five essentials : for a french pantry

As you know I’m particularly fond of French cuisine especially the sweet treats as evidenced here. I’ve incorporated so many French dishes into my weekly menu including salad nicoise, quiche, any really any type of cheese or cream dishes as a comforting Sunday supper. I tried to keep this post to five essentials, but when going through my pantry I found six essentials are absolutely necessary for a complete French pantry. You will find it especially pleasing to know that these ingredients are quite often used in some of my other dishes as well that may not be French-inspired.
{butter, oils & vinegar}
Butter is the foundation of a classic French dish originating from Normandy where dairy is produced. It adds a subtle flavor, a creaminess and density that not even oil can produce. French butters though have a higher fat content and unsalted. Oils in the cuisine are not flavored, which include peanut, vegetable or canola. They are typically used for cooking and vinaigrettes. And a personal favorite french vinaigrette from David Lebovitz can be found here. Finally, vinegar {or soured wine in French}
{cream & cheese}
France produces an assortment of cheeses that unfortunately never find their way to the United States as I discovered in London. Three that I often keep on hand are Gruyere, a firm and nutty cow’s milk cheese eaten in a sandwich, salad or on a cheese platter. Emmentaler, another cow’s milk cheese that melts beautifully over gratin, into white sauces and perfect for fondue. Finally, Parmesan, an Italian cheese that is often grated on dishes as a garnish or used to thicken white sauces. And what I absolutely love about French cuisine is the use of all elements of meals. Cream is whisked with pan juices of meat or fish, some herbs added and you have a flavorful cream sauce.
{stocks & basics}
If I don’t have any of my own, I usually have cartons of chicken stock available. It is the best way to add flavor and lighten up a thick soup. Though French cuisine, known for its soups and braises often call for a combination of onions, celery, carrots and leeks {mirepoix}.
{herbes de provence}
I didn’t really understand the combination of herbes de provence. It was dried bay leaves and thyme and the like with lavender. At first it didn’t make much sense in terms of flavor, but I soon discovered its magic when I made this roast provencal chicken via bon appetite. Perfect to accompany with your white and red meat dishes.
If there was one thing I had to grab from my refrigerator, it would be dijon mustard. The smooth dijon mustard is ideal for vinaigrettes whilst the grainy dijon mustard is great to add to sandwiches and cream sauces for extra texture and a kick. 
{brandy & cooking wine}
Esteemed for its sauces, French cuisine are notorious for its use of brandy and wine in cooking. It’s something I’ve learned and perfected {modestly} over the past few years. Even if you’re not one for making a sauce or can’t be bothered, a few tablespoons of brandy to a pan and simmered down can add a beautiful finish to a dish. After saute a piece of meat or fish in a pan, deglaze the pan with a bit of wine or brandy to pick up the browned bits off the pan a touch of cream or butter, a sprinkle of herbes de provence and a teaspoon of the grainy mustard.
  • Emma

    Beutiful pictures!

    With A City Dream

  • such a beautiful round-up! i use my herbes de provence CONSTANTLY, i just adore the flavor they add. and of course, fleur de sel is another favorite that i love buying when in france.

  • Sabbie Narwal

    Love this post! I haven't cooked a thing in months, though! (I can't wait for this semester to end…) Ok, I've got to admit though, I am so hesitant with new cheeses! Like, I am suspicious of anything not childish enough to be made by Kraft! It's so sad because I wish I could be more adventurous but I convince myself I'm queasy before a strange cheese even comes near me! Got any starter tips?

  • ooh yes! I do love a nice buttery mixture of caramel! I could eat that right out of the jar! x

  • thanks! x

  • Yes, all my soups always have herbes de provence. I would love dried lavender to make my own! x

  • Aw thank you! If you want to ease your way into cheese try something mild like camembert then work your way up to stilton and the like!

  • Kym Reed

    I totally love sweets, so I enjoyed this post! Your pictures and home are absolutely breath taking.