As a young girl I loved to look at the laden shelves in my Mother’s and Grandmother’s walk-in pantries. There was so much to look at, indeed it was quite an education. It was like a guided tour of ingredients, flavours and aromas. Hanging from the ceiling were all sorts, ranging from baskets, strings of things tied together, utensils and stockinged meats maturing.

The stone shelf usually had an array of bowls containing dripping, yesterdays leftovers, today’s pudding, cheeses, butter and the bottomless jug of milk that had been boiled in order to prevent it going off. If you were very quiet with the door shut, not only did it serve as a hiding place for games of hide & seek, but also you could hear the drip, drip, drip of the boiled fruit in the jelly bag in readiness for bottling the next batch of preserves.

So, with the above being my inspiration I always sought to own a walk-in pantry myself .  I acheived this with the house I now live in and would never want to have to crouch down on my haunches to be able to select foods for meals ever again.  Believe me mother really did ‘know best’ on that score. Back ache is no longer my bet noir since I have been able to select foods standing up!

My recommendations for starting your own pantry are firstly to have easily washed shelf surfaces, walls and floor.  As much airy space as you can afford in the space allotted. Plenty of washable storage containers and jars. Also if you have exposed ceiling beams as I have, plenty of hooks on which to suspend certain items, such as strainers, bread baskets, brown paper bags on a string, or foods wrapped in muslin such as preserved or dried meats.  I even hang herbs and flowers from the ceiling too.

Lidded baskets for storing potatoes in darkness and a bread bin for bread and rolls is a must for your pantry. You may also find an electric socket or two useful. Should you be fortunate enough to have a counter top or stone shelf you could perhaps use a food mixer and keep it and the mix away from any busy kitchen traffic. I use mine to make yogurt in the electric yogurt maker.

Any recesses can also be shelved out or made into a wine storage area.  At one point two doors led into the pantry I inherited and we blocked it up and put a very large wine rack which male visitors enjoyed perusing.  Not to mention the wine being out of harms way when excited children or animals were visiting.

coices of food to store in your pantry are of course personal. However, I would recommend staples such as tea, coffee, bread, potatoes, dried pasta, tinned tomatoes, baked beans, canned vegetables and fruit, jelly, jams, eggs, milk and butter.  If you are a keen cook then of course flour, sugar, herbs, spices and flavourings.

I am sure your new pantry will not only be enjoyed by yourself, but also others. From my experience my children, even though adult, always head into the pantry to take stock of the  treasures therin … after kissing mum hello …. of course!

Lastly I learned from the special ladies mentioned above that a store of standbys proved very useful when unexpected guests arrive. I would like to share with you the following recipes which are so easy and quick to prepare using some basics from the pantry. Why wait for the guests ?

QUICHE  ME  QUICK                       Serves 12  or 6 hungry people.

6 oz / 170g                Self-raising flour, sifted

2 oz / 55g                  Bran

6 medium                   Eggs

¼ tsp.                         Salt

¾ pt. /425ml             Milk

3 oz /85g                   Butter

1 large                        Onion, finely chopped

1 large                        Tin of salmon

3 – 4                            Large mushrooms sliced finely

8 oz / 225g                Broccoli cut small

Dill to taste

Ground black pepper & salt to taste

Medium to strong cheese grated to flavour

¼ – ½ tsp.                  Grated nutmeg

Preheat your oven to Gas 4,180C, 350F.

Into a large bowl put the flour, salt and butter.  Rub in the butter and add the bran.

Beat together the milk, eggs and cheese then stir in all the other ingredients until well mixed.

Pour mixture into a well-greased quiche dish and bake on the middle shelf for 30 mins. Until golden brown and risen.

Serve hot or cold with lemon wedges, and salad of your choice.


3 oz /85g               Self-raising flour

2 Tbs.                      Cocoa

4 oz /115g             Butter

4 oz /115g             Caster sugar

2                               Eggs

2 Tbs.                      Water

¼ tsp.                     Vanilla extract

Pinch salt


4 oz /115g              Soft brown sugar

2 Tbs.                       Cocoa

½ Pt. /280ml.         Hot water

Preheat oven to Gas.6, 380F

Sift flour, cocoa and salt.

Cream butter and sugar beat in eggs and fold in the flour, cocoa, and salt.

Add water and vanilla extract and beat a little more. Pour into a well buttered 2 Pt. Dish.

Mix together the sauce ingredients and pour over pudding. Bake in centre of oven for 40 mins.

Serve with fresh cream or crème fraiche.

This is the time of the year when the weather is unpredictable and often cold, wet, and demoralising. Spring seems so far away and a bit of spice may be just what we need to fill that gap leading up to Christmas. Perhaps the winter blues will be lifted once we turn the corner of Winter and welcome Spring once more, but until then we still need to produce warming, nourishing food for both family and friends. Right now the trees are so bright with fiery Autumnal leaves and berries. I think they echo many colours of spices available to us and have inspired me to be spicy in my cuisine. Here are some recipes which are a little different yet using ingredients that we are familiar with.


50g /2oz butter

1tsp. Ground ginger

1 red pepper, chopped finely

1 onion, chopped finely

1x340g /12oz can of sweetcorn

560ml /1 pint chicken or vegetable stock

50ml /2fl.oz milk

50ml /2fl.oz single cream

Melt the butter in a large pan and add the ginger, pepper and onion and cook for 3 minutes on a low heat. Add the sweetcorn and cook for 1 minute then pour in the stock and bring to the boil. Cover and simmer for a further 5 minutes and then add the milk and cream. Pour the soup into a blender and liquidise until smooth. Return soup to the pan add seasoning to taste and reheat before serving.


Preheat oven to Gas 5, 375 F, 190 C.

2-3 / 50-75g butter

4 large plaice fillets

2 bananas, sliced

2oz /50g blanched almonds

juice of 1 lemon


Melt the butter gently and use alittle to grease an ovenproof dish and arrange the fish in it. Season lightly and brush with a little more butter. Cover and cook for 15 mins. until the fish is tender and looks opaque. Fry the banana in the rest of the butter for 2-3 minutes, add the almonds and the lemon juice, stirring to mix well. Remove from the heat, arrange fish on warm plates and garnish with the banana and nut mixture. Serve with potatoes and garden peas.


Preheat oven to Gas 5, 375F, 190C

Put into an ovenproof dish a tin of cherry pie filling then pour over ¾ – 1 pint of yorkshire pudding batter that has had 1 tablespoon of sugar added. Bake until batter is raised and browned on top. Serve with cream or cinnamon ice-cream.


Cool waters’ edge

I softly tread

Feasting my eyes

Upon emblazoned skies

Crimson clouds

Scarlet tides

Vast ocean so red

Seems earth has bled

Rusty heather kissed

By red evening mist

Dream-like haze

Bubbles around

Ignited aurae

Seduce my mind

Autumn Sea

Rising from land and sea

Young soldier of the world

Fighting for you and me

So that we

Can still be free


Not for him deathless war

Rising soldier of the world

Fear runs through his core

What is this all for

There’ll always be more


Tired unshining eyes panic

Brave soldier of the world

It’s war zone manic

Pain of injured is chronic

In this blood ridden sonnet


Taking a backward glance

Historic soldier of the world

A hundred years of dance

To cry of war and advance

In action without a chance


He is trained to kill

Armed soldier of the world

Even when weak and ill

And depleted of all will

Carries on and does it still


Yearns a woman’s charms

Frozen soldier of the world

Longs to be within her arms

And so sleepily he warms

To dreaming elusive dreams


His mother’s goodbye ache

To her soldier of the world

Knows his life he will forsake

The risks he has to take

For peace he cannot make


Prized photo in her locket

Of her soldier of the world

His love’s picture in his pocket

Like a well thumbed docket

Makes his heavy heart rocket


Faded photo in broken frame

Cherished soldier of the world

Coveted by a family lame

By an enemy’s wounding aim

At their warrior in the game


Doubled like a bended stick

Exhausted soldier of the world

Unwashed hot and retching sick

Yan, Carlos, Ali, Ben or Mick

Is still some mother’s chick


He’ll never feel alone

Loved soldier of the world

Greetings on returning home

When so worn and truly done

He’s proud he’s his Father’s son …


Yet wishes peace had been won.


In honour of the great writers both old and new of the Province of Sindh and also the victims of the recent awful and treacherous floods there I gift this poem to the people of Sindh via the Poet Zaib Sindhi who was the first Sindhi I got to know through the internet.  I wrote this poem through the eyes of a Sindhi person .

Sindh first Sindh last

In the heart and blood

Won’t ebb or wash away

By ravaging raging flood

So long its river’s dry as

Sun beats down it heats

Warm hearts and souls

Living in olden streets

Aged roads and paths

Winding, worn to tread

By ancestors so old yet

Open to young threads

Outlying working farms

Feed the rich and poor

Thanks must go to

Farmer’s hands so sore

In life oh so busy

Let’s not forget in time

Words penned by the

Artists of written rhyme

Poetic verse that was

Scribed upon paper leaf

Still giving joy today

By Ayaz, Sarmast and Latif

Ancients in Sindh’s East

Five thousand years ago

Did build a lovely city

Named  Mohenjo-Daro

Many years have past

Since it all began

But ancient and modern

Live in created Pakistan

Please remember do

And never to rescind

Accept the old age name

For you can’t erase Sindh

Castles, temples and

Persons old and new

A wonderful history

Loved, by not a few

Should you get chance

To spend time here awhile

Walk in the ancient’s shoes

Drink it’s history and style