There are posts all over the internet about what you should keep in your pantry or what constitutes a well-stocked pantry. Everyone is different in the way they eat and what they use.
I use Real Consomme where a recipe calls for chicken stock whenever I don't have any homemade available. It has a less manufactured and much less salty taste than pre-made stock. If I want that flavour I will use a stock cube and save myself $2.50.
Until a couple of years back Real Consomme was found in a tin in the soup section because consomme is basically clear chicken soup. Then the manufacturers entered their tetra pack phase. For some reason (and I would love to see the market research on this) Australians think things in tetra packs are "fresher" than things in tins and will pay more for them. This applies to regular soup as well. Go to the soup aisle and price a tin of pumpkin or tomato soup, then look at the same soup in a tetra pack, made by the same company with the same ingredients. Do a price check. It will fascinate you.
Anyway in Australia at least you now have to buy your consomme where they sell stock not where they sell soups. It tastes better than manufactured stock and tastes closer to homemade.
I use it in:
- deglazing a pan
Of course we would all agree real home-made is better but sometimes that's just not available
UHT Cream can be found in the same section of the supermarket as soy milk and sometimes evaporated milk. It's usually up high on the shelves. In my area one of the two major supermarket chains sells two brands of UHT cream and the other brand sells none. Weird huh?
I can't stand UHT milk to drink, but I am sure it would be fine to cook with. UHT cream is the same, it's fine for cooking. It's also half the price of a 300ml carton of fresh cream.
I use it in:
- creamy pasta sauce
- creamy casseroles (like Chicken and Mushroom)
And I know this particular carton says it is fine for whipping but I might add it never whips well for me so I'd take that with a grain of salt.
With these two things in my cupboard I can pull together an awful lot of meals without running to the shops at the last minute. You might want to consider grabbing some for your pantry.
(Obviously I have zero affiliation with either brand/product displayed).