11 Ingredients to Fancy Up Your Cooking

If you have started cooking and are trying to make more and more new foods from scratch, you might notice that there are ingredients coming up in the recipes that you need to buy. This is a list of 11 ingredients that might come in handy once you start digging into more interesting recipes. None of these ingredients are really very fancy or expensive but they are a bit rarer than the everyday bread and butter. You might be from a part of the world where you eat some of these things every day. If that is the case, I am sorry, I can only speak for myself and where I live. I hope you enjoy this. If you notice that an ingredient is stuck in your fridge or pantry for a long time, just google what else you can use it for and I guarantee you that you’ll find a delicious recipe just waiting for you to cook.


spinach casserole

60% (or more) Cocoa Solids Chocolate – Dark chocolate is a delicious way to make real, true chocolate cakes, muffins or other bakes. Don’t fall for the ‘easy’ chocolate chips with many ingredients and unknown percentage of actual cocoa solids. Go with a good quality dark chocolate to achieve some very well rounded, complex chocolate flavours.

Adzuki Beans – There is a million dishes you can make with these, just type them in to Pinterest, and you’ll see. They can be made into a sweet paste and used in sweet bakes, they can be your meat substitute and they can also be the star of the dish, like in this delicious slow cooker recipe.

Balsamic Vinegar – this ingredient is amazing for sauces, salad dressings, risottos and pasta dishes. There are a lot of them out there, both real ones and fakes, so use this handy guide to choosing and then using your balsamic vinegar.

Cardamom – this is a spice with a very aromatic fragrance. A bit like cinnamon, ginger and nutmeg it is amazing to spice up cakes, bread rolls, gingerbread and other bakes. Many Middle-Eastern dishes also call for it in desserts and such. Give it a try and maybe you’ll fall in love with it like the Norwegians who use it to spice rolls sold here in every shop.

Chickpeas – or Garbanzo Beans. These are great in soups, salads and many other dishes calling for beans. They don’t have a very strong flavour so you can be sure that they won’t dominate whatever dish you use them in.

Cocoa Powder – A bit like the dark chocolate but it is a powder so it’s great when you want to make a homemade drinking chocolate or when making chocolate cakes, cookies etc. Simple, very dark and tastes phenomenal.

Rocket Salad – or Arugla with some proven cancer-preventing powers, this salad has an amazing, peppery flavour. It’s a great addition to salads and raw on top of pizza, once the pizza is baked. I dare you to try this, I have never known a better pizza topping.

Soy Sauce – very salty but in small quantities it makes a lot of things better. Try it in marinades, sauces and even salad dressings.

Sun-dried Tomatoes – these have a strong, salty and kind of sour flavour. A little goes a long way and they are delicious in pasta dishes and I especially like to cut them into tiny pieces and use them in breads and dinner rolls.

Sweet Potatoes – if you’re not familiar with them, you just have to check them out and maybe soon you will prefer them over the regular potatoes when making dinner. I certainly do. They are something very special and can be eaten as part of a serious dish, as a sweet or even as breakfast.

Tahini – this is a paste made of sesame seeds. Popular in the Middle East it is used for making dips, homemade hummus and a sweet halva. Research those and you won’t be disappointed. I use tahini also in sauces and as part of marinades, especially when marinating vegetables for baking.

decadent chocolate


Shopping list:

  1. 60% (or more) Cocoa Solids Chocolate
  2. Adzuki Beans
  3. Balsamic Vinegar
  4. Cardamom
  5. Chickpeas
  6. Cocoa Powder
  7. Rocket Salad
  8. Soy Sauce
  9. Sun-dried Tomatoes
  10. Sweet Potatoes
  11. Tahini

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