I always keep mine in the fridge; for some reason; it makes me smile every time I open the door and see all the colourful jars of sauces that I might only have used once but like to hold onto - you know, for just in case.
My love of condiments boils down to their versatility. They are found in most cultures and us British, are some of the best at dousing our food in sauces, gravies, pickles and relishes. However condiments have other uses and often make wonderful additions to dressings, marinades, sauces and gravy.
Here are some of our favourites at Oscar and Jemima’s and some uses for them:
Maldon Sea Salt
We are both from Essex, as is Maldon Sea salt. And it is arguably the best salt money can buy: light, flaky and just so much better than table salt!
Freshly ground black pepper is almost as essential as salt, and something we have also started to use more of is white pepper. Some foods call for it purely from an aesthetic point of view, especially if you are serving light coloured food (like mash potatoes) and you don’t want it dotted with bits of black.
Lots and lots of mustard! Dijon, English and grainy mustard are the main ones found in our cupboards, and we love to mix it with honey, olive oil and cider vinegar as a salad dressing. But my absolute favourite use for grainy mustard is to rub a tablespoon of it with a clove of garlic and a teaspoon of olive oil, and spread it over a steak before pan frying – yum!
Soy sauce can be added to so many dishes that are not Asian. At the top of my list is in our homemade bbq sauce used to marinate chicken, and at Christmas, we cook a tray of chipolata sausages in a honey, soy and mustard glaze – delicious!
Mango chutney is a delicious accompaniment to a curry, but it is also delicious with cheese :) We have tried plenty of store-bought mango chutneys and the one found in our fridge is the delicious South African brand Mrs Balls (found in Spinneys). But our first choice is always homemade as it's the tastiest, however It’s not the easiest thing to make if you are pressed for time (but look out as we will be sharing a recipe for this soon).
Big Condiment No-No’s!
Seafood Cocktail Sauce
Marie-Rose or prawn cocktail sauce in a jar: there really is no excuse to buy this ready made! You can create a much better one from scratch with a dollop of mayonnaise mixed with a squeeze of tomato ketchup, some fresh lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste. For those that like it with a bit of a kick, add a sprinkling of cayenne pepper to finish it off perfectly.
Ready-Made BBQ Sauce
We have a wonderful recipe for bbq sauce which you can keep an eye out for, it's delicious on chicken cooked on the grill and served with homemade coleslaw (another dish that should always be homemade!).
I could go on all day about condiments, as I am a big fan of them all (even ketchup has its place in the kitchen in addition to being smothered on chips). Instead, I shall leave you with one of my favourite food quotes that I have been reminded of a lot throughout the weeks leading up to the launch of Oscar and Jemima’s - enjoy :)
“Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavour”