1) Cinderella Camel Date Paste is made from camel dates. That’s it. Nothing else. It gives a rich caramel flavour and has 12.5% less sugar per 100g than honey or maple syrup. The paste is a convenient, quick way of using the natural sweetness of dates for baking or cooking – no soaking or chopping whole dates this way. It’s $5.99 for a 450g jar from supermarkets.
2) For baking made so super-simple try Hill St Wholefoods baking mixes. They’ve ditched the dairy, got rid of gluten, catered for vegans and even taken out refined sugar, so all you have to add is the liquids to make fudge brownies, banana bread, pancakes or choc chip cookies. $10.99- 14.99 per pack online. hillstwholefoods.co.nz
3) Alter Eco make ethically and sustainably sourced organic chocolate. Their latest is Deepest Dark Super Blackout, which has 90% fruity-malty Ecuadorian dark chocolate with a touch of Madagascar vanilla, making it smooth, creamy and totally decadent. Available at health food shops, it’s $8.79 per 80g bar.
4) Alexandra’s Dukkahs are prepared the old-fashioned way by stone-grinding the spices to retain the freshness, quality, flavour and aroma. There are three blends, each using more than 15 ingredients: Traditional, Aromatic (with pistachios, almonds fennel and coriander) and Piquant that spices it up with the addition of paprika and chilli. From New World, Pak’nSave, Farro Fresh and Moore Wilson, they’re usually under $10.
5) There are some times when extra virgin olive oil is just not suitable. So here’s Lot Eight Chef Blend premium cooking oil, a clean, subtle blend of olive and vegetable oils, that has been the mainstay in many restaurant kitchens and is now available to the home cook. $2