07/06/2024

The Tasteful Pantry

Every good cook leans on a well stocked pantry to draw from so they can cook tastefully! 

Having just renovated my kitchen, I have been going through the process of stocktaking, organising and refreshing my pantry goods, and I can tell you, it’s well worth the time and effort it takes, and is a very satisfying feeling at the end.

STEP ONE – Stocktake
Whether your pantry is small or spacious, organisation and a place for everything is the key. The first step is to stocktake what you have, discarding items that are past their best and washing out jars that you can re-use. Trust me, hanging on to those old packets of herbs and spices that have been languishing in the back of the cupboard for years, is not doing anyone any good. They would have lost so much flavour, it’s akin to sprinkling dust on your food!  

STEP TWO – Organise

Deciding what containers you need, where they will be housed and what goes into them does take some thought. We all love the look of individually labelled uniform pantry sets that stack, but honestly, even re-purposed coffee jars marked with handwritten sticky labels will do the trick. If you have space, I recommend storing flour in large canisters with a scoop so you can measure it correctly and bakery baskets are both decorative and great to store those unopened packets of pasta and rice.

When planning my pantry, I utilised the overhead corner space to create spice shelves with jars purchased at Kmart and my husband built me a wall of narrow shelves to store cans, jars and bottles, so that I can see them at a glance – a practical solution and good use of what was a skinny wall in the walk in pantry.  It’s like my own mini supermaket in there!

STEP THREE – Refresh

Now the fun begins! Think about how you cook, and write a list of the pantry staples you always reach for, to replenish. Then add your wishlist of items that you can slowly add to your pantry – maybe more specialty items like truffle oil or verjuice – as doing it all at once can prove expensive.

Most of my cooking is Mediterranean-style, so my pantry reflects that, but I do have a section for Asian sauces and ingredients for when I feel like whipping up a stir fry or dumplings. 

After I released my book, Tasteful, I put together a Pantry Checklist of all the ingredients I use in the book. On it you will find my recommended list of spices, dry goods, oils and condiments, cans and jars, dried fruit, nuts and seeds, as well as fridge and freezer items that are great to have on standby.  You can download it here as a guide to get you started.

I know many people focus on Spring Cleaning, but I think Winter is a perfect time to get stuck into your pantry on a cold wintry Sunday so that you are well prepared and inspired to cook throughout the cooler months.

Here’s to happy pantry planning!

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Dylan Colaci
Dylan Colaci
08:34 23 May 24
Naomi’s cooking class was inclusive and lots of fun. Brought everyone together and the food and wine were all amazing. Thanks Naomi!
Matt Torcasio
Matt Torcasio
07:41 23 May 24
Amazing experience with Naomi. We are had such a great cooking class and cooking experience. Everybody loved it lots of laughs, lots of drinks and lots of fun.
Mia Hara
Mia Hara
07:35 23 May 24
A group of six of us attended Naomi‘s in person cooking class. We had the opportunity to choose the menu and theme prior to the experience. Each of us were involved the whole time. Throughout the session we had a chance to learn tips and tricks in the kitchen and she made us feel comfortable to ask questions. Naomi was professional, insightful and so much fun to learn from! Will definitely be booking in again!! THANKYOU Naomi!
Melissa Matheson
Melissa Matheson
20:44 14 Sep 22
We organised a virtual cook-a-long for our team with Naomi which was absolutely fantastic. Everyone thoroughly enjoyed the session, Naomi is very engaging and has an absolute zest for inspiring others to find their finesse is the kitchen.
Cate Tibbertsma
Cate Tibbertsma
14:07 10 Sep 21
I enjoy Naomi's online cooking classes immensely. The classes are well-organised with all relevant information sent in advance so that the cook-along runs smoothly. Naomi is an engaging teacher and generously shares her knowledge and skill with the class; her recipes are easy to master and . many of them have become family favourites in my home.
Lisa Anderson
Lisa Anderson
02:23 06 Sep 21
I was fortunate enough to enjoy a few hours cooking with Naomi and some friends (virtually) last Sunday. What a delightful way to spend a few hours pulling together a delicious meal. Naomi made the whole experience so easy from booking, organising ingredients right through to putting the meal on the table. I loved hearing about her experiences of both the food we were cooking (Moroccan chicken) but also the places she had been. Oh and my family- being the beneficiary of a new take on Sunday night dinner were happy too. I would highly recommend this experience.
Sharon Thomson
Sharon Thomson
03:34 05 Sep 21
Naomi’s Cook-Along sessions are always fun and extremely informative. Ask Naomi anything about ingredients, food and wine and she will impart a world of wisdom. Not to mention the dish made in just an hour - so delicious and such a breeze online in the session. Thanks Naomi 😊
Carol Benson
Carol Benson
04:44 17 Aug 21
Naomi’s cooking classes are such fun plus they are improving my cooking skills. All the meals I have prepared with the classes are so flavoursome and have appealed to all the family (including a fussy teenager). All are on my ‘will make again’ list. I particularly like the extra little tips we get from Naomi – these tips are what helps a good cook become a great cook. Thanks Naomi
Jan Matheson
Jan Matheson
04:05 17 Aug 21
I've completed several of Naomi's Cookalong sessions and always learn new tips. The sessions are fun and we accomplish a delicious meal in 1 1/2 hours. Looking forward to more sessions.
Lorraine Aspinall
Lorraine Aspinall
09:13 13 Aug 21
“A good cook is like a sorceress who dispenses happiness.” Naomi brings joy to the art of cooking and sharing her wealth of knowledge and experience. Looking forward to joining more cook along sessions. Thank you Naomi!
Andrea Wood
Andrea Wood
00:04 12 Aug 21
Hats off to Naomi, she has absolutely mastered the presentation of her easy and delicious recipes in her classes on zoom.This was our first zoom class and we were really impressed. Naomi gave an immersive experience, enthusiastically sharing her knowledge and tips along the way and at the end of the class, we had a finished impressive meal, ready to sit down and enjoy.Naomi’s classes are a fab way to prepare your evening meal in a social environment and all while increasing your confidence and prowess in the kitchen. Now that’s an absolute win in our book.Thank you Naomi. You’ll be seeing us again in your Zoom kitchen. :)
River P
River P
11:45 27 Oct 20
Who would have thought Thursday nights would become a highlight of the week! These cooking classes are great fun and set an easy pace. You start at 6pm, relax with a wine with a great group while things bubble away, and you'll have a fab dinner on the table by 7pm - and it really will look amazing as Naomi also shows how to present things beautifully. I thought I'd have to do a lot of prep before the classes as I'm a slow cook, but it's not the case. You really do cook along easily in the hour and can ask for tips and questions all along the way. I've loved learning everything from restaurant style duck to Persian rice pilaf. I also highly recommend the leisurely Sunday slow cooks - you'll have a beautiful Sunday lunch and pro tips for leftovers. Think slow roast Greek lamb, then souvlaki with the leftovers and you know you'll be happy!
Luke Todd
Luke Todd
02:28 26 Oct 20
Naomi's online cooking classes are so fun and the food is delicious. Can't recommend highly enough. Book yourself in for a class, you'll be glad you did!
Sharon Tein
Sharon Tein
02:51 11 Sep 20
Great fun classes full of tasty food and all within an hour! Try it. You won’t be disappointed.
Loredana De Simone-Rybka
Loredana De Simone-Rybka
08:53 20 Jul 20
Highly recommend doing Naomi’s online cook along, it was such a great experience. Loved learning new recipes and learning new cooking tips along the way. Enjoyed making a few meals together with a great group of people and the food was absolutely delicious. Look forward to doing more classes. Thank you for creating this wonderful experience bringing foodies together sharing knowledge in cooking good simple, wholesome and delicious food. It was so much fun.
Aliki Zouliou
Aliki Zouliou
10:13 26 Jun 20
Cooking can sometimes be a chore for me but Naomi's cook-along classes have been so much fun! With her guidance I was able to whip up delightful meals that I normally wouldn’t have attempted, ready right in time for dinner – AND enjoyed by all the family!I found it was easy to multi-task when listening to voice instructions during the classes and being able to glance over at the screen at any time allowed me to visually check that I was on track. It was also reassuring having Naomi there ‘live’ in my kitchen to answer any questions along the way.Looking forward to the next Thursday night cook-along!!!
Patricia Colaci
Patricia Colaci
08:35 26 Jun 20
Thanks Naomi for another great, fun Cook-Along session last night. We always look forward to our Thursday night Foodcentric Cook-Alongs. The Moroccan Lamb Tagine was absolutely scrumptious and even had leftovers for today 😋 Looking forward to next week session - Surprise Mozzarella Meatballs & Brie & Garlic Bread. 😊
Julie Hughes
Julie Hughes
00:00 24 Jun 20
Best $20 ever invested in myself. This was my first on line zoom class, I was not sure what to expect. I found myself completely immersed in the experience. Fantastic collegiate experience, lovely to meet others over zoom and such fun!. Really helpful to be cooking with an expert. I learnt simple ways of tweaking dishes, so helpful! The class was structured and very easy to follow and to be honest it made cooking this family meal effortless. I was sad when the hour was up but very proud of what I created. I am a convert now! Naomi was very generous and thoughtful in the way she provided a shopping list before hand and the menu. Perfect for people who love to cook, want to learn more skills. For those who can't get out this online format provides some great social engagement and something to look forward to. Just do it!
Ursula Czubala
Ursula Czubala
23:36 23 Jun 20
Cooking classes with Naomi are fun, relaxed and educational! My favourite part of these classes, is I'm cooking from my own kitchen (don't go anywhere!), and I get to eat dinner with my family straight after the 1 hour session is done at 7pm. They're affordable and something to look forward to each week. Thanks Naomi!
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