I’m often being asked about the ingredients I use in my recipes. It’s true that some of them are not classic but there are easy to find either in an organic store, a regular supermarket or a worldwide delicatessen store.

 

My favorite addresses in Paris:

– La Grande Epicerie du Bon Marché, 38 rue de Sèvres

– Galeries Lafayette Gourmet, 35 boulevard Haussman

– Maison Plisson, 93 boulevard Beaumarchais

– RAP épicerie italienne, 4 rue Fléchier

– Epicerie Izraël, 30 rue François Miron

– Kioko, 46 rue des Petits Champs

– Tang Frères, 41 rue Labrouste

– Les Nouveaux Robinsons

– Naturalia

– the street markets in Paris

 

You will find below a list of the ingredients I use the most with some detailed explanation for each of them.

FLOURS

I haven’t not use wheat for 5 years now. At least, the regular wheat sold in a classic supermarket or market.

As I have no problem with gluten, I use spelt flour and some already-mixed gluten-free flours (eg: millet with corn, rice). My choice will be driven by the texture that I want to give to my cake, bread etc. Either because I want to give a rustic twist to a tart crust (using a spelt or a rye flour), or because this recipe is meant to be done with one type of flour (the corn bread with corn flour for example).

In my kitchen pantry, you can find different flours: spelt, corn, rye, buckwheat, millet, coconut and almond (even if it’s not a flour ‘per se’, it can used as the base of many cakes).

 

Some flours tend to go rancid through time so keep them in your fridge in a closed container. It’s the case for coconut or whole rice flours as well as for almond flour.

 

I read all the product labels I use. Be careful with the ingredients which do not have the ‘wheat’ label but are close ‘friends’: kamut is a close cousin for example, we have another cereal called ‘froment’ in Europe and that is… wheat. Buckwheat is also called ‘black wheat’ in Europe, but it’s not wheat.

I use cereals  such as spelt from Provence or buckwheat that I cook like rice for risotto, corn as polenta, buckwheat udon noodles or corn and rice pasta which really have the same texture as traditional pasta (eg : Barilla or Rummo brands), pulses like beans, chickpeas… the choices and possibilities are infinite !

YEAST & OTHER ADDITIVES

In my kitchen cupboard, four main ingredients:

 

Gluten & Phosphate-free baking powder

This baking powder will not change the taste of your food once integrated to it. You can lick the spoon when you prepare a cake to check the difference.

It is made of:

 

– corn starch: not to mention organic and non-GMO, corn starch will allow baking powder to be kept for a long time And if there is corn starch…well there’s no gluten.

– baking soda: this ingredient will help your dough rise by a chemical reaction and the release of gas (C02). It’s well known for bringing lightness and smoothness to cakes and other pastries. It’s also a good helping hand in your digestion (helping your food to be more basic and less acid).

– tartaric acid: originally taken from grapes. It will help baking soda do its job (and even accentuate it) and will remove its bitterness.

 

Baking soda

Baking soda is loaded with good intentions such as:

– lifting your preparations by the same release of gas we were mentioning above

– helping you digesting better. You’re cooking cabbage? A little bit of baking soda will remove some of its strong smell, taste and will be make it more digestible. It also works with dried vegetables (dried peas, beans and pulses).

 

Xanthan gum

Made of a bacteria, like yeast, xanthan gum is used to bind and thicken. I use it to replace egg whites.

 

To bring lightness and smoothness to some of my cakes and crêpes /pancakes, I use buttermilk that I prepare by mixing soy milk and lemon juice (and leave to rest for few minutes). The milk will curdle and its PH will lower, and therefore becoming more acid. The acidity of the buttermilk will react with the baking soda, creating some gas and helping the cake to rise.

If you do not have lemon juice, you can also use white vinegar.

 

Agar- agar

Agar-agar is used to jellify and is fully vegan. You dissolve it by mixing it into hot water and it will solidify when cooling down. I use it for all my ‘crèmes’, jellies, panna cotta…

SUGARS

I try to reduce sugar in all my recipes.

I never use white sugar and when I buy cane sugar, I check that it’s real organic cane sugar (sometimes wrongly colored with additives…).

I use small quantities of agave, rice, coconut and maple syrups. They are many brands and qualities. Just bear in mind that, unfortunately, quality goes with high prices and for example making real maple syrup implies a long respectful creation process that cannot be super cheap at the end.

OILS, VINEGARS & OTHER SAUCES

I only buy and use first cold-pressed organic olive oil (oil properties are kept because they are not heated after pressing the olives).

The other oils I select and that I keep are: sesame, colza (every time you need you a flavor-free oil), coconut and some fragrant oils such as the ones made from nuts, hazelnuts, pistachios and even avocado.

Keep your sesame and colza oils in your fridge as they oxide quickly when opened (that’s why their bottle is usually dark yellow or brown).

 

For the vinegars, you can use cider, wine and balsamic vinegar (careful with a real origin and a good quality). I also store rice vinegar for all my Asian recipes.

One ingredient often mixed in my recipes: tamari. Tamari is made of fermented soy beans but has NO added whea. It’s 100% gluten-free. Just one thing though, you need to buy an organic version of your tamari sauce to be sure that it’s GMO-free.

SPICES

I’m crazy about spices and I have loads in my kitchen cupboards. One advice: do not overstuff your closet with spices if you are just starting in the cooking frenzy. Start with what you need first, only shop high-quality and once you know what you like, buy some more to store them.

My favorite spices are: pepper from Madagascar, ground vanilla (both from Hediard in Paris), black and pink Himalayan salts, ground ginger…

I also dry and freeze summer herbs whenever I can so I can use them during winter time.

DAIRY PRODUCTS

I haven’t used dairy products for a long time now unless they are low on lactose such as parmesan, butter, young gouda. For mozzarella and ricotta, I always pick ‘bufala’ milk.

I also source vegan milk or goat milk (for yogurts, I love those!).

I’m a huge fan of coconut milk or cream for many of my recipes. You can even prepare a ‘chantilly’ out of coconut milk!

You can prepare some ‘crèmes’ with silky tofu. Silky tofu is obtained by curdling soy milk; it then turns into a creamy mixture.

You can make your own silky tofu with the following recipe. For 275 grams of silky tofu:

– mix 500 ml organic soy milk with 4 tablespoons white vinegar or lemon juice

– let the milk rest approximatively 12 hours in your fridge

– drain the tofu and you can use it immediately or store it for few days in your fridge

KITCHEN USTENSILS

No need to have a large quantity of kitchen tools.

I advise you to have:

– sharp knives (I find mine at Dehillerin, rue Coquillère in Paris),

– one or two cutting boards,

– some good teflon-free pans and saucepans,

– an oven-proof dish,

– some wooden spoons,

– one food scale and a measuring glass,

– a good blender (and/or food processor for the most adventurous of you).

I’ve cooked many years with a cast iron ‘cocotte’… I advise you to start with few kitchen accessories and to buy things when you really need them.

I also cook with cups.

Bought at an Anthropologie store in London (check their site, they are often beautiful), they help me measure my ingredients without using a food scale. Sometimes recipes are easier with them. You can find them on internet or when travelling in an English-speaking country where they use this measuring unit.