Now you know me, I’m all about finding a bargain where possible and cutting costs in order for things to be more financially friendly for your wallet, but sometimes there are products that you really do need to splurge on. If you are taking precautions and cutting costs, without compromising the quality (read more on how to do so, here) you are able to use those saved pennies on the products you really love and need the higher quality of. It’s all about finding the balance. Here are my top five products that I will always spend a little more money on, where possible, and is a great starting place for anyone who wants to add a little more luxury to their store cupboard but in a sensible way – no crazy named or hard to find products here. It’s all about the basics… done well.
Olive Oil is such a great all-rounder-product and is usually the base or finish of many meals. Which is why you need to have a high-quality Olive Oil in order to elevate your dish. Olive Oil is so much more than just a cooking oil. It helps add flavour, change the texture and also enhance products to heighten them to the best of their ability. From marinating vegetables to crisp and char as they sweeten in the oven to massaging kale leaves for a simple salad. A high-quality Olive-Oil will be your best friend in the kitchen, so this is one that I never skimp on.
The world of salt is far from simple. A lot of your ‘table salts’ are cut or mixed with other ingredients. So, I always opt for a good, proper salt. Sea Salt or Himalayan are my go-to. As with the oil, salt is a huge factor in a dishes’ final outcome. You need to have the proper building blocks in order to get the most from your ingredients. Using the wrong or cheaper salt can, as silly as it sounds, add a ‘salty’ flavour. Salt is not supposed to make your dishes salty – it’s supposed to bring out the ingredients natural flavours and enhance them. So, you need a high-quality product that’s actually worth it’s money in salt…
Although this is one that is far from black and white, I always never skimp on purchasing my vegetables. I buy organic, local and seasonal where possible. This may look on the surface to be a higher cost, but when you go further into it, and adopt the right practices the costs can actually be a lot cheaper than you think. The reason why I always splurge on my veggies is because they 100% taste better, they are sweeter, and fresher, they have a better texture and are bursting with nutrients. You literally pay for what you get here. And you can save on additional sauces and ingredients needed, because the veggies basically cook themselves, rich in flavour already with no added extras needed -perhaps just a glug of high-quality olive-oil and some good Sea Salt, though.
Now I know this won’t be to everyone’s taste, but yes – it’s definitely worth buying a good quality wine. I’m not saying buy the top of the list, highest priced bottle, but opting for a middle ground. I have been into biodynamic and organic wines for a while now, and even natural wines and you are paying for the ethical practices which may not always result in a higher quality tipple. This one is all about trial and error (it’s a hard job, but someone has to do it!) and finding a wine that you love, that fits your budget, is one of the best things you can do.
As with the majority on this list, it’s all about finding and spending just a little more on the higher-quality products that are the building blocks to a great dish – so, not skimping on costs when it comes to spices is a game-changer. It makes a huge difference, and you probably end up spending less overall due to the nature of the product. A weak, store-bought spice may not give you the flavour or colour change you require so you will end up using more. Purchasing a high-quality spice that’s packed full of flavour, and if stored and treated correctly can last a long time, where you are only adding a small amount compared to the weaker varieties.