STOCK YOUR PANTRY LIKE A PRO
STOCK YOUR PANTRY LIKE A PRO: ALEX HEAD, FOUNDER AT SOCIAL PANTRY
Alex is a pantry pro! Founder of The Social Pantry, a café and catering business who have looked after events for some of the best British brands from Net-a-porter to ASOS. With a fresh approach to producing stunning, seasonal and delicious menus we asked Alex to give us her pantry secrets to her home catering.
What are your five staple products in your pantry? Why do you use these so much?
- A selection of grains – the perfect base for a good meal.
- Good quality olive oil – key for a quick and tasty dressing.
- A great chutney – the final touch to a cheese board.
- Chickpeas – the perfect hummus base, great in a salad or just toasted with red onion.
- Dark chocolate – the perfect mint tea snack or brownie essential.
What is your favourite dish to make out of your pantry? Can you share the recipe?
My beetroot hummus is a quick, easy and delicious accompaniment to serve with any meal – ideal for when you have unexpected guests or are short on time.
SERVES 4 – 6
1 can or 400g drained chickpeas
2 cloves of peeled garlic
5-6 tsp of good quality extra virgin olive oil
250g cooked beetroot
½ tsp cumin powder
2 tbsp tahini
Juice of ½ a lemon
½ bunch of coriander leaves
¼ bunch of mint leaves
1 tbsp of good quality balsamic vinegar
Season to taste:
Malden sea salt
Freshly ground pepper
2 tbsp crumbled feta cheese
1 handful of sunflower seeds
1 tbsp chopped mint
Drizzle of oil
- Blitz the garlic and tahini in a food processor.
- Drain the chickpeas, blitz with the beetroot until they reach a consistency of your preference. If you prefer a coarser texture, pulse the mixture for less time
- Add the lemon juice, cumin, coriander and mint leaves, blitz for another 2 minutes.
- Check the seasoning and add in the vinegar, salt and pepper.
- When you are happy with the seasoning, use a spatula to scrape the hummus into a bowl
- Top with the crumbled feta, seeds, mint and drizzle with olive oil
I always serve mine dolloped on a board with a big stack of crudités and flat breads.
Using cooked beetroot is a great time saver.
What would we find in your fridge?
A lot of cheese, I am somewhat an addict but manage to balance it out with lots of root vegetables and salad. Keeping it fresh and simple is how I like to stock my fridge. You won’t really find any meat but good quality fish is a weekly treat.
Describe your usual day on a plate?
I’m a real porridge lover so I’m pretty content with a steaming bowl of porridge, covered in nuts, seeds and honey. I also normally enjoy a morning a smoothie – my current favourite is pineapple, mint, coconut water and apple. This keeps me going throughout the morning until lunchtime.
Staff lunch at Social Pantry can be anything from grilled chicken with a grain salad to lamb burgers and dauphinoise potatoes. It’s always filling, tasty and balanced to keep the team energised. Dinner will often be vegetables or a grain and roasted vegetable salad with a simple salmon fillet. Light, healthy and simple but almost always followed by some dark chocolate and mint tea!
What are your go-to daytime snacks in between meals?
Being a caterer, I’m constantly surrounded by food; menu testing and tasting keeps me pretty content between meals! Today I was tasting haggis croquettes and sherry fudge (not together!).
Are there any other foods you can’t live without?
A pack of sunflower seeds and feta to perk up any salad.
Where do you like shopping for food?
I’m a great fan of Lidl and love Waitrose but am lucky enough to have a great local butcher and fishmonger.
Stock your pantry with Plenish nut m*lk here.