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Take a peek in the pantry

After a chaotic yet hugely enjoyable build up to Christmas for The Kitchen at Raylands House, some of the more mundane albeit essential tasks had fallen a little behind.

So this week, having packed the kids back off to school, we rolled up our sleeves and decided to completely overhaul the disarray in arguably the most import area of our kitchen…..the pantry.


It was not a small task by any means but once Lainey puts her mind to it there really is no stopping her. Secretly I think the main draw for her was using the mini label printer. What is it with those kind of tools that make them so enjoyable to use? I’m telling you the kitchen label printer is the new glue gun!


Label printer - P Touch Cube by Brother :



The first step was to take everything off the shelves to give them a thorough clean. Flour really does get into every gap and crevice in the kitchen and we do have a 5 star hygiene rating to uphold.


The mess we (I mean Lainey) tackled:


The next step was to reorganise everything in to a system that will provide us with an easy to access inventory but which also makes sense with the way we work. Throughout the Christmas period we’d got into the habit of quickly putting things back onto shelves at the end of a tiring day and not necessarily in any particular order. Unfortunately though, slipping into a disorganised state was adding to our workload and we knew we needed to tackle it.


An Alphabetical system might work for some kitchens but for us it made more sense for us to group into cuisines/regions for spices and condiments and cooking types (baking versus cooking) for the dry ingredients. It now feels much clearer and will make it much faster for us to access what we need as we need it.


We use a mix of storage solutions in the pantry which helps us to keep track of items easily and also stack them neatly for easy access. Our main storage solution is by a company called Mepal which is a leading Dutch consumer brand but can be sourced worldwide - it’s not the cheapest on the market but it really is a great system and worth the money. We also have items from IKEA, Hema (an inexpensive Dutch homeware shop), Sainsbury’s and US company Crate and Barrel. It’s an eclectic mix but it works for us.


A mixture of storage solutions work well for us:


A closer look at the Mepal Modula storage system - stackable with easy close lids, clear tops and sides. A great all round solution:


Getting organised is the key to a smoothly run Kitchen. When I was based in the Netherlands I took advice from my good friend Jen Paperman who runs a successful organisation and decluttering company called Paper Spaces. After many years of tying bags with clips and storing them all in oversized plastic boxes I’d become exhausted by constantly digging through boxes to look for things or, worse still, purchasing the same items over and over only to find the same items hidden at the bottom of a box. Jen came over and I’m not joking, she transformed my life. I think it actually made me a better cook too - I could set about a task clearly and calmly without any stress. I would highly recommend using a service like Jen’s or actually just fly her over - trust me, it’s the best money you’ll ever spend!


The original starter pantry in Amsterdam prescribed by Jen Paperman:



So, now that the pantry is once again a haven of tranquil bliss, we are ready to crack on with what is already promising to be an exciting year. We can’t wait for our first lunch club which is focusing on an Indian inspired menu and we are kicking off cooking lessons with a soup and bread class the week after. We are also hugely looking forward to our next Great Garnett’s farmers market on 10th Feb. Hope to see you there.


The newly re-organised pantry - well done Lainey!



Enjoy the rest of your week,


Steph x



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