Welcome to Shelf Life, our new series in which we ask fun chefs to show us what’s in their lockdown larders. First up, ‘Sunday Brunch’ host (and podcaster!) Simon Rimmer
I really think that standing in my kitchen, experimenting or cooking for my family, has kept me upbeat through lockdown. Cooking is therapeutic, relaxing, invigorating and fun. Making a spag bol, listening to great music, a glass of wine in hand, family talking nonsense is all I need to feel good.
I think we’ve all turned to our cupboards and freezers a lot more. So here’s a few things I love in my larder (posh word for cupboard #northern).
I got sent a batch of Heath Farmhouse’s delicious raw honey a while ago and it has become my ‘go to’ honey. Not only is it delicious, but all profits go to the bees. I feel like honey has been high on my list of ingredients during lockdown. I love to sit and read the paper, drink coffee and eat toast and honey most mornings. But I also roast squash with it, make dressings, add a bit to a curry sauce, drizzle over Manchego or goats’ cheese. It’s also cheeky in a warm glass of whisky.
2. Coffee Beans
California Coffee is one of my fave places. The owner Justin roasts the beans on the premises and the flavour is superb. There are so many great independent coffee shops around, but this is defo my number one. Worth buying a big old bag’o’beans and pretending you’re in Malibu.
I adore a good quality granola. I eat it straight from the bag, with yoghurt, and milk. It can also be used as a crumble topping, and even crushed with breadcrumbs on top of mac n cheese. This from Yockenthwaite Farm in Skipton is so good. The ginger one is something special.
Extra virgin rapeseed oil. I was always a bit ‘meh’ about rapeseed oil, to be honest. But it’s a great British crop and the quality seems to be getting better and better. This, from Cotswold Gold, is delicious in dressings or as a finishing oil on pasta or fish dishes. The aroma as it hits hot food is pretty mouth-watering.
Got to be honest; I have hundreds of pickles, chutneys and hot sauces. I love the people from Cheshire Cheese Company. When I do food festivals they’re always there, selling their great cheeses and now their chutneys that are, obviously, great with cheese. I love seeing small independents working hard, and then seeing them grow and flourish. Something I enjoy with chutney is mixing it with mayo to make the most incredible flavoured condiment. A red onion mayo on a burger or a simple ham butty is to die for.
We recently started working with this superb Manchester-based brewery called Beatnikz Republic at Greens [Simon Rimmer’s Didsbury restaurant]. They are at the top of the league for modern-style craft beer. Superb labelling, beer names and lovely touchy-feely packaging. Tropic Fiesta and Prague Away are my two favourites. Their mini kegs are well worth an order, too.
Spencer Hyman, who started Cocoa Runners, is a regular on ‘Sunday Brunch’. He curates amazing artisan chocolate from all over the world. He very kindly sends me a monthly subscription (which costs around £20 a month) and you get chocolate that will blow your mind. Because it’s so good, it really does feel like a treat with every piece, so you (theoretically) don’t scoff it all in one go.
‘Grilling with Simon Rimmer’ in association with Weber BBQs is available on Acast right now.