Store cupboard essentials

Cooking in the SSC way involves cupboards well-stocked with a variety of spices, oils and sauces – one-off purchases that cost a pretty penny up front, but help you save in the long-term.

These things never run out at the same time, so replenishing them is easily affordable as part of my £25/week budget.

If you’re putting together a food parcel for a student off to university, they’ll benefit far more from this than SuperNoodles and tinned spaghetti.


Herbs and spices:

  • Table salt
  • Black pepper
  • Ground cumin
  • Ground coriander
  • Chilli powder
  • Turmeric
  • Garam masala
  • Curry powder
  • Crushed chilis
  • Cayenne pepper
  • Ground cinnamon
  • Paprika (both smoked and hot, ideally)
  • Dried thyme
  • Dried rosemary
  • Dried basil


Sauces, oils and vinegars:

  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Rapeseed oil
  • Sesame oil
  • Rice wine vinegar
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Soy sauce (light and dark)
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey


Dried goods:

  • Plain flour
  • Self-raising flour
  • Baking powder
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Brown sugar
  • White rice
  • Linguine
  • Breadcrumbs (not fresh)
  • Stock cubes (chicken, veg, beef)


Tins and jars:

  • Ghee
  • Ginger paste
  • Garlic paste
  • Baked beans
  • Red kidney beans
  • Chopped tomatoes
  • Passata
  • Tomato puree
  • Chickpeas

Tip: pastes in squeezy tubes are insanely overpriced, so find the jars in the ethnic food aisle. Compare Very Lazy Garlic Paste (£1.85/75g) with Nishaan Garlic Paste (£1.39/283g), both at Tesco.