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The Second Pantry


It struck me that food bloggers have a special kind of pantry. Of course, given food comes first in the description, we have one similar to every one else that is filled with spices, jams, canned items and what not. But as bloggers, we also have a second one - in our hard drives, that store of photos and recipes that we keep to use when needed..

Just like the first pantry, there are items in there that we had loving stashed, sparingly using the contents with the full intention of delaying gratification. Except, we forgot we put them there. While they patiently waited to be revisited, we moved on to newer, shinier things or just moved really.


When I moved apartments a few weeks ago, I was appalled at the amount of stuff, I had hoarded, over my seven years' stay in the same apartment. Despite, my continuous attempts at spring cleaning, at least my fridge and pantry, I still found condiments I had picked up in Australia during my visit in 2010. There was that wattleseed powder that I had good intentions of making an ice cream with and never did. There were also spices from India, accumulated over several visits that I think I never had the heart to throw out and justified that non-action with, well, it is still better than the insipid grinds I get here.

Moving gave me the perfect excuse to get up to date with my first pantry. There was an economic cost to every item I was packing, and being mindful of the till ringing up, I was very prudent and stringent. Despite that I already have a full pantry in the new place. And, I have resolved to resist the urge to add storage space, buy more items than I could possible consume and fall back into a hoarding pattern. Since I have an open kitchen layout with no way hide mess and clutter, it has been very effective.


Last night I was backing up files and felt a sense of deja vu! There they were. Files and folders tucked away within others that I hadn't looked into for months. Photos and recipes, from earlier seasons, I had meant to post. That gorgeous herby vinegar or those vanilla infused apples or that mousse cake! And, I have whole host of stuff to share from my Artisanal Bread Baking class at the ICC!

I am going to start now. Cleaning. I'll probably not get down to zero. I am sure I will keep adding more to the pantry and using less of it than intended. But, I will use them all up eventually, I promise.


For now, I leave you with a few treasures for your first pantry from my second... :)

Purple Basil Vinegar

1/2 cup white vinegar

1/4 cup water

3 T honey

1/2 tsp salt

handful of purple basil leaves

Bring all the liquids to a soft simmer. Meanwhile, drop the leaves and salt in the container you want to store the flavored vinegar in. Pour the hot liquid on top. Cork the bottle and store in a cool, dark place for a 2-3 days before using.

Stays in pantry for ages!

Vanilla Poached Apples

{This is a super easy make-ahead awesome dessert. You can serve it warm or cold with a huge dollop of ice cream or whipped cream. Or for a balance of flavors, try it with sour cream.}


5 firm apples, peeled (It is better not to core them as it gives the poached fruit more integrity)

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

3 T honey

1 tsp vanilla bean paste, or seeds scraped off half a bean

Enough water to cover the apples

Preheat oven to 375F.

Arrange the apples in one layer in a baking dish. Pour enough water to come up to half the height of the apples. Add the honey and vanilla. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 30-40 minutes till the fruit is just soft.

Gently scoop each fruit out and lay into the canning jar. Pour the liquid on top of the apples until it covers the fruit entirely. Seal jar per canning instructions.

Cool to room temperature and then refrigerate.


Share your creations tagging @ashafsk on Instagram and hashtag #MadeFromFSK