In addition to the wonderful array of fresh, seasonal produce to choose from, you may also include basic pantry staples and protein such as meat, fish, seafood and tofu. Don’t forget though, part of the judging criteria is around your use of fresh, seasonal produce, so try not to overpower your recipe with too much meat, seafood or sides.
To get you started, below is a list of common pantry basics to consider for your recipe. Flavour is important, so consider the fresh herbs and produce you have chosen and what dried spices or sauces might work well them.
- Breadcrumbs - try making fresh breadcrumbs and freezing them for when needed
- Canned tomatoes - whole or chopped canned tomatoes are a good substitute when tomatoes aren’t in season
- Dried fruit - such as raisins or sultanas, go for Australian grown
- Flour - any type including self raising, plain, OO
- Nuts - any variety, try your local deli
- Olive Oil - go for the best quality extra virgin olive oil you can afford, Australian oil is best for freshness as it hasn’t travelled around the world to get here!
- Pulses - including lentils, split peas and chickpeas
- Rice - any variety, including Arborio
- Sauce - classic Asian sauces include Fish, Hoi Sin, Soy and Sweet Chilli
- Stock - try making stock from scratch, it’s so easy and full of flavour and freezes for later use
- Sugar - including granulated, castor, brown and raw sugar
- Vinegar - including white, balsamic and rice vinegar
For the best flavours, try spices in sealed envelopes and store them in clean glass jars (remember to write the use by date on the jar!)
- Black peppercorns
- Cinnamon sticks
- Coriander seeds
- Cumin seeds
- Curry leaves
- Fennel seeds
- Ground turmeric
- Sesame seeds
- Vanilla beans
- Butter - good quality
- Cheese - whatever variety, go for the freshest and best quality you can afford and avoid pre-grated packages
- Eggs - organic, free range
- Milk - be aware that skim milk can be unsuitable for some recipes due to the lower fat content
- Yoghurt - natural or greek yoghurt is most common in recipes
- Tofu - not strictly dairy, tofu a good protein substitute for meat
You may include any red or white meat, such as beef, lamb, veal, chicken, turkey and pork. Talk to your local butcher about what cuts would be suitable for the recipe you want to create and how to pick the best cuts of meat.
Fresh is definitely best where seafood is concerned. Your local fishmonger will be able to help with advice on which seafood might be suitable for your recipe and preparation tips.