Recently there was an outbreak of Hepatitis in Australia that stemmed from people eating contaminated frozen berries.
Since I’m a bit of a hermit, I wouldn’t have known about the berry recall if it weren’t for my news-savvy Irishman.
Fortunately we didn’t have any problem berries in the freezer. Which was unusual but it’s been peak berry season here so I’ve been making the most of the abundance of fresh berries at the farmers market.
Anyway it got me thinking about my freezer and how much I love it.
I’m always teaching my online cooking students the value of a well stocked pantry. And I firmly believe your pantry isn’t just for shelf-stable ingredients. Your fridge and freezer are equally important.
So today I went and had a good poke around my freezer. Here’s what I found…
7 Things I (pretty much) Always Have in the Freezer
1. Ice Cream.
In our house we usually only have dessert on a Saturday night so we like to go all out! My favourite is vanilla ice cream because it goes so well with pretty much any dessert AND you can customize or ‘pimp’ it to suit your mood.
I’m so glad that Fergal doesn’t take after his mamma when it comes to peas. I’m not the biggest fan but he LOVES them. His dinners often start with ‘parmesan peas’ – frozen peas defrosted in a frying pan with a little butter and served with some grated parmesan. I also have some corn and broad beans but these are less frequent inhabitants.
Until I read the GMO comments on my blog post about edamame, I had them on high rotation but am currently reconsidering. Am planning a blog post to fill you in on that story.
3. Cooked Rice.
I don’t always have cooked rice in the freezer but since Fergal loves the fried rice recipe below, I’m keeping it more and more. I also often have cooked beans or chickpeas frozen in zip lock bags because it’s easier to soak and cook a big batch.
The biggest drawer in our freezer is usually full of different meat because I like to shop less frequently. There’s usually some sausages, steaks, a larger piece of meat like brisket or ribs and some sort of chicken.
I also keep a ziplock bag for bones for stock that I fill as we go. I used to think it was too much hassle but every time I make the stock, I feel so virtuous for not wasting all those bones that it’s become a habit.
We don’t eat much bread. It’s usually a Saturday treat for my Irishman. So I slice his sourdough and keep it in a ziplock bag. For Fergal and me I keep a sliced loaf of Deek’s gluten-free bread made from quinoa.
6. Egg Whites.
I love love love home made mayo on my poached eggs in the morning so I make a batch about once a fortnight. Which generates a lot of egg whites. Sometime I eat them as an egg white omelet but usually I pop them in the freezer in a ziplock bag. Apart from these potato rosti and my mum’s pavlova, I’m a bit short on egg white recipes, so if you have one, please share!
7. Yoghurt Starter Culture.
It’s hard to beat home made yoghurt! Most times I use the previous batch to ‘seed’ my new yoghurt but I keep my freeze dried starter culture in the freezer for when I forget to save some. I’ve had it for almost 2 years and it’s still going strong.
What about you?
Anything you always keep a stash of in your freezer? I’d love to hear about it in the comments below…
Fergal’s Egg & Pea Fried Rice
Like a lot of toddlers, Fergal has a healthy distrust of anything green. Fortunately he’s a fan of peas so I’ve been keeping a stash in the freezer. I also keep some cooked rice so I can whip up this dish when I need a quick dinner for him. I should mention it’s one of my Irishman’s faves as well so a good one for keeping the whole family happy!
Enough for: 2-3
Takes: 15 minutes
3 cups (360g / 12oz) cooked rice
2 handfuls peas
1-2 tablespoons soy sauce
2 green onions (scallions), chopped (optional)
1. Heat a large frying pan on a medium high heat. Whisk eggs in a bowl.
2. Add a splash of oil to the pan and then the eggs. Cook for about 30 seconds and then stir. Cook for another 30 seconds and stir again. Keep cooking and stirring until the eggs are almost set. Put egg on a clean plate.
3. Return the pan to the heat and add more oil. Stir fry the rice and peas until everything is hot and the rice is just starting to brown a little.
4. Remove from the heat and add the soy sauce. Taste and add more soy if needed.
5. Stir in the egg and green onion (if using) and serve hot.
low GI – use basmati rice or cooked quinoa or see the paleo option.
to cook the rice – bring a large pot of water to the boil. Add rice and simmer for 10 minutes. Drain well then cool. Refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to use.
hot – add some chopped red or green chilli with the peas or serve with chilli oil or your favourite hot sauce at the table.
more veg – feel free to add chopped red peppers (capsicum), snow peas, sugar snap peas, carrots, corn kernels, green beans, or asparagus. Anything that works in a stir fry is good.
vegan – replace egg with a few generous handful of roasted peanuts or cooked lentils or beans.
carnivore – brown some chopped bacon before adding the peas and rice. Or toss in a few handfuls of cooked chicken.
paleo – replace rice with grated raw cauliflower (about 1/2 cauli).
herby – serve with coriander (cilantro), mint or basil leaves on top.
ps. Have you seen my print book, ‘5-Ingredients 10-Minutes’?
For all the details go to: