Day 5: Lost In The Shops?

Where to find those sneaky ingredients!

Whenever I go shopping I always notice one thing. People walking around lost and confused.

Yes you’ve got the regular shoppers, the ones who could draw you a map from their sick bed explaining EXACTLY where the lemsip and cookies are, the semi-regulars who get around ok.

But then there’s the ones who never or rarely go food shopping. For whatever reason passing through those sliding doors just never happens.

They’re the ones I see calling whoever has sent them shopping and the conversation goes like this:

“Yes, yes I’m in that aisle but it’s not here! Yes I’ve tried that aisle…no I don’t want to ask I’ll look like an…no just tell me where it is and I’ll get it! I didn’t have to come shopping you know!!”

Or they leave empty handed.

But no more! And to prove how relaxing I want this experience to be, here’s some nature before we begin!

I did a little quiz a while ago both in person and on my social to find out what ingredients you often want, but can’t find. Let’s do this!

World Spices

You’d think that all the spices and herbs would be together? That’s your first mistake my friend. Supermarkets aren’t rational a lot of the time.

Yes your Chinese 5 Spice and your Cajun Rub will probably be with the rosemary and sage, but schezwan pepper, sesame seasonings and other worldly delights are normally put in the world food section.

Saying that, panko breadcrumbs? Normally found back with the other herbs and spices.

I didn’t say this post was going to be rational. Observational, to help you.


Who doesn’t love adding a little heat to their meals?

When looking for dried chillies or standard fresh green and red chillies, that’s simple – herb section and fresh herb section.

But what about your jalapenos, habaneros, anchos and your thai? Normally in one of three places:

  • Fresh herb section especially for thai chillies (unlikely but sometimes jalapenos make an appearance)
  • World food section. Jalapenos most likely wherever the Mexican tortilla kits are. Ancho and Habanero either dried or in paste form will be there as well
  • Herbs and Spices section. Again, most likely dried or in a paste form

Your pulled pork and thai green curries will be thankful!

Blue Corn Chips

Again, logic would dictate that any type of tortilla chip would be with the other crisps.

No. And I know…it’s not our fault.

You’re more likely to find them in the gluten free section because they’re naturally gluten free.

Now top with guacamole, salsa and some cheeky chorizo and relax!

The Cheaper Nuts and Berries

A while ago it was in the news that supermarkets were charging higher prices for certain items in different areas of the shop despite the same thing being cheaper elsewhere.

Before lockdown and at the time of writing this, in some cases this is still true.

So here’s a little money saving saving hack.

Go to the baking section first, not the crisp/snack or healthy nut section.

Normally you can find the same packets of walnuts, almonds, hazelnuts, cranberries and raisins cheaper.

Spicy Chilli Bean Paste

A secret weapon when it comes to Chinese cooking, spicy chilli bean paste is often mysterious in larger shops.

Specialist shops and some farm shops, no problem! But supermarkets? You’re looking at a 50/50 chance of success.

Some do not stock it at all and others put it again in the world food section but either with the Japanese ingredients or the Chinese.

And There You Have It!

Never get lost again!

Don’t forget to connect with me on social as stories of food shopping adventures are always hilarious! And if you’re lost there and then, ask and I’ll try and help you.

Let’s Connect!

Along with the daily journal posts here, each Wednesday at 12pm BST I’ll be going live on my instagram @therebalancechef to recap on the week’s progress and show you around my kitchen. Depending on the weather you might even meet my rescue hens!

The main point of this challenge is to have fun with it, learn new skills and refresh old ones.

I want to see your creations so don’t forget to tag me and show off what you’ve been doing!

I’m taking part in the Rebalance May Cookery Challenge! Check it out here

What’s Coming Up and Your Ingredients List

Over the next 3 days we’ll be looking at how you store herbs, veggies, meat and fish properly.

After that, we’ll be starting knife skills and you’ll be making your first recipes, salsa, stock and proper roast potatoes!

Day 9 ingredients list:

  • 1 lime
  • 2 tbsp fresh coriander (a small handful)
  • 150g fresh tomatoes
  • 1 red onion
  • Salt and Pepper
  • Optional: 1/2 red chilli

Day 10 ingredients list:

  • Chicken carcass
  • Onion, carrot, leek scraps or 1 of each if you’d prefer
  • Black peppercorns
  • A selection of herbs including rosemary, parsley, bay and thyme