be marinated in Grand Marnier, Cointreau or Brandy.  Tomatoes, herbs and spice will be boiled down into pasta sauce.  Tofu will be marinated with leftover sauce.  Cooking chores are absolutely endless.

You see… I suffer from occasional hunger pangs and if I need to eat @ 2 in the morning I will eat at 2 in the morning.  This is New Zealand after all.  I am pretty sure Insomnia Cookies does not deliver to my neighbourhood.  How else am I going to have peanut butter sandwich and a glass of milk in the middle of the night?

Apart from that I believe in a well stocked pantry of essentials.  Here are a list of must haves I don’t kid about.


  • Lemons – As I had said before, ALWAYS ALWAYS buy organic lemons.
  • Various fresh herbs – whatever is fresh at the market.  I often end up with mint, coriander, chilli, parsley and thyme.
  • Milk – we are still stuck at the full cream blue top milk.  H is the one who drinks milk and he doesn’t believe in watered down milk.
  • Soy Milk – the Tofu Shop non sweetened soy milk is the only soy milk that tastes like how soy milk taste in Asia.  Since I don’t drink milk getting my soy milk right is a big thing for me.
  • Apples – we buy ours from Bhana Brothers on Ponsonby Road.  They are always juicy and fresh.  In the colder months we live on Jazz apples.  Yum yum yum.  Winter winter please please stay!
  • Tomatoes (or cherry tomatoes) – not always in season but Nosh and Sabato have good year-round suppliers.
  • Eggs – I am paranoid about the freshness of eggs so I always get half a dozen and not any more.
  • Butter – I get mine from Huckleberry.  H has butter with bread and I hate to think him spreading chemicals on his toasts.
  • Homemade bread – time consuming but I find strange comfort in kneading dough.
  • Cheese – a good quality parmigiano reggiano can last you FOREVER.  You pay a bit more but the quality and concentration of taste means you won’t need much in a dish anyway.


  • Flour – I am obsessed with flour so always have at least five different types of flour going at one time.
  • Rice – Asian rice, risotto rice you name it.
  • Pasta – down to personal preference at the moment I am into Rustichella pasta for texture and variety.
  • Vanilla – great for baking and general cooking.  I love the Nielsen Massey extract for a strong vanilla taste, Heilala for plump pods and Equagold for when I feel thrifty but don’t want to deprive myself (or for resentful cooking).
  • Maldon salt – I won’t have it any other way.
  • Good quality Olive oil for dipping – At the moment I am loving Olivo’s Orange infused olive oil.  Because you are eating this straight get a good quality oil.
  • Olive oil for cooking – I use the cheaper variety you can get from Nosh so that my bank account does not bleed too much.
  • Soy sauce – I haven’t settled on a favourite at the moment but the Japanese varieties tend to be lighter and more adventurous with taste.
  • Valrhona Feves – I go for the Araguani 72% because I can’t stand milk or white chocolate.
  • Valrhona cocoa powder – the only cocoa that is black enough in New Zealand I think.
  • Ines Rosales Sweet Olive Oil Tortas – afternoon quick snack, great with tea and coffee.
  • Allpress organic coffee beans – we buy 200g at a time to keep the home stock fresh.
  • Red wine – Merlot rather than pinot noir.  Strange that.  New Zealand is known for its pinot noirs but I can’t seem to get pass a good merlot.
  • Beer – There is a British shop at Onehunga, H goes there when he is home sick 🙂

What are your kitchen essentials??