There’s something very rewarding about going through your kitchen cupboards. It’s a little bit like Christmas – ingredients and tools you didn’t even knew you had, or better yet, things you thought you only bought yesterday now seem to have an expiry date of 3 years ago.

Having grown up in an extensive American kitchen, I’ve always found it hard to contain my cooking addiction to my small, English kitchen. When I first moved to the UK 10 years ago, I could have filled a whole house with all of the pots, pans, crockery, cutlery and baking dishes I once had. I can remember being quite embarrassed when one of our movers made an “American” comment about all the boxes labelled ‘kitchen’. 10 years on, and a few boot sales later – I still don’t quite fit. Sigh.

What I can tell you, is that when I first had the twins 9 years ago I was all about opening a tin and calling it dinner. Sleepless nights had impaired my judgement and it wasn’t about health here, it was just about ‘heat n serve’.

Our first assignment for class was to go through our cupboards. I can honestly say I do this now about twice a year. It’s great for a detox, purge and overall kitchen clean. An organized kitchen is a happy kitchen.

I find I have every baking item under the sun, and a lot of American food items I continuously drag back from the States every time I go, despite the fact I never use them. Emotional attachments I admit. This last detox, I found there were still quite a few out of date items. My husband has a condiment addiction so I constantly battle him for shelf space – especially in the fridge. The good news is, that nowadays I’ve become pretty savvy with reading labels. If I don’t know it, I won’t buy it. I love to experiment with recipes and always try to at least make up most of our meals from scratch. I have a recipe book in my library for everything and with the internet these days, there’s really no excuse. Unless, of course, you cannot boil water. The good news about having a small kitchen is that you don’t have space for items that you don’t use. This includes ingredients. Fresh is always better. Nadia mentioned she her love for her fridges which, personally, I think all kitchens should have more fridges than cupboards! Not only does packaging contain BPA and toxins nowadays, but the food manufacturing industry also specialises in chemical ingredients for long term, ambient shelf life. Now how fresh does that sound? Even your grocery store bread aisle is a complete fraud. Chemicals are used to promote a quicker proofing time and turn around as they are cheaper than old fashioned manual labour. Perhaps they are just taking advantage of today’s modern family: where kitchen time no longer exists like our grandparents once had. I would love to incorporate a kitchen garden and ‘grow food, not lawns’ like Nadia’s, but any more than a few herb plants and I’m afraid my green thumb fails me.