Most of us love cooking and now more than ever due to the lockdown and restrictions on getting to supermarkets, are people taking to their kitchens and experimenting.

Yorkshire Businesswoman has teamed up with chef Tim Bilton who is going to share with us his tips for creating a cooks kitchen and will share some of his recipes that will be healthy, quick and economical.

Do follow us for Tim's regular updates.

Tim Bilton
Chef, Food Writer, Cancer fighter, On a Knife Edge

With all of this COVID-19 happening in the world today, and everyone on lock down, we are all finding our way back in the kitchen making hopefully delicious nutritious food, (if we can get to the shops). But what about what we have tucked away in our cupboard, pantry or dry store to be a little cheffie.

We all lead very busy hectic lives (well we did until this pandemic started). Grab and go food cultures everything easily accessible, over producing of food and a throwaway food culture from the big super markets and us to a certain degree. How many times have you bought more that you actually eat and days later throw it in the bin. Myself included.

Well I for one hope that when we all come through the other side of this coronavirus we can all appreciate what we have and don’t take things and food for granted again.

I some times wonder what it was like during and after the Second World War. Very little resources of food, rationing the whole dig for victory attitude. Today with food shelves being stripped bear we are having to make do with what we have and make food stretch further. Is this really a bad thing?

Ready meals that we pick up because we don’t think that we have the time to start cooking when we arrive home. Well we all have time at the moment now. I hope that we can all keep cooking as

  1. It’s a lot Healthier
  2. Cheaper
  3. Enjoyment, time to unwind and relax
  4. Gives you a great sense of achievement knowing that you have made that.

This combined with exercise a great balance for mindfulness and life in general.

Cooking should not be looked at as a choir it should be a pleasure. Not over complicated, fun and a great way to sit down with the family, friends and relax from the days business.
Even a simple baked potato can be a thing of wonder.

In my first column we are going to look at kitchen and store cupboard basic essentials.

• Cooks knife
• Paring knife
• Carving knife
• Peeler
• Spoons
• Ladle
• Zester
• Wisk
• Pastry brush
• Chopping Board
• Rolling Pin
• Measuring Jug
• Pans large, medium, small, oven proof
• None stick frying pan
• Mixing bowl
• Colander
• Baking tray various sizes
• Thermometer digital


There is no doubt that a well organised and stocked store cupboard makes cookery a lot easier and more enjoyable. Having certain ingredients on hand you can quite easily adapt your cooking styles and flavours to suit your own pallet. An extra pinch of this and a splash or two of that.

Here I pick out my store cupboard essentials with a couple of tips and tricks along the way.


Tinned Tomatoes and Puree
Buy the best quality tinned tomatoes you can, as the flavour will be a lot richer and less watery. The Italian and Spanish brands are the best with all the sunshine these country’s have make the tomatoes a hell of a lot richer in colour and flavour.
Quick and simple tomato sauce for pasta
Diced onion and smashed garlic cooked gently with a little olive oil until soft. Add a squeeze of tomato puree and lightly cook out. Add a 400g tin of chopped or plum tomatoes with a pinch of mixed herbs or oregano season with a little salt and pepper.

Pasta and Noodles
Try to have a selection of pasta in your store cupboard. Long, short each pasta shape has a different property to carry different sauces. Fresh pasta is not always better than dried. Try to purchase Italian pasta rather than own brand pasta, as the quality is totally different. It may be slightly more expensive but you will taste and see the difference.
Spaghetti, Linguini, Penne, Rigatoni, Tagliatelle, Bucatini, Campanelle, Fusilli, Fartalle, Maccaroni, Trofie, Orecchiette.

Soft noodles or dried fine noodles great with sautéed Asian Greens.

The quality of salt that you use in your cooking will make a vast difference to your cooking. I use Maldon or Cornish sea salt it has a pure taste and you don’t have to use as much as standard table salt with its other additives. Salt really does bring out the natural flavours of food ingredients.

Black peppercorns freshly ground in a pepper mill are the best.
Green peppercorns great for sauces pick the peppercorns that are in brine.
Pink peppercorns great in marinades and pickles.

Spices and Herbs
Try to buy spices and herbs that you are going to use the most.
i.e. if you like Chinese flavour pick things like star anise, cloves, fennel seeds, Sichuan pepper, five spice.
Indian:- cumin, cardamom, coriander seeds, Garam Masala, turmeric, chilli, cinnamon, ground ginger.
Spanish:- saffron, Paprika
Italian:- oregano, parsley, basil, rosemary.
Having dried herbs on hand when the fresh varieties are not available or having to adapt recipes to what you have to hand, it’s a great grab and go.

Sauces and Vinegar’s
Soy, Henderson’s relish, Fish sauce or Nam Pla give a fantastic umami hit of flavour to dishes, sesame seed oil, Balsamic, White and red wine vinegar, Malt, Cider, sherry and rice vinegar’s, Chilli sauce like Tabasco, Mustard English, Dijon, Wholegrain, Horseradish, Wasabi, Mayonnaise, tomato ketchup, HP sauce. With this lot you should be sorted.

There are literally hundreds of oils on the market from extra virgin olive oil, Rapeseed, Nut oils like hazelnut, walnut, peanut and avocado. To the humble vegetable oil.
Little tip fry with vegetable or sunflower oil.
Dressings with olive or nut oil.
Don’t try to fry with olive oil one its expensive and two olive oil will burn at a lower temperature than vegetable oils.

Basmati for Indian cooking
Arborio for risotto or even Paella
Jasmine for Thai
Long grain for everyday easy cooking like stir frying or just a simple chilli con carne.
Wild rice this is black rice and takes longer to cook.
Wholegrain and brown rice great taste and source of fibre.

Buy and use unrefined made from pure unrefined sugar cane. This will add better depth of flavour to your cooking.
Golden Caster sugar
Light soft brown sugar
Palm or coconut palm sugar great for marinating dishes
Icing sugar for baking.

Best of the Rest
Stock cubes Vegetable, Chicken, Beef.
Flour Plain, self Raising and strong bread flour
Coconut milk and cream, ried fruit apricots, sultanas, currents, dates these make a great snack also Cous cous, pearl barley and bulgur wheat
Nuts, walnut, hazelnut, peanuts, almonds ground, flaked and whole, pecan, cashew, pistachio and pine kernels, Olives, Capers, Fish Tuna, anchovies, mackerel and sardines.

Dried mushrooms these will have a great shelf life and are easily rehydrated in hot water. Great for stews casseroles and risottos
Beans such as cannellini, kidney, chick peas, black eyed peas.Chocolate and Cocoa powder, Honey and maple syrup

Nigella seeds also known as onion seeds have a mild sweet onion flavour and add texture and are a beautiful way to garnish food.

Pomegranate molasses give a great tartness and acidity to simple dishes
Sumac like a lemon sherbet of the savoury spice world a light dusting on any dish will lift it to great heights.

Harissa a blend of peppers, chilli and garlic.

And not forgetting the Cling film, tin foil and baking parchment.

I hope that you like my new food column as I do writing it. Enjoy the recipes, don’t worry if you are missing any ingredients try to substitute it for something that you do have.

Happy Cooking and Eating

Tim x

Check out my YouTube channel for more recipes and how to demonstrations.